Well, we hope our first post didn’t scare you away from Kickstarter forever and that you are still ready to take the plunge and run your own campaign.
If so, you are about to enter perhaps the hardest and most underestimated part, preparation. Most people just see the final product page and assume it was thrown together in a few days. In reality, most campaigns are the result of weeks or months of preparation. As we have now run three campaigns, we have a pretty decent plan that we follow, and we will lay that out for you. This is just our plan; feel free to pick and choose parts or tweak it however you see fit.
The first task you need to do is pick a date to launch. While this seems easy, it is a critical first step. Your campaign should align with promotions and live events that you will attend while it is running, so you need to choose your dates carefully. Also, you need plenty of time to prep, so picking a date 6-8 weeks in the future should give you plenty of time.
We have one more note about timing: pick a time that is relevant to your product. With our first campaign, we ended up trying to sell gloves in July, which wasn’t smart. We thought the gloves would ultimately be delivered in the winter, but that didn’t matter. People buy for immediate gratification, even if it means they receive the product when it doesn’t make sense.
Once you have your date, you need to start building an email list. The best way to do this is to create a simple website with a sign-up form and try to drive as many people there as possible. Create Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and all other social media accounts, and push your website. Sign up on relevant forums and participate as well as promote; people want to trust your opinion in the area and not just see you pushing your products. Try to get as many people to your site and build up your reputation as much as possible.
In parallel, you need to start filming your video. I can’t be more blunt about this: don’t make a crappy video. Hire a videographer. Find someone who has done this before and knows what they are doing. Yes, it will cost you money. Just know that the end product will be orders of magnitude better than if you let your cousin Sally do it because she has a nice camera. Hire a professional. Write the script. Walk through your shooting plan with them, and then let them edit. Look at other Kickstarter videos in the same category for inspiration. This whole process can easily take 4-6 weeks, so start planning early.
Next, start putting together your Kickstarter page. We always outline it first and then start to fill in the text. If you need graphics, hire someone who can make them look professional. Again, this will cost you some money, but probably less than you would expect. Iterate your Kickstarter page as much as possible. There is a very good feedback system where you can share the page with people ahead of time. Use it! Send the link out to friends/ family and colleagues, and get feedback.
About a week from your launch date, you should have your video done and your Kickstarter page mostly complete. You need to submit your project to Kickstarter for approval, something that can take days. Go ahead and get it submitted so you don’t miss your date. Don’t worry, you can still edit it afterward.
Also, about seven days out is when you want to start building a buzz. This is when you start to use the email contact list you built by driving people to your landing page. Send out a status email and let them know you’re about to launch. Ask them to buy on the first day. Ask them to share with their friends and on social media. Get a buzz going!
Once you get within a week of launch, you can also start to reach out to a few journalists and media contacts. You can usually find these people by looking at relevant publications in your field. Try to find people that write about similar things to what you have created. Reach out to them with a personalized email pitch. We have even shared the Kickstarter page early with certain contacts. Don’t reach out to too many right up front; focus on maybe 10-20 solid contacts.
When you get to the eve of your launch, you need to push even harder. Once your project goes live, you want to hit your goal as fast as possible. Send out another email blast, send messages to friends/family, and post on all forums. You want a lot of people on the first day, so you need to line them up now.
Finally, the time has come to launch: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.