Kickstarter is now available in Hong Kong and Singapore! If you’re living in either of these territories, you can now launch a Kickstarter campaign, raise funds, and start the business or project of your dreams.
There is a HUGE base of backers from both of these areas. In fact, they have pledged over 300,000 times to bring more than 40,000 creative projects to the world.
For creative types out there and new startups, you can’t afford not to pay attention to this announcement. You’ll now be able to raise money on Kickstarter from your home country.
I know it sounds great, but raising money ain’t easy. That’s why I’ve put together this article with the best practices for launching your campaign, getting the word out, and attracting backers.
1. Make something people want!
While yes, you are using Kickstarter to validate that your project has merit, you should have already done a bit of validation beforehand. Otherwise, you can’t be sure whether or not people will actually find your product to be useful.
Launching a new crowdfunding campaign is a time-intensive process. You don’t want to waste your time putting together a project that’s going nowhere.
That’s why seasoned veterans like Bryce Fisher, who raised $1.3 million on Kickstarter, suggests building a mock sales page to measure customer’s willingness to buy your product.
You have to create something that other people are going to want to own, support, or buy into. That goes for both tech/design products and creative works.
If you’ve validated that people like the product, find it to be useful, or want to see the project exist in the world, then marketing the campaign is going to be much easier.
You know you won’t just be throwing your money away. You’ve already determined who wants or needs your product. Now you just have to collect more people who are a part of that group.
2. Build a launch pad of opted-in emails and social media clout
The reason that many campaigns see a massive uptick in pledges the first day they launch is because they planned it. It’s very rare that a campaign will randomly see a bunch of pledges tumble in on the first day. Don’t be deceived. It’s all carefully planned.
Successful campaign managers will usually build up a core group of supporters that are going to pledge money to the campaign on day 1 of the launch. This could include early customers, partners, friends, family, and even teammates.
Once they have this launch group, they’ll then start to build up a launchpad of email subscribers and social media followers.
If you have 1,000 highly engaged email subscribers at the time of launch, you’re almost guaranteed initial sales. Of course, you have to be teasing the campaign correctly up until the time of launch.
You can get email subscribers by:
- Having a simple sign-up page or form
- Giving away content, like a free book or song.
- Offering discounts
- Giving away copies of the product
- Exclusive access to something, like an event
I’ve seen entrepreneurs build up this email list with both organic and paid marketing. Organic marketing is when you’re putting out free content to gather an audience. A certain percentage of that audience will decide to become an email subscriber.
Paid marketing is when you’re directing paid traffic to a landing page with the specific purpose to get those visitors to convert into leads by opting into your email list.
A good example of an entrepreneur using both organic and paid marketing to gather email addresses is John Lee Dumas and his nearly half a million dollar Kickstarter campaign.
Another way to create a solid launch pad is to grow your social media accounts. This way, you’ll have an audience that you can share the news with when you launch!
Here’s a great video which will explain how to do just that. Of course, if you don’t have the time to grow a social media following, you can also use paid marketing or social media promotion services.
3. Create a social proof plan
I think that getting PR or media hits is one of the best ways to stand out online among all of the noise.
It’s not the only way. Social proof simply means that other people are talking about you, like your product, or think that you’re worth listening to.
Before we make a purchasing decision, most of us gauge the quality of a product by assessing how other people are thinking. If other people love the product, it must be good!
Growing your own tribe, as I mentioned in step 2, is one way to establish social proof. However, the reason that I like using PR is because when a journalist writes about you, you can also get traffic to your Kickstarter campaign! You’ll be able to display their media logos on your campaign or use quotes they’ve said, and reap the rewards of getting in front of a whole new audience.
While there are some costly things that you should avoid when doing PR outreach, you’ll be ahead of the game if you’re even thinking about PR right now. Most campaigners don’t even have it on their radar.
4. Be willing to try again
You might not think this at first glance, but some of the most successful Kickstarter campaign creators actually failed the first time they launched. They figured out where the campaign went wrong, reworked it, and re-launched. One great example is the Coolest Cooler, which raised $13 million. They re-launched their campaign during the summer time and had greater success.
The great thing about crwodfunding is you don’t have to be right the first time. While yes, it might hurt your brand a little if you fail, failure is part of the game. People understand that you’re a startup company and failure is common.
In fact, if you go through my online forum, you’ll see many other creators who are openly talking about their success and failure.
Whatever you do, just don’t give up. You might have to iterate on the product, change the niche you’re going after, or overhaul your entire marketing strategy, but just don’t give up.
You must be committed to your vision if you expect your backers to be also. You should be your own biggest fan.
If your’e having trouble figuring out why your campaign isn’t working, go and check out my video which runs through some decision criteria.
One last tip
There are many other things that you need to get right if you’re going to successfully raise money online. A big component is making a super attractive video that converts.
Still, I wanted to keep this article short and actionable.
The one last tip that I have for you is to be aware of how new marketplaces work. If you manage to rank highly in the newly created Hong Kong section on Kickstarter, then you’ll stand out as a success story. This has many benefits. Likely, you’ll be promoted by Kickstarter’s own PR department, but you’ll also be able to talk about this story and share it with larger media publications.
There are rewards to be had for the first movers, so go out there and do your best! Just don’t forget to plan.