Running a Kickstarter campaign was an odd experience. 37 days of watching the backer numbers go up, punctuated by the occasional busy day of emails, postings and tweets.
There’s no reason to go through every aspect of my campaign, since many campaigns are so similar in many of their aspects. So instead, I will go through 5 things I learned that I think people should keep in mind for their own campaigns.
1 – START THE PAGE RIGHT AWAY
As soon as you know you want to run the campaign, start the campaign page. No one can see it until you publish, but you can start building it right away.
Once you have it started, you can preview the page, and really begin getting into what you need to make it better. From the text you will re-write sixteen times to how many picture you’ll want to flesh it out, having it there to check and revise is invaluable.
2 – MAKE SURE YOU HAVE GOOD ARTWORK
Imagery is really important in a Kickstarter campaign. One of my turn-offs for campaigns I look at is having only a few or poor quality images.
This is one area where some campaigns have a natural advantage: movies, games and graphic novelists have lots of artwork lying around, while novelists and musicians usually don’t.
Get some good artwork. Pictures of yourself working could work, but don’t be afraid to commission some artwork. I did that through fiverr, and ended up with three great pieces of art that really helped the campaign.
3 – WATCH YOUR REWARD LEVELS
4 – IS THAT REWARD ACTUALLY A REWARD?
For a while I had 12 reward levels. $1/$5/$10/$15/$20/$25/$30/$50/$75/$100/$250/$500. The idea was to try to get the maximum amount I could from any one backer.
The problem was making rewards that actually sounded like rewards. For a while, my reward levels included things like mugs, t-shirts and posters. Things that a lot of people might toss into a bin somewhere and later donate to Goodwill. Stuff that I would have to pay for if the campaign funded. And if I was going to pay for them, I didn’t want them to be stuffed into the Goodwill box six weeks after delivery.
The point is, having a $75 reward level that doesn’t offer anything of value is a useless level. You need to find a balance between rewards and levels.
At some point I reset my rewards and worked out exactly what I could do that would be a real reward, I came up with eight levels worth of rewards. I cut four levels out by shifting my view from Quantity to Quality.
Like No. 2, this is something that novel campaign might have some issues with, since artists can offer sketches and movies can offer clips, but I think it still stands regardless of what your campaign is about. Avoid the garage sale fodder. Focus on the item. Let that draw people to the reward level.
5 – CONSIDER A COLD START
My official launch was a Thursday, but I actually launched two days earlier. This was for two reasons:
- I wanted to focus on the personal emails to family and friends without the loud launch releases a lot of people recommended, and
- I wanted to have a quiet time to get used to how the campaign ran, to deal with any hiccups that might occur.
After two days I was more comfortable with the Kickstarter system, and when I did the loud launch, it already had a sizable number of pledges to give it some inertia. I think it helped get a few pledges in to see someone was already backing it.
I don’t know if I will run another campaign in the future. For now, I’m just working on wrapping up this one. But it’s always an option.
If any of you have any thoughts on Kickstarter campaigns, let me know.
Keep on writing!