Launching yourself into the crowd-funding frontier and laying yourself at the mercy of the baying public can be a daunting experience.
There’s no avoiding the fact that placing your project before the public and asking for their support can leave you feeling more than a little vulnerable.
And as platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo become an increasingly popular means of drumming up support and finances for your inventions, just how can you make sure you stand out and get noticed, for the right reasons?
2014 saw Big Potato, the team behind Linkee successfully raise funding for a new adult party game called Bucket of Doom through the Kickstarter initiative through hard work and dedicated PR.
Meanwhile, recent weeks have seen Odious Games secure 226 per cent of its original goal of $10,000 to fund the game its bills as an ‘r-rated Scattegories,’ Odious Lists.
The team even managed to catch the attention of Hollywood’s Neil Patrick Harris, who gave the game the best PR it could have asked for, a retweet.
Here, ToyNews asks the Kickstarter victors for their secrets to crowd funding success, to help put your way with your own efforts.
Love your product
Ken Goff, Odious Games: “Make sure that whatever you’re putting on Kickstarter is something you’re comfortable putting on the market as it is. You don’t want to be half finished with your product in the middle of your campaign. A good rule of thumb is to have whatever your product is, as the point where you’re comfortable selling it.”
Do the groundwork
Dean Tempest, Big Potato: “Make sure you read all the articles and blogs out there with tips and make sure you are ready for what is ahead, and make sure you’re ready to deliver. We’d heard stories of people waiting over a year for their product they had backed. We did all of our manufacturing prep before, so we knew as soon as we pressed the button it would be ready.”
Goff: “In the weeks leading up to launch, you should talk to as many people as you can about what you’re trying to accomplish. Have an email announcing the campaign already written and determine what you will post on social media before launch. The best way to get a Kickstarter off the ground is support from people you know, so prepare them in advance and do as much of the work as possible before launching.”
Hustle for PR
Goff: “Have a list of journalists, bloggers, websites, etc. who might be interested in covering your product. You can research past campaigns for similar products and work out what publications covered them. Don’t limit yourself and reach out to anyone who might be interested. You never know who might pick it up. Maybe even Neil Patrick Harris. However, do be wary of certain press release distribution services and crowd-funding PR firms – they’ll charge you money and offer little in return.
Tempest: “If you can collaborate with somebody who has a massive online following, that helps. We didn’t have that, but we think it would have been better.”
Get your goals right
Goff: “The last thing you want is a successful campaign, but realize your funds won’t be enough to even cover your expenses. Everything ends up taking longer and costing more than you thought. Also, Kickstarter takes eight to ten per cent in fees, so make sure you raise at least eight per cent more than the minimum you need. International shipping can be insanely expensive, so make sure you set goals such that you don’t end up rooting against people backing your project.”
Tempest: “Keep your offering simple, it’s already a pretty chaotic time.”
Engage your backers
Goff: “Post updates in in your brand’s tone to engage people who have already backed, ask them to share on social media and let them know what higher pledges will get them. We held a survey where we let people vote on what merchandise we should make, that got a great response.”
Be ready to execute
Goff: “There is no worse situation than for a customer to like your product, but hate your company before they even open it because you took so long to ship it to them. If you’re ahead of schedule, a customer is going to feel good about it, so always under promise and over deliver.”
Tempest: “Find a fulfillment company with experience handling Kickstarter orders to do the final bit. Oh, and make sure you have the budget for marketing.”