Kickstarting for the Terrified

Our first published product, the game 60, is a successful Kickstarter project which is now available for sale. What’s the big secret to funding a campaign?

Well, there isn’t one. Kickstarting may be seen as a precise art for the high rollers with large project targets, but for the smaller concerns there is still a healthy spirit of Just Do It.

Lessons learned from Kickstarting include:

  1. Do your research. Is the project a Kickstarter? Is this the best way to secure funding and achieve publication? Don’t ignore other options if they are more suitable, and be prepared to ask other people for their views before you commit.
  2. Define the cost of everything. Postage, labels, packing materials, artwork. Don’t permit yourself surprises. Set a realistic funding goal, then do everything you can to shave costs off the product so you’re guaranteed a margin for unexpected outlay.
  3. Not every page view will be a pledge. Anyone offering you an easy way to increase exposure or page views is counting on hitting the right market for your campaign. Pay them to do this if you want, but you are allowed to have faith in the campaign to work on its own too.
  4. Take your time to make sure you’re happy with the product and the campaign. It’s going to represent you and silly little things like spelling errors can’t always be fixed after the campaign is live.
  5. Pay out for things if you can’t do them. Artwork, for example, can be expensive as a one off cost. If you’re shipping a few hundred of something the cost can be absorbed in the unit price.
  6. A video is great if you can lay out what you’re trying to do. Use it to set out your stall but resist the temptation to talk through every single aspect of the product. It should be a short and engaging introduction, ideally with a sense of professionalism.
  7. Negative feedback about the campaign and negative feedback about the product are different. If the project is taking flak, take a look at potential improvements. You can add this to your page to demonstrate you’re still willing to develop and improve the offer. Negative feedback about the campaign is often just noise, of the “Look at the fifteen point article I wrote before you start.” kind. If you’re attracting pledges and the product is good, don’t worry too much.
  8. Be credible and accountable. All Kickstarters are speculative and carry risk. Reward the faith of your backers. Headlines like this don’t help, so make sure you set appropriate deadlines or expected delivery dates and keep everyone in the loop whether or not you’re going to hit them.
  9. Get a group of friends to help out. At the very least, seek their opinion before you commit to the campaign and ask them for support to drum up publicity.
  10. Ignore all those “Top ten ways to guarantee Kickstarter success” articles. Kickstarter is a pitch to the public. The strangest things get viral support, and a very similar campaign at another time gets nothing. Sometimes you simply need to bite the bullet and go for it!

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