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RUNNING A CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN

With all the effort that goes into prepping a crowdfunding campaign, the launch day can feel like a finish line.  It’s not.  This is where you need to apply even more effort, and apply it in the right ways.

The Most Important Hours

The day you launch is your absolute most important day to generate sales.  In some cases, it can determine whether your overall campaign succeeds or fails.  This is why I advise people to launch their campaign in the morning on either a Monday or Tuesday to maximize the amount of weekdays and weekday hours following your campaign’s kickoff.

This is a quick rundown of things to do after you push the button and publish your campaign (note that you can submit your campaign for Kickstarter approval a few days ahead of time, and then choose when to launch it any time after it is approved).  Ideally, you will have at least one other person helping you run through this list:

  • Publish the campaign
  • Post your FAQs in the campaign (already prepped – these can’t be added to the campaign until after it is live)
  • Post to your social media accounts (FB, Insta, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) and boost as needed to your prepped audiences
  • Go back to your most popular social media posts (most engaged) and reply with a comment @ people who responded to your posts
  • Send your email marketing blasts
  • If you have run successful Kickstarter campaigns before, send an update to your previous backers about your newest project
  • Send your press release/emails if you did not already send them under embargo
  • Post on your personal social media pages and ask friends to share
  • Send personal(ized) emails to friends, family, etc.  These are most effective when they don’t seem like bulk emails, even if you are copy/pasting 98% of the content to everyone
  • Be ready to answer any questions about the campaign regardless of the format those questions come to you… social comments, emails, Kickstarter messages or comments, etc.
  • Be ready for the flood of dozens of “Kickstarter marketing firms” who will message you within hours of your post going live.  Most of them are spam, but if you were planning to use a KS marketing firm you should have already engaged with one long before you’re seeing their messages about your live campaign.

One of the hardest things to do with a Kickstarter campaign is to maintain momentum over the course of the campaign.  Seize the moment(um) immediately after you launch and start strong.  The goal is to hit 20% of your goal as quickly as possible (within a few hours up to 48 hours after launch is ideal).  This puts you on the radar to be promoted higher in Kickstarter’s rankings.  That is FREE momentum, so take advantage of it by starting strong.

Delays!  How to Communicate bad news to your Kickstarter backers.

The biggest fears that Kickstarter backers have are a) the product won’t be delivered and b) the product that is delivered will suck.  You are responsible for making sure those fears don’t come true.

Before you launched your campaign you already did the prep work on the product end… you lined up the manufacturer, worked through all the product details, checked supplies of necessary materials, etc.  Delays can still happen, so that’s why you built in extra lead time to your delivery schedule (just in case).

But what happens if you need to push the delivery of your rewards back even further?  You need to communicate this promptly in an update to your backers.  Don’t wait until the delivery should be coming to tell people it’s been delayed.  Their first thought of some backers will be that your product is fake, they’ve wasted their money, they’ll never see this reward, etc.  While that’s pretty extreme, there are more people in this camp on crowdfunding than you might expect.  All it takes is getting burned once to turn a backer into a skeptic.

If there is going to be a delay… make sure it is the only delay.  “We’re going to be delayed by two weeks,” is not the big of a deal (unless you promised holiday delivery or similar).  “We’re going to be delayed by another three weeks,” in a future update is even worse.  Round up on delays.  Stay on your suppliers and hold them to their promised deadlines.  Much better to say that “we’re going to be delayed by six weeks,” and get it sent out in 3 or 4 than to ask for an “extension” more than once.

The more complex your product, the more delays you can experience and the bigger your upfront buffer should be.  During the campaign how far out your delivery date is matters less than if you need to change it after you’ve been funded.

The Final Push

I’ve backed campaigns that have sent 2 backer updates each week during the campaign, and that is excessive.  Unless you have something important to tell your backers – we’re unlocking a new color!, we’re almost at our stretch goal!, we’re down to the last 48 hours of the campaign! – keep your campaign updates fairly light.

The final push (the last week) of your campaign and especially the final 48 hours are important.  This is when you will see an uptick in backers since there is scarcity at work.  Encourage your backers to share with friends, send another email, boost some more posts and push as hard as you did on your first day of the campaign.  This is when you can make some “gravy” on the campaign, and backers are given one last opportunity to participate in your vision.