Green Inbox Blog
How To Raise $1m On Kickstarter
PRE-LAUNCH FOR KICKSTARTERS
Kickstarter has changed in the past few years. There is a lot of competition and therefore it is crucial to invest your time and money in the pre-launch. Please note that we are referring to large campaigns (aiming to raise $500K and above), although most of the points below will still be relevant if you are planning a smaller campaign.
Following is a list of items to consider when planning a pre-launch:
Pre-launch page on Kickstarter
- Kickstarter has a section for upcoming campaigns in which people can sign up with one click to get notified once the campaign goes live (followers). The pre-launch page is active once the campaign is approved by Kickstarter
- We recommend reaching 10,000 followers before the campaign goes live.
- For tabletop campaigns you can expect a 15%-20% followers conversion rate (on the kickstarter pre-launch page) within the first 72 hours of the campaign. For Design and Tech you can expect an email lead list with a conversion rate of 3%. For first time creators (and also serial creators) we highly recommend working with a professional agency on the pre-launch in order to make sure followers and email leads will convert into backers.
The Image below shows the number of converted followers after the launch. This info can be obtained through the kickstarter dashboard.
- Having many followers provides social proof and a snowball effect. The more followers you have on your Kickstarter upcoming page the more will join.
- In addition to your pre-launch page you can create a Facebook group to get your community involved and excited.
- Consider sharing the full draft page with people for feedback. Encourage people to comment and ask questions, detail what they like about the campaign and what bothers them. If you choose to do this then make sure everything you post on the draft page is accurate (especially if you include pricing) so followers don’t get disappointed if things change when going live. We also recommend not adding the video to the draft page, but rather keep the video for the actual launch.
- Don’t take your community and former backers for granted. Don’t think you will launch and that they will immediately back your project. You need to get them involved and excited. A good way to do this is through a draft page.
- A great way to start your pre-launch is through Facebook ads and/or other paid media advertising. In addition to building a community (or expanding your current community) you will receive feedback and questions from your potential backers.
- Through these ads you will slowly build an email list or a group of followers on your Kickstarter page.
- This is also a good time to conduct a survey to potential backers. This will help you understand why they are excited about your product, how much they are willing to pay, what their wish list is for the product, etc.
- With the pre-launch ads you can experiment with different audiences, different art, different mediums and more.
- Your creative for the campaign (images, video and campaign page) is key. The better the art the more you will raise. When advertising your campaign pre-launch page you have one image/video to catch a potential backers' interest.
- We highly recommend hiring a third party for creating your video as well as a professional photographer for the campaign images. You want a wide range of images since it's hard to predict which images or videos will work best in ads.
- Don’t launch your campaign without a video. A campaign with no video won’t convert well. That said, we recommend keeping the video secret until the launch to create some mystery.
- Your art should be finished (for the most part) before running the pre-launch ads.
- Do the math! Take into account all your expenses when deciding how much you can invest in Facebook/paid media advertising. Always leave some budget aside for unexpected expenses. You will need to assess your expected average pledge and expected return on ads. You need to be realistic here. We usually expect the production cost to be under 50% of the total cost (see pricing section in blog below).
- Try to estimate the shipping cost in your campaign. Many campaigns don't detail this cost to backers which can be a turnoff. Backers want to know what their total cost will be. Sometimes the shipping cannot be included during the campaign. In this case you should give a reasonable estimation.
- Cost per lead (email or follower) shouldn’t be higher than $2 (on average). If it is higher than $2 you need to see what the problem is. Is it the product? Is the marketing material not good enough? For multi million dollar campaigns the cost per lead should be below $1.
- It is very important to have third party reviews about your product on your Kickstarter page. You need to budget for this. After watching the main video most backers will look for some kind of review. This can be beneficial since you will also reach the reviewer's audience. It is also important to provide the reviewers with the finished product. This might be pricey since you're not in production yet, but it is important for the review, as well as the fact that backers want to see what they are buying.
- Financing the pre-launch ads usually requires a budget of $10K-$15K.
- Once you have 1,000 followers you will appear higher on Kickstarter upcoming which will bring in many more followers.
- We realise that some creators don’t have the budget for pre-launch. Green Inbox can help with financing (also relevant for financing ads during the campaign).
- Plan ahead for the optimal time of year to launch your product. If you're selling a beach product then launch before the summer. Christmas for example is usually a bad time of the year for Kickstarter. Rather wait until mid January. This could make or break your campaign. The best time for Kicstarter is mid Feb until the end of October.
- We recommend starting your pre-launch ads 8-10 weeks before going live for first time creators. Serial creators can settle for 4 weeks before going live.
- During the pre-launch you might receive critical insight and feedback from your potential backers. Remember that if your pre-launch isn't successful your campaign is probably not going to go well. If needed go back to the drawing board. Make the necessary changes. Better to postpone your campaign then going live when you're not ready and then cancelling the campaign or not reaching your full potential.
- All of your pre-launch efforts, which can take months of work, will be rewarded with pledges in the first few hours of the campaign.
- We highly recommend hiring a marketing agency to run ads from day one.
- Day 1 of the campaign is the most important day. You need to start strong. You should reach your goal in the first few hours and this should be your strongest day of the campaign. Set your goal to the bare minimum that makes sense. A lot of creators like to set their goal at $10K. Once you raise a substantial amount on day 1, you will appear high in Kickstarter's discovery channels, which will convert hundreds to thousands of additional backers throughout the campaign. You need to stand out!
- One person in your team should be fully dedicated to answering comments in the first 24 hours. Questions that repeat themselves should be updated in real time on the campaign page/frequently asked questions.
- You can encourage backers to buy on day one with an early bird special. You need to make sure that the difference between the early bird price and the regular price isn’t too high. If the difference is too high it will be a turnoff for the backers who come after the early bird ends.
- The product price on Kickstarter needs to be attractive. People are buying before the product is ready and are taking a chance. This needs to be reflected in the price which should have some kind of discount compared to the final product price. In addition, consider adding something to the product that will be exclusive to the Kickstarter to encourage people to back the campaign.
- Build an email list with previous backers and your community to share your campaign with them. Emails should be sent out on day one and one day before the campaign starts in order to create anticipation. The followers on the Kickstarter page will receive an email directly from Kickstarter once the campaign goes live. This email usually reaches the main inbox (not promo folder) and therefore converts better than if you were to send the email.
- It might be worthwhile hiring an influencer to share your campaign with his community.
Interview with Eran back from Green Inbox: How To Raise $1m On Kickstarter
Green Inbox provides marketing services (Facebook ads) to Kickstarter campaigns.
This video is an introduction explaining about Green inbox and the new services provided since 2019.
Return on Ads Spent (ROAS) - This video explains what to look for when examining your ROAS on Facebook.
Facebook Ads - This video explains how Facebook ads work and the differences between Facebook ads today vs. the past.
Creative - This video talks about the creative aspect of your campaign. When shooting your video just how creative should you go?
Pricing - How should you price your product on Kickstarter. One thing to consider is the product cost, marketing expense and your profit.
Price Range - This video explains the price range that works for Kickstarter campaigns. It's all about the numbers...
Working with an Agency - This video explains how to check an agency before choosing one to work with. Always ask for references!
The “Abort” Section - This video explains that when you sign a contract with an agency, one of the most important sections is the "Abort" section. You don't want to be stuck with the wrong agency throughout your campaign if the results aren't great. you need flexibility.
Working with Multiple Agencies - This video explains why you shouldn't work with multiple agencies at the same time. Be ware - this can backfire on you...
Agency Cost - This video explains the price mechanism you should have in place when working with an agency helping you market your Kickstarter campaign
Google Analytics vs Kickstarter Dashboard - In this video we explain why we see different numbers on Google analytics and the Kickstarter dashboard
Final Tips - This video sums up important things you need to look for when working on your campaign