Quick Kickstarter Lesson Recaps: #16-20

24 February 2020 | 1 Comment

I continue to revisit the Kickstarter Lesson posts I’ve written over the last 8 years in chronological order, highlighting the core elements of each.
Launch Day (#16): On launch day, I recommend taking the day off work to focus on your campaign. I would typically spend the day at my computer, answer questions, thanking backers, and strategically sharing the project on various forms of social media. For my first Kickstarter, I also sent personalized emails to friends and family–not a mass email–to invite them to check out the project. I made an email template and customized it for each friend, family member, colleague, and industry acquaintance on my list, mentioning to each of them what aspect of the project they might be interested in.
Treat Your Backers as Individuals, Not Numbers (#17): Someday your product may be on a store shelf and you’ll never know who is buying it. But during a Kickstarter campaign, you know exactly who the people are that choose to trust you with their pledge (at least, you know their screennames). These are real people who connect with your passion and your dream, and they’re pledging to support you in exchange for something cool. During my Viticulture Kickstarter, I thanked every backer via a customized private message within 24 hours of their pledge–few creators do this, so you’ll stand out from the pack if you do. I tried to end each message with a question (e.g., how did you hear about this project?) so I could learn something from them and open the door for further engagement.
Project Updates (#18): I’ve learned time and time again that no news is worse than bad news. If the backers have to ask for an update, you’re already too late. Backers want to peek behind the curtain, and updates about the manufacturing and distribution process keep people informed, engaged, and entrusted. I would typically post an update every 2-3 days during the project. once a week after that, then once a month leading to a few times a year (unless additional updates are needed to share time-sensitive information). I tried to make my updates relevant, insightful, important, entertaining, and topical, always showing my passion for the project.
The Daily Dashboard Screenshot (#19): This is a small thing, but it almost takes no time at all, and I’m glad I did it for my first few campaigns. Take a daily screenshot of your Kickstarter project dashboard. There may key points in your project when you’ll really want to compare one day to the other, and your screenshots will enable you to do so.
Flexibility, Filtering, and Responding to Feedback (#20): Backers tend to offer a lot of feedback. This is a good thing–feedback means your backers are invested and excited. I tried nurture that sense of involvement during Kickstarter campaigns (and beyond) by responding to feedback with gratitude, excitement, and transparency. As a result, there were plenty of times when backer feedback made a positive impact on the project and/or product. There is, however, a fine line to walk with how you act on feedback. I wanted to make my projects a good as possible, but I also didn’t want to convey a lack of vision or preparedness. Plus, sometimes ideas sound great in principle, but in practice they would vastly impact the schedule or the cost. 
If you have any questions or thoughts about these topics, feel free to share in the comments!
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1 Comment on “Quick Kickstarter Lesson Recaps: #16-20

  1. Good stuff. The daily screenshot is a great one – it’s a fun thing to make your habit every morning during the campaign.

    Backer feedback is also very tricky – if only because they’re super excited and want to join the process with you, and if you dash those hopes you’re stepping on the very thing that brought them to back you in the first place. That’s a terrible feeling.

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