The 10 steps to creating a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign

Kickstarter is the perfect platform for getting your app, service or tech project off the ground. Gaining success on Kickstarter could be the best thing to ever happen to your business. Currently, Pebble’s Time 2 Kickstarter is sat on $10.4 million with 55,000 backers and still has 22 days to go. For reference, that’s half of the original Pebble Time Kickstarter’s final funding amount with well over two-thirds of the backers. Needless to say, Pebble is on to yet another success.

In fact, Kickstarter has been such a success that, since its UK launch in 2012, it’s brought in

£100 million to UK-made projects. Globally, Kickstarter has brought in more than $1.6 billion in pledges, with a funding success rate for new projects sitting around 40%. Essentially, you want to get your idea to land within that lucrative 40%.

Here are the 10 steps you need to take to help get your Kickstarter to the top of its game.

1. Understand what Kickstarter is really all about

The first thing you need to understand before starting is Kickstarter’s “all or nothing” funding model.

Put simply, this means that if you raise your target sum, you receive the money – but if you don’t, you get nothing. While this sounds cruel, it’s intended to motivate backers by giving funding targets some urgency. If you’d rather keep hold of any money you raise, it’s worth considering alternative platforms such as Indiegogo or GoFundMe.

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It’s also important to be aware that Kickstarter doesn’t give you 100% of the money pledged. To keep business ticking over, it charges a commission of 5% on successfully funded projects, with a 3-5% payment-processing cost on top. This means you’ll need to account for Kickstarter’s fees in any funding amount you set yourself. For every £1,000 your project requires, you’ll need to raise around £1,100 in total.

There’s also a list of restrictions on the type of campaigns Kickstarter allows. For instance, you can’t use it for general business or charitable fundraising. Kickstarter has put up a list of exclusions to help you out.

2. Set up your Kickstarter account

“Your project needs to inform backers of what your idea is, why they want it, and how you’ll go about realising it.”

Setting up your Kickstarter account is so much more than simply signing up. First, you need to consider the scale of your project. If it’s very long or very complex, it’s worth considering dividing it up into a number of separately funded stages so each phase has its own funding target and delivery goal. Not only does this build confidence in your backers as you meet each stage of the project, it also helps split your funding goals into manageable chunks.

The next stage of setting up your Kickstarter is all about learning from the best. Using a tool such as Kicktraq to study other Kickstarter pages, you can see what’s worked well in the past to drive backers to a project. It’s definitely worth browsing Kicktraq’s “Hot List” as you plan your project to see what works and what doesn’t.

Once you’re confident about the sustainability, scope and level of success your project can achieve, it’s time to actually set up your account. It’s a rather straightforward task that asks you questions about your project in the process.

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3. Describe your Kickstarter project properly

Your project page needs to inform potential backers of what your idea is, why they want it, and how you’ll go about realising it. When it comes to choosing a title, think SEO: include the project name, but also a few words describing your product or service, so visitors can find and understand it at a glance.

Unfortunately, there’s no set template for the description, but aim to be clear and concise; think more along the lines of an elevator pitch than a detailed business plan. Avoid excessive technical jargon: you want to appeal to everyone, not only specialists in your field. It’s a good idea to get a friend to read over your project information before you submit it to the site, to check that your message is clear and understandable.

Kickstarter’s text editor supports headings and bullet points, so make use of these to break up paragraphs and direct your reader’s eye to what’s important. You can link to a project website for further information, and embedded design drawings, mock-ups and screengrabs can be useful aids to convey a complex or unusual idea.

Keep your text fairly light: backers can always contact you through the site to ask questions if they require more information.

4. Make a killer video for your Kickstarter project

The best Kickstarter projects include a video. Not only is it an efficient and engaging way to introduce your project to backers, but it also lets you demonstrate how your product or service works and lets people know a little about you.

Don’t worry about investing in a professionally filmed video: many successful projects have been shot on a phone camera in somebody’s front room. Make sure to keep it short; a video should rarely exceed two-and-a-half minutes in length.

When it comes to content, footage of yourself (or a member of your team) speaking directly to the audience is more appealing than an anonymous voice-over. It’s really important to remember to include images or video footage of your product in development, to help backers visualise the idea.

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