A successful Kickstarter can inject life into your startup in a hurry, but much rides on presentation. Even the smartest business people and the best ideas can run off the tracks if there is a misstep in the pitch or presentation. That’s why we’ve put together this list of five key elements that every campaign should have if one hopes to be successful.
An Idea That Connects With People
Every successful Kickstarter starts with an idea that connects with people. The idea can be hyper-innovative, as in something no one has ever thought of before, or it can simply be a traditional idea repackaged in a way that makes sense for modern life. We’ve found that when it comes to the ones that achieve funding, they fit somewhere on the sliding scale between those two extremes. The good ones also have a significant percentage of their target goal handled in the first 10 days.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need many incentives to have a successful Kickstarter campaign, but you do need at least one or two items that compel donors to part with their money. By the same token, you don’t want to have so many incentives that it eats in to profit margins just to fulfill the requests. It’s too much to keep up with, and can quickly turn in to an administrative nightmare. Just be clear with what you are offering. Focus more on quality than quantity.
A Good Video
A video presentation that looks as if it were shot on a 1980s camcorder is a red flag that you probably don’t have what it takes to bring your plan to fruition. Instead of treating the video as an unnecessary add-on, look at it as essential to achieving a successful Kickstarter campaign. Rare is the time when it isn’t.
Clear Written Communication
Don’t try to wow your audience with all the big words that you know. Focus only on two things: your product or message and the clarity of how it’s presented. Since most Americans read on a ninth or tenth grade level, don’t try to write a thesis. For some help, use the free Hemingway App to maximize readability.
Clearly Stated Financial And Distribution Terms
We can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen a Kickstarter campaign lose interest because the payment terms were confusing or hard to follow and the potential donors had zero idea when they’d see their product (and no reason to think they ever would). Each campaign has a comments section where anyone can go to see how responsive and trustworthy the campaign managers are. Those who get back with answers to their commenters’ questions within 24 hours tend to be more trustworthy than the ones who don’t.
A successful Kickstarter campaign can make or break any of the rules on this list, but if it does succeed, it’s generally because it has overcompensated in one of these key areas to offset the category where it’s lacking. Use these rules as a guide, but focus first on what you’re offering — what problem it will solve, and why your donors should pick you over any of your competitors.