Going into our Kickstarter Campaign, we were hoping that our project would naturally receive great exposure simply due to Kickstarter’s popularity and monthly visitors, which is over a million. While the platform absolutely helped us raise funds for our company, we overestimated how many pledges we would receive purely from our placement on their site.
On Kickstarter there are 15 categories including Fashion, Technology, Food, and Music, to name a few, and when we began our Campaign there were nearly 500 live projects in the Fashion category alone! Furthermore, Kickstarter uses some hidden parameters to promote certain projects. We were fortunate to be chosen as a Kickstarter ‘staff pick’ which boosts a projects listing as well as including it in the searchable ‘staff pick’ section. We were also given the Fashion home page for a day, which lead us to see some real results and new, unfamiliar backers. However, there is certainly no way we would have done half as well as we did without the utilization of many other outlets to bring donors in.
We were able to get to our fully funded goal by combining three main tactics: social media exposure, public relations, and, most importantly, hassling all the family and friends we could get a hold of!
Over the past few years in business, we were able to secure over 6,000 followers on our instagram, and facebook, accounts, as well as a hefty email list of our clientele and fans. We posted on each channel every day, sent emails, and kept up the promotion of our campaign throughout its entirety.
Additionally, we spent many, many hours contacting publications, bloggers, news outlets etc with our story and press release. We sent over 300 emails which resulted in about 10 articles; a frustrating and time consuming task, but well worth it when you are able to reach someone who is interested in your concept. We tested the waters with an online press release distribution company, but it brought in little activity.
Finally, our saving grace came by the way of a dear friend who had completed a Kickstarter campaign in the past. After 2 weeks of hustling and under 50% of our goal raised, he gave us the advice to switch our focus from gaining exposure, to utilizing our existing network. This made the world of a difference. We set out to contact directly, one by one, every person we knew that we thought would support our dream, and in the subsequent two weeks, we were able to raise $14,500, successfully funding our campaign 145%!
While we are still waiting for backer surveys to be completed so we can more closely analyze where the unknown backers came from, we can see that the majority of pledges were from friends and family, roughly 75%. 15% of our backers came directly from Kickstarter, with the remaining 10% spread across our social media channels and published articles. As our product is in a niche, and we are a very small company with minimal spent on marketing and exposure, this makes perfect sense, and we feel incredibly fortunate to have such a supportive network.
Ultimately, we learned an incredible amount from the entire experience, and have many to thank for its success. If you are interested in crowdfunding, check out some of the articles that helped us navigate the endeavor!
Designing a Successful Kickstarter Campaign
How to make a kickass Kickstarter Video
How to Prepare an Effective Kickstarter Pitch