Here then, lies Part 2, of a collection of musings, spurred on from completing a Kickstarter project for a new Indie comic, BaadFood (which today, you can purchase as a physical copy on Etsy http://etsy.me/2FfAbpO, or digitally through ComiXology http://bit.ly/2BH3G4r.)
This post continues looking at tasks that you can do before starting the Kickstarter to improve your chance of funding.
Things to Do Before the Kickstarter Starts… Part 2
- Make sure you have, at least, a Twitter, Facebook and Instagram presence. For social media coverage, we had a Facebook page and twitter handle @BaadFoodComic. We however missed Instagram, which for something as visual as a comic, was a huge mistake. We got a vast majority of our clicks (85%) and pledges from Facebook (from friends, the BaadFoodIssue1 page, and various groups we were members of.) Twitter was closer to 9% of our clicks, and given Instagram’s userbase and its platform for artwork, we would have got a larger number of visits to our Kickstarter page from it, which we missed out on.
- You should expect that you and any team mates that are working with you on the Kickstarter, will be spreading word of your project every day that it runs, you should plan for the amount of work you’ll need to do for the X days that you’re running the Kickstarter, and create a budget of the number of hours you want to spend each day. You’ll probably need to generate art to share across Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/etc that shows people what to expect from your project, you should plan the amount of time this will take you to create and share, as well as answering questions from backers, social media posts etc. Add a fudge factor of X hours a day to cope with any unknowns that you might need to deal with, and there will probably be quite a few if this is your first Kickstarter! Add these to a spreadsheet to work out the amount of time you’ll need each day, if the total is more than the time you’ve allowed yourself each day, then you’ll need to prioritise what you want to do and update your spreadsheet, again and again until your budget and workload match, or until you think you’re happy enough with what you’re going to do! If you find you’re particularly into project planning, you could even look at using a project planning methodology like Scrum if you have multiple people that can help every day, or if it is just you on the project, take a look at Scrum for One to help create and prioritise your tasks.
- Did I mention that you should have a plan for sharing artwork over the course of your campaign? This is really important, and you should have an idea of what you’re going to share and when… I didn’t and was putting things together as we went along. If I’d have thought about this particular point beforehand, I would have prepared more art assets up front to share across social media to give more insights and background for the comic. As an adjunct, you can use the Kickstarter brand assets to make it obvious from your artwork that you’re running a Kickstarter. Check the Kickstarter link for the legalities around using their assets. The Kickstarter font is close to RNS Baruta Black when you do need to add text etc to your images.
- Which segues nicely into a suggestion that you use spreadsheets to capture what you’re doing, who you’re contacting, which forums you’re putting your messaging in, what messages you’re using, what links you’ve created, what tweets you’re running etc. This should help ensure that you’re tracking what you’re putting out there, and you can start to measure return on time/money investment (if you’re paying for advertising, more about that later.)
- For measuring clicks, at the very least, use bit.ly shortlinks where you can so you can track how people are responding to your Facebook/Instagram/Twitter posts. This can help you calculate return on investment for the content of the messages that you’re sending out.
- Use Google Analytics to allow you to track any advertising campaigns and to give you more insight into the short links you’re sharing. There are a load of blog posts which show how to set everything up, the Launchboom post is a good first entrypoint to creating everything you need, with the Spellforge Games post which also shows how you can interpret some of the data you’re going to get back. It is a good idea to ensure you test the Google Analytics path before your Kickstarter campaign starts, and make sure your short links unpack to the endpoint you expect in the Analytics output.
When you’re choosing your goal, aim for the smallest amount you would need to fulfil your rewards. People have a feel for how much something like a comic might cost to produce, and a significantly higher target than expected can turn people off pledging as they either don’t think it will ever be funded, or don’t trust the person/process that created the figure in the first place. Some things to remember:
- Calculate your Postage & Packing costs beforehand, by for example, creating a prototype package and taking it into the Post Office to check prices, or weigh it yourself and look online for your postal service provider’s fees. Be aware of any pending changes to postage prices that might hit around your delivery dates. It ended up costing a lot more for international shipping than the prototype package due to British changes to weight and letter vs parcel costs, so my P&P calculation didn’t cover the cost of sending in a few cases! It wasn’t by much but it could have been very painful if a large number of them needed to be sent out.
- Kickstarter charges a fee of 5% of the total funds raised. There are also payment processing fees (shown for a UK example) of 3% + £0.20 per pledge for rewards £10+ and 5% + £0.05 per pledge under £10.
- Reward amount + P&P goes towards the goal, so you need to ensure that your Target Total – Kickstarter Fees – Payment Processing Fees – P&P – other costs (advertising etc) is at least as much as the amount you need for production.
- Not all backers are going to pay you if you end up fully funded. Credit Card issues can happen, and the users may be completely unaware of this, so factor this into the amount that you need. If you factor losing 3-5% of your backers, you should be able to build a nice safety buffer into your goal amount. Starting your Kickstarter on or around the beginning or middle of the month can reduce the the chance of this happening (depending on the length of your Kickstarter of thirty or fifteen days for example.)
- You can get cancelled pledges close to the end of the Kickstarter, in which case you could lose your funding! You may suddenly need to do some scrambling to get your project across the line, so keep an eye on your project funding progress right up to the bitter end of the Kickstarter.
- …more tips in Part 3.
This is the second in a number of posts which cover Kickstarter tips and musings which arose off the back of the BaadFood Issue 1 Kickstarter, which you’ll be able to find here as they come online… Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.