Onwards, ever onwards to Part 3 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.)
Continuing with things that you can do before starting the Kickstarter to improve your chance of funding. A successful Kickstarter is most definitely front loaded!
Things to Do Before the Kickstarter Starts… Part 3
- Get your audience/backers lined up beforehand. BaadFood had zero readers before the Kickstarter started, and had to build a readership bit by bit using all of the networks available. If you have a contact list already (and the participants agreed to you communicating with them about what you’re working on), ensure that you can get word to them of what you’re doing. There are various means to getting your message out to people, but one of the best ways to ensure that folks are both receiving, reading and interacting with your posts is via email. Facebook timeline posts, twitter posts, and even Kickstarter messages aren’t necessarily going to reach your desired audience. You should use something like Mailchimp which can both track receipt of the email and whether users have opened and interacted with your links. It also gives your audience a chance to easily opt-out of your mailing list if they want to.
- Try to get many people pledging as possible in the first 24-48 hours. This gives you a better chance of making it to the top of the Kickstarter page search. Unfortunately, even one page into the search reduces the likelihood that someone will discover your kickstarter campaign! Ideally you should be able to get to 66% funded in the first couple of days, in which case you’ll accrue momentum which should be easily carry you to your funding goal. You’ll need to get people ready to pledge as soon as the Kickstarter project goes live, so you’ll need to give people enough warning of when the project will go live, make sure they understand that it would be great if they can pledge early, if possible give an incentive to do this, and give them some warning a day before, and when the project is live. Good momentum at the beginning of the process increases the chance that you’ll be selected as one of Kickstarter’s featured projects. For reference, BaadFood didn’t follow this path, and only 10.72% of the funding total came through Kickstarter itself, for a total of around 21 pledges (out of over 143 backers.) We were originally budgeting for closer to 30-40% of the backers to come through Kickstarter (somewhere in the region of 50-60 backers.)
- Scale your rewards so that you have a cluster in the £1/£3/£5/£10 range for digital/physical comics and upwards to the £100+ range for the small number of people that can both afford the rewards and might love the content you’re generating. For the highest tiers you can give original artwork, prints, badge sets, contracted art content etc. At the end of the project ideally you should see the number of backers map to something that looks like a Gaussian curve centred around the median tier with a long tail out to the higher tiers. We didn’t generate larger reward tiers for BaadFood, which was a big problem for us and could have sunk the Kickstarter were it not for a small number of very generous backers.
Advertise your Kickstarter across any forums, Reddit subreddits, DeviantArt, Facebook groups, or sites where you might be a frequent visitor/commentator. You might notice that Facebook groups are used a lot for comic Kickstarters. Find new forums/Facebook groups/etc where you want to put your message out to, and join the groups/forums/sites ahead of time as there might be restrictions on posting etc. Don’t piss people off by spamming them, there may be rules around sharing crowdsourced campaigns and the frequency of messaging. This is where a spreadsheet comes in handy, as you can log which sites you’ve visited, when and what bit.ly links you’ve used (if the site supports them, reddit for example does not.) You should get used to visiting those sites daily to answer any questions that people might have about your project, and what you’re working on. Here are a few links to get started with… there are many more that you can visit and get your message out to :).
- Paid advertising might help get your Kickstarter project across a broader brainspace. For the BaadFood Kickstarter the best ROI we saw was with Project Wonderful. By choosing the paired site carefully we were able to get hundreds of click-throughs to the Kickstarter. Although the final direct conversion to backers was low, getting people aware of the Kickstarter’s existence and story was worth the cost. If you’re running a webcomic and want to pull in readers, this would also be a good route to engaging people that already visit a variety of webcomics. Also worth looking into are Top Web Comics. There is a manual process to get an advert posted, but there was a noticeable uptick in click-throughs for the cost of the advertising. Ensure that you’ve contacted them significantly in advance of the go-date of your Kickstarter to ensure that they have space to run your advert, they only run a small number each day.
- …more tips in Part 4.
This is the third 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.