16 July 2010

10 Tips for a Successful Kickstarter Campaign

So since my Kickstarter campaign recently hit it's goal (and still has time left!), I thought I'd give some thoughts that might help people who are planning to give this a shot.

1. Figure out your budget.

This won't be your goal, but figure out what the minimum number is that you need to make this film. If you get more, great. But this should be pretty easy to figure out. It doesn't need to be exact, just an estimate.

2. Figure out your rewards.

You want to make sure that your rewards have a low-cost way for people to see the film. The $10 download level is nice, as is the $25 DVD. Above all else, people want to see what they're donating money toward. Not all of them, but most, so have at least one level where people can see the movie for cheap.

Get creative with the rewards. See if you can team up with local businesses. Think outside the box.

3. Rewards cost money.

For each reward level, figure out what that'll cost you to produce. It seems obvious, but a lot of people forget that.

4. How many rewards?

One of the best things I found (and I've lost the link) is a survey someone did of 30 successful campaigns and the breakdown of backer levels. It was incredibly helpful in projecting how many DVDs I was going to have to make, for example, and how many posters I'd have to ship. These things add up. And as you can see, we pretty much were in range of the projections:

         Projected     Actual

From there you can calculate how many DVDs you'll expect to make for your goal. We projected 55 people at the $25 level. Don't forget that the $50 level people are also at the $25 level. Then, you can come up with an expected cost.

Add that to your budget.

5. Kickstarter tax

Then, of course, Kickstarter needs their money, as does Amazon. Add 8.5% to your total. Round up to a nice, even number and there's your goal.

6. Brother can you spare a dime?

Of course, if you don't tell anyone about your campaign, no one will give. It helps to line up a few sure things to get your campaign off to a strong start. That way it looks super popular. But don't burn all your sure bets. Hold on to some of them for when funding lags and you need a boost.

7. Conversation is key

You have to give people a reason to talk about your campaign. For UP COUNTRY I was writing the story as a serialized novella tied to the fundraising. Every $500 we raised, I wrote and released a chapter, which meant that every couple of days there was free content for people to digest. All the backers will end up getting all the chapters for free, but the free chapters will stop for everyone else before the end, giving people a reason to back the project, because there's nothing worse than a cliffhanger where you can't see the resolution. For those people, we'll probably sell the full novella as an eBook. We'll have hooked them (hopefully).

8. Thank you ______

This is probably the most important. The easiest way for your campaign to fail is for you to act like somehow the world owes you this. They don't. There's a recession on and people are just as hard up for cash as you are. So you need to thank them. And then you need to thank them again. Pretty much, fall over yourself thanking people.

One thing I did that people really liked was a series of posts called 5 of the Greatest People in the World, Part X where I did some searching and figured out who these people were, what made them tick, and then told everyone. A lot of them are filmmakers who have their own projects to plug. Help them with that. Tell everyone what these people are passionate about. It costs you nothing but time. And it will take some time. Do some digging and find whatever you can. Spend as much effort talking about the $1 donation as you do the $1000 donation.

9. There are no strangers.

You'll get money from people you don't know. But guess what? They aren't strangers. They're friends of friends. You just don't know their name, but 98% of the people who fund your film probably can be traced to someone you know.

So get people to talk about the project, to tell their friends. Who knows, you might make some new friends yourself.

10. Don't be scared.

Obvious but overlooked: if you don't tell people about your funding, they won't know about it. Try not to be a pest, but politely keep reminding them. You'll spend a lot of time doing this, but it'll take some people hearing about 10, 15 times before they pony up. Some people will just put it off. And some people are waiting to be a certain number backer or to put you over a certain $$ amount, so keep people updated.

It doesn't hurt to ask. Cast as wide a net as possible. You never know. You might get lucky.


Anonymous said...


Noah said...

Thank you for the advice! We've incorporated it into our kickstarter campaign and even changed up our pitch video and strategy for our short film. Please check it out if you have time! Thank you again for all the help. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/noahh/be-a-part-of-a-groundbreaking-short-film