For budding entrepreneurs, dreaming up that million dollar idea is only half the battle. Acting on a concept and turning it into a successful service or product is no easy task. Crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter can be amazing resources to help you get to that step. But while they raise initial capital and build brand awareness, they require meticulous strategy to be successful.
In Kickstarter’s entire history of 194,716 total projects, just 75,520 were successfully funded. Out of those successfully funded projects, only 1,626 raised more than $100,000 and just 541 raised more than $250,000.
Our company, Olivers, is one of the latter. The amazing support we got from the Kickstarter community helped us break our goal of $10,000 in just one day, eventually raising $271,043 -- 710 percent of our initial goal.
Here's how we did it.
1. Sell your idea in seconds
We spent a lot of time thinking about the project title and a two-sentence summary, so that at the very least, someone could stumble across our page and understand exactly what problem we were trying to solve. Design your title, summary and page as if you have only seconds to grab the audience’s attention.
2. Don’t keep your idea a secret pre-launch
Unless you’re Elon Musk or Richard Branson, it’s a safe bet that none of your friends are going to steal your idea. So don’t worry about keeping your product or business a secret before launch. We got our networks engaged with our project six to eight weeks before launch. In fact, my roommate helped home in our tagline. These friends and family members were then more willing to share our launch -- and that’s what you need to have your campaign take off.
3. Keep your fundraising goal as low as possible
In our experience, there are a number of benefits to keeping your fundraising goal as low as possible. Fact is, a 5K goal that hits 110K in funding looks more impressive than a campaign with 100K goal that hits 110K. After reaching our goal on day one, we saw our project featured on Kickstarter's Popular Campaign pages, and while Kickstarter doesn’t share information on how they determine what’s popular, it’s likely that reaching our goal so quickly had a positive effect on that placement.
4. Assume your production timeline will be delayed
A key takeaway from our campaign is to stay conservative with your slated product timeline. We estimated the delivery for our first product, athletic shorts, three months after our campaign ended, which happened to be December. Once the campaign took off, we ran into some production delays. Folks would've been fine if we told them delivery was in January or February, but a December promise meant some were planning to use the shorts as holiday gifts. That was a mistake on our part. Give yourself a cushion up front. It shouldn’t effect your fundraising efforts.
5. Plan ahead for a mid-campaign stretch goal
One way to get some mid-campaign momentum is to present a stretch goal (or a goal introduced mid-campaign that unlocks a new reward once met). It’s an opportunity to get back in the mind of your backers and to increase the likelihood that they’ll share your project.
6. Sell the 'why,' not just the 'what'
Why you’ve decided to create this product is a chance to tell a personal story and connect with the Kickstarter community. People are buying your product, but they’re also buying your story. Make sure you're solving a problem -- and make sure it’s genuine and personal. The crowdfunding community likes to know why you've decided to drop what you’re doing and put everything on the line to bring something new to the world. It’s a big part of what makes this platform so unique.
Related: 10 Top Crowdfunding Websites