Here’s the 6-part fail-proof strategic outline for kickstarter marketing. If you are in the market for kickstarter campaign management or marketing services, let me know as I’m fully immersed in the details.
These notes are drawn from best-practice as taught in various courses that I’ve taken along with my own 15-years experience in web marketing.
- Brainstorm the big picture (in line with this outline)
- Build your core team (designer, developer, marketing jedi, PR or social media wizz, spokesperson(s)
- Set a launch schedule (based on the outline below)
- What similar product campaigns have been successful and unsuccessful. How can we understand why they worked or didn’t. Speak to the team involved to get the inside scoop.
- What influencer community is there related to the product area? Use BuzzSumo, EpicBeat and so on to find Influencers (including popular related blogs and bloggers, product advocates with large social following, journalists / media people, celebrities related to your product area who may endorse the product, and so on)
3. Design & Development
- Video is one area for crowdfunding campaigns that should not be done off-the-cuff. It needs to be fully storyboarded — taking the viewer on a compelling journey in ~3 minutes. What gap in people’s life does your product fill? Demonstrate that experience!
- Product images: again, tell the story; show prototyping, let funders experience the backstory, and feel like they’re part of the innovations involved.
- Incentives should seem generous but not consume must of the funding. Anything of nostalgic value to the target audience can be good.
- Higher donation incentives should of course receive the product itself once produced, and even special local events.
- If you’re launching equipment of some sort that has social benefits, consider offering a US-wide tour to each major city over the coming 12 months with free entry to the highest backers. This lends itself to ongoing marketing opportunities post-launch.
- If the item is not particularly ‘social, incentives could include live online Google Hangouts or teleconference calls for community sharing, presentation, training, coaching, etc.
- Make sure you have a copywriter to do your launch copy, including funding page itself, press releases, outreach email campaigns, social media updates, launch blog updates, etc. Funders/advocates will not support a campaign if the copy is not highly persuasive and engaging. If you’re not a designer you would never think of designing the logo yourself. Well, copy is far more important than the logo!
- Storyboard your entire launch process. Reveal the ups and downs. Identify your key customer profiles (personas or Avatars) and speak to their specific interests.
- Offer updates via different popular channels as per your target audience, typically including: email, blog, Facebook, Twitter, possibly Pinterest, LinkedIn, and so on.
- The more you share the higher the engagement. Share the story of the product and the launch, don’t just share ‘features and benefits’ of the product. That’s boring.
- Have a schedule. Know the best times to post social media content based on engagement analytics.
Now we come down to the crunch.
- Have an influencer outreach program. Begin it as soon as possible. As in, right now! (or as soon as you have some decent copy to introduce the campaign). Buzzstream is perfect for managing influencer communications.
- Start with small fish, illicit their verbal support to share your campaign progress with their audience. Then leverage that exposure through the food chain up to the big fish (whichever popular blogs/news sites are relevant to your product category) such a TechCrunch, Huffington Post, etc.
- Use a launch sequence of updates that builds interest and anticipation. Make it fun. Including ‘shareable journeys’, i.e. make it about people (experience) not products.
- Involve your audience in decisions or surveys where possible. Let them choose or vote on aspects of product/packaging design or even vote on their favorite messaging/graphics/product photos. (Social marketing is about personality and conversation, not about slick anonymous branding. Show your humanity, share the journey, involve your audience.)
- One counterintuitive source of traffic is from your wallet-share competitor communities. If you are promoting an innovative fun scooter for example, give it to skateboarders and snowboarders to try. Capture their impression on video. Publish the best and share it with their respective established communities. This can greatly increase the reachable and receptive audience.
- Agree with media publishers on the days they will receive and publish your press releases or story updates. Be everywhere and watch Facebook newsfeeds flood with your content for leveraged social sharing.
- Make sure you have verbal commitment for a quarter of your funding goal BEFORE you actually start the funding countdown (typically 30 days). As soon as you launch, announce and prey you’ve done the necessary work to actually receive those donation commitments within the first couple days. That provides huge leverage to extend the campaign for greater exposure and bring in the remaining 75% funding goal over the remaining 28 days!
- Use analytical tools such as hotjar.com on your company blog to measure real human engagement. See how far down your blog update pages they actually read, etc.
- Add email opt-in features as per current best-practice (content upgrades, scroll mats, etc) split test them, and monitor the opt-in rates
- Monitor email campaign open-rates, click-rates, and site re-engagement (use Active Campaign for email marketing, marketing automation, it gives full visibility of what your visitors do on your site)
There’s a ton more nuance in my Evernote 🙂
Unfortunately for me, my Kickstarter Project in 2014 got cancelled due to investor withdrawal from the business entirely.
My campaign was going to be for a hardcover book by an ex-high fashion super model now in her 80s! with tips on longevity and beauty care.
So my kick-ass Kickstarter marketing plan has collected dust since then… (sniffle, sniffle)…
…only now being revived for a crowdfunding campaign now in planning on behalf of the consortium of life / dating / relationship coaches involved with www.onintimacy.com (my role includes Chief Curator, Marketing Lead and Podcast interviewer).
I’m excited to gear up for this kickstarter launch (finally) and may be able to support your kickstarter funding campaign at this time, given the high-degree of cross-over from one campaign to another. As a direct response copywriter and strategic marketer I have the right mix of experience and talent for small teams to succeed at crowdfunding.
Get in touch today about your dream campaign and I’ll be happy to brainstorm ideas with you to put a clear proposal together.