When it comes to successful projects, sometimes it’s not so much that a project’s goal is so compelling, it’s that its story was told the right way. Which brings us to two Kickstarter projects that do that very well: Jerry Paffendorf’s Loveland and Help Polyvinyl Save 10,000 Records From Destruction.
Polyvinyl’s project, which is our most successful to date at 1,553% funded, has a ton of things going for it. First, it comes from a well-respected source with a built-in audience. That always helps. Second, it offered great rewards: $50 gets you a box of 26 CDs and two DVDs. Hard to beat that, either.
But the other thing that Polyvinyl’s project did was tell a story. If you look at the nuts and bolts of the project, it’s essentially just a record label clearing out remnant inventory for basic space reasons. Polyvinyl didn’t tell the story that way, though. Instead, Polyvinyl made it personal (real people in the project image) and gave it a hook: “these records could be destroyed if you don’t do your part.” It’s an excellent job of framing a project, making it more compelling.
Jerry Paffendorf’s Loveland is similar. It’s a unique idea: Jerry is buying a 1,000,000-square inch piece of property in Detroit, and he’s selling pieces of it for $1 an inch. It’s whimsical and bold and audacious, and even if people aren’t sure what to do with their purchased inches (myself included), it feels like a good thing to do, and Jerry’s enthusiasm makes us feel like we’re a part of something new and interesting. Hard to top that.
What I wanted to look at in particular, though, were Jerry’s rewards, which reveal a lot about the reward process and how to best present yourself. Take a look:
There are two things that should jump out at you very quickly:
- Every reward has a theme. (Remember the $5 milkshake in Pulp Fiction?)
- There is zero advantage to choosing the $12 or more reward over the $1 one, and yet it’s being selected almost three times as often.
The reason is clear: he packaged it, gave it a hook, and reinforced it elsewhere in the project. (Jerry wears a T-shirt in his pitch video that reads: “I’ve got 12 inches in Detroit” and he makes a few other references, too.)
Jerry took the time to sculpt the presentation, and it has obviously worked: while his project has easily exceeded its $1,000 goal (it’s at $1,400 at the moment), he’s done this with only 54 backers. Without that hook, he could easily be sitting at $54 dollars (and 5% raised) rather than $1,400.
The lesson to be learned here is that putting in the extra time to craft a project from top to bottom pays off. Over and over we see that the projects that go the extra mile (like the LaPorte, Indiana project, which we’ll discuss later this week) are that much more successful. We encourage all creators and prospective creators to follow their example and think about how their project can be as memorable as a $5 milkshake.