Before you work with a marketing service, consider this

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Over the last few years, we’ve seen so many new companies and services dedicated to helping creators at each and every stage of running a project. We list creator tested and recommended services on the Creator Resources page, but there’s still a huge question that we’d like to address: What about all of those companies that promise new backers, tons of pledges, and great exposure?

For most projects, these services aren’t necessary. And with a bit of planning and forethought, there's a lot that you can do on your own. To help you, we wrote a series of blog posts to help you think strategically about sharing your project. We highly recommend reading our posts on building a contact list, drafting messaging, engaging press, and building a team.

If you’re considering working with a marketing service, here are a few questions that you should ask yourself (and them) first.

How did you find out about this service?

Look into services suggested by friends and other creators, but be wary of cold emails and messages directly from marketing services. If you’re being click-baited by an alluring subject line that promises pledges, think about if you’d want the same tactics used on potential backers. Would you appreciate an email from an unfamiliar address about a project you’ve never heard of, or would you prefer a personal email from the creator themselves?

What are they offering?

Before working with any service, it’s a must to ask what their specific offer is. If their only strategy for bringing people to your project is an email campaign, or developing a hashtag for sharing on social media, you can do those things yourself with minimal or no cost. Are they offering to tweet your project to their thousands of followers? Take a look at who those followers are, and ask for statistics on their past campaigns. (Here are twenty-one other ideas for sharing your project.)

Think about the people you know who are good at social media and talking about their work (not necessarily in relation to a specific project or campaign). Ask these people for their opinion on the services being offered, and if there are any tools that they find valuable.

Bottom line: Compare what you (and other creators) are able to do on your own to what’s being offered by the service.

Does this service meet your needs?

Prior to creating an outreach plan, we recommend thinking about the specific people that you’ll message about your campaign. Does the marketing service that you’re considering have ties to your specific community? Is this service able to provide effective marketing within the time constraints of a campaign (1-60 days)? Will the service be able to track their effectiveness and openly share data about the traffic and people that they’ve led to your campaign?

In general, a thoughtful plan for reaching the right audience will have a better payoff than many of the services we have seen out there.

What’s their track record?

If this service has been referred to you by a friend, ask them about their experience and how much the service helped drive support to their campaign. Read reviews to get a good sense of the experience that both creators and backers have with the service. Ask the service for any testimonials from other creators that they've worked with or even to be put in contact with other creators that have used their service.

Research the service online by looking at their website and social media presence. How easy is it for you to get in contact with them?

Is it spam?

We don’t tolerate spam on Kickstarter. If someone is reaching out to you with uninvited messages about their marketing services, report the message to us and we’ll look into it. Our Integrity team investigates every report that we receive.

If you decide to work with a marketing service and they use tactics that are spammy and against our Community Guidelines, expect to hear from us about it. If they use tactics like emailing people you don't know, or sending other unsolicited messages about your project, it could result in your project being removed from search, or even being suspended. How can you avoid this? Easy; just familiarize yourself with our guidelines.

A few more tips…

And some insightful conversations with creators...