Do any UK Kickstarters have advice on postage/shipping strategies?
Fiona,A great question. Look into Amazon Fulfillment "Multi-channel". There are fulfillment centers all over the world for this. It honestly doesn't matter where you start. This really only works if you have a large volume of sales, I'd say at least 1,000 or more. If you only have a couple hundred sales, just fulfill them yourself with Royal Mail. If you use fulfillment centers around the globe I'd look into amazon's small business competitors, Interfulfillment in CAN, Ideaspatcher in France (serving all of the EU), and some misc ones in Australia (though not necessary unless your product is worth a lot.) The main reason to use fulfillment centers is to pre-pay VAT fees in these areas. Since you're already in the EU and the USA doesn't have VAT, you really only need to worry about Canada. Shipping in Canada is a fortune though, so do your research.More details on page 2 of this article: www.gatekeepergaming.com/article-7-budgets/ As far as presenting these costs... honestly... I'd present them in US dollars. The largest portion of your sales will come from the USA. Period. Make it easy for them, post everything in your campaign in USD. We don't know the exchange rate to British pounds off the top of our heads, and looking it up for each Tier's value can be a hassle. Play the game to get sales. It is what it is. - Also find a way to ship US sales from within the US (lots of small fulfillment companies in the US). Removes the other major hurdle to US sales; again: your largest market.Best to you, and Happy Easter!John
How do you continue to grow your community after you're funded? Does it get easier or harder?
I'm still in the beginning stages of this as well, but for us, we've found that opening up additional pre-orders directly from our site has been quite helpful in continuing building our community. Of course, the most important thing is to ensure that you're focused on fulfilling your initial Kickstarter adopters, as they're the ones that got you to where you are now. Updates are, of course, the best way to do this. We've handled consolidating all of this by pushing all Kickstarter backers, as well as new community members into a single mailing list. So for anyone that joins in post-campaign, you're able to send out email updates to everyone associated, not just your Kickstarter backers. MailChimp is very helpful for this, as is Shopify, as they allow for MailChimp integration where new buyers are able to accept email marketing directly from our site, and are automatically added to that pre-existing email list.Finally, having a way for interested parties to put an email address down somewhere on your website will make it even easier to throw them in to your MailChimp account. I guess the bottom line is that having a consolidated list of emails for all Kickstarter backers, new buyers, as well as interested parties makes it a pretty seamless ecosystem to reach out to your community.
What did you do to get through your project's "plateau"?
I'm seven-for-seven with regards to successfully funded Kickstarters, now, and I've developed a routine.- Announce the project at least a month beforehand. I sometimes start promo six months to a year beforehand! Let Twitter, tumblr, Facebook, Instagram- wherever you have an established audience- know you're planning this.- I maintain a mailing list of ~5,000 folks who already know and like my stuff. I incentivize subscribing to the list by making sure everyone knows I'll be announcing the exact launch date of the KS there, so folks who want limited edition backer levels can get first dibs. (This also helps create the important first-day push for the project.)- I launch the KS, tell the mailing list, and then inform social media. The first-day push commences.- The initial excitement for the project has cooled by day three or four, in my experience. That's when I send out the press releases. I target blogs and reviewers who are already interested in my project's theme, or my general output. For the next week or so, I rely on promo from those outlets for bumps in interest, along with occasional social media reminders. I try to tweet about any Kickstarter I'm running at least once a day, preferably with images. I find reasons to talk about it. "We're just one pledge away from $1,000!" "Eek, who wants to be backer 666!?!" "Look, we're at $45,000! what a nice, round number." etc. - Day three or four is also when I announce/decide on stretch goals. How fast the project is funding is a big deciding factor in those; I've been caught out before making stretch goal graphics for goals the KS hit while I was playing around in Photoshop! Announcing the stretch goals give people reasons to keep promoting/pledging to the project, and i favor goals that would benefit everyone involved for that reason.- This will hold me until the halfway point of the project. If I think the project needs it, I do another round of promotion. If things are humming along smoothly, I hold back. It's important not to cross the line into annoying people. - After all this, when the KS enters its final week? I play it by ear. Does it need more attention? Does it need more aggressive promotion? Should I bother the mailing list again? Should I post an update about my new project in past Kickstarters? It varies from project to project, but when the countdown clock tics over into hours instead of days, that's always the beginning of the final big push from me. if I'm lucky, I've calculated a final stretch goal that can be feasibly reached on the last or second-to-last day; that keeps excitement high.If I do everything correctly, the project gets a respectable number of pledges every day. And while they'll always drop off after the first few initial days, I still experience promo-related bumps all throughout the campaign's slow, plodding middle.
The feeling of "omigodwhatif..."
We're a husband and wife team and we've run four projects so far. We've also had those same mixed feelings of doubt and elation. The first project (a toy castle that I'd have killed for as a kid) seemed to us like a sure-fire hit. We dressed up in nice clothes, sat behind a nice desk and gave a heavily rehearsed and much practiced and edited speech for the video. It bombed...not just by a little bit...it didn't even make 1% of goal. We were entirely dejected and would probably have given up right there and then....except...One of our backers had a suggestion to re-think the product for a different market - so what had been a toy for little kids shrank in size and became scenery for adult tabletop gamers. He also put us in touch with a Kickstarter veteran who offered to do a joint promotion - a competition featuring his product and ours as prizes - we donated a few hundred dollars of product and that got us an instant 500 person mailing list.Despite this, we entered our second kickstarter with very low expectations - we thought we'd just see a repeat of the first one. Rather than go to the hassle of making a nice video, we literally sat at our kitchen island and ad-libbed - we used the very first take and didn't even bother to edit it.The tabletop gamers loved it! We made goal in a little over a week and hit about 350% of goal by the end. We were totally elated! There was plenty enough income to let us invest $10,000 in a laser cutter to make the rewards - and we had a small, part-time, business of our own that we could run from our tiny apartment.The third Kickstarter was an odd mix...we knew it could be done in principle, but we had an entirely new project idea and we had no idea whether it would take off or fail. We were nervous of screwing up a successful formula - so we went back to the kitchen island to make our video and made NO effort to do anything fancy. This time, we got 500% of goal...and an incredibly enthusiastic set of backers. We thought we'd reached the big-time...for one of us, it became our full-time job...we invested another $10,000 in equipment, moved out of our apartment and rented a bigger house with a nice big garage to do it all.Our fourth, most recent, project had us being very cocky. We made the most elaborate set of rewards with incredibly flashy photos. We sweated every tiny detail although we still ad-libbed the video. We were pretty darned sure of doubling our previous success...but sadly, we had over-complicated things, confused many of our backers and inadvertently timed the project very badly. So we earned almost exactly the same dollar amount as the second time - but with a LOT more preparation work. An odd mix of "Yeah! We made a big pile of money again" and "Oh....we did *SO* much worse than we expected". :-(Kickstarter is immense fun to do...the stresses and the elation...the ever-present possiblity of disaster. It's an incredible rush. But without risk of failure, no activity can be all that exciting.It definitely makes us feel more 'alive'.Our many hundreds of repeat-backers are our friends, we know many of them by name now. We put in rewards that we know will specifically push someone's button because they asked for it personally. When someone has an idea for a new reward that's good enough for us to want to make it next time, we give them a free copy of it. One of them happened to mention that it was his birthday close to the day we were due to ship to him, so we made an extra reward and stuck it in his package with a "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" written on the box. We routinely give away freebies for funny posts, clever ideas or just for being the 100th backer or the 1000th poster...and that makes us feel very good about ourselves.We'll be back for KS #4...older and wiser! We're planning KS #5 and #6 as we do it! Gunning for the viral win that'll spell early retirement!
What are some great ideas for rewards that DON'T involve creating and shipping something physical?
One of the most tried-and-true rewards I've seen across many campaigns is the inclusion of backer's names in a Hall of Fame, a page on your website, or somewhere in your final product. This reward is particularly great for film and game projects, as backers can see their names featured in the credits.Another great reward can be a very simple digital file or set of files. One of the most common examples of this that I see in many game projects includes a series of wallpapers for desktops and mobile devices. Some film projects will also include a copy of the script or production notes.Full disclosure - this commentator works at BackerKit, a post-campaign platform for project creators.
What kinds of plans and preparations do you need to make before your project launches?
I always tell people who are contemplating doing a Kickstarter project to seriously research the projects already done in their area of interest. You can learn so much from what other people have done.
What's the most effective thing you did to get press?
In 2013 we ran a Kickstarter campaign for Allston Xmas, a comedic web-series about Boston's notorious citywide moving day. We got a lot of great coverage in the press for our campaign, and then even more for our official series release a year later. My producer and I were asked so many times about how we got press that we wrote up our press strategy and shared it with the world:How to Get Attention for Your Webseries on IndieWireThe article is focused on promoting a web-series, but a lot of the fundamentals are going to be the same for getting attention for any other project--find your audience, and make it easy for them to cover your story!
When does it make sense to relaunch a project that didn't hit its goal the first time?
Personally, before asking the question 'when', I would take a good, long look at the reasons behind the original project's failure to fund, and ask myself 3 questions:1. Was I asking for too much money? Take a look at your bare minimum needs, and if the only thing that killed your project was not quite reaching your goal, lower your goals, tweak your rewards, and try again.2. Did I build enough of an audience before launch day? If you still haven't done this by the time you are ready to restart your failed campaign, you might not see a different result this time around. Take what you learned from your failures, and use those lessons to help build a good following before you relaunch.3. What did other similar projects do to succeed where mine failed? Did they have better presentation (graphics, videos, write-ups, reward levels, etc), do they have a support base that you could tap into (blogs, social media groups, fans with similar tastes), and finally - did they do more research before hand (ideally, 90% of the work should be done before launch day - if not, do a little more prep before your relaunch).
Blackstone Entertainment, Inc.
How can a Kickstarter success be translated into sales when your project is complete?
I think a post campaign sales strategy is very important. For me, Kickstarter has always been used to pay for production. It's the sales after where I start making a profit. It is important to start thinking about it well before your campaign has launched. Who are the distributors that deal in your product, are there any local stores that would be interested, and what kind of trade shows can you attend to promote it?
Paul Roman Martinez