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.
How did you decide which fulfillment company to work with?
We decided to use Integracore in the USA and Ideaspatcher (now renamed "Nift" - please note the edit note below) in the EU. The main reason for choosing each of these is that they offered a combine-assemble-shrinkwrap need that we had at the time (rare, but needed). The secondary reason we chose Ideaspatcher is that they will act as your "Importer of Record" in the EU. That means they pre-pay VAT on the manufacturing side of things, so customers don't have to front-door pay VAT on the retail value side of things.Integracore was ok to work with, but pretty pricey. I don't think we'd choose them again unless more shrink-wrapping shenanigans was needed. Shipnaked (aside from their not-so-household-friendly name) is now really trying to storm the Kickstarter fulfillment market with a pretty solid business and pricing model. We'll see if they accomplish what they're setting out to do. We'll be working with them on our next project to assess what they bring to the table.Happyshops in Germany has been pretty great, but there's a pretty significant language barrier, otherwise has been excellent.EDIT: I dislike saying something disparaging, but I'm here to serve you, not the companies I've worked with. To this end I share that working with Ideaspatcher has been a terrible experience in the long run. They delayed shipping our products over 6 weeks (costing us over $3500), and are still holding our excess items that should be returned to us for over 5 months as of the time of this writing, and are now ignoring my emails on the topic. We are not the only company they have wounded in 2016, and so they have renamed themselves "Nift" to dodge the bad press. They are strictly to be avoided. Sorry for the negative news.Heart if this was helpful.Warm regards,John Wrot!Gate Keeper GamesMore advice at www.gatekeepergaming.com
Do advertisement or crowdfunding agencies help to spread the word about crowdfunding projects?
Some yes, some no.I use advertising on relevant sites. I create board games so I advertise on board game websites, forums, blogs (where applicable). I then contact directly with a personal letter and press release: blogs, articles, news agencies, and reviewers. I send them a prototype if available.Most PR firms for Kickstarter are a joke/scam/or ripoff. Try asking them detailed questions about their practices, for references, for stat sheets on success of multiple LIKE projects. They tend to get annoyed, defensive, or stop writing you back. If they are calm and collect and answer ALL of your HARD questions with good answers and integrity, then they might be worth using. Otherwise, Kickstarter alone drives enough traffic for you.Most of the time these agencies advertise on Google Adwords, and Facebook. ... You can do that yourself. Sure they "target"... but you can too, you just need to fill out the forms instead of them. It takes about an hour per site to do it right.That said, I advertise on Facebook for a measly $100 over the course of our campaign. That's usually enough. Films are larger budget with a wider audience, increasing this might be worth it. I haven't tried Adwords in a while. I found it a money sink-hole years back for another business, and never saw a single bit income from them. Though that was a while ago, and I'll probably try them again in the future just for the sake of experimentation to better answer questions like these.John
Any suggestions for marketing email subjects that don't look spammy?
So a few people are interested in the answer to this, and nobody seems to have it ;) I'm hoping by posting some more details we might be able to generate some discussion, even if we dont have the answers!What I ended up going with was "Preview of my new FPV/Drone Kickstarter for better video reception" for the subject and trying to personalise every email to the person I've sent it to. Like I said, I know these people, or am at least known by these people if their contact details have been passed on to me.For the post launch emails, I've been using "New FPV product to improve video reception on Kickstarter", pretty generic, I've had emails from friends sending me interesting projects with similar titles - whether the project is on KS or just on a webstore.I'm customising each email I send from the template, ask them about their family if I know about them, or how things are going with the company, or just checking the weather in there area and seeing if they have managed to get and fly in good weather, or commiserating over the bad run of weather they've had (hey, weather's a great neutral topic!). Like I've said, I dont want to be a spammer but I do have a pretty good list of industry contacts i've built up over the years. Of course any reply from a person i've emailed gets an immediate and completely person un-templated response. Most are technical questions or just a thanks for sharing with them/thanks for creating the product.I'm using HubSpot CRM for the emailing, I created a contact list and imported it - their CRM product is free, their email-mass-marketing product is horrendously expensive. They have a "free" addon for chrome+gmail and outlook called "SideKick" which allows you to track people's opening of emails and clicking of links for templates. You get unlimited notifications for the first month, normally 200 - I'm at over 1000 notifications and just 2 days in to the campaign. Some people are opening my emails 8 or more times, and clicking on the links many times. I assume this is them forwarding the email on to others. It also gives you 5 email templates you can use in the CRM when emailing people as part of the free deal. I'm a little confused as to the pricing for upgrade, in the addon itself it says it is $10/mo, but then there is "SideTrack for Business" which is $50/mo however that comes with unlimited calling through the CRM as well. It also gives you more reporting on the templates, without it I'm just getting the total view/click through rate for all emails I've sent. Given the rate I'm burning through Skype credit I'm probably going to spend the $50 in the next day or so. Their sales people were very good on the phone and didnt try too hard to push me towards their marketing solution that would cost me far more money than I have!Since I guess I'm trying to turn this question into more of a Creator-Marketing discussion, I'd also like to link this guide:http://socialwebthing.com/2014/05/social-prospecting-success/I was already doing a lot of this, but certainly found some interesting points (the email checker link in there is awesome). I've been looking up dns records (whoismind.com) for domains of companies I'd like to call or contact to see if I can find out who started the business. Privacy records and domains purchased by web design companies are certainly annoying ;) I've had some good success with at least finding the name of the person behind some one man shows which have worked out well for me.The feedback I'm getting from people I'm emailing and calling is very good, nobody has complained about me reaching out to them, quite a good percentage have actually thanked me.How have you emailed people about your campaign, or otherwise gotten the world out without using an existing consent-given mailing list? Or, have you got any thoughts on improving upon what I've been doing?Marketing without spamming is something we all need to do if we want some success, so I'd be pretty interested in hearing your plans/story/successes.
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.
Using ads to promote Kickstarter; Analytics tracking
Hey! We are currently live on Kickstarter and 7 days in at $234k. We allocated a budget to Facebook Ads and after testing with small $ across 20 ads in week 1, we've dwindled it down to 3 that are performing at 3-6% CTR & 3-6.0 ROI. That means for every $1 spent we are seeing $3-6 in return. our Total conversion (as found in Google Analytics - can explain more soon) is around 1.3% off of facebook in total but this includes more than just the Ads. My best guess is you are getting abotu a .5-1% conversion on Facebook Ads.This means, if you drive 1,000 clicks to your website (DO NOT USE FACEBOOK CLICKS, USE A BITLY TRACKER!) you would gain 1 pledge. This is NOT bad. We are about to upgrade to Google PreRoll because our videos are performing best and an ROI of 6 is not going to boost our campaign as much as we hoped given our small budget.In summary here are my key takeaways:1. Use Facebook Ads to generate pledges & brand awareness.2. Facebook Analytics (find "manage ads") are not 100% accurate and fail to track conversions and clicks accurately. Use BITLY to track your clicks (each ad has a custom Bitly, put that bitly with + after to see clicks&data) and use Google Analytics to track conversions.3. Conversions will still be hard to track, because lots of people will see the ad, open a new tab, go to kickstarter or google and search for your campaign. 4. Market CTR on Facebook is 1.8%. Try running 20-40 ads at $50 to get a good idea of what will work. Pick the winners and move on to other parts of your campaign. Gain an ROI of 3+ to really make a difference.I am beginning a campus thread HERE to track my experience about Google Analytics. This will be abit more intense. Maybe can also repost BITLY + FACEBOOK AD info. Once we run Youtube Preroll, will post that as well. SUBSCRIBE! THANKSWill from GNARBOX
Success rate depending on project's country of origin?
Hi Samuel,First of all, you shouldn't be worried about your project not being seen in other countries. Every project on Kickstarter has equal chances of being seen by anyone worldwide and it only depends on the quality of your project that makes for its success. I've created two projects myself and the majority of my backers came from Austria, Germany and the US. But I also had backers from countries like Japan, Singapore, Denmark, the Netherlands.. I could go on. It's so exciting for me to ship packages to all these countries I wish to visit one day. If your project has the chance of attracting international backers then in my belief Kickstarter is a good place to reach them. If your project's good, you'll find the support from your local people too. At the beginning, your backers will be friends and family because it's hard to convince strangers to support your project if people who know and trust you don't.. you wouldn't go to an empty restaurant either I assume. Once you have your friends supporting you, more people get curious and will check out your project.I've seen many projects create their campaigns in multiple languages or they used subtitles to make their projects available to everyone (SolidLUUV from Berlin or Livin Farms from Vienna) and I've also seen projects done in German only (Nicht Lustig from Frankfurt or the Towell from Kiel). They were all hugely successful. What is your project about?Take care, Monika
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.
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!