How can you use Kickstarter Live to connect wth your community?
I think everyone's experience with live-streaming might be slightly different. I laser cut miniature war-gaming terrain. I currently have a live project running (my first ever Kickstarter) and I live stream my laser cutting nightly on Twitch.tv. Every night at about 10pm CST I turn on the cameras and interact with my backers, friends, and the community at large. I show backers the rewards they signed up for and I let them see their things being cut live. I also answer a lot of questions about lasers and design. So far it has been a very positive experience for me and I think it might be the reason that my project was 100% funded in 4 hours and is now holding steady at 600% funded. I think with live streaming people want the interaction, they want the creator to say hi to them and single them out when talking so they feel connected to the creator. So when you live stream you have to be very personal with people and ask how they are doing and be genuinely involved in conversations with them. All 500 of them at the same time. It is a very exhausting thing to do. But after over a month of doing it I already see a very loyal community forming around my brand and what I do. So it is very worth the time. I also feel one single live stream event is just dead hype. People log in to see it but don't stick around until the end. If you consistently live stream more than once a week at set times and days and stick to that, you will find more people showing up week after week and hanging out until the end.My tips?Dont plan every word to say, have a list of topics, but be genuine and engage the audience. the reason people watch live is to engage. If they wanted a scripted speech they would have watched your youtube video.When your stream starts no one will be there. so have something to talk about for 10-30 min where you can just ramble on. Make it fun and exciting, like a youtube video. People will latch onto something you said or an interesting thing that is in frame and make a comment. When they do, acknowledge them and start talking about what they want to talk about. If the tangents get too far off topic just jump the rails and get back on topic.Have interesting items in frame. Wear an interesting T-Shirt that your viewers can ask about.Go to Twitch.tv, go to the games section, and there is a "game" there called creative (normally the 10th or 20th on the list) open that up and watch some creative streamers. See what they are doing and try to do that. Even if you are facebook streaming or youtube streaming, you can learn a lot from those twitch streamers.Have a blank notepad document open with links to places pasted in. This allows you to quickly grab a link via copy/paste and send it to your viewers. Also, great place to put notes.Anyways, My campaign ends on 10/14 at 10:14am (CST) and I will be live streaming that whole day to celebrate. Before and After. Most of it will be a view of the laser cutting their rewards but it will also be me chatting with the viewers and giving shout outs and giveaways.
PR: What moved the needle, what didn't, what did it cost?
This is an aspect of crowd funding I didn't consider and found to be a bit unnerving. The amount of spam in my inbox here and through my website was overwhelming. I have not felt the need to risk the cost against what i see as unrealistic promises and predatory business practices. When a company makes claims to get you funded that include things like product placement, top billing on popular blogs or getting you on national news, for a free or tiered fees, I say, walk away. The commercial industry is definitely shifting and while this forum is a fantastic way to network and grow, it is important to remember those things happen whether or not you roll the dice on a PR/Marketing firm, use cheap apps to spam your own contacts, or actually reach your goal. there. my two cents. it's been an interesting learning experience so far ;)
I am nervous about sharing my idea without a patent. Have others used this site without a patent?
First things first. The internet and Google are wonderful tools to find out everything you need to know. If you are even asking this question, it tells me you have not spent the time to research your questions. The more you research and learn, the more you will understand the risks involved with becoming an entrepreneur. Before you spend any money, research your idea and make sure it's original and has not been done before. Is your idea patentable? Understand the difference between design patents and utility patents. Ideas are not patentable - but the product you create to solve the problem and how it works is. Only good ideas are worth ripping off so how do you know if you have a good idea or product? Kickstarter is a great place to find out if there is interest in your creation. Kickstarter is also a great place for competitors to look for new products and innovations they can copy. We have our Skoother Skin Smoother campaign running and have been contacted by at least a dozen Chinese factories that want to do our tooling and manufacturing for us. How many others have seen our campaign and have not contacted us? Domestic and foreign companies scour Kickstarter looking for new ideas. This can be good and bad for your goals. If you have no intellectual property protection, these companies are free to steal your idea. If you do have a patent pending, you may get large companies contacting you to license the exclusive rights to your product and pay you royalties. "Patent Pending" will also scare and deter other companies from copying you. Exposing your idea on Kickstarter is exposing your invention to the world and so you should be prepared. You want to always limit how much risk you take, both financial and how much work and time you put into it. A simple U.S. utility patent will cost usually between $6,000 - $8,000. That's a big risk to take on for an unproven idea! A good strategy is to write a "provisional patent application" yourself. $125. This is a temporary application that last for one year from the time you file it with the USPTO. This application does not need to be written by a professional. You need to explain very clearly, with as much detail as possible with illustrations, photos and descriptions your invention. Show what it looks like, exactly how it works and any other variations of it you can think of. This basically reserves your idea at the USPTO and gives you one year to file an actual utility patent application. The provisional application is your "first to file" protection you need from the USTPO. So you have a choice; You can forget all of the intellectual property protection and just try to make a quick buck from your Kickstarter campaign...or, you can file a provisional patent application for $125, (which makes it legally "patent pending") and then show the world your invention. If your creation proves successful, you can then go ahead and invest in the full utility patent application. You then have a choice of licensing your invention or starting your own company so you can have it manufactured and market it yourself. But...if your brilliant idea is a flop, you've only lost the $125 for the provisional along with the time and cost of your campaign. It's all about risk, and knowledge will always lesson your risk. Learn about patents, look for similar ideas or products. Is there a big enough market for your product and can it be manufactured at a cost that will be at least 1/5th of the estimated retail price? Look up invention sites and advice but beware, most all of them want money from you. So research, research, research yourself! And remember, if your Kickstarter campaign does not succeed, it is not a failure. It is a lesson learned to be applied to your next great idea. The only way you fail is to never take a risk in the first place!Best of luck and never give up! - Scott Comstock/ TheInventionBrothers.com
THE INVENTION BROTHERS.com
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.
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
What's the best way to utilize events during a campaign?
You could set up a handful of laptops at a table to encourage on-site voting, but not sure how well that would work if you have a bunch of people in the room that have never used Kickstarter before. Not sure they'd be super comfortable signing up and entering their CC number, etc. on an unknown computer in a room full of strangers.Alternatively, you could print out postcards that have some promo art on one side, and the campaign url on the back. My suggestion for this would be to pay the nominal fee to buy a .com domain, and have it forward to your campaign page. That way, you can write www.mycampaignamehere.com, rather than www.kickstarter.com/somelongthingiwillneverremember
What advice do you have for making sure manufactured goods are high-quality while still staying on budget?
Estimate high! Problems will always arise, and if you slightly estimate higher than your predicted number, you are covering those issues, and saving your backers time potential lost time. If things work out as expected, you can use those extra funds to get your backers a nice surprise to deliver with your final product.Obviously you should be doing as much work as possible to get your numbers as close to final, but since most people on Kickstarter are not massive companies, you must plan for setbacks, both with time and money. Setting the expectations of your audience properly can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Lay Waste Games LLC