What inspired you to launch your first project?
I saw the fantastic opportunity kickstarter holds. About 50% of all kickstarter campaigns are funded! That's incredible! Then I started looking into different projects and found that backers really like high quality materials. Products made of materials like carbon fiber or titanium have a really high rate of success (about 75% for carbon fiber). So I decided that I would make something out of carbon fiber. 48 hours later I had my product made and campaign submitted to kickstarter. I plan on a new kickstarter campaign every few months now! My first campaign that I'm doing right now was more of an experiment to see what I could do with something as simple as a ring, and it exploded! I plan on some pretty technical projects in the future.
How do you extend your reach beyond your friends, family, and contacts to a broader audience?
Facebook! (And other social sites)I have had half of my traffic come through Facebook for each of my campaigns. I find pages with a similar genre and contact them. But here is the KEY. I don't ask them to support my campaign, I don't ask them to buy. I simply ask them to share a link to my campaign on their social page. (Most social sites are always looking for content for their fans) One page posted about our Kickstarter and we had 2000 likes, 2000 comments and 2000 shares. (There was a big boost in our Kickstarter backers that day)IMPORTANT: Look for pages that have a lot of interaction, where the fans make comments. (I have seen pages will millions of likes but nobody ever comments or anything.)
How do you determine the right goal for your project?
For both of my projects, I determined the minimum (bare minimum!) I would need to accomplish the goal. For my first project, this included a TON of research about paperwork I would have to do, related fees, supplies (minimum orders and bulk orders to get the best prices for my backer rewards), etc... The more facets you have to your project, the more difficult this task will be.You should also give yourself a buffer, about 10-15% of the bare minimum you calculated depending on your risk factors, to account for unexpected rises in prices of supplies or an unexpected permit or certification you may need, etc. If you end up not needing it, you can put it toward your inventory order for that new business you're launching, or you can put it toward improving the experience for your backers (such as newer or better artwork/print quality/other feature of your rewards).If you're still not sure, you may want to reach out to a project creator who has done something similar to what you plan on doing. I think you'll find that many Kickstarter Creators are more than willing to help a fellow Creator! If you're launching a food business, feel free to reach out to me.
Vincent B. Donadio
How have you successfully reached new audiences?
Work your project HARD. Email relevant people and companies, find forums, twitter, facebook, contact news outlets and for serious connections, believe it or not, send them a handwritten letter.However you decided to reach out, have a clear message, be polite, understand if they can't get their heads around your idea or product. If they say no it is not personal, don't be offended.And most important, learn from this fish:Dory of Finding Nemo - Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming swimming swimming, what do we do we swim.
What's the best way to handle tariffs for international shipping?
I think it would be difficult to know all the potential tariffs in advance. You could offer that as a service outside of kickstarter. Do a quote, send them a paypal invoice and then ship the products. It would be labor intensive though.
Graphic Representation of Reward Levels
Personally I prefer to keep my reward levels as simple as possible. Less levels means simpler fulfillment, which means I can get back to drawing comics.That said, yeah, some kind of visual depiction of the reward tiers is REALLY NICE. Keep it simple and iconic, so people scrolling down can get used to quickly parsing each repeated reward and wonder what this new icon means.
Are people more likely to back creators who have backed other projects?
I would respectfully disagree with Alex Eames.If there is a project I'm interested in, I will back it regardless of how many projects the creator has backed. And if I'm not that interested, I won't.I am more likely to make my decision based on the character that the creator displays via social media, their website, etc., than the amount of projects backed.Edit: I guess a majority of people would say that it matters - but here I am, a live project, 29 projects backed, and no one that I don't know has backed it. So I guess for others, it's completely dependent on the project. Hmm. Maybe that's because I back people who don't back others...
How do you maintain momentum throughout your campaign? Any tips for getting through that tough middle period?
Don't make the "in between" too long. People have short attention spans. Think about what gains traction on Facebook, twitter, etc. Quick bursts of headlines, short pieces of information, and so forth. Get down to the point of what you're asking for, and keep it relevant. Also, try and find a target audience through Facebook "groups" etc of people that you think would be naturally inclined to look at your stuff. - Ben
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
At what point is a prototype complete enough that you feel comfortable running a project to make the product?
I've found people can assume all kinds of things no matter how hard you tell them its a prototype. You have to use clear language saying it's a prototype and the contents will change - and even then some will discuss why the map looks bad lol! Personally I would get it looking as close to the real thing as possible - use 3D design or 3D print to create mockup parts, or hand make it, - it's the design and style that attracts a lot of people whether it's a beautifully hand printed cloth map or a plastic rocket, it's these things that get people excited so spend the time to make them. Cancel that friday night out where you'll spend the cost of making the 3D prints you so desperately need but think you can't afford. It's all or nothing when you get to launching the project and everything you can show up front or reveal through the project will give you so much more to say to people. People are visual and need cool graphics, awesome models, 3D visualisations - not walls of text. You don't need it to be production ready, it just needs to look cool!hope that helps!
Chris Birch, Modiphius