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 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.)
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
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
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.
When is the best time of day / week / year to launch a Kickstarter project?
Hi - we've run 5 of our own projects and coached about 12, and Tuesday's seem to work the best (vs Monday's or Wednesdays). Time of year? ...how about 'now'? ; ) Seriously, you may want to work backwards from your shipping period - stay away from November/December shipping if you can avoid it.
Dave & Calvin Laituri
What is the best way to drive traffic from within Kickstarter?
I've had three successful projects that were buried in the stacks and stacks of projects. I would love to make staff pick, as well. If backers can't see the project, they are unlikely to back it, after all! Here are my suggestions: Updates at least once a week, even if there isn't any activity. Keep them positive and talk about how great your product is. Have a finished project/prototype for people to see. My videos are rough, but they definitely aren't photoshopped! I'm not a big fan of buying social media likes. Keep the features to three points. It seems more realistic and pragmatic. Above all be cheery and respectful in all messages to backers. That doesn't mean caving into every suggestion, but thanking them for the time and suggestions.I try to make every project something that I would personally pay money for. Much better than trying to build a project that is going to net $1M on KS. :)Have a great day!
What makes a great Kickstarter reward? And what's a terrible idea for one?
As someone who both makes their own kickstarters, and consults for clients, stress-free high impact prizes are where it's at! Here's the process i usually use with the folks that I work with:To start, consider yourself as the project creator, and think about your budget, time, and energy. Remind yourself that you'll be feeling stressed out and neurotic during the project, and exhausted once it's over. Great prizes for YOU are: Already in existence or $0 to create Requires no shipping (can be emailed, hosted digitally, or are experience-based) Exist towards the ratio of one thing serving many backers rather than needing a 1:1 thing per backer (ie, a party that all backers at that level can attend or a video that can be emailed to the group rather than a tote that needs to be sent to each backer) Now (still thinking about yourself) think a little more strategically. Planning for the kickstarter is great, but playing the long game and planning for whatever work you're making three years from now is even better. Great prizes for YOU are: Prizes that further your brand or product Prizes that creatively fuel the work or process itself by giving feedback or interacting creatively Prizes that (if you're making a purchase like tote bags or products) will have a demand past the life of the kickstarter and can be sold at events, on etsy, on your website, etc, allowing for continued income Prizes that allow for a cultivation and development of your donors and supporters I would say that this last one is KEY! Kickstarter is a great way to connect with folks who are truly interested in your work, and a prize that furthers that relationship (say, inviting a backer to a showing/open rehearsal, or giving them special access) go above and beyond the simple delivery of a prize. Getting face-time with your backers is great, as is facilitating a relationship where there's actual dialogue and exchange rather than just the handing over of a prize. This facilitates relationships that may outlast the life of your kickstarter!So, after you've thought about all of that, clear your mind, and try to get as far out of your own head as possible. Before you even think about the prizes your backers might love, you need to articulate who those magical future backers might be. Are they friends and family? People within your community? Or are you trying to attract people from outside your community? Are there any specific groups you're targeting? Backers who don't know you might not be into personal access or feel-good rewards, just like your mom might not really want the glitch watch you're creating, but would love to get to come to that backers-only dinner party you'll be throwing. Keep in mind who your rewards are courting. So - after that's established, think about what might be most exciting to your backers. My general guidelines are: It's great to have at least one thing that's physical and one thing that's not. Some folks love tote bags, some folks really hate clutter. Make sure you have a range of options that play to people across the spectrum. Access to the thing itself is always key. If it's something like a performance where you can't directly give access to the thing itself, think about other ways to give access, ie: open rehearsals, preview performances, etc. Exclusivity is always exciting. Is kickstarter the ONLY way for them to get this thing? Or is it signed/personalized? Is it available months or years of when it will be available through retail? The best prizes are things that someone would really want to buy anyway, at a price point for less than they'd buy it retail. These prizes feel like a steal, and will generate the most buzz and excitement. Ideally, this would also be your $25-35 reward, the average donation point. Then, it's great to have a prize that's all those things (awesome, exclusive, still a steal) but undeniably better at the backer tier right above it. The short of it is this: You want prizes that encourage your backers to back one level higher (or hell, three) than they anticipated they would when coming to your project and watching your video. For the backer-centric part of the brainstorming, if can be helpful to pull in some friends for outside opinions. Make sure you ask a range of different people both inside and outside your community, different ages, different income brackets, etc. and make it clear that you want honest feedback rather than just encouragement. Think as practically as possible (ie: "Would YOU buy THIS THING for THIS AMOUNT" rather than "Do you think this thing is cool?") It always great to ask open-ended questions here as well (ie, "if you could create any reward for yourself having to do with this project, what would it be?")The name of the game (in my mind) is to kill as many birds with as few stones as possible. Of course, this isn't always possible, and sometimes it's definitely better to sacrifice something that benefits your process to wow backers with a really great reward. That being said, thinking creatively to create rewards that benefit all involved can create a more dynamic set of offerings, and one that will hopefully benefit you long after your project closes!Hope that's helpful!
Sarah A.O. Rosner