Average time before backer begin to back?
I have a PR routine I go through when I launched a new Kickstarter:- Announce it on Twitter- Announce it on tumblr- Send out an announcement on my mailing list.I then wait 24-48 hours, and send out press releases to news sites. As a result, I usually get my first backer within seconds of launching, and sustain a good surge for the first three days of the campaign. I repeat the routine mid-campaign, and again near the end.
What is the best advice you have for finding and working with a manufacturer?
I work with Scott at Dragon Innovation. First, I wanted to say thank you for starting this discussion and including us in it! I wanted to share some other free resources we provide that augment the video you shared. Design For Manufacturing video course. Over 12 hours of lectures to help you understand the basics of manufacturing and where to apply manufacturing thinking in your design process. Our blog has consistently relevant info about navigating from prototype to production (with a focus on hardware). A few recent posts in particular talk about what kind of relationship you want with your factory and what to expect in a RFQ process. The Dragon Standard BOM. We built a free Google Sheets Add-on to help hardware teams have a well structured Bill Of Materials that will make communicating with manufacturing partners easier. I hope these help!
How are you dealing with shipping?
We are UK based and of our 3000 orders around 80% of out backers were international with around 20% - 30 % being in the US. So yes I would say that limiting your backers to just the US will hurt you. What we have learnt is that backers expect a tracking number but they are not willing to pay extra for one. We have also learned that certain countries have awful postal systems and I would now say that tracking is 100% essential in these countries. So far the list of bad countries is Saudi Arabia, UAE, Yemen, Russia, Mexico, Chile, India, Indonesia and getting quite bad it seems is Canada. This is based on the number of orders that have gone missing.When we run our next campaign we are going to use a fulfilment house overseas not so much to help with the packing but more as International shipping rates with tracking seems to be much much cheaper than using Royal mail in the UK.Regarding prices don't just look at the obvious people like Shipwire as we found there prices at least 50% higher than others and we could actually buy postage cheaper than them. Hope this helps
How can a first-time creator find collaborators to help with a project?
I think during the development and research portion of putting your project together it is a great time to look for projects, creators, backers, etc. which might have something in common or might have interest in your project. I have found the kickstarter community to be very helpful, for example sharing my project with a few key individuals who I feel could help my campaign has paid off for me several times. Others were helpful in critiquing yet not as helpful in promotion and development. Usually you'll understand just how helpful people might be in your initial contact with them.There are a plethora of places you might need collaboration with your project, design, manufacturing, advertising, promotion, etc. I think campus would be a great place for anyone to start. I would not hesitate to throw out a very precise inquiry on the type of collaboration you are looking for. I think you will be amazed at how awesome this kickstarter community is. Good luck and keep the creative juices flowin'
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.)
Less is more or more is more rewards levels?
Personally I find less is more. Initially a lot of people who backed my Kickstarters were confused by Kickstarter as a concept in the first place let alone reward levels. Make it simple, keep peoples focus and if you reach your goal then that's the time to start adding wizards, shooting stars and whistle blowing bells.
Do I need to get "Staff Pick" to do well on KickStarter?
I don't know what that "staff pick" business is about but I've made a conscious decision to ignore it. I also, don't try to predict what the backers want. I figure I only have 90 to 122 years to live. I've already squandered 42 of them. No more. I'm just doing the projects I want to do. If only 8 people support my project, awesome! Nice to meet the eight of you. This project is going to be awesome!
What are some good places to share your Kickstarter campaign for feedback?
I think it depends on the community that people's products target. The people in the community who would buy the product are the best choices outside the "circle of friends" in my opinion. Find people who are respected in the community and reach out to them, ask them if they would mind giving some feedback on your Kickstarter preview. If your product might go to distributors/retailers, reach out to some of the mid level ones.