Kickstarter has become the world’s predominant crowdfunding platform.
Kickstarter enables makers, creators, artists and companies all around the world in every industry to enjoy pre-sales of their product in order to fund research, development, production and more.
The money raised on the Kickstarter platform allows creators to protect their profits while delivering market-validated ideas to customers in an innovative way.
You can also enjoy the fruits of Kickstarter. However, you need to execute five key steps in order to pull off a successful campaign.
1. Product Research
The first step in the process is to brainstorm the product itself.
While many bootstrapping entrepreneurs rely on their instinct or “feeling” for which product they should launch, there is a better way. This better way is what successful Kickstarter companies follow. They research. But how?
The first step to product research is to use Google’s free Keyword Planner application.
This amazing tool allows you to view the estimated search volume for certain keywords in Google. For example, you may find that “Blue Tennis Shoes” has over 100,000 unique searches per month.
The higher this number (organic search volume), the larger the potential market for your product. Making sure your product or niche category has a decent amount of search volume is a crucial first step in your Kickstarter journey.
2. Finding Suppliers
Once you determine potential markets and decide on the new product you want to create, you can begin sourcing your product.
The way to do this is to connect with the appropriate suppliers (manufacturers) for your industry.
Depending on the type of the product, you may choose to use suppliers in Asia (China, Taiwan, etc.) or North America, Europe, or whichever geographic location is best.
For example, Alibaba is a great website for sourcing products from China.
When reaching out to suppliers, make it clear that you plan to order large volumes of product, and that any discount they provide to you will help you sell more and bring more business to them in the long run.
Instead of negotiating hard on the sample prices, create a solid relationship to build upon so that you can enjoy deep discounts if you Kickstarter is successful in receiving many orders.
For prototype creation, ideally you will have your supplier create a product as close as possible to your desired specifications.
Once you have the product in your hands, you can hire a professional photographer to take many photographs of it. You will use these photographs on Kickstarter to attract more donations.
If you don’t have the physical product or prototype created yet, you can choose to hire a professional 3D artist to create a “render” for you. A render is a simulation of your product that looks very similar to an actual photograph.
Getting press is relatively straightforward, though you need to be thorough.
Don’t be lazy when it comes to getting proper media coverage.
The best way to ensure that you get proper media coverage is to email a hand-selected list of reporters that work in your industry.
Tell them the unique aspects of your product and why it’s exciting.
Ask them if they will publish an article about your product linking to your Kickstarter page on the same day as your product launch.
The increased traffic to your page will trigger Kickstarter’s algorithm. This makes your product rank higher up on Kickstarter and be more likely to get viewed and funded.
5. Post the Final Project
Once you’ve done the first four steps, you are ready to launch.
Of course, you will need to write up compelling sales copy on your product page to encourage people to fund your project. Once you have done this, you are ready to launch!
Remember, Kickstarter is like any other business model: it’s a game with rules. If you learn the rules, then you can beat the game. Use the 5 steps above to turn the game to your advantage, and enjoy your successful Kickstarter launch.
Bonus: Plan for Success with Crowdfunding Fulfillment
Once you’ve launched your product on kickstarter and are killing it, you’ll want to have planned for fulfillment ahead of time, the best place to start is with getting your project certified–meaning that you understand the fulfillment needs of your product and can reach backers worldwide.
Find out more about the ins-and-outs of crowdfunding fulfillment for Kickstarter and Indiegogo by checking crowdfunding forums online and talking to others.
Crowdfunding fulfillment is notoriously a challenge and many fulfillment companies make big promises and – more often than not – they end up overrunning costs and being weak link your crowdfunding campaign that causes backers to turn against you. You have been warned.