Is Kickstarter an Option for Your Idea?

BlogHer Original Post

You have a killer idea for a product or project, but you have no money to make it a reality. Could Kickstarter be an option for you?

example kickstarter project
example project from kickstarter.com

Kickstarter won't help you start a business or collect money for charity. But it will help you with a "project." Here's how Kickstarter defines a project.

A project has a clear goal, like making an album, a book, or a work of art. A project will eventually be completed, and something will be produced by it. A project is not open-ended. Starting a business, for example, does not qualify as a project.

If those qualifications fit your idea, here are a few tips to help you create a successful Kickstarter project.

It's All or Nothing

On Kickstarter you set a goal. If you reach the goal you get the money. If you don't reach the goal, you get nothing. It becomes really important to plan your budget carefully. Consider every expense that will be involved in making your project a reality and include that amount in the goal. You don't want to get funded and then not have enough money to make your idea real because your goal was not high enough to complete the project.

Give Your Supporters a Reward

The people who believe in your project and give you funding need some token in return. Maybe it's a copy of the thing your project makes. Maybe it's an invitation to your opening night. Maybe it's some form of recognition within the project itself. Maybe it something you create especially for your donors. But give something in return for the cash and the faith they extend to you. Don't forget the cost of sending people their rewards into your goal amount if the reward is something that needs to be mailed.

The Video is Your Sales Tool

Every Kickstarter project page has a video in which the person seeking funding shows the potential donors what the project is, why it's awesome, and why they should help fund it. Kickstarter has some tips for making the video, including:

No matter how creative or bare-bones your video, you'll want to:

  • Tell us who you are.
  • Tell us the story behind your project. Where'd you get the idea? What stage is it at now? How are you feeling about it?
  • Come out and ask for people's support, explaining why you need it and what you'll do with their money.
  • Talk about how awesome your rewards are, using any images you can.
  • Explain that if you don't reach your goal, you'll get nothing, and everyone will be sad.
  • Thank everyone!

Be sincere and show how much you love the idea – you must believe in yourself and let it show. You're really selling yourself in the video. If you have a product your can demo in the video, do it.

You're asking people for money. Give them all the information they would want to know before pledging their dollars. If you leave unanswered questions in their minds, they may hesitate to participate.

Keep People Updated and Promote, Promote, Promote

Your Kickstarter page will track donations, but use Facebook and Twitter and email to keep the updates going to to celebrate success as it builds. Social media tools will also help you maintain awareness among those who might help but haven't yet.

Promote the project in every way that you can. Reach out to bloggers who might be interested in your type of project and see if they will write about it. Send press releases to newspapers. Pass out flyers. Do whatever you can think of to build awareness. (Without spamming everyone you know, of course.)

If you reach your goal and your project gets funded, all the awareness you've raised with your outreach on Kickstarter will help you market the project later on.

Be Quick to Reward

If you reach your goal, be quick to get those rewards out. And use the rewards contact with your supporters to tell them more about the completed project and where they can see or buy the item they helped fund.

Share the Celebration

If you get funded, share the celebration. Not just with the reward, but with outreach in the same way you promoted your project. Put photos on Facebook, or share success with your supporters in any way you can.

Virginia DeBolt, BlogHer Section Editor for Tech
virginia.debolt@blogher.com
Virginia blogs at Web Teacher and First 50 Words.

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