So, you’ve got a smart idea you think the world desperately needs, you know how you’re going to bring it to the masses and you’re passionate about shouting about it from the rooftops. Although Kickstarter may seem like the perfect platform for crowdfunding, there are some things you need to think about before you get stuck in.
We’ve collected together some of the top questions you’ll need to think about, get real about and actually come up with proper answers for, in order for you to figure out whether Kickstarter is really the right place for you and your idea.
It might be that it is right, so you can get cracking on that awesome project video or maybe you need to seek funding elsewhere, take a different route or even re-assess your life-changing idea and whether it’s really all it’s cracked up to be in your head.
Is Your Product, Idea or Service Actually New?
If people have already seen or heard of your product or idea in the press, at a conference, or if it’s already existed as a slightly different iteration in the past, they’re not as likely to get excited about it.
So you could develop a top Kickstarter page and the best crowdfunding video the world has ever seen, but if people think it’s old they’ll be wary when it comes to backing it, writing about it or telling their mates about it.
If you product or idea is new, then keep it that way until you’re ready to really start sharing your story and you’ll be in a great position. If it’s old you can either get back to the drawing board and figure out why it didn’t work the first time round or concentrate all of your efforts on shouting about the thing that makes it more likely to be a success this time round.
This is particularly important if you’re banking on a tonne of press coverage to get your Kickstarter idea coverage. Journalists don’t like stuff they consider to be old, they like fresh ideas and new approaches, so always bear that in mind when you’re talking to the press if your idea, your name or a company you’ve been working for has already attempted a similar project in the past.
Do You Have a Good Story to Tell?
Sure some Kickstarter projects are all about the idea and nothing else, but most successful ones are built on a story. A team. A vision. A personality. Spend some time taking a look at the campaigns that were successful in the past and check out the stories they tell about how their ideas came about and how their ideas will change the world. It all sounds a bit grandiose, but often the most compelling projects are.
When defining and crafting your story at the start, it’s worth bearing your initial project video in mind. This is at the top of your page, it’s what people will share and it’s what the press will publish. Consider how your story will look visually from the start and you’re onto a winner.
If you don’t have a good story to tell and it doesn’t translate well visually you can get an outside opinion, a fresh perspective from a creative mind or consider another platform that doesn’t rely so heavily on an attention-grabbing USP and a visual story.
Do You Have Some Good Ideas for Your Rewards?
This may seem like a tiny part of your Kickstarter campaign, but your rewards are what backers will get for their investment. So you need to make sure they fit in with your wider story, are really enticing and can be made, ordered or delivered to everyone that needs one on time.
Are People Interested in Your Idea and Your Story?
You don’t need to start a press campaign or talk to everyone you know to tick this box. But confide in a few key people, friends and family who are likely to be supportive yet honest, past colleagues who understand your space and maybe even business owners you admire who can get a grasp of your vision.
If you test the waters with a few key people, tell them what you plan on doing and scope out your idea you’ll quickly get an indication as to whether your idea has wings, whether it needs more work or whether it’s not exciting and 'wow' enough for Kickstarter.
Do You Have the Time, Energy and Resource to Make the Most of Kickstarter?
Kickstarter is an incredibly valuable, powerful platform. But starting a Kickstarter page and running it right takes up a lot of time, a lot of energy and sometimes a lot of money.
You need to make sure you have time to research best practice before you begin, make a page, keep it updated and engage with your community of backers every step of the way. You need to make sure these updates are a top priority for you, that nothing else will get in your way and that you keep important people motivated and interested. And finally you need to make sure you, someone you know or someone you hire can produce a video or two, make some great graphics, write compelling copy and start conversations with the press.
If you’re not passionate enough about your idea or you have too many extra commitments you just can’t sacrifice, then a more slow-burn option might be better for you. Or you could just realise you need to re-assess your priorities and make changes in your personal and professional life to really get the most out of Kickstarter before you begin.
Are You Happy for Your Goal to be All or Nothing?
Kickstarter projects need to hit their goal to get their creators money. It’s that black and white. Other platforms have slightly different models, so make sure you’re aware of the implications of Kickstarter’s all or nothing model before you get stuck in.
Does a high, win-or-lose goal motivate and uplift you? Or scare and intimidate you? Can you set a realistic goal that feels ambitious yet achievable? If you don’t hit your goal can you leverage the time, energy and press attention in other ways? These aren’t easy questions, but it’s important you give them some thought.
Do You Genuinely Believe in Yourself and Your Idea?
We don’t mean to get all life coach-y on your here, but when you’re putting your heart and soul into your Kickstarter page, your idea, your communications with the press and your chats with influential people in the place it really has to feel that way.
If you’re second guessing what you can offer, wondering whether it’s really that different to other offerings or not feeling confident you’re the best spokesperson for the brand then you need to make some changes. And fast.
That doesn’t mean Kickstarter isn’t right for you and you should scrap your big vision, it just might mean that you need to bring in some outside help, get a mentor, hire a PR team or tweak your USP before you start looking for backers.
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Featured image credit: Shutterstock/Africa Studio (edited)