Kickstarter reports that to date, $903 million has been pledged in support of more than 52 thousand Kickstarter projects. While that’s exciting news, the flip side is that more than 67 thousand projects were unsuccessful. What makes the difference between success and failure can be seen from this sampling of crowdfunding projects.
Make Life Easier for People
Technology is a popular topic in crowdfunding campaigns. From cases for the iPhone to apps for the windows phone, people love technology. Some of the most successful campaigns have been those that make technology a little easier to use.
The Kickstarter campaign for Pressy was in support of a small device that plugs into the speaker jack of an Android phone, with a button that you could program to do different functions. The purpose was to eliminate the multiple steps it might normally take to do something on your phone. You could program Pressy to call your work with one press of the button, or press it twice and bring up the camera app. You could even program it to open a Twitter panel when pressed 3 times.
The original funding goal for Pressy was $40,000. The project received pledges of more than $690,000 and they had more than 28 thousand backers. Several things worked to make this a successful crowdfunding campaign:
They had a killer video - A cheap bear costume and a highly energized team made for an entertaining video introducing Pressy. Videos are to get backers excited about the product and create the sense that they need to be a part of this project. Not only do people want the product, but they want the product to be successful. The video is what starts it all, however, as it sparks the initial excitement.
They kept in touch with backers - A Huffington Post article notes that you need to connect with your backers and stay connected. The Pressy team did that by making frequent update notes on their campaign page as well as on their own website. They posted updates regarding the progress of the project, which let backers in on their production timeline.
Get the Word Out
Crowdfunding is integrated with the online social experience. To be successful in Kickstarter, you must be successful with social networking. David Wolfe headed the campaign for Oliver’s Athletic Clothing, a startup in California, according to it’s Kickstarter. Their initial target was $10 thousand. They raised more than $270 thousand from 3,307 backers.
Wolfe was interviewed by CrowdCrux, and stated that one of the key reasons for success was getting connected with their social network. The company created a photo marketing campaign and sent it out to all of their social media sites. They began doing this before the Kickstarter campaign launched. This creates anticipation in the social networking circles. A strong social network gives crowdfunding projects their initial boost to success.
Tell a Story
When a crowdfunding project sponsor tells a good story about why they are passionate about their product or project, people get interested, and want to become involved. Jake Bronstein is passionate about the reliability of consumer products, and about his 10-Year Hoodie. His project write up on Kickstarter conveys his desire to buck the established belief that clothing quickly wears out. His hooded sweatshirt is made to last and he guarantees that.
The project goal was $50 thousand. He made more than $1 million with 9,226 backers. Reading the backer comments, you can tell that people clicked with Jake’s message. When the campaign story is compelling to people, they want to get involved. Some may pledge to get the product. Others may pledge just a few dollars because they want to see the project become successful. That’s the nature of crowdfunding.