On December 2, 2015 I launched my very first Kicstarter campaign in an attempt to raise capital for my business. While it didn’t get funded, I learned so much along the way that I wanted to take a moment to share my experience with anyone who may be considering nontraditional means to raise money for their ventures.
For those who don’t know, Kickstarter is a crowd funding platform that allows you an opportunity to take your product directly to potential consumers in hopes that it will resonate with them to the point that they become “backers.” In other words, they pledge financial support in exchange for a prize or the product itself (depending on how much they contribute). The catch is, you set the monetary goal that you would like to raise, but only have about a month or so to reach it. If you reach your goal within the designated window of time, your project is funded. If you fall short however, you get nothing and your backers get their money back as well.
The great thing is, whether you get funded or not, you can always try again. So with that said, here is the first lesson learned along the way.
1. It Pays to Have a Strategy
If you build it… they don’t always come right away. While my video got thousands of views, retweets, reposts, likes etc., I learned quickly that popularity on social media does not always convert monetarily. I also discovered that those who could truly relate and see the value in the product acted almost immediately, while those who couldn’t, liked it on social media and may have forwarded to their friends. While they certainly applauded the idea of someone taking steps to solve a problem, it may not have necessarily been their problem.
Hence, as with most things in life, it’s important to have a strategy when attempting to do anything. In my case, I needed a system in place to help identify and draw my target audience, not just people who knew me. In fact, I have since found a platform that not only helps to identify my target market, but by using an algorithm it can also assess how much I can potentially raise based off of the number of followers I have on Twitter and Facebook. This is key. I have since increased my Twitter following by close to 200 real follower and will continue to grow my following in preparation for the next Kickstarter attempt.
In the future, I will also elicit the assistance of friends and colleagues (who fit my target audience) to personally introduce the product to their friends and colleagues in a more systematic way. I know now that campaigns like these are not a one woman operation. It take a village, tribe, cul- de-sack and block!
Finally, prior to launching the next time around I will start my marketing efforts well before kicking off the campaign because it takes people a while to understand what’s going on and then several reminders for them to take action. I received several notices after the campaign was over from people who thought they still had time. Some couldn’t believe that it had been a whole month.
So hopefully more notice will fix that. Over the next two weeks I will share additional lessons learned along this Kickstarter journey.
Please feel free to comment below!