Kickstarter is undoubtedly the most popular and best-known crowdfunding website in the world. However, just a small fraction of campaigns are successful on this platform and reaching campaign objectives is no walk in the park. In fact, even the best ideas or concepts can fail miserably on Kickstarter. When it comes to achieving the desired result, the recipe for success includes a long-term marketing and PR strategy.
With this in mind, we have put together the following guidelines for your upcoming Kickstarter campaign. However, let us first take a look at the importance of PR and Marketing:
The Importance of PR and Marketing for a Kickstarter Campaign
As you may know, PR and Marketing are the foundation for every successful business. More importantly, focusing on PR and marketing in the initial stages of a Kickstarter campaign is particularly important. After all, most campaigns run for a very short period and savvy marketing the secret behind the most successful Kickstarter projects.
Here are two brands from Kickstarter that used savvy marketing to gain maximum traction and a truly impressive number of contributors for their campaigns.
a) Peak Design
Peak Design went on to establish several multi-million dollar Kickstarter campaigns and an intelligent marketing decision was the basis of this success.
When a group of photographers set out to create the perfect carry bag for their equipment, it may have seemed as though the bag market was already crowded. However, a slick PR decision would see thousands of photographers drooling over the features of a specially designed bag by Peak Design.
Interestingly, Peak Design announced that the product would not accept financial backing from major companies in order to stay true to their individual investors. Furthermore, they offered sneak peeks to their backers and invited input/feedback for the bag from every follower. As planned, this resulted in an extremely enthusiastic, interactive and loyal following which was always more than happy to share their newfound interest with friends and family.
As outlined by the company director, their Kickstarter campaign was ten times more successful than any other sales technique. From zipped pockets, handy pouches and perfectly designed dividers, the bag was clearly a photographer’s best friend. Even so, creating such a loyal following was undoubtedly the reason for such an impressive campaign by Peak Design.
While Pebble experienced a sharp decline in recent years, the Kickstarter campaign for this smart watch was a resounding success. Incredibly, the watch raised more than $43 million for two separate products and simply put, the reason for this resounding success was how they marketed the unique selling point.
That is to say, Pebble was the first iPhone and smartphone compatible watch and the company used viral videos to reach mass audiences. However, the key point here is that the product was featured on almost every tech related website and blog which was a direct hit for their target market. Indeed, the USP for the watch was viral worthy but Pebble also reached out to a large number of prominent tech bloggers and established relationships which would see the Pebble watch promoted across endless tech blogs.
Pebble raised more than $10 million on the very first attempt with Kickstarter.
Approaching PR and Marketing for a Kickstarter Project
Although Kickstarter is friendly toward individuals and businesses alike, PR and Marketing requires a significant focus and effort. However, there are many resources which enable campaigns to take a more efficient approach to their first campaign. In some cases, individuals or startups initiate this process without any outside assistance but in truth, the most successful campaigns rely heavily on good PR and marketing.
For example, PR kits can save an incredible amount of time and provide the perfect opportunity to access specific resources which boost the success of campaigns. Furthermore, for those who have little or no experience with online advertising, there are social media and advertising packages which can help you get ahead of the competition.
As already mentioned, the following is a guide to building a campaign to ensure the maximum potential is reached with a Kickstarter project:
10 Important Steps for PR and Marketing for a Kickstarter Campaign
1. Focusing on the Most Productive Route
The productive option doesn’t have to be the most time-consuming. In other words, the most efficient way to approach a Kickstarter campaign is to figure out the least time-consuming aspects which can yield the biggest results.
With this in mind, outsourcing is an excellent way to cut down on the time spent on menial tasks so that you can focus on more important matters. Upwork, Fiverr, and Zirtual are the ideal platforms for finding freelancers who can act as virtual assistants. Needless to say, the content of this work will different from one concept to the next but writing, designing, and guest blogging are good examples of time-consuming work which can easily be outsourced.
Preparation is another important aspect of any campaign as many jobs can be organized in bulk and this can often be done in advance. For example, newsletters, emails, and guest blogs can be written in bulk and then put aside until the time comes to publish them.
Takeaway – Outsource the menial tasks so that you can spend time on other matters.
2. Identifying the Most Suitable PR and Marketing Channels
Every successful Kickstarter campaign was the recipient of a large volume of online traffic. However, generating traffic can be a rather drawn out process. In addition, many campaigns are so short that they simply do not have this time. For this reason, the best strategy when it comes to raising money on Kickstarter is to focus on the Minimum Effective Dose.
The Minimum Effective Dose refers to the smallest amount of work that needs to be employed to achieve a specific objective.
For example, recent studies show that Facebook, email, and blogs are three of the most effective ways to drive traffic to a campaign. Needless to say, it makes sense to save time and expend energy by using these avenues instead of wasting it elsewhere. As a rule, focusing on guest blogs in prominent relevant blogs is the best way to gain traction with the right audience.
Furthermore, the best way to share these blogs and produce alternative content is through social media. Keep in mind, if you can gain enough traffic through these methods, you could be featured on Kickstarter. This is a sure way to boost investment in the campaign.
Takeaway – Use the Minimum Effective Dose principle to narrow down the best channels for marketing the campaign.
3. Focusing on Relevance
Relevance is one of the most important principles when it comes to promoting a Kickstarter campaign. This is important for marketing in general as the rate of conversion is always dependent on how relevant the product is to a particular audience. Having said this, targeting the right audience with your social media outreach is critical while choosing the right blogs on which to guest post will return much better results. Here are three more key factors which need to be considered when creating a media list to promote a Kickstarter campaign.
Readers – Check out the statistics for relevant blogs and assess the reach or readership of the website/social channel.
Introductions – If you have existing relationships with someone involved in a blog, this can save you ample time that may otherwise be spent on seeking an alternative channel of communication.
Promotion – Just because you are published on a particular blog or website, this does not mean that the article will reach the desired audience. In this sense, you will need to organize alternative means of promoting these blogs or features to ensure they can generate enough traffic.
Takeaway – Take time to establish the most relevant audience as quantity is not nearly as important as quality when it comes to gaining traction for a campaign.
4. Finding the Most Relevant Bloggers
Google Images is also a great place to source the most relevant links. In case you may not know, if you drag and drop any image into Google images, you will receive every website or link associated with this image. Why is this important? Well, if you pick out the most successful Kickstarter campaigns from the past few years, you can use the images in these campaigns to find out how they were promoted.
With a long list of blogs and websites to draw from, you can now see a specific list of publishers who are clearly good at what they do. However, this is where outsourcing comes in handy because you can compile a list of these sites and pass them to a virtual assistant. At this point, the virtual assistant can start contacting these websites on your behalf or finding more websites in the same niche.
Takeaway – Use your virtual assistants to compile an accurate list of the most relevant websites, authors, and publications.
5. Evaluating the Influence
Search engines are your best friend when it comes to finding the most relevant bloggers but the level of influence these bloggers hold is often more important. For example, if the product is travel related, you can easily locate the most prominent travel bloggers. Needless to say, this applies to every type of blogger but the important part of this process is to choose the right bloggers with the highest engagement. You can do this by simply investigating the number of followers on social media along with the rate of engagement on individual posts.
As you might expect, checking the online traffic for a particular website is just as important. In this sense, you can simply use free tools such as Compete.com which enables you to identify websites with a high number of visits.
Takeaway – Calculate and establish the reach of every website, blog or author. As a rule, focus on those with the most influence and return on investment.
6. Establishing relationships through Social Media
Although it may come across as sneaky, you can also use a virtual assistant to establish who you might know in relation to particular websites or blogs. For example, your assistant can locate the blog owner on Facebook and go about finding mutual friends or establishing links on other platforms. Indeed, this is not easy to do. Even so, with an assistant taking care of all the time-consuming work, you can often find convenient connections to some of the most popular websites.
Needless to say, although the assistant will source these people or information, you will need to pursue these relationships personally in order to nurture an authentic response.
Takeaway – Your virtual assistant can source the most relevant bloggers so that you can connect with these influences in an authentic manner.
7. Compiling a Media List
At this point, and with the help of your virtual assistant, you are in a position to compile a media list of the essential bloggers to target. Although the information you have at this point is now relevant, this is also a good time to narrow down these options and focus on the most suitable targets for the campaign.
Spreadsheet – As already mentioned, with a spreadsheet provided by the assistant, you can search for mutual friends of these bloggers. Although you will probably not know most of these well enough to contact them, there are often some leads which will prove fruitful. All you need to do is send a polite introduction email and ask them to contact their friend with an introduction on your behalf. A friendly introduction is always more effective than a cold email.
Personal Evaluation – At the same time, you should personally evaluate each blog to ensure they are entirely relevant prior to making contact. In short, you cannot simply trust the virtual assistant will have done this for you.
Check and Choose the Writers – Your assistant should have also found a list of writers who are relevant to the campaign. Once again, you may have a better idea of more suitable writers to contact.
Prioritize – Every media list needs to be prioritized and the most prominent bloggers should be picked out along with the most relevant websites and relationships which are likely to be worth pursuing.
Go to Work – At this point, you should have a finely tuned list of bloggers, websites, social accounts and mutual friends to pursue. Print out this dossier and tick them off accordingly.
Takeaway – Create a scaled down media list based on the information provided by your virtual assistant. You will need to assess this information and identify the most suitable avenues that will prove worthwhile.
8. Creating Meaningful Relationships with Bloggers
One of the most efficient ways for a blogger to grow the readership of their website is to befriend other bloggers. For similar reasons, this is also the right PR tactic which can expedite investment for a Kickstarter campaign. Friends are often the most generous people to help you get started and can sometimes write or promote articles for no fee at all.
With this in mind, you should know that the secret to forming these relationships is by adopting a unique approach for every publisher. That is to say, be personal and show genuine interest in the blogger rather than sending a generic mass pitch. As a rule, you can be helpful and show genuine concern for their work and this will surely make them a lot more inclined to respond positively.
9. Producing a Concise Brief for Contacts
As soon as you connect with the right blogger, the brief you provide is critical to the outcome. In other words, you must provide a detailed outline so that they can create the best possible story for their readers. However, your Kickstarter page should contain most of the information needed to create this story and an experienced blogger should have little trouble working from this page.
Keep in mind, creating a bullet point brief is usually beneficial to the blogger. After all, you need to communicate the most important parts and allow them creativity to put their own spin on the story. Finally, establish some guidelines with the blogger with regard to timing how they publish the article. Furthermore, ask if you can feature in the newsletter for the blog and whether the article will be published on social media.
If this is your first time contacting bloggers, it is important to remember to value these services. In many instances, bloggers will refuse to work with others solely based on the initial interaction. If you provide too many guidelines, this can leave the blogger feeling restricted or even used. In the end, respect goes a long way.
Takeaway – Avoid coming across as generic and show genuine interest in each contact. Secondly, provide a concise and accurate brief for each contact to ensure the best results.
10. The Initial Launch and Activating Your Personal Network
Viral posts, articles, and videos are often the result of a PR related formula. As part of this method, the initial launch is crucial and this is a time when the promotion is especially influential. For this reason, Kickstarter campaigns should seek to create what is commonly known as “the surround sound effect” and this simply means that the campaign is visible everywhere online. From Facebook and Twitter to Medium and new media; the idea is to generate so much publicity that people cannot help but investigate the brand running the campaign. Paid advertisements are featured prominently during this time and guest blogs should coincide with the timing of these ads.
The Importance of Your Personal Network
Getting started on Kickstarter is tricky and friends are often the key to unlocking future investments. It is proven that people are more likely to sign up when there are already investors in the campaign and friends are usually a reliable support to help get the donations started.
With this in mind, asking friends and family to contribute or share is the most powerful way to raise awareness of the campaign. Quite often, these friends can also offer their assistance or even introduce you to influencers who can help you further. With this in mind, the best way to get friends on your side is to make them feel a part of the campaign and a valued supporter. That being said, here is a more specific outline on how to approach them.
- Ask friends and family for advice on the product or company related issues in the run-up to the launch. In this way, they are more likely to feel compelled to have some input.
- Show friends prototypes or secret insights into the product prior to going public.
- Invite friends to the launch party and ask them to help get the campaign off the ground. Interestingly, those who back the project from the very beginning are often the greatest advocates and supporters in the long term.
Segregating Friends, Influencers, and Acquaintances
Contacting friends, influencers and acquaintances is essential but at the same time, you should contact each of these groups in a different manner. For example, it is perfectly okay to send mass emails to acquaintances but bloggers and influencers will expect a personalized mail at the very least. Similarly, friends will not want to receive a generic message from a good friend! Although you may want to take time to develop the personalized messages, your virtual assistant can take care of writing some of these and dispatching them to the correct addresses.
Takeaway – Segregate your audience and take a personal approach wherever possible. Furthermore, use your personal network to gain momentum and ensure that each backer feels like an important part of the process.
As you can see, PR and marketing is crucial to creating successful campaign on Kickstarter. The above steps outline the specific nature of this approach. While a great campaign is a great place to start, PR kits along with other online resources are often the key to unlocking maximum potential. Whether you have an existing customer base or not, friends and family can often get the campaign moving. Furthermore, creating a sense of community and involvement is likely to nurture loyal supporters will inevitably enhance the visibility and awareness of the campaign.
Either way, best of luck in getting your Kickstarter campaign ready to thrive!
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