Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform that empowers creators to turn their dreams into reality by raising funds directly from a community of backers. Whether someone is launching a new tech gadget, producing an independent film, or publishing a novel, Kickstarter provides a space where innovative ideas can flourish.
The Kickstarter ecosystem is backed by backers and supporters. These individuals are driven by a passion for creativity and innovation and their support affects the success of any Kickstarter campaign. They pledge their financial support to projects they believe in, helping creators reach their funding goals. Moreover, their role extends beyond monetary contributions. Backers and supporters can become advocates thus spreading the word about projects, and offering valuable feedback and ideas that can shape the final product.
Interacting with backers and supporters is not just a courtesy; it’s a fundamental aspect of Kickstarter etiquette. Engaging with this community in a respectful and professional manner is crucial for maintaining trust and building lasting relationships. Doing this effectively involves providing timely updates, transparent communication, and a willingness to listen and adapt based on feedback. This etiquette ensures a successful campaign and fosters a sense of collaboration and community, making Kickstarter a platform where creativity and innovation thrive.
In this guide, we’ll explore the dos and don’ts of interacting with Kickstarter backers and supporters, helping creators navigate this exciting crowdfunding journey with grace and skill.
Communicating with backers on Kickstarter
The most fundamental aspect of running a successful Kickstarter campaign is maintaining a strong and positive relationship with your backers and supporters. Effective communication is key to building trust, keeping backers engaged, and ensuring the success of your project.
The importance of regular communication
1. Builds trust
Backers are likely to support your project if they feel confident in your ability to deliver on your promises. Regular updates and communication demonstrate your commitment and transparency, thus building trust.
2. Keeps backers informed
Kickstarter campaigns can be unpredictable due to unexpected challenges and delays. Consistent communication keeps backers informed about project progress, potential setbacks, and changes in timelines.
Engaged backers are more likely to spread the word about your campaign and offer valuable feedback. Regular communication keeps them involved and excited about the project.
Tips for effective communication
1. Write clear and concise updates
When crafting updates, be clear about the project’s status, achievements, and challenges. Use plain language, avoid jargon, and include visuals whenever possible to make information easily digestible.
2. Set a schedule
Establish a regular update schedule and stick to it. This could be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly updates, depending on the project’s complexity and timeline. Consistency helps backers know when to expect news.
3. Be responsive
Respond promptly to comments, questions, and messages from backers. Engagement demonstrates your commitment to their support and helps build a community around your project.
4. Show appreciation
Express gratitude to your backers for their support. Acknowledge their role in making your project a reality, and make them feel valued and appreciated.
Examples of Kickstarter projects that employed effective communication
1. Pebble Time
The Pebble Time campaign included regular video updates, showcasing prototypes, and addressing backer questions. This open communication style helped them raise over $20 million.
2. Exploding Kittens
The Exploding Kittens team maintained a playful and engaging tone throughout their campaign updates. They used humor and transparency to keep backers entertained and informed.
3. Oculus Rift
Oculus Rift’s campaign founder, Palmer Luckey, maintained an active presence on the campaign’s comment section. He answered questions, addressed concerns, and engaged with backers, fostering a sense of community.
Effective communication with backers and supporters on Kickstarter is paramount to the success of your crowdfunding campaign. By following these guidelines, you can enhance your Kickstarter etiquette and increase the chances of reaching your funding goals.
Building relationships with backers
Building strong relationships with backers easily determines the success rate of your Kickstarter campaign. For instance, it enhances your chances of meeting or even surpassing your funding goal and lays a solid foundation for a supportive and engaged community. This will benefit your project long after the campaign ends.
Importance of building relationships with backers
1. Builds trust and credibility
Establishing a personal connection with backers builds trust and credibility. Backers are likely to support a project when they feel a genuine connection with the creator.
2. Encourages repeat support
Building relationships encourages repeat support. Many backers from your current campaign may become supporters of your future projects if they have had a positive experience with you.
3. Builds word-of-mouth promotion
Satisfied backers are likely to spread the word about your project to their friends and social networks thus expanding your project’s reach organically.
Tips for interacting with backers on a personal level
Streamline your communication
- Timely and transparent communication: Keep backers informed about project developments, setbacks, and timelines. Respond to their questions and concerns promptly, and be honest about any challenges you face.
- Personalized messages: Send personalized thank-you messages or updates to individual backers. Mention their names and express your gratitude for their support.
- Engage in conversations: Actively engage in conversations with backers through comments, direct messages, or live Q&A sessions. Show genuine interest in their feedback and ideas.
- Exclusive backer updates: Offer exclusive updates or behind-the-scenes content to backers, making them feel like part of an inner circle.
Show appreciation for backer support
- Thank-you notes: Send thank-you notes or emails to backers, both during and after the campaign. Make them feel valued for their contribution.
- Backer-exclusive rewards: Create special rewards or bonuses exclusively for backers to show your appreciation. These can include limited-edition items, early access, or unique experiences.
- Recognition: Publicly acknowledge and celebrate your backers on social media or your project’s page. Highlight their names or usernames as a way of saying thank you.
Create a sense of community
1. Backer updates
Regularly update backers on the project’s progress, even after the campaign ends. Keep them involved in the journey.
2. Backer surveys
Involve backers in decision-making processes by seeking their input through surveys or polls. This empowers them and makes them feel like valued contributors.
3. Exclusive forums or groups
Create private forums or social media groups for backers to connect with each other. Encourage discussions and interactions related to the project.
Examples of Kickstarter campaigns that created a strong community
1. Pebble Time
Pebble, a smartwatch manufacturer, ran a campaign that not only raised millions but also created a strong community of tech enthusiasts. They engaged with backers by seeking their opinions on design and features, which made backers feel personally invested in the project.
2. Exploding Kittens
This card game campaign became one of Kickstarter’s most successful projects. The creators regularly communicated with backers, shared humorous updates, and even incorporated backer suggestions into the game, fostering a sense of community and involvement.
3. Elevation Dock
This project showed appreciation for backers by sending handwritten thank-you notes to each one. This personal touch contributed to the campaign’s success and created a loyal customer base for the product.
Handling criticism and negative feedback
Handling criticism and negative feedback is another essential aspect of maintaining a positive and constructive atmosphere within your Kickstarter campaign. Always approach such feedback professionally and respectfully to maintain the trust and support of your backers and potential supporters.
Importance of handling criticism and negative feedback strategically
1. Maintains credibility
Demonstrate that you can accept criticism gracefully and address issues responsibly. This shows backers that you are committed to delivering a high-quality product.
2. Helps you engage constructively
Negative feedback can provide valuable insights. Always Acknowledge it and engage in constructive dialogue thus leading to improvements in your project.
3. Preserves your reputation
A respectful response to criticism safeguards your campaign’s reputation. A hostile or dismissive attitude can lead to backlash and deter potential backers.
How to respond to negative feedback
1. Stay calm and professional
Negative feedback is inevitable, but how you manage it determines how much difference you can make. Respond professionally and avoid engaging in heated debates or defensive arguments to support your failure.
2. Acknowledge issues promptly
Respond to negative feedback promptly to show that you value your backers’ concerns and take them seriously.
3. Listen and learn
Always treat negative feedback as an opportunity for learning and self-improvement. Use it constructively to address concerns and make necessary changes to your project.
4. Address issues publicly
If a backer raises valid concerns or issues in the comments section, it’s beneficial to address them publicly so that others can see you take concerns seriously and are actively working to resolve them.
Show empathy and understanding towards the concerns raised, even if you disagree. This helps maintain a positive relationship.
6. Provide solutions
Offer clear solutions or plans for addressing the issues raised. Transparency can rebuild trust.
7. Privately address major issues when necessary
Some issues may be best resolved through private messages to avoid public disputes.
Examples of Kickstarter campaigns that addressed criticism and negative feedback strategically
1. Pebble Time: When Pebble faced criticism about its smartwatch’s design during its Kickstarter campaign, the team responded with updates, explaining their design choices. They engaged backers in the decision-making process, turning criticism into a collaborative effort that resulted in a successful campaign.
2. Exploding Kittens: The creators of Exploding Kittens responded humorously and openly to criticism and negative feedback. They maintained a friendly and lighthearted tone throughout, which endeared them to backers and made their campaign a massive success.
General tips for success in interacting with backers and supporters on Kickstarter
By following these etiquette guidelines enables you to enhance your Kickstarter campaign and build a supportive community of backers and supporters to help you achieve your fundraising goals.
- Provide timely updates: Regularly update your backers about the project’s progress, challenges, and milestones. Transparency builds trust and keeps backers engaged.
- Be responsive: Promptly respond to messages, comments, and inquiries from backers. Acknowledging their input and addressing concerns demonstrates your commitment to their support.
- Send personalized thank yous: Show appreciation by sending personalized thank-you messages to backers. Mention their names and express gratitude for their contribution.
- Manage expectations: Set realistic expectations regarding delivery dates, potential delays, and any changes to the project. Open and honest communication minimizes disappointment.
- Engage in conversations: Foster a sense of community by actively participating in discussions on your project page and social media. Encourage backers to share their thoughts and ideas.
- Encourage feedback: Welcome feedback from backers and use it to improve the project. Consider backer suggestions and involve them in decision-making when possible.
- Stay professional: Maintain professionalism in all interactions. Even if faced with criticism or challenges, respond calmly and respectfully.
- Show progress: Share visual updates, photos, and videos to keep backers excited and informed about your project’s development.
By adhering to these guidelines, creators can build trust, maintain a loyal community, and increase the likelihood of a successful campaign. In the world of crowdfunding, cultivating strong relationships with backers is not only a smart move but also essential for a project’s long-term success.
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