How to Run a Successful Kickstarter
Just after finishing university, Michael came to me with a script he and his brother Jack had written called Ariella. Instantly I fell in love with its dark brooding tones and twisting story lines, but now out of the safety net of our educational cocoon, we had less equipment and less support than ever before.
We carefully budgeted out what we thought we needed, took a hard look at what we could achieve, and set out to raise the funds ourselves through Kickstarter.
Speaking to everyone we knew, reading every blog, and building our audience as we prepped the film, we worked as hard as we could getting everything in line. Then after 5 of the most stressful, hard-working weeks of my life, we successfully raised over £10,000 to make our film.
Here are some tips on running a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Know your Audience and Create a Strong Brand
As with any project or film, knowing who’s going to be buying into it at the end is really important, and a crowdfunding campaign acts very much like a form of pre-ordering. It's therefore important to make sure you’ve got a strong idea as to who your audience is and create strong branding to attract them.
Our two audiences were film fans, more specifically crime/thriller fans, and our local community, bonus points for people who land in both.
We made sure that our campaign matched the dark tones of the film we wanted to create, keeping all our posts, images and even rewards in the vein of thriller films, and created the hashtag, #NottsLovesFilm.
Plan out, and Prepare your Content!
Just as important as it is to know how you want to post, you have to plan and prepare your content if you want to run a successful crowdfunding campaign. The more specific you get with this the easier it is. Believe me!
You want to be spending your time making phone calls, sending emails, and direct messaging people to help build awareness, not making new images and looking for the perfect gif!
Having a solid plan as to what you want to post each and every day, is the best way to stay organised. Here are some ideas for what you could prepare:
Milestone image, gifs, and template text (first £1000, thank you everyone!)
Interesting facts about your product/film/team
Thank you text and images for backers
Offers and Competitions
It takes the average person 3 times to see something before they take action on it. Make sure you’re always posting!
Have an AMAZING Kickstarter Video
Some campaigns are made or broken off of their Kickstarter Video. You are trying to sell two things, your product and yourself. It's important to be able to tell the story of both.
Quality is important, but not as important as style. If you’re starting out people will understand if you haven’t got the highest quality cameras. That’s what you’re asking for. If you’re a fun and lively business, be dynamic! If you’re a serious charity helping the elderly, slow it down a little. Most importantly, be passionate.
People love listening to what other people are passionate about, and it's often pretty easy to talk about what we’re passionate about! Look at the camera, you’ll be looking at your audience, and tell them why this is important to you.
Taking time to properly pitch your film, idea or business will help your audience understand who you are and what you’re trying to do.
Have a Support Network Ready to Back You
There are highs and lows in any crowdfunding campaign. Week 1 you’ll see a huge influx of cash streams where you’ll believe you’ll be funded in just a few days!
Until your direct network dries up, and that cash flow can slow down.
Everything is about momentum, and it's important that you try to remain as positive as possible in these times. This is a time where it’s probably best to have someone in reserve, who was always intending to give money, drop in, to reignite the flames driving your campaign.
£5 under £1000 and haven’t moved in a few days? Get ya Dad to top you up.
“Thanks so much everyone, we’ve just reached £1000! Like and Share and bring us to £2000”
You’re much more likely to get a few more backers now belief in your campaign has returned.
Maybe you’ve got other resources too? Match funding? Or a big backer once you’ve reached a certain % of your goal? Film execs or public investors, your income doesn’t need to come directly from the campaign, but your other sources can certainly help bolster your run!
Get these locked in before you start where you can.
Have a Plan, but be Willing to Adapt
We had a plan. We had back up plans. We also had to make new plans during our campaign.
I can’t stress enough how important your planning is, and just how much content you may want to prepare before your campaign. But just as important as it is to plan. You need to adapt.
If something isn’t working. If you’re not grabbing your audience’s attention. If money isn’t coming in. Make a change. Do something new.
Some campaigns have changed their entire pitch video to see a change.
Others started to thank each individual backer to help raise awareness.
After several (slightly older and less tech able) family members got in touch not knowing how the website worked, we even made an extremely quick yet comical how-to video to walk people through the process.
We chose Kickstarter for our campaign, which meant raising the funds was do or die. If we didn’t reach our target we wouldn’t get anything at all. This meant that we were willing to do whatever it takes to reach our goal, and we’re so happy we did.
That’s the attitude you need to walk into your campaign with, to do whatever it takes to make your dream happen. Good luck!
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