Kickstarter is Awesome, But Not Miraculous
If you have a product you want to sell, Kickstarter is a great place to start. Maybe you need funds for the initial production run, or maybe you just want to test your concept – either way it’s a great platform. There are lots of posts and books about how to run a successful Kickstarter project, but after doubling our targeted goal for SnapLaces we did a few things a bit different than what others have recommended. Obviously every project is unique, but some of the principals we used should still be valuable.
3 Simple Lessons for A Successful Kickstarter Project
- First and foremost, we worked our asses off. Running a campaign is more than a full time job, and even with people splitting the work there was still a lot to get done.
- We didn’t discount our product. Kickstarter is the one time in a products lifecycle where people might be willing to pay more just to help you out. Don’t make the mistake of discounting just to get backers. Most people underestimate what it will take to get a product to market, and even if you don’t, unexpected things can crop up.
- We contacted everyone that backed us. Literally everyone. Their responses to our questions ultimately led to valuable insights and shaped both the tone of our campaign and the direction of our company.
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A Successful Kickstarter Project is A LOT of Work
The amount of work a successful Kickstarter project requires is probably the biggest reason for failure. Having successfully managed a campaign and backed several others that were not successful, I can confidently state that there is a high correlation between the effort and result. The ones that didn’t interact with backers or actively engage, didn’t meet their funding goals.
We Didn’t Discount Our Product
Many Kickstarter projects offer discounts on the product being funded. We felt like that was a bad idea, especially at the under $50 price point we were in. We knew that we’d need over 1000 backers to be successful and lowering an already small price point would add to that number. More importantly the purpose of the campaign was to raise funds to pay for a new plastic injection mold, so we reasoned that backers would be preordering our product and helping us bootstrap the effort.
One thing we did do was offer a significant discount to a limit number of early backers to gain momentum. Your first week on Kickstarter is crucial because new projects are featured and people are much more likely to discover them. The “early adopter” reward allowed us to get the required momentum to become one on the top projects on Kickstarter which led to additional backers, but the limit made sure that we weren’t sacrificing our overall funding objectives.
Communication is Key
Prior to launching we studied other successful projects and one data point stuck out. Successful projects updated an average of 1.8 times PER DAY! This is where the bulk of the work came in. In addition to sending messages to every backer and responding to their questions, we tried to post 2-3 times every day on Kickstarter, as well as maintaining an active social media presence (active as in cultivating relationships, not just carpet bombing posts) on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.
Communication is the key to success on Kickstarter.
Engage and communicate relevant information to people who have helped you (or would likely help you if only they knew you existed) is the most reliable way to have a successful Kickstarter project.
The next project will definitely be better run and more organized, but if we can save you some time and misery by sharing than it will have been worth the time invested in reading.
As always, if you have a question or comment – just ask!
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Help Fight HDS #thereishope
About Hosting Deficiency Syndrome
Hosting Deficiency Syndrome (HDS) is a serious problem plaguing the WordPress community. Symptoms include slow page load times, the need for caching plugins, poor security, out of date WP installations, terrible customer service, and more.
Fortunately there is hope.
The treatment for HDS is Managed WordPress hosting from www.GetFlywheel.com. Their dedicated team of hosting professionals will migrate your site for free and have your website operating better in no time.
If you, or a company you know suffers from HDS, please contact them today.
Flywheel is an amazing WordPress hosting company based in Omaha, Nebraska (AKA The Silicon Prairie). They do an awesome job of managing WordPress hosting for design firms like us at Workshed.com. If your website is built on WordPress, check them out (Also they do free migrations, which is very, very, helpful).
We approach design, marketing, and websites from a business owners perspective. Sure, we love cool tech just as much as the next geek, but we know that providing solutions to real business problems is a better way to provide value.
Bandon Capital Management was acquired by Logan Circle Partners in late 2014. The beautiful website we spent months building was unceremoniously retired as part of the transaction.
Mutual Fund website design made easy
Publicly communicating anything in the investment world is difficult to do (but we know how to do it, more here), and creating a website that is both informative and visually stimulating the primary objective for our client. Bandon Capital Management is a pioneer in the investment (absolute return long – short bonds if you are wondering) world and they’ve taken that same approach to their website design. Eschewing stock photos and cliche images of old men in suits, they opted for a design that was fresh, modern, and full of custom graphics and images.
A few details
In addition to good design, they had a few other requirements to make their website compliant with FINRA. One of those was the ability to make certain content only accessible to financial professionals, but still be easy to use and maintain. To accomplish this we customized a lightweight membership plugin to keep it simple, yet still do the job. The other was a separate section for BandonFunds.com that used the same data base, but didn’t run afoul of the regulators (how we accomplished that was a challenge!)
Another interesting add on was a quiz to test visitors knowledge of Long – Short debt. It’s a fun and clever way to help educate people on what they do without being boring. A nice little add on is the ability to share results with your friends (or not if you didn’t do so well). Take the Long – Short Challenge.
Great clients make great projects
All in all it was a great project to work on. The team at Bandon is very knowledgeable, yet they allowed us to use our expertise to help communicate their message. We look forward to continuing our relationship as we move into an ongoing marketing role where we’ll help create content and continue to broadcast their message with the goal of attracting more investors in the fund. (If you are worried about the possibility of rising interest rates, give them a call or tell your broker to look at BANIX)
What do you think?
A Simple Question
What do we (Workshed) do? The imprecise answer is that we build websites and help businesses with marketing; it’s also an oversimplification of what’s really going on. The reality is that these are just outcomes – solutions to a challenge, but not really what we are actually doing. If you were to start asking why we do various things, you’d quickly realize that the why, is what Workshed is all about.
Asking this one question (why) over and over allows us to understand the core issues facing our clients; even if they don’t. In the day to day running of a business, it can be difficult to discern areas of inefficiency. Our objectivity allows us to observe operations without the biases that come from years of experience.
In addition to understanding the how’s and why’s of your business, we also have to acquaint ourselves with your customer. During this get-to-know, you phase of a project we are (among other things) seeking to understand your customers. Who are they, why do they buy, what need are they attempting to satisfy, and how you can optimally serve them (taking into account your own goals and values).
Once we know what you do and whom you should be doing it for, we start to craft solutions to bring the two of you together. This is where the websites, social media, and marketing come in. They are specific methods crafted to connect you with your ideal client. The outcome is the focus, not the tool. We are solution agnostic.
When you’re a hammer, all you see is nails.
When the tool takes precedence over the objective (to sell stuff) it’s easy to waste time and money. If you start with a clearly defined objective, the probability of success is dramatically increased.
What’s the Difference?
It all boils down to perspective. You might be tempted to assume that because our process usually ends up in a website that our websites are just like that of any other web design firm.
You’d be wrong.
I Thought You Built Websites for Business
Workshed is a team of passionate problem solvers who help businesses succeed as a way of expressing that passion. Contrast what we do with the typical web design company who build websites as an expression of their interest in technology. The technology might be cool, but if it doesn’t attract paying customers it isn’t getting results.
We get results because we focus on them.
The Simple Answer
So what does Workshed do? We get you the right kind of customers and more of them!
How do we do it?
By focusing on the solution rather than the tool.
Do you need more ideal customers?
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A Little History
For those of you unfamiliar with my (Joe’s) other life, I’ve spent the last 12 years (until Tuesday that is) as an investment adviser helping clients prepare for and maintain their retirement. While researching investments, I had the opportunity to acquire knowledge about a wide range of topics from a diverse mix of sources. Initially the focus was specific companies, then it expanded and I began to look at entire industries, and ultimately the economy as a whole. Along the way, I started sense that something was missing; an important piece to the puzzle that was being ignored.
That missing piece was and is local investing.
Most of the reasons for local investing are beyond the scope of this post, but one important factor is the re-circulation (or local multiplier) rate. The re-circulation rate is one measurement used to determine how long money stays in a community (and gets reused over and over); since the turn of the century it’s fallen from 25-30, to less than 10. A declining rate is like ajr slowly leaking from a tire, if not fixed it goes flat. With a city or town, it’s how they lose their vibrancy. Reversing that trend is why I decided to leave my primary profession and why I bought Workshed with Brian.
How Will That Help?
You might be wondering how a website/ marketing company can help fix the economy. By working with local businesses and entrepreneurs directly (at Workshed) we are able to see first hand what is working, what is missing, and what’s needed to operate a sustainable (as in earning enough money to stay in business) business. Access to capital is part of that equation, but so is access to the knowledge, wisdom, and experience of others. With every project, we learn a little more about how to make that happen and can share it with past and future clients. So far, we’ve achieved modest success with the client’s we’ve worked with, and our work is positively contributing to their sales!
If you need help with something business related give us a call, we don’t have all the answers, but so far we haven’t been stumped.
But Wait There is More!
And another thing, don’t let cost be an issue. We won’t do a project if we don’t think it will generate a positive return for our clients and we are willing to offer payment arrangement to accommodate most budgets.
GIVE US A CALL