One of the most difficult things when starting a new business is having capital to create new products, buy inventory, bring them to life, and begin selling. Luckily, I’m going to show you how to successfully raise money on Kickstarter so you can launch your new idea.
In 2017 we wanted to introduce a new line of bold shoes, and we decided to crowdfund the project using Kickstarter. Our campaign raised over $200,000, with our proudest moment being able to raise $102,035 in the first 4 hours.
We were able to do this by following a proven marketing strategy that you can replicate. This post aims to show you my full marketing strategy on how to successfully raise money on Kickstarter and fund your project.
What is Kickstarter?
Chances are you’re familiar with how Kickstarter works, but I’ll cover it nonetheless.
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform that makes it easy to raise money for your business idea, or in terms of the platform, your kickstarter project.
For the first 3 years of running Soxy.com, we focused only on selling bold socks. When we posted on social media of ours socks, our customers would always ask where they can also buy the shoes
As a self funded startup, we had to determine the best way to test a product without investing into inventory and taking on a huge financial risk.
We could have sent a survey (in fact we did, 1 year before our Kickstarter) but that still didn’t justify whether or not people would pay for the product.
A survey is not enough indication to determine whether to invest resources into a product. People vote with two things; their time, and their money.
After having some familiarity with Kickstarter, we decided to start a Kickstarter campaign.
How does Kickstarter Work?
The basis of Kickstarter is quite simple; first you need to make commitment to start a Kickstarter campaign as it’s a lot of work.
Once you have an idea of what you want to launch and determine ‘rewards’ (another fancy way of saying products people will buy), set a time frame for how long your Kickstarter campaign will run, and then launch.
How to Make a Successful Kickstarter Campaign
In order to have a successful kickstarter campaign, your pre-launch kickstarter marketing strategy needs to be well orchestrated.
This is where the magic happens and it’s what differentiates winning kickstarter campaigns from the losers.
Your main goal is to generate as many emails as you can, while also growing your retargeting list.
Capturing emails is an easy way to qualify people who are interested in your product, its an indication they are interested in what you are offering.
This allows you to build a relationship and rapport by putting your email list through an email flow. How do we capture emails?
- Landing page
- Blog / Article Content
You test which works better, then go all in on one. And then when your campaign is ready, you do a big email broadcast letting everyone know its launched. Let’s walk through it all.
Step 1 – Determine Your Kickstarter Offer
Before you set up your marketing campaign, you need to determine your Kickstarter offer. This incentivizes people to take action, and rewards your early backers.
Keep in mind your earliest backers will need have the biggest discount and be most rewarded – you’ll use this offer for your marketing.
Consider a big discount, a free gift, or anything of high value that would incentivize someone to give you their email if they are interested.
Step 2 – Create a Kickstarter Landing Pre Launch Landing Page
Your Kickstarter landing page should be a condensed version of your Kickstarter campaign. Its goal is give build interest and show people a sneak peak into what’s to come.
You need to include key elements like your unique value proposition, showcase your product, talk about why it’s special, and any story that goes along with it.
Incentivize email capture with your best Kickstarter offer (ex. if early backers save $100, use this your email incentive)
RESULTS: Our landing page had over 98,000 unique visitors, and we are able to generate 26,986 emails with a conversion rate of 27.41%
Step 3 – Create a Kickstarter Pre-Sell Content Article
We wrote this article here to use as our content marketing piece. A blog article is a form of content marketing. Similar to creating a landing page, its goal is to engage with reader and capture their email
There are pros and cons to both, ultimately it comes down to the data and how your audience responds.
Launch a landing page and blog article to test and see which does better. Measure the email opt in percent and then go all in on the winner.
Step 4 – The Thank You Page
Once people opt in, their journey should not end there. The thank you page is a perfect opportunity to ascend your audience and incentivize them to take action; in this particular case we wanted them to share the campaign.
We decided to do a giveaway contest through Gleam that allowed people the opportunity to win a free pair of shoes.
For each action they took (share on Facebook, retweet our post, follow us, etc.) they would receive more tickets and get a better chance to win.
For example – one action was to retweet one of our tweets. We got 357 free retweets just by including this as one of the options.
Although it’s not our primary focus, it helped spread additional awareness for free.
Bonus: We also had our socks displayed at the bottom that allowed tAs we were already driving traffic, we offered our socks for purchase to help recoup investment
Step 5 – Email Marketing
This is an important part of the pre-launch marketing campaign that can determine whether you fail or succeed at your Kickstarter or Crowdfunding project.
The goal of this email flow is to build rapport with your audience and engage up until the launch. This is an opportunity to dive deeper into your campaign, tell stories, show behind the scenes, and more.
This will ascend them into becoming a buyer when your Kickstarter campaign launches.
Check out our first email we sent immediately after someone subscribes through our landing page. This is an introductory email, part of a 7 day email flow.
If you have existing products for sale like we did, you will actually be able to make money right away from your email flow.
Otherwise, use this opportunity to continue to engage with those who have expressed interest in your campaign.
This email on its own generated $13,984.74 in free additional revenue. It helped pay for up front ad costs and allowed us to invest even more money into advertising.
Your pre-launch email flow is important, and it can be a key factor in a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Step 6 – Facebook Ads for Kickstarter Campaign
Kickstarter marketing primarily involves running Facebook ads to the landing page(s) we spoke about above.
Facebook ads are the best, most efficient way to put your message infant of an audience and get a desired action
To set up our ads, we followed a basic structure of creating many different ad sets using a variety of interests / demographics. We used different ads to test the messaging and creative.
After running a test, we used the data to decide which one would be best to scale with. We looked at social engagement, as well as important metrics like CPC and CTR.
We turned off the loser ads, and focused on the ones that were promising.
Can you guess which one was the winner for us? If you guessed ad B you are correct! The winning ad had 25k likes, 4k shares, and 1.7k comments.
Step 7 – Retargeting Ads
You need to setup retargeting in order convert those who clicked through but did not sign up to your email list. This is an essential part of digital marketing.
You could either drive people back to your original landing page, or you can create another asset which will build more rapport and get them to opt in.
In our case, we created another article which would serve as an asset for us. If visitors didn’t convert initially, it means they weren’t convinced or just got distracted as humans normally do.
Our job as marketers is to remind them about the campaign but also add value in case they need a bit more convincing
Results: We received 1524 emails that we would have otherwise missed out on if we did not have this set up.
Launching A Kickstarter Campaign
In order to get on the front page of kickstarter, you need to raise as much money as possible in the first 24 hours.
A strong start builds momentum. You need to understand which distribution channels you’ll make the push.
You need to be prepared well in advance, so be sure to get your creatives and ads set up.
- Email Broadcast (24 Hour Reminder + Added Bonuses)
- Email Broadcast (We’re Live)
- Facebook Ads
- Facebook Messenger
- Google Display Ads
You should have 2 core audiences to advertise to:
- Leads (people who opted in to your landing page)
- Non leads (people who visited landing page, but never converted)
We collected over 28,000+ emails during our pre-launch campaign. Now we use the opportunity to get people ready for the Kickstarter.
Email: 24 Hour Reminder Broadcast
This email is sent to remind people of the Kickstarter. We also included a last minute exclusive offer, making it even that much better.
We added 5 Free bonus socks ($55 value) for free for the first 24 hours.
This created massive urgency, which helped spike sales up quickly.
RESULTS: 31.4% Open rate (7385 people) and 7% clicked directly through
Email: We’re Live! This email is sent when the Kickstarter is live!
RESULTS: 29.6% Open rate (6914 people) and 10% clicked directly through
We posted this on our Facebook page and boosted it to all of our different audiences.
For those that are more technical, we ran engagement campaigns (as CPMs are super cheap) and also traffic campaigns.
We had a few different posts, but this was one of our best performers.
Facebook Messenger Broadcast
We used Manychat to create a Facebook Messenger broadcast to all of our subscribers, here’s how it looked like:
With a 92% open rate and 12.9% click-through rate, this was an additional channel that proved to be effective during our launch.
Google Display Ads
As you have big audience list, Google ads is a great way to display creative ads all over the web (unlike Facebook, where it’s mostly on their platforms).
We created display ads which targeted everyone who visited the landing page.
Our Google Display Ads proved to be effective and help drive over 3000 visitors from our remarketing list to our Kickstarter page.
The Results of Successful Kickstarter Campaign Launch
We launched our campaign Sunday Oct 22, at 4pm. We hit our $15k goal within the first 20 minutes. It took us 4 hours to hit $100k, and by midnight we raised $119,751.
Why the Sudden Decrease After Day 2?
We had a lot of complaints from people wondering why they had to order on a different site.
Many people don’t know Kickstarter, and the UX of Kickstarter is actually pretty terrible, especially on mobile. It’s not a smooth experience if you’re new to the platform.
So we decided to allow people to pre-order directly on our website, considering the potential customers lost by having it on
Kickstarter as well as the additional 8% Fee kickstarter charges. By having it on our website we controlled the entire experience.