The Paradox of Choice

We love choice. In any given year every single film on Netflix is watched at least once. The Long Tail is an economic theory and excellent book, which explains why this happens. It states that due to the infinite shelf space of online retailers, people will now have almost limitless choices as to what they consume. We are living in a world where people can find exactly what they’re looking for and are willing to pay unbelievably high prices to get those special unique items.

At the same time, we hate choice. Having too many choices when we don’t have a lot of time, can be overwhelming and confusing. Limitless choice works when people have the time and energy to pay attention and look for the very best. When they don’t, people want quick and easy choices.

The Coffee Joulies project is one of the top-funded design projects on Kickstarter, and it has only three backing levels. It’s simple, and people visiting the page do not have to think much about what level they are going to choose.

Then again, the Womanthology; Massive All Female Comic Anthology! project was incredibly successful with a very complex system of rewards and almost 50 different backing levels. They even had unlockable rewards that, like in video games, became available when a certain goal was reached. This, however, was probably planned out ahead of time, and a lot of work went into putting them all together.

When creating your rewards, it is probably to best make ones that have meaningful value. If you are having trouble coming up with a $5 reward, then maybe you don’t need one. Having too many rewards ultimately clutters up your page and makes it difficult for people to decide. However, you may want to have a lot of different rewards. Either way, make it a conscious decision. Creating rewards just to fill price points probably won’t be meaningful enough for backers.


A Kickstart’s Guide to Kickstarter TOC:

pssst…you can read all of this offline by downloading the e-book.

Introduction
A Kickstarter’s Guide to Kickstarter: Introduction
How Kickstarter “Kickstartered” it’s own website
Understanding Kickstarter
The Basics of Kickstarter
Kickstarter is an updated version of the Parton Model
Kickstarter is like girl scout cookies…without the calories!
Make sure your project has an ending
Some additional benefits to running a Kickstarter project
Perry Chan’s Six Principles on why Kickstarter projects are successful
Yancey’s thoughts on getting funded
Brainstorming Your Project
What is this damn thing about?
Simplify your project for success
Is your project a Purple Cow?
Making Lemonade And Telling A Good Story
Reward The Patrons
Naming Your Kickstarter Project
Doing Your Homework
Before you launch, do your homework
No one cares about you
Some People Care About You
Who is Your Audience?
Where is Your Audience?
Resonating With Your Audience
Crossing Chasms
What Will it Cost?
Understanding Profit Margin and Costs
Setting Your Goals
Make or Break Decisions
Running the Numbers
Focus on what you need
Reasonable funding goals
Why be Reasonable?
How long your campaign runs depends on one thing, momentum
30 days or less
Managing Deadlines
Going for the BIG bucks
The Allure of a Large Backer
Pricing theory, thoughts about pricing your Kickstarter rewards
The Paradox of Choice
Crafting Your Pitch
Creating a compelling pitch for your Kickstarter project
Four questions people want answered when visiting your Kickstarter page.
Show some credibility to get more backers
Clarity is your friend
How to ask for Support
Kickstarter is a video-driven site
Examples of great pitch videos
Launching Your Project
Launching your project
How to track the progress of your Kickstarter campaign
The 30% Kickstarter project “Tipping Point”
Conclusion
How to engage an audience with a Kickstarter project: Idea & Story

Pricing theory, thoughts about pricing your Kickstarter rewards

The psychology of pricing is very difficult and complex. This book is too short to really get into it, but here are some things to think about. If you would like an in-depth look at pricing theory, I recommend Smart Pricing by Z. John Zhang

People enjoy a purchase more if they pay more for it. This is counter-intuitive. A common misconception is that people are very price sensitive, and always look for the best possible price. That might be true for food or gas, but most people coming to Kickstarter want to connect with other people. Stay away from really high reward levels, but don’t undervalue your rewards either.

If a higher priced reward is not significantly better, then why pay more? The tricky part about creating rewards is increasing value to match the increase in price. For example, if you are making an album you could offer a digital download and a CD as rewards. But, how much more valuable is a CD vs the digital download? I don’t mean monetary value but sentimental value. If the download is $10 and the CD is $25 is there enough of a difference that I would purchase the higher priced reward? For me, no. In fact I might pay you $15 extra NOT to make a CD. What’s the point? It wastes resources and gets scratched. However, if your CD is personally burned, and has an extra track, and sold for $50, then it might be a compelling enough reward.


A Kickstart’s Guide to Kickstarter TOC:

pssst…you can read all of this offline by downloading the e-book.

Introduction
A Kickstarter’s Guide to Kickstarter: Introduction
How Kickstarter “Kickstartered” it’s own website
Understanding Kickstarter
The Basics of Kickstarter
Kickstarter is an updated version of the Parton Model
Kickstarter is like girl scout cookies…without the calories!
Make sure your project has an ending
Some additional benefits to running a Kickstarter project
Perry Chan’s Six Principles on why Kickstarter projects are successful
Yancey’s thoughts on getting funded
Brainstorming Your Project
What is this damn thing about?
Simplify your project for success
Is your project a Purple Cow?
Making Lemonade And Telling A Good Story
Reward The Patrons
Naming Your Kickstarter Project
Doing Your Homework
Before you launch, do your homework
No one cares about you
Some People Care About You
Who is Your Audience?
Where is Your Audience?
Resonating With Your Audience
Crossing Chasms
What Will it Cost?
Understanding Profit Margin and Costs
Setting Your Goals
Make or Break Decisions
Running the Numbers
Focus on what you need
Reasonable funding goals
Why be Reasonable?
How long your campaign runs depends on one thing, momentum
30 days or less
Managing Deadlines
Going for the BIG bucks
The Allure of a Large Backer
Pricing theory, thoughts about pricing your Kickstarter rewards
The Paradox of Choice
Crafting Your Pitch
Creating a compelling pitch for your Kickstarter project
Four questions people want answered when visiting your Kickstarter page.
Show some credibility to get more backers
Clarity is your friend
How to ask for Support
Kickstarter is a video-driven site
Examples of great pitch videos
Launching Your Project
Launching your project
How to track the progress of your Kickstarter campaign
The 30% Kickstarter project “Tipping Point”
Conclusion
How to engage an audience with a Kickstarter project: Idea & Story

The Allure of a Large Backer

While large backers definitely give your project a boost, they also take away from the size of your new audience. One of the biggest benefits to Kickstarter is that it allows you to talk to more people. Every time you post an update, you get into the inbox of people who want to hear from you. Large backers are, in a way, a double-edged sword. They help your project, but hurt your reach.

Let’s say you launch a project for $3000. You get six backers and raise $400. Then a BIG backer pledges $2000 and almost completes your project. Now you only have a handful of people you can talk to. One of the best things to come out of my first project, Identifying Nelson, was the 170 people I can now talk to directly. Next time I want to launch a creative project I have a small group of people that I can share the idea with first.

Quantity OF Quality

When creating rewards the goal should be to have an adequate quantity of quality backers. You want to design the rewards so that most people will pledge right in the middle of your reward levels. You want some high backers and some low backers with most falling in the middle. Having a good spread of rewards, especially in the $25 to $250 range, will really help get a solid group of backers.


A Kickstart’s Guide to Kickstarter TOC:

pssst…you can read all of this offline by downloading the e-book.

Introduction
A Kickstarter’s Guide to Kickstarter: Introduction
How Kickstarter “Kickstartered” it’s own website
Understanding Kickstarter
The Basics of Kickstarter
Kickstarter is an updated version of the Parton Model
Kickstarter is like girl scout cookies…without the calories!
Make sure your project has an ending
Some additional benefits to running a Kickstarter project
Perry Chan’s Six Principles on why Kickstarter projects are successful
Yancey’s thoughts on getting funded
Brainstorming Your Project
What is this damn thing about?
Simplify your project for success
Is your project a Purple Cow?
Making Lemonade And Telling A Good Story
Reward The Patrons
Naming Your Kickstarter Project
Doing Your Homework
Before you launch, do your homework
No one cares about you
Some People Care About You
Who is Your Audience?
Where is Your Audience?
Resonating With Your Audience
Crossing Chasms
What Will it Cost?
Understanding Profit Margin and Costs
Setting Your Goals
Make or Break Decisions
Running the Numbers
Focus on what you need
Reasonable funding goals
Why be Reasonable?
How long your campaign runs depends on one thing, momentum
30 days or less
Managing Deadlines
Going for the BIG bucks
The Allure of a Large Backer
Pricing theory, thoughts about pricing your Kickstarter rewards
The Paradox of Choice
Crafting Your Pitch
Creating a compelling pitch for your Kickstarter project
Four questions people want answered when visiting your Kickstarter page.
Show some credibility to get more backers
Clarity is your friend
How to ask for Support
Kickstarter is a video-driven site
Examples of great pitch videos
Launching Your Project
Launching your project
How to track the progress of your Kickstarter campaign
The 30% Kickstarter project “Tipping Point”
Conclusion
How to engage an audience with a Kickstarter project: Idea & Story

Going for the BIG bucks

I see a lot of rewards in the thousand dollar range on Kickstarter. Sometimes projects even skip the most lucrative pledging tiers altogether, going from $20 to $200 to $1000. To me this is another example of people misunderstanding how Kickstarter works. The idea of crowd-sourced funding is that a lot of people will pledge smaller amounts of money. Pricing rewards in the thousands of dollars contradicts this idea. It is very hard to get people to spend large amounts of money on a perfect stranger.

In my experience, pledges of a $1000 or more came from people who knew me BEFORE I ran the campaign, not people who found me online. They are close family and friends who wanted to support our work. If someone is going to pledge in the thousands, you probably already know them. They already believe in your project, and you may have an inkling they will pledge at that level. You could have the coolest rewards in the world, but it probably won’t convince people who don’t know you to back at that level. Then again, if you are catering to an audience that regularly pays $1000+ for products, it just might work.


A Kickstart’s Guide to Kickstarter TOC:

pssst…you can read all of this offline by downloading the e-book.

Introduction
A Kickstarter’s Guide to Kickstarter: Introduction
How Kickstarter “Kickstartered” it’s own website
Understanding Kickstarter
The Basics of Kickstarter
Kickstarter is an updated version of the Parton Model
Kickstarter is like girl scout cookies…without the calories!
Make sure your project has an ending
Some additional benefits to running a Kickstarter project
Perry Chan’s Six Principles on why Kickstarter projects are successful
Yancey’s thoughts on getting funded
Brainstorming Your Project
What is this damn thing about?
Simplify your project for success
Is your project a Purple Cow?
Making Lemonade And Telling A Good Story
Reward The Patrons
Naming Your Kickstarter Project
Doing Your Homework
Before you launch, do your homework
No one cares about you
Some People Care About You
Who is Your Audience?
Where is Your Audience?
Resonating With Your Audience
Crossing Chasms
What Will it Cost?
Understanding Profit Margin and Costs
Setting Your Goals
Make or Break Decisions
Running the Numbers
Focus on what you need
Reasonable funding goals
Why be Reasonable?
How long your campaign runs depends on one thing, momentum
30 days or less
Managing Deadlines
Going for the BIG bucks
The Allure of a Large Backer
Pricing theory, thoughts about pricing your Kickstarter rewards
The Paradox of Choice
Crafting Your Pitch
Creating a compelling pitch for your Kickstarter project
Four questions people want answered when visiting your Kickstarter page.
Show some credibility to get more backers
Clarity is your friend
How to ask for Support
Kickstarter is a video-driven site
Examples of great pitch videos
Launching Your Project
Launching your project
How to track the progress of your Kickstarter campaign
The 30% Kickstarter project “Tipping Point”
Conclusion
How to engage an audience with a Kickstarter project: Idea & Story

Managing Deadlines

Another factor to consider is your own personal deadlines. In both of my Kickstarter projects the timing and length of my campaign was set by outside factors. I wanted to hit deadlines and timing windows which forced me launch at times that might not have been optimal.

You may have some timing windows that you are trying to hit. Meeting these timing windows can be tricky, because you run the risk of not putting enough work into your campaign before it launches.

The most important factor here is the size of your project and how much you’re going for. If you have a tight timing window and a smaller size project, then you might need to launch before you have worked everything out. If you’re going for a large amount and have a big project, then it will pay off to wait until you have everything ready to launch a campaign. Trying to launch before you are ready in order to hit an arbitrary deadline might hurt you. If I had to do it over again, I would’ve spent several months preparing for my first Kickstarter project instead of rushing to get it out the door.


A Kickstart’s Guide to Kickstarter TOC:

pssst…you can read all of this offline by downloading the e-book.

Introduction
A Kickstarter’s Guide to Kickstarter: Introduction
How Kickstarter “Kickstartered” it’s own website
Understanding Kickstarter
The Basics of Kickstarter
Kickstarter is an updated version of the Parton Model
Kickstarter is like girl scout cookies…without the calories!
Make sure your project has an ending
Some additional benefits to running a Kickstarter project
Perry Chan’s Six Principles on why Kickstarter projects are successful
Yancey’s thoughts on getting funded
Brainstorming Your Project
What is this damn thing about?
Simplify your project for success
Is your project a Purple Cow?
Making Lemonade And Telling A Good Story
Reward The Patrons
Naming Your Kickstarter Project
Doing Your Homework
Before you launch, do your homework
No one cares about you
Some People Care About You
Who is Your Audience?
Where is Your Audience?
Resonating With Your Audience
Crossing Chasms
What Will it Cost?
Understanding Profit Margin and Costs
Setting Your Goals
Make or Break Decisions
Running the Numbers
Focus on what you need
Reasonable funding goals
Why be Reasonable?
How long your campaign runs depends on one thing, momentum
30 days or less
Managing Deadlines
Going for the BIG bucks
The Allure of a Large Backer
Pricing theory, thoughts about pricing your Kickstarter rewards
The Paradox of Choice
Crafting Your Pitch
Creating a compelling pitch for your Kickstarter project
Four questions people want answered when visiting your Kickstarter page.
Show some credibility to get more backers
Clarity is your friend
How to ask for Support
Kickstarter is a video-driven site
Examples of great pitch videos
Launching Your Project
Launching your project
How to track the progress of your Kickstarter campaign
The 30% Kickstarter project “Tipping Point”
Conclusion
How to engage an audience with a Kickstarter project: Idea & Story

30 days or less

According to Kickstarter’s Kickstart School: Setting Your Goal page, statistically the most successful projects run for 30 days or less. Since they have data on projects, I would say this is a good number to go by.

During my interview with Dan Provost, co-creator of the iPhone tripod mount Glif, he explained why shorter campaigns are better.

“Anything longer than 30 days was kind of unnecessarily long. It’s either going to hit or it’s not. And if it doesn’t, then you are kind of dragging it out.”

I think this is a great way of looking at the timing. If people like your idea, they will like it right away. A longer campaign won’t necessarily make the idea any more attractive. He also makes the point that the attention span for things on the Internet is usually less than 30 days.


A Kickstart’s Guide to Kickstarter TOC:

pssst…you can read all of this offline by downloading the e-book.

Introduction
A Kickstarter’s Guide to Kickstarter: Introduction
How Kickstarter “Kickstartered” it’s own website
Understanding Kickstarter
The Basics of Kickstarter
Kickstarter is an updated version of the Parton Model
Kickstarter is like girl scout cookies…without the calories!
Make sure your project has an ending
Some additional benefits to running a Kickstarter project
Perry Chan’s Six Principles on why Kickstarter projects are successful
Yancey’s thoughts on getting funded
Brainstorming Your Project
What is this damn thing about?
Simplify your project for success
Is your project a Purple Cow?
Making Lemonade And Telling A Good Story
Reward The Patrons
Naming Your Kickstarter Project
Doing Your Homework
Before you launch, do your homework
No one cares about you
Some People Care About You
Who is Your Audience?
Where is Your Audience?
Resonating With Your Audience
Crossing Chasms
What Will it Cost?
Understanding Profit Margin and Costs
Setting Your Goals
Make or Break Decisions
Running the Numbers
Focus on what you need
Reasonable funding goals
Why be Reasonable?
How long your campaign runs depends on one thing, momentum
30 days or less
Managing Deadlines
Going for the BIG bucks
The Allure of a Large Backer
Pricing theory, thoughts about pricing your Kickstarter rewards
The Paradox of Choice
Crafting Your Pitch
Creating a compelling pitch for your Kickstarter project
Four questions people want answered when visiting your Kickstarter page.
Show some credibility to get more backers
Clarity is your friend
How to ask for Support
Kickstarter is a video-driven site
Examples of great pitch videos
Launching Your Project
Launching your project
How to track the progress of your Kickstarter campaign
The 30% Kickstarter project “Tipping Point”
Conclusion
How to engage an audience with a Kickstarter project: Idea & Story

How long your campaign runs depends on one thing, momentum

Projects that can sustain momentum over time will do well. Most campaigns will see a lot of activity at the beginning and the end, with a lull in the middle. Setting the time limit on the project is really about guessing how much momentum you can sustain during your project.

This is very hard to judge, and I have no real way of predicting this. Some projects that I think are going to do well, don’t make it, or only finish at the last minute. Other projects that I’m unsure about get funded right away. It is hard to say exactly where momentum comes from, but you should be prepared to deal with it.

In his blog Kickstartup, Craig Mod talks about planning media coverages to avoid “dead zones” in momentum. You can see from all the wonderful data he provides that there were several days in the middle of the project where pledging dropped off. Try to have a strategy for dealing with a drop in momentum, but be aware it’s part of the process.


A Kickstart’s Guide to Kickstarter TOC:

pssst…you can read all of this offline by downloading the e-book.

Introduction
A Kickstarter’s Guide to Kickstarter: Introduction
How Kickstarter “Kickstartered” it’s own website
Understanding Kickstarter
The Basics of Kickstarter
Kickstarter is an updated version of the Parton Model
Kickstarter is like girl scout cookies…without the calories!
Make sure your project has an ending
Some additional benefits to running a Kickstarter project
Perry Chan’s Six Principles on why Kickstarter projects are successful
Yancey’s thoughts on getting funded
Brainstorming Your Project
What is this damn thing about?
Simplify your project for success
Is your project a Purple Cow?
Making Lemonade And Telling A Good Story
Reward The Patrons
Naming Your Kickstarter Project
Doing Your Homework
Before you launch, do your homework
No one cares about you
Some People Care About You
Who is Your Audience?
Where is Your Audience?
Resonating With Your Audience
Crossing Chasms
What Will it Cost?
Understanding Profit Margin and Costs
Setting Your Goals
Make or Break Decisions
Running the Numbers
Focus on what you need
Reasonable funding goals
Why be Reasonable?
How long your campaign runs depends on one thing, momentum
30 days or less
Managing Deadlines
Going for the BIG bucks
The Allure of a Large Backer
Pricing theory, thoughts about pricing your Kickstarter rewards
The Paradox of Choice
Crafting Your Pitch
Creating a compelling pitch for your Kickstarter project
Four questions people want answered when visiting your Kickstarter page.
Show some credibility to get more backers
Clarity is your friend
How to ask for Support
Kickstarter is a video-driven site
Examples of great pitch videos
Launching Your Project
Launching your project
How to track the progress of your Kickstarter campaign
The 30% Kickstarter project “Tipping Point”
Conclusion
How to engage an audience with a Kickstarter project: Idea & Story