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

Why be Reasonable?

Of course you don’t necessarily have to play it safe. Craig Mod provides an interesting counterpoint to the “be reasonable” argument.

“Our biggest mistake was that we set our financial goal too low. It’s inevitable that a Kickstarter project becomes less exciting and loses its ‘gambling’ element when the financial goal is met and there’s still time on the clock (just look at our funding graphs above for empirical evidence!). An ideal situation for any Kickstarter project is to define a financial goal that is high enough to just be met within the allotted time.” – Craig Mod, Kickstartup

Perhaps for Craig’s project, the goal was set too low, and it might have been able to get more backers. However, I just want to point out what I think is the key sentence in his entire post.

“We took advantage of the vast contact lists we had built up while working in the design and art worlds over the past six years.” – Craig Mod, Kickstartup

To me, this demonstrates that Craig had a large existing audience before launching the Kickstarter project and therefore could have gone for more money.

Personally, I think it is better to get funded at a lower level than to be too ambitious and not get anything. Of course, the risk is yours. I reiterate: unless you have a relatively large existing audience, it is going to be very hard to generate $10,000 or more.


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

Reasonable funding goals

So what are some reasonable expectations for funding amounts?

  • For a single person with a limited or no built-in audience, $5000 or less is manageable, $5000 to $10,000 will be hard but doable, $10,000+ will be very hard.
  • For projects with more than one creator and a limited or no built-in audience, each creator can probably bring in $7000, assuming their networks do not overlap too much.
  • For projects with established audiences it really depends on the size of your audience. Nataly Dawn raised $104,788 from 2315 backers, but one look at her Youtube channel shows over 88,000 subscribers. Videos from her group Pomplamoose get over a million views. The majority of her backers are people who have been following her for awhile. If you don’t have this type of built-in audience, think hard about your goal.

You are free to set your funding goal to whatever you want. Just keep in mind how many people you will need to look at your project to get it funded. Even the “most funded” projects on Kickstarter have relatively small goals compared to what they were able to raise.


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

Focus on what you need

It’s time to focus on your budget and really look at what you need to make the project work, because setting your goals too high might actually hurt you. It takes a lot of work to get a project funded and you should be realistic about what your needs are.

 

This was one mistake my co-producer and I made during Identifying Nelson that almost cost us the project. John and I debated whether we should go for $20,000 or $15,000. Obviously, when making a movie you want as much money as possible. We went back and forth but ultimately decided on $15,000. The thinking was that we would hope for higher amount and have the lower amount as a safety net. I am so glad we made that decision, because in all honesty, I don’t think there was any way we would have made it to $20,000. It turned out $15,000 was just in our reach.

Look at all of your research and try to determine what is the minimum amount that you need to do your project. You may have a bigger vision for your project, but try to keep it small at first. The goal should be to get funded. If you do a really great job and get overfunded, then you might be able to do your project as envisioned. However, if you don’t get funded, you might not be able to do anything.

Should you undershoot your goal? No. Be honest about how much your project is going to cost. If you need to raise $50,000 minimum to do your project, then that’s your goal, not $35,000. Do the work and figure out exactly what you will need to complete your project and its reward obligations.


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

Running the Numbers

Why is it so hard to get a large project funded? Because of the sheer number of people who need to visit the project page. A project can be funded by a relatively small number of backers, but those backers come from a large group of people who have looked at the project, and most have not contributed.

According to Kickstarter, the average pledge is $70. Lets say your goal is $10,000. To raise this much money you will need between 130 to 150 backers. I found the number of backers is often lower, meaning people often pledge more than $70, but it’s a good place to start.

Based on my research, Kickstarter has about a 10% conversion rate. This means if you send the project to 100 people, 10 will back it. I’ll explain in the section “Launching Your Project” how I calculated this number. In the example above, the project needed 150 people to be funded. Assuming a 10% conversion rate, the project will need to be seen by 1500 people. Some of the views could be repeats, but it still needs to be seen by more than a thousand individuals.

A project that needs $40,000 will have to be viewed 5000+ times. Now you can start to see where this gets difficult. Unless you already have an audience or a large network, it is going to be very hard to reach that many people. If you think of everyone you know and could possibly reach out to, it’s probably a few hundred people. So the only way to get 1500 views is for your contacts to share your project with their contacts.


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

Make or Break Decisions

Probably the three most difficult questions of any Kickstarter project are how much, how long, and how to price rewards. The next series of posts will focus on addressing these though questions.

While researching this book I came across a post call Kickstartup by Craig Mod. It provides some detailed analyses and great insights on these very tough questions. I highly recommend checking it out, as it was mentioned by most of my interviewees as an important reference.

How Much?

Picking your funding amount is difficult, because if you go for too much, you risk losing it all. With Kickstarter’s all or nothing model, the biggest risk you take is setting your funding goal too high.

I will look at why it is so difficult to get large amounts of money from Kickstarter and why you might be better off going for a smaller amount. I know what you are thinking. What about those people who make tens of thousands of dollars for their projects? A lot of those are outliers. I want to talk about what a typical project can expect.

How Long?

One of the emotionally difficult decisions you will have to make is how long to run your campaign. As soon as you press go, the clock starts ticking, and it doesn’t stop or wait for you to figure things out. This can bring a lot of stress because your entire project is at stake.

However, the clock can also be a powerful ally. It forces people to choose whether they’re going to help you or not, and it gets the word out quickly. If everything goes well, the clock can rally your supporters and make your project a success.

Setting the length of your Kickstarter campaign is about sustaining momentum and meeting production deadlines. The maximum campaign length is 60 days, but as you will see, you may want to run a shorter campaign.

Pricing Rewards

The Creating Rewards page of the Kickstarter school informs you that the most common pledge is $25 and the average pledge is $70. You do not have to have these price points, but it might be a good idea to create tiers at or around these price points. Craig Mod provides further insight with his analysis of the top projects during March, 2010. He found that the highest grossing reward amounts were $25, $50, $100, $250 and $500. Craig concludes that people don’t mind paying $50 or higher for projects they love.


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