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Being a College Student and Achieving Kickstarter Success – What we learned from Clipboard+ [Before Launch]

8 Dec Clipboard+ Successfully Funded on Kickstarter

For the past few months, we at Clipboard+ have worked very hard to fulfill the orders of our faithful Kickstarter backers.

Side note to Kickstarter backers: Thank you so much for your feedback and support. We couldn’t have done it without you. Since the success of our Kickstarter project, we have learned quite a bit and would like to share the resources we used and strategies developed along this fantastic journey.

Kickstarter Logo

Is this Kickstarter advice for me?

Since the other three co-founders are still in college and I am a recent graduate, we had to be quite creative in the implementation of our Kickstarter strategy. After many mistakes and a lot of research, we came up with some awesome guidelines that will help any project in any category. With our Kickstarter success and recent fulfillment, we thought it would be helpful to openly discuss the tactics we used.

You will benefit from this series of posts if:

  • You have no money/ no time, but still want to launch a Kickstarter project.
  • You are currently in over your head and a part of a launched Kickstarter project.
  • You are knee deep in customer orders from a recently funded Kickstarter project.

Clipboard+ & Kickstarter

Below, Clipboard+‘s efforts are divided into three different sections: Before Launch, During Launch, and Post Launch. In this post, we will exclusively discuss how to prepare Before the Launch of your Kickstarter project.

Part 1: Before Launch (The 3 R’s)

  • Research.

    Questions to ask: What is the scope of my project? How long will it take? What competing products have been successful/failed in the Kickstarter space? How much money do I need to complete this project? What content will be in my video? What will my project page look like? Who will support my idea? How will I reward my supporters? How will I get the internet’s eyes on my project? (*Adapted from 9 Essential Steps for a Killer Kickstarter Campaign by Mashable’s Stephanie Buck.) 

Here are screen shots of information you need to know, straight from the stats page on Kickstarter:

Kickstarter Statistics Projects & Dollars (Dec. 5, 2012)

Kickstarter statistics (Projects & Dollars)

(Related: check out the comprehensive 2011 statistics report published by Kickstarter.)

Below are excerpts from an infographic published by Apps Blogger titled “The Untold Story Behind Kickstarter Success.”

Kickstarter Margins of Failure & Success

The Untold Story of Kickstarter Stats

Chance of Success on Large Kickstarter Projects

Chance of Success on Large Kickstarter Projects

What Variables Matter?

Effect of Variables on Chance of Kickstarter Success

*Important Final Research Step:

Vet Your Idea. Stop talking about your new project! Step back and consider the possibility that it is a bad idea. Be critical. Step into a nay-sayers shoes and ask the hard questions. Also keep in mind, if your idea doesn’t create polarity, it also might not be a good idea. (It is a good thing if not everyone likes your idea.) If you can’t/ don’t now how to develop your own ideas, please refer to The Founder Institute’s Idea Development Guide.

  • Read.

    This should be thought of as an extension of your research. It includes blogs that could be interested in your project, other projects’ pages and social copy, news sources about Kickstarter and any recently successful Kickstarter projects. Reading to benefit your project is something that should be enjoyed. Kickstarter is meant to help fund a passion project, if you are not enjoying the necessary reading it might be worth reconsidering launching your project all together.

Tools to help you read more, faster:

RSS Feed (ex: Google Reader ) – aggregate content send to Instapaper.

Instapaper – Organize & read content.

Google Alerts – Track specific keywords and stay on top of your areas of interest.

Evernote – Write notes about impactful content and save url for future use.

  • Reach Out.

    Once you have read and researched, it is time to take your cool new idea and reach out to people that matter. Use the time you have spent reading and connect with the bloggers whose content you have genuinely enjoyed. At first, don’t even mention your project. Focus on making a real human connection and success will follow. If you want to make a genuine connection we highly suggest “the Impact Equation” by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. It is a great read that is well worth your time and money.

Use these steps when contacting a blogger/ news outlet:

  1. Introduce yourself, your product, and the launch date.
  2. What the news is about.
  3. Why is it a big deal?
  4. Website access or screenshot of what you are launching.
  5. Your name, your telephone number & meaningful social network.
  6. P.S. – something meaningful, memorable

(Sales tip: Always remember a “no” is just one step closer to a “yes.”)

Final Thoughts

One of the most common Kickstarter slip-ups is not properly planning ahead. Make sure you have a clear idea of your timeline going forward. Keep your date of delivery always on top of mind. Additionally, make use of your networks. We had some great support from friends like, Roger Osorio, but failed to fully tap into our networks until mid way through launch. Our biggest misstep was not connecting with bloggers early enough. This early connection to people (bloggers), who can get your project noticed, requires time invested months before launch. Make it your goal to stay connected to at least five bloggers. This will make your path going forward much easier.

We would love to hear from you! Please comment if you have any additional information about how to prepare for Kickstarter pre-launch.

Thanks for reading. We will be back next week with “Being a College Student and Achieving Kickstarter Success” (Part 2 – During Launch)

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Social Media for the Everyman [Guide]

3 Oct

Are you stressed out because social media seems like an unclimbable mountain? Have you seen your competitors take advantage of these digital tools with great success? Do you wish there was a guide to just get started? Changing the Way You Work has compiled an easy to digest five step process just for you!

CWYW’s Social Media for the Everyman, is perfect for small business owners who are overwhelmed by the perceived enormity of social media. In this guide we will cover pertinent resources and point you in the direction of some excellent advice on how to effectively utilize social media.

Social Media for the Everyman

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Step 1: Observe

– Know your audience. This means establish your goals early and stick to them. Once they are defined, it is all about your audience. In the Startup Owner’s Manual, Steve Blank often harps on the importance of knowing your customer. Blank continues to say, “Products developed by founders who get out in front of customers early and often, win.” Think of your social media content as your product. In order to deliver a product your customers want, get out and talk to them! Once you have done this, it is time to put on your thinking hat and start brainstorming.

Step 2: Brainstorm 

– Analyze your audience. Is your audience on social media? If so, what social media networks are utilized by your target audience? What kind of content is consumed by your audience? All of these questions must be answered before going ahead to step three. Do some survey research with your current customers and find out what kind of content they would like to see from you. Check out sites like Social Media Today or Marketing Profs for more information on getting to know your customer. Remember this is social media, so the content must actually come from a living person who will interact with other users. After this research, write EVERYTHING down and move on to consolidation.

Step 3: Consolidate 

– Step into the audience’s shoes. Now that you understand your target audience, it is time to start thinking like them. What kind of content would I want to see if I was a customer? What kind of content is provided by the competition? Is it engaging? After all, content is king and consistency is essential to your content getting to the throne. How often would your customers like to see you posting? If consistency of content is an issue, we recommend a tool like Buffer. This social media tool allows you to schedule your posts ahead of time and is an excellent tool for all of the busy small business owners who don’t have the time to write new content everyday.

Step 4: Deliver 

– Speak to your audience. Now that you understand your audience’s needs, it is time to move on to the fun part, posting your content. Determine a realistic posting schedule from the get go. Keep in mind, while this is advertising, it is by no means passive. Interaction and engagement are essential to successful social media implementation. As you deliver your content, be transparent by responding to comments as often as possible. A great book for everyone to read on the topic of social media is Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform. It contains everything you need to know about building a successful online platform and is essential reading for anyone trying to get a better handle on the world of social media.

Step 5: Assess 

– Research your audience’s response. You have done everything up until this point and are delivering consistent content to a semi-engaged audience… Now what? Assess your performance and look at your goals. Are your goals still realistic and achievable? Do you have new goals? The assessment step is essential to your plan’s success. Without it, your online presence will not continue to improve. Make use of online monitoring tools like Google Analytics or the analytics tool in Buffer to see where your customers are coming from and how engaged they are with your content. Once you have redefined your goals, return to step two and repeat.

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These steps, while not comprehensive, will get you on your way to establishing a social media presence. For the full effect, we strongly encourage you spend extra time in the “consolidation” and “assessment” phases. These phases are essential to focusing your plan and speaking directly to your target audience. For further inspiration in the art of focusing we suggest the biography of Steve Jobs. Known for his short temper and genius, Jobs was even more famous for his ability to cut the fat. Learn from his example and do the same to your social media strategy.

We hope you enjoyed our guide of Social Media for the Everyman. If you have any suggestions or a different opinion please comment! We would love to hear from you.

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