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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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