Friday, April 28, 2017

My rant about kickstarter campaigns

Have you ever browsed through Kickstarter projects, and find something that looks promising, only to open the project and discover that there isn’t anything in the description to go off of? Me too! Are you interested in your own Kickstarter, but are needing some information on how to make it work?
I am currently nearing the end of my second successful Kickstarter project. In researching projects before, during, and after my own campaigns, I keep seeing the same underlying issues with so many projects. I have put together my personal thoughts on what I like to see on a project page, and what I’m sure will help with funding a project.

First: Information!
Too many times, I’ll open up a project page, and all I see is just a paragraph (once or twice I even saw projects with just one sentence!). You can’t convey a good project idea and reward information with just one paragraph. Heck, your first paragraph should be an introduction about you, before even getting into the project information.
Once the introduction is complete, give us an idea of the background of your project. Once we have a background, give us the description on what you are wanting to accomplish with this project. Yes, we all would like to be able to quit our day job and work on this full time, however I like to see a little more personality from the creator and get to know them a little more. Then you can move on to the reward information. 

Second: Rewards!
Have a solid idea of what your rewards will be. Don’t just state something along the lines of, “I will send you one handmade widget made with my new equipment”. That tells me nothing, and doesn’t compel me to want to back your project at all. With rewards structured like this, this isn’t so much a project as it is you asking for handouts, and shoehorning in the Kickstarter requirements of having an item to offer your backers. If this is the case, you may want to consider other crowdfunding platforms that don’t require a reward item because chances are, your project here will not get funded, and your campaign will not be successful. 

Third: Pictures!
Going hand in hand with the rewards, I love to see actual pictures of the item that I will be pledging my money towards. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case, it is true! Have a good picture of each of your rewards so backers can see what their investment will get them. Going off of the description of “This tier reward will get you one widget with your name inscribed on it“ doesn’t tell us much. I want to see what this widget looks like! If possible, I would like to see a sample inscription, too! As long as the pictures are relevant, you almost can't have too many!

Fourth: Not too many pictures!
This seems to be a contradiction to what I stated previously, I know. Yes, pictures are great, however, when skimming over a project, I like to quickly glance at all the pictures, then I will go back over the information and rewards. What annoys me is to find an item in the pictures that I really like and may want to pledge for, only to find that it isn’t even one of the reward items. It’s just there to show that the creator can make this item. That’s a big letdown for me. I have even come across projects that have quite a few pictures, but only 1 or 2 of them are actual reward items. The others are there just as examples, I guess? Make sure the pictures you include are relevant.

Fifth: A Reasonable Goal!
I love the campaign! The items are great, the pictures and description are excellent, and I want to pledge to your campaign for that handmade widget reward! Here is my $20 pledge so I can get 2 of them! Oh, wait. You have a $500,000 goal for your campaign. Well, I hope that you get funded, but I’m not going to hold my breath, since there is a week left, and you are only at 8% to goal.
Setting your goal too high can be just as bad as not including any of the above items. It may not prevent me from pledging to back your project, but if your goal is totally unreasonable and the project doesn’t meet that goal, then I won’t get anything, either, and neither will you. At that point, it is a lose-lose.
I calculated the cost of what my kickstarter funds would be used to finance, and that was my goal. I didn’t put out some crazy expectations that I couldn’t possible meet. Granted, after fees and costs, I won’t be making that full amount, but I will be close enough to be able to pull it off.

So, those are the main things to focus on for a good Kickstarter, in my opinion. Notice that I didn’t even mention a video?
I don’t believe that a video is as important to a project as the above items. I don’t mind backing a project that is well thought out and presented nicely, but has no video. (To be honest, most of the time, I don’t watch the videos, anyway, unless I am already considering backing the campaign).
That being said, having a video does help! I was on the fence for one project about whether or not I wanted to back said campaign, but the video pushed me over into the pledge category. Unfortunately, that project didn’t get funded, but I’m positive that having that video did help!
You don’t have to have the best professionally produced video out there, either. Heck, mine were little more than just a slide show with a voice-over. But I did put time and effort into it, letting potential backers that I am willing and able to put such time and effort into the project and rewards, as well. I’m not just asking for a handout.
All this boils down to is simply this: information and effort. You can’t have too much information in your project. If creating the entire project in Kickstarter took less than a day or two, then I suggest you review your project again, and take at least one day for each of the previously listed items to include. If you are truly passionate about your craft/design/item, and are willing to put in the time and effort to ensure you succeed, then you certainly will!  
No, I’m not an expert, and I know that I have only had 2 projects vs people out there having many more. This is just a rant my personal views and experiences.

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