New creators reach out to Kicktraq all the time for advice on how to better promote their Kickstarter project. After all, you’ve got a good idea, and everyone you’ve talked to is interested and supportive. It shouldn’t be THAT hard to get funded, right?
The key to your success really depends on your pre-launch community-building efforts. Think of it like this – your Kickstarter campaign launch is the equivalent of a concert. If you didn’t invest time and effort into filling the arena before the concert began, how epic can you really expect the show to be?
Right. Which leads us to today’s topic…
5 Tips for Growing Your Crowdfunding Community
Building a robust crowdfunding community can seem like an overwhelming task, but it’s vital to your project’s success and the maturation of your brand. Try these 5 techniques to help grow your community before you launch your first campaign.
1. Identify Your Target Backer
Let’s be honest – most Kickstarter campaigns address backer wants, not needs. For example, if I need a pair of heated socks for snowboarding in -30 temps, I’m not likely to login to Kickstarter and search for heated socks just for the honor of paying now and (maybe) receiving them in 12 – 18 months. So, who is that potential backer that’s willing to shell out their hard-earned cash in the near future for a reward they may not receive for quite some time, and what’s driving them to click the big green “Back this project” button for your specific project?
Maybe they’re motivated by being one of the first people to receive your product. Maybe they’re a collector who really wants to have Kickstarter exclusives that can’t be purchased later. Perhaps they recognize the value of your product and want early bird pricing. Or maybe they’re just community-minded and really want to feel like they had some influence in helping bring your idea into reality. Whatever is driving them, knowing your ideal backer and their motivation for funding your project will help you know who to even ask to join the party.
2. Know Where Your Backer Lives
I don’t mean literally where they reside. Sure, if you have a physical product, it’ll be important to know at some point where your backers are geographically, but that’s a logistical issue for your PledgeManager after your campaign funds. For the purposes of growing your community before you launch on Kickstarter, we’re talking about knowing where your backer spends their time – where are you most likely to cross paths with them when they’re also going to be receptive to hearing about your idea and how it might enhance their life? Are they on social media? At conventions and trade shows? How will you connect with them in a way that fosters their excitement for your product from the moment they find you, through your crowdfunding campaign, and until their rewards are delivered?
Don’t be surprised if you have to come at this a bit sideways. For example, let’s say your company Cats Will is play-testing and hoping to launch a Kickstarter for a cute cat game next year. Gamers like games, so a gaming convention seems like a good place to grow your community, right? Well, you’re not wrong, but at a gaming convention, how many other games will you have to compete with to get your target audience’s attention? Perhaps you might also consider investing your time at a trade show about cats where everyone is guaranteed to love your theme and you’re more likely to stand out as a unique offering.
3. Give Them Something of Value for Free
No, no, no… I’m not advocating that you build a bunch of expensive things and hand them out for free before you’ve even funded. That’s silly. But if you know your target backer and what’s motivating them to support your specific project in the first place, there might be something they would find valuable that you were planning to offer anyway. Highlight that! You can give prospects who join your community now the promise of a special loyalty product only for them when you deliver your successful campaign in the future.
For example, in Cats Will‘s cute cat game, maybe you have an adorable higher quality first player token already in mind to sell as a limited-quantity add-on, and your target backers are collectors of exclusives. You can run a promotion before your campaign, and for each backer who joins by some deadline, add one to their box at fulfillment at no charge. It costs pennies compared to the level of excitement your collector-backer will have (and share with their friends in support of this and future Cats Will campaigns) because they’re getting something for free that others may not even have access to later.
Once they’ve agreed to join your community, you can’t just abandon them and hope they’ll stick around until you fund. You’ve got to involve the members of your community in the goings-on of your project. Again, knowing your target audience and where they live will go a long way toward offering insight about how best to keep them excited, whether it’s a sneak peek on social media, gathering feedback in a forum, running a sign-up contest on your website, or even asking them to help demo at a trade show or convention.
5. Cultivate Mutually Beneficial Partnerships
Collaborating with other upcoming campaigns or industry influencers that offer complementary products can offer both of you some synergistic benefits. That said, make sure you do your research first. You should know how the crowd feels about your prospective partner lest your pool of backers dry up over some guilt-by-association from a campaign snafu long before your time. But, if our imaginary Cats Will company teams up with our good friends over at Dog Might (heyyy!), suddenly we can offer exclusive content or components that might not have even been possible otherwise. And we can cross-promote to increase the size and reach of the community for both brands. Win-win!
Are you a serial creator with more tips to share? Leave a comment below!