The Nesel Packs Kickstarter was successfully funded, with just under $36,000. I’m really proud of my team and everything that we’ve had to do to make this happen. I thought I would share some tips and tricks that helped us on the path to success.
- Know your audience. This is probably where we actually failed. Being young 20-somethings, we assumed that everyone knew what Kickstarter was. This was actually not at all the case! I answered several emails a day explaining what Kickstarter was and I had to send screen shots to make sure people understood exactly HOW to donate. That being said…
- Bend over backward for your customers. During the 30 day period of your Kickstarter campaign, you will likely have lots of questions. Do your best to answer all of them in a timely fashion. Also, you’ll get tired of answering the same questions over and over, but these customers will turn into potential sales, and the goal of Kickstarter is to raise money (and in our case, awareness as well).
- Start early. We have a very unique and niche product that a lot of people somewhat understand. We wanted to spread the word as early as possible, so we reached out to the media about a month before to pitch our story. We were incredibly lucky, being college students and having an amazing college newspaper. They wrote our story and within the next day, we were picked up by 2 local news stations and it spiraled on from there, peaking when The Today Show’s website covered us. Starting early also means PLANNING everything. We had a Google Doc going of our Kickstarter story and all of the graphics we needed/wanted.
- The video is important. Our video was good, not great. And that’s okay. A lot of people fundraising on Kickstarter don’t necessarily have the money to produce an amazing video. As long as it gets your point across and it is well-done, it doesn’t need to be like an Oscar winning short film. What’s more important is that the product is quality!
- Be transparent. Our product is expensive, and we’ve had to work really hard to justify that. Sometimes customers just won’t understand it either way, but it’s important that you try to explain anyways. Be transparent about your manufacturing process and how you are getting the bags to everyone, including delivery dates.
- You’ll get a lot of emails, and it’s probably best to ignore them. There are lots and lots of websites offering SEO optimization, press release writing, logo creation, and others will offer you cross-promotion. I took one offer for a phone call up and did one cross-promotion because it fit with our mission. It’s a lot of time to research these website’s credibility and often times it’s a hefty fee. We didn’t have the money for these services, and we were doing pretty well just on our own.
- Use your network! One of the best pieces of advice I received from a contact who ran a Kickstarter was to call in every favor you have. This is not the time to be scared or uncomfortable to ask for money. Post on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, whatever social media sites you use to gather donations! The second piece to this is that reach out to people in your network who have done this before. Chances are, you can have a 30 minute conversation to ask all the questions you need.
- Make sure your website is ready to handle the influx of traffic. This means that your hosting platform is solid, and it also means that it’s important to have a nice website so that people understand what you’re supposed to be looking at. Our website is looking a little rough right now, but we’re working on it!
- Triple check those backer surveys. I screwed up and forgot to ask the people who backed our t-shirt level what size they wanted. YIKES.
Any questions? Please let me know in the comments and I’ll try to answer them as best as I can. I’m by no means a Kickstarter expert, but if a college student like me can figure out how to run a successful campaign, you can too!
Below, an awesome dude named Liam trying out our backpack and some of my team members!