37 - Tip Tuesday - Secrets Behind a Successful Kickstarter Campaign

business strategy Nov 30, 2017

Have you ever wanted to start a project within your business, but you didn't have the funds to get it going?  Well, a campaign on Kickstarter might be something you may want to try.  Colleen Darby did just that, and she was kind enough to share her tips and secrets to getting double her initial ask!

Colleen was turning 50 and really wanted to take a new approach to her life, and take on a dream she had always had of being a full time artist.  She decided to take 30 days off from her day job, and work towards this dream.  She was working as an artist in residence in an oncology floor, when she realized no matter how beautiful the day was outside, that the patients really only had a view of the same white walls.  That's when her idea of A Room With A View came to be.  She wanted to paint landscape views for the patients.

She did start planning her launch in March and didn't launch the Kickstarter Campaign until August.  

What were the first steps in planning?  On the Kickstarter website, they have Kickstarter School, which will help you plan your campaign.  She then looked at some of the most successful campaigns and took notes about what they did, and what she really liked about them.  

1. You really need to be really passionate about the campaign.  This is something you're going to be working on for a really long time.  You really want people to feel your passion and jump on.

2. Create a compelling video.  Instead of paying to have a video produced, Colleen proposed that instead of paying him up front, he would make 5% of what was made on the campaign.

3. Come up with some great incentives.  Include the things like costs of shipping, etc, things you may not think of right away.  You'll need to set-up different pledge levels because some will want to give small, and others more.

What kind of incentives did you put together?  The smallest was for a $1, and you received good karma.  And then a postcard and a signed note from her.  She then created a painting in the video, and she used that painting as incentives.  She also created sketches for the 20 landscape series.  

She then did a kick off party, and sold those sketches at that party.  

How did you market this?  First, she sent out postcards inviting the press and friends to come to a big white party.  She did a white party because she wanted to be symbolic of what a hospital is like.  She brought in pledges that night and let that go.  She then did a national press release.  She was in a medical publication and the Canadian version of The View.  Then the last, final phase was to go and reach out to bloggers.  There are some great bloggers who solely follow the Kickstarter Campaigns.

Do you have to set a time limit on the time it's open for donations?  She picked 50 days to be symbolic about the whole campaign (she launched it on her 50th birthday).  The Kickstarter School suggests around 30 days.

Colleen ended up getting funded well before the 50 days.  However, she really did a lot of work well before the start of the campaign.  She knew she had a lot of it well before the campaign.  And she ended up with almost double of what she was asking.  

Would you recommend Kickstarter Campaigns for other people?  Yes, she recommends not setting a goal that really isn't attainable.  You can always go over it.  She suggests to do your homework, be passionate, and invest in a good video.  She's just now almost finishing up her fulfillment, so this is something that's going to be in your life for a while.

Any advice on certain business types that would work well for a Kickstarter Campaign?  So it has to be a project.  Therefore it has to have a beginning and an end.  It really just has to be a project that you're passionate about.  It could be anything from a science project to a movie.  

Are you going to keep up to date on all of your donors?  She believes that communication is a huge part to her campaign's success, and will keep her donors updated.

More About Colleen:  

Colleen Wall Darby is an inspirational artist, designer & illustrator. She is a registered
Healing Artist, a member of the Global Alliance for Arts and Health, a former Artist in
Residence with the University of Buffalo’s Arts in Healthcare Program and President
of Colleen Darby Designs, Inc. In 2013, Darby ran a successful Kickstarter campaign,
A View for a Room: Transforming Healthcare Spaces. The campaign afforded her
the opportunity to complete nineteen LandEscape Paintings. The series was created
specifically for medical environments. The collage and acrylic works, depict scenes
from nature and are filled with positive messages, meant to uplift and offer hope to
patients during treatment.

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