How to Start a Kickstarter Campaign – The Complete Guide to Getting Funded
If you’re reading this, then you are thinking about embarking on the crazy rollercoaster ride that is crowdfunding and you want to know more about how to start a Kickstarter campaign. It is a thrilling ride that allows you to take your invention, idea or creation and bring it to life by gaining support from a community wanting to help you succeed. The road to launching your campaign is bumpy and will take great amounts of time and energy but there is so much opportunity that comes with launching your campaign so hold on and get ready for the ride!
WMV Productions is a video production company that has created almost a hundred Kickstarter videos. We have learned A TON about crowdfunding over the years and would like to take that knowledge to help you craft the perfect video to help get you funded. We have created this guide below to help get you started on the path to success. When you are ready to have a Kickstarter video made for your campaign, please give us a call.
WMV Productions Crowdfunding Demo Reel
If you’re like us, the first thing you do when visiting a project page is click play. A video is by far the best way to get a feel for the emotions, motivations, and character of a project. It’s a demonstration of effort and a good predictor of success. Projects with videos succeed at a much higher rate than those without (50% vs. 30%).
We can help you join the elite companies that get funded through Kickstarter with a video that will tell your story and compel your audience.
In the early days of Kickstarter, there was a formula to becoming a Staff Pick and getting on the first page of Kickstarter. Because of the extreme amount of traffic on the homepage and the Staff Picks section of the site, this was a sure win, or at least significant boost, to funding your campaign. The formula was simple… in order to become a Staff Pick you had to have a good video and you had to have significant growth on your opening day. Being featured on the homepage greatly increased your chance of being successfully funded. Those days were a few years ago and the game has since changed. There is such a surge of new campaigns every day that the odds of getting featured are becoming very, very slim. That doesn’t mean it is impossible, it just means you have to work a little harder and treat your campaign like a real business because that is the goal isn’t it? To become a real, profitable business. And becoming a Staff Pick is not the only way to get funded…
Like building a business, there are lots of things that go into your campaign.
- A great product or service is a must! You’ve created the idea and the prototype and you know it will change people’s lives. But now you have to show people why they are going to want and even need your product.
- A solid video to showcase its features and seeing it in action will help you in this pursuit.
- Next, you need to show that this isn’t just an idea but a business. You are asking people to invest in you and your ability to make this a real business so giving them some insight into the business plan and your ability to make it all happen is a great way to win points.
- Finally, you need to have a marketing strategy and plan ready to go so you can drive eyeballs to your campaign page when it is live. Imagine opening your business in the middle of the desert. People may want what you have to offer but how will they find you?
Kickstarter has been around for a few years and several other crowdfunding sites have been created due to its success. As a video production company that has made several dozen crowdfunding videos, we’ve seen lots of projects succeed and many, many fail. The rest of the post below are a few of the things that we’ve learned along the way. We hope it helps you and your business get one step closer to being a successfully funded Kickstarter project.
Ready To Make Your Kickstarter Video?
What mistakes have we seen people make on their campaigns?
There are a few BIG mistakes that we have seen people make when managing their crowd funding campaign.
Big Mistake #1 NO MARKETING STRATEGY:
We have seen lots of people not understanding their product’s market and therefore not having a marketing strategy on how to get in front of their desired audience and get them to take notice. Creating and running a campaign requires a lot of time and hard work. Many people work to get the project live and then sit back and wait to be funded. Or send a few tweets and hope that people will come flocking to their page. The most successful campaigns we’ve seen are people that had a daily strategy for how to get people to their page to learn about their product and get excited about being a part of it. Here are a few suggestions:
- Press Release
This is an easy way to get the word out to major news distribution networks. There are a TON of free press release sites out there.Although it is valuable to put out a press release on these sites our SEO team has discovered that Google puts a lot more weight into authoritative press sites like PRWeb.com. It may cost you $150 or so, but worth it if it gets picked up by a big blog or reporter.
- Partner with other products (or projects) to cross promote
If there is a product that was successful and you think your product has a similar audience, reach out and see if they are interested in sharing your project with their backers. You can also do this with existing products on the market and for those products that you think yours would be a great companion. For example if you have a new sunscreen, see if you can get a previously funded beach towel campaign to promote it. Previous campaigners can talk to their backers and if they have a bunch of loyal followers who have already backed their project, it is money in the bank if you can get their support.
- Email newsletter campaign
Sending out an email to anyone that has ever shown interest in your ventures is a great way to spread the word.
- Social media campaign
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram… the goal is to get eyeballs to your page! Just be sure to provide value and not constantly just blast them with, “HELP ME GET FUNDED PLEEEEEASE!”.
- Guest blogging spots
Find other people in your space and offer to write a blog post for their audience.
- Grabbing news media coverage
If relevant, you might find that local, regional or even national news networks are interested in sharing your story, product, and project.
- Preflight campaigns that raise awareness
Spending time before your campaign creating an audience and building intrigue is a great way to get people excited to jump on board when you launch.
-Sensilk : They are using a trailer from the video to build an audience for their campaign.
-Be endorsed by someone or something important
A celebrity or company endorsement can give your project great momentum.
Big Mistake #2 UNREALISTIC GOALS:
Another large mistake we have seen people make with their campaign is not making their funding goal attainable. It is one thing to need $75,000 to make the product and set a goal of $75,000 although, by the time you pay taxes and create and ship your rewards, you would probably run a little short. But we see people reach for the stars just to hit a big number and then fail to meet the goal and therefore not get funded.
Recently, we had someone mention that while they were trying to raise $75,000 and only raised $50,000. They then revealed that they could’ve moved the project forward with $30,000 and since they didn’t get funded, they missed out on an opportunity of a lifetime. Remember that most crowdfunding sites are all or nothing so even if you have the amount of money that you need to be accounted for in pledges you could still end up with nothing if your large funding goal is not meet. Picking the right funding goal is crucial to your campaign.
You are selling a $20 product. You want to raise $120,000. In order to meet your goal, you will need 60,000 backers. There were 2 projects in 2014 that topped 60,000 backers Coolest Cooler and Reading Rainbow. The likelihood of having a project get that many backers are not favorable. Instead, reach for a more reasonable goal of $30,000 with 15,000 backers and even then try to find a way to have some higher dollar pledges to up your average pledge.
Very few projects raise more than 6 figures and the most funded projects are ones that had a funding goal of less than $10,000.
(source: https://www.kickstarter.com/year/2014/data )
From Kickstarter 2014 Stats:
(source: https://www.kickstarter.com/help/stats )
We don’t show you this to be discouraging but we do want you to pick a funding goal that either you need to complete your project or will allow you to move forward and be a successful overfunded campaign. If you can do it for $12,000 and raise $20,000 you are a rock star and can begin really running your business!
How to Start a Kickstarter Campaign
Commonly Asked Questions
Do I need a prototype?
We recommend it for the video and most crowdfunding sites require some sort of prototype to have your campaign accepted. We can do lots of Hollywood magic with a 3D mold or unworking model and there are ways to creatively shoot around the product so it isn’t highlighted. However, the closer the prototype in the video to your actual product, the longer you’ll be able to use the video for marketing purposes.
Do I have to be on camera?
You don’t have to be on camera but it does add a personal touch. The crowdfunding community likes to see the people behind the projects because they aren’t just buying a product, they are investing in you, your company and your idea. However, some people really don’t want to be on camera and aren’t good at it so the delivery of selling your idea might be best coming from a professional. It really is personal preference.
How long should the video be?
The attention span for people is getting shorter and shorter, but for these types of videos we recommend 2-3 minutes. This time frame allows you to cover all the basics to your audience understands what you are selling and what you are asking. We want them to stay until the end so you can ask for pledges!
A great example of a company that kept it short was Canary. The video was only 2 minutes in length, but they got to see all the founders and a few scenarios of how their product would help you. Very well done and it clearly paid off!
What needs to be in the script?
Most inventions solve a problem or fill a void in the market. These are the things you need to address. A strong formula for writing your script is state the problem, introduce the solution ( Hint: Your product IS the solution!), give details on why it’s the solution and then ask for their pledges. You also need to work in points of credibility on why they should back you. Do you have years of industry experience, are you a leader in the community, have you won awards that are applicable to this product/industry/topic, have you worked for a competitor of this product?
- Focus on Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.
- Who will want this product? Who created it?
- What void does it fill or problem does it solve? What does it do?
- When would I use it? When will it be finished?
- Where does it go/live/store?
- Why do I need it? Why was it created?
- How does it work? How will it fit into my life?
Many projects have multiple founders or teammates. Make sure to designate one person that is in charge of the script and video to avoid any delays based on everyone in the committee trying to have the final word. Picking 1 contact for your video company to work with will smooth out the process. Trust us on this one, we have seen many projects FAIL because everyone involved in the creation of the company fought over the script and how the video should look and then it just ends up being lackluster because there was “too many cooks in the kitchen”. This is soooo classic. Don’t let it happen to you.
Questions for a Video Production Company
What is the cost of a video?
We have a standard Kickstarter video production package that is $3800. This includes some scripting assistance, storyboarding, taking glamorous shots of your product in a lighted white (or black) video production studio and in ‘real world’ scenarios (your cooler in a park or your fitness accessory on a jogger, etc), as well as editing, custom graphics and background music licensing.
If you want to add talent, the cost is $150-$200 a day for an actor or spokesperson. If you want lots of scenes with your product or multiple people in the shots, the cost will increase. This also applies to using the product in specific places that require permits and approvals for shooting. If you have friends that you want to use as your actors great! That will save you money and accomplish the goal.
We also offer a package that works well for showing off an app, website or online platform for $1350. We use screenshots of your app or website and put them in action so people can see the interface, get an idea about the usability and understand how all the features will enhance the product. This is a great way to give people a sneak peek of the product with just a few pages and have the idea really come to life.
I don’t live where you guys are located. Can you still make me a video?
Almost all of the crowdfunding videos we have created have been with people that live nowhere near us. We still can create the video at the same price as if you are right here with us, which is great because we understand that budget is a big factor when trying to get your crowdfunding campaign and business off the ground. There are a few different ways you can work with us no matter where you live.
• First, we are happy to travel to you or you can come to us.
• The next option is to let us hire a local camera crew to shoot some of your video and then do the rest here in Nashville.
• Finally, ship your product to us and we can produce the entire video here and use a spokesperson or a voice over actor to deliver your script.
Can you write the script for me?
Scripting is the most important part of the process of any video. Telling your story in an easy to understand way is crucial to the success of your campaign. WMV Productions has a team of scriptwriters that can tackle your script for you. You can either send us all the information about your product or we can give you a call and do a quick interview to get the information we need to craft a script for your video.
Can I put any song I want in the video?
The short answer is no. Although many people put the hottest pop songs in their video, it is against the terms of service of Kickstarter and Indiegogo to do so. Plus, if the artist or record label finds out you are using it you could owe them a lot of money as well as get your project pulled down from the site. It would be terrible to be almost funded and then your project gets canceled because of a silly mistake like having unlicensed music on your video.
There is a ton of royalty free or very cheap licensed music that can be used on your video. Most video companies have access to a collection of music that you can use. Make sure any video company you hire uses licensed music in your video.
How long does it take to make my crowd funding video?
There is a ton of steps that have to happen in order to get a video made. Every video company has different timelines to get your video from conception to final delivery. Generally, I would say it will take 4-6 weeks for any video company to complete the process. This allows ample time to work on each part of the project without rushing. Personally, we deliver the video within 3 weeks (or sooner) of the shoot date. So the faster we can get through scripting, the faster we can get the video shot and edited for you.
How to prepare for the video?
A video is a tool you can use for sales and marketing your product or service, both on a crowdfunding site and your website. You want to make sure you have your audience in mind, a list of the features, benefits, and important things to highlight. Also, think about the void in the market your product fills or the problem it solves. Painting a picture of how a person will integrate your product into their lives is the best way to get them to understand how they will use it and that they need it! We enjoy working with clients to help them envision where they see their product used and who will be using it. This is all part of the storytelling piece of the video that really helps a potential customer see how the product will enhance their lives.
Items to gather before you call a video production company:
- Who is your customer? Age, gender, industry…
- Features/Benefits/Aspects to highlight
- Problem that you are solving or void in the market you are filling
- Pictures, drawings, and prototypes of your project or screenshots of your online
- Logo, colors, taglines, slogans or any other style guide requirements
- Your Timeline to when you need to launch
–Our timeline is 4-6 weeks from beginning to end on your project. Make sure you that allow enough time for this as well as the review process before you goal Launch Date.
Some of the past Kickstarter Videos we have created
Force Glove Wearable Gaming Controller
Ripple Buds In Ear Bluetooth Headphones
Wall.io Arduino/Raspberry Pi Electronics
Sensilk Smart Workout Clothing and Monitoring App for Athletes
WMV Productions has made many videos for Kickstarter and Indiegogo and we have learned a few things over the years by watching the varying successes of our clients’ projects. If you are looking to use one of these platforms to get your business off the ground, we would love to work with you in creating a great crowdfunding video.
Want to talk about your Kickstarter video? Have an idea you would like to explore?
Let’s Chat. It’s Free.
Call now: 615-852-5869
Ready To Make Your Crowdfunding Video?
Testimonials about WMV Productions
If you have a tangible product, we will put it in our white cyc studio (think white room Apple commercials) and make it look sexy. We can also do interview footage and website shots. The biggest thing is to tell a story and show your personality.
If you have an intangible product or service, we can help you craft your story for the camera and illustrate what you want to create.
One of the benefits of Kickstarter is that it allows you to appeal to your potential clients/ audience. This means that you want to talk to them from the very beginning and convince them that you are the product, service, the person they are looking for to fill their void. Of course, your friends and family will back you no matter what but the video and your pitch are the only things that others can rely on and relate to.
Using our Kickstarter video production services to create a short, entertaining and informative Kickstarter video can help you secure the funding you need to get your dream off the ground. We will work with your budget and create a project fee that will guarantee delivery of a video that is on your budget.
Recognized by Yahoo Tech as top video company for Kickstarter video production
Wrapsit Kickstarter Video:
Your Rock! We are very pleased with the video. I had a relatively painless experience made easier by your organization and the coaching of both you and Nick. Thanks so much!””— Lisa, Wrapsit
Treeson Kickstarter Video:
What a killer video! No wonder it got funded on Kickstarter.”— Nick, Treeson
Wall.io Crowdfunding Video:
This looks great! You can truly make anyone look good.— John, Wall.io
Cycling4aCure Non-Profit Donation Campaign:
I cannot thank you and your business partner enough for fitting us into your busy schedule yesterday to knock this video out!! Without individuals like you, this project and Cycling4aCure would not be nearly as successful!”— Patrick, Cycling4aCure
Virtero Kickstarter Video:
I’ve shared the video with a number of people and it has been a really positive response. The editing is great!”— Jeff, Virtero
Zenmanu Kickstarter Video:
Excited to bring you this month’s featured Kickstarter Video for some gorgeous zen gardens! We’ll put up a link when the campaign is running!
Bands of Clean Kickstarter Video:
Say hello to our latest Kickstarter Video, the Bands of Clean. This was a fun video to shoot. We traveled all over Nashville showing off all the different ways you could use this product to stay fresh and clean for people in an active lifestyle. The company has done so well that they have sprouted off and have started making a child’s edition as well. If you would like to have your own Kickstarter video made contact us today!
Task One iPhone Case Kickstarter Video:
THE VIDEO IS FABULOUS! You guys have been great, I am so excited to launch!”— Addison, Task One
Have more crowdfunding questions?
WMV Productions has made many videos for Kickstarter and Indiegogo and we have learned a few things over the years by watching the varying successes of our clients’ projects. If you are looking to use one of these platforms to get your business off the ground, we would love to work with you in creating a great crowdfunding video. What are you waiting for? Get your idea funded today with a great Kickstarter Video:
We are located in Nashville, TN. We are happy to travel to shoot on location. You are also welcome to come to Nashville for us. If you are not local, we can still build you a video with your current assets and online presence.
If you have any questions or want to get started drop us a line: