chapter 14

Optimizing Outreach

The Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding takes a different approach to advising you on your crowdfunding campaign. This guide brings you the tips from people who know crowdfunding best – the experts who have run great campaigns and crowdfunding sites themselves – and presents raw data collected from a sample of some of the 15 most funded projects on both platforms.

What Kickstarter advises

A nice, personal message is the most effective way to let someone know about your project. Send an email to your close friends and family so they can be first to pledge, then use your personal blog, your Facebook page, and your Twitter account to tune in everyone who’s paying attention. Don’t overwhelm with e-blasts and group messages, but be sure to remind your networks about your projects a few times throughout the course of its duration. Take the time to contact people individually. It makes a big difference.

Don’t be afraid to take your Kickstarter project out into the real world. Nothing connects people to an idea like seeing the twinkle in your eye when you talk about it. Host pledge parties, print posters or flyers to distribute around your community, and organize meetups to educate people about your endeavor. Be creative!

Contact your local newspaper, TV, and radio stations and tell them about your project. Seek out like-minded blogs and online media outlets to request coverage. Writers are always looking for stories to write about, and the media has a big soft spot for DIY success stories.

What Indiegogo Advises

We’ve found that personalized email is the most effective channel of online communication for your campaign and in fact, the average contributions amount through email is about 20% higher than for contributions through other sources.

On average, about 22% of the funds raised by a campaign come from people clicking on social media posts.

Most campaigns that meet their goals raise about 30% of their funds from their immediate network.

Achieve early momentum by “soft launching” your campaign:

  • Before it goes live, ask everyone you know to contribute in the first few days of the campaign
  • Make a list of the people who committed to helping out, and ask them to make their contributions within the first 1-3 days of your launch.

Update contributors:

  • Update your contributors through the Updates Tab on your campaign page. Campaigns that send out at least 3 updates raise about 239% more money than those that post two or fewer.
  • Send an update at least once every 5 days. Typically, the more updates a campaign sends, the more money it raises. Send an update when there is news or new information to share about your campaign – think of it as bringing your contributors along for the ride.

What the experts advise

“One thing I did was pretty cool: I livestreamed the design process. So I put a camera over the process so that people can give live feedback. And we actually changed one of our pledges after someone proposed a really fantastic idea!” - Bill Trammel, Catan Boards.

“Of course we had social media ready to spread the word. Since we created a site before we launched, we got a lot of traffic from the Kickstarter page.” - Mariquel Waingarten, Hickies.

“We reached out early to a reporter on CNET and offered to give him the exclusive to our launch. On our first day we had a lot of media interest, and we launched properly. That’s something that you should do. Don’t wait until you launch to try to get press. Start way before, and try to get press as you launch. Tell them exactly when you’ll launch a month ahead of time, not the last minute, and you’ll get more interest.

We took press really, really seriously, and knew how important it was.” - Noah Dentzel - Catan Boards.

“Tell a story about what you can do for others. When it comes down to it, people care about themselves. This means that telling people about how amazing your product is won’t result in a wildly successful campaign, even if your product really is amazing. Instead, tell people how your product will fit into their lives in a meaningful way and solve problems they face. Make your campaign about people rather than tech specs and feature lists.” - Adam Sager, Canary.

The Data

Product Amount raised Platform Number
of updates
of comments
3Doodler  $2,344,134  Kickstarter 34
ARKYD  $1,505,366  Kickstarter 29
Canary  $1,961,862  Indiegogo 19 1302
Emotiv Insight  $1,643,117  Kickstarter 51 828
GravityLight  $399,590  Indiegogo 20 2107
Kano  $1,522,160  Kickstarter 22 411
Kreyos  $1,502,828  Indiegogo 54 5223
Misfit Shine  $846,675  Indiegogo 36 2248
Pebble  $10,266,845  Kickstarter 52 15609
Pono Music
 $6,225,354  Kickstarter 29
Robot Dragonfly
 $1,140,975  Indiegogo 78 2440
Scanadu Scout  $1,664,574  Indiegogo 33 968
SCiO  $1,774,489  Kickstarter 5 524
StickNFind  $931,870  Indiegogo 25 2579
The Dash  $3,390,551  Kickstarter 12 4615

Other than SCiO and The Dash, each of these campaigns update their funders frequently. Robot Dragonfly has come up with an eye-boggling 78 updates. You’ll also see that there’s a big variance in comments: the SCiO has 524, while Pebble has over 30-times of that.

In general, high numbers of updates and high numbers of comments are correlated with successful campaigns.

Another relevant figure is the number of social shares, including on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Unfortunately, social sharing buttons aren’t always stable over a long period of time, and the numbers on these pages aren’t all accurate. So we omitted that variable from consideration.

Next chapter

15. Optimizing the Length of Your Campaign

2 min

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