(Disclaimer: I originally wrote this blog post for Olive PR Solutions, Inc.)
Need money fast? Turn to the crowd! Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter again takes center stage in the press with a creative and impressively successful campaign by Penny Arcade. With the promise of an ad-free site, Penny Arcade raised $200,000 in two days and hopes to reach $1 million by mid-August.
While this type of wild success is rare, plenty have played the odds. Out of more than 64,000 Kickstarter projects to date, approximately 44 percent were funded, according to a recent CNN article.
SOLO Eyewear, a San Diego sunglasses startup that donates a pair of prescription glasses or sight-saving eye surgery for every pair of shades sold, is part of the lucky minority that has had a successful campaign with Kickstarter. Exceeding its original goal, SOLO Eyewear ended up raising more than $30,000 in one month.
So, how do you up your chances for a successful campaign like SOLO Eyewear or Penny Arcade’s Kickstarter campaign?
The first thing you need is enticing rewards. The key to offering awesome rewards is knowing your audience and matching their wants with what you can realistically give for their contribution. Penny Arcade is offering rewards that surely have the web comic’s readers digging in their couches for loose change. The list of rewards for Kickstarter backers includes being immortalized in a new video game, to hanging out with the Penny Arcade crew for a night.
SOLO Eyewear cleverly used their Kickstarter campaign to pre-sell their summer collection of sunglasses. By offering sunglasses and swag at different levels, SOLO effectively mobilized their fan base and gave them the motivation to give money, get shades and change lives.
The second factor that plays into a successful Kickstarter campaign is timing. Penny Arcade launched right before Comic Con. They even campaigned a bit at the conference, according to CNN Money. Before you launch, think about the timeline of the campaign. Are there any big conferences that pertain to your company that you can plan around? Are there any holidays or special events that you can hook into to advertise your campaign? Strategy is key in any crowdfunding campaign.
And on the topic of strategy, one of the most valuable components to a Kickstarter campaign is publicity. Penny Arcade’s Kickstarter campaign has no doubt been helped by the fact that CNN, Mashable, Geekwire, and many other national and industry-specific publications have covered it.
For lesser known companies like SOLO Eyewear, social media plays a huge role in building that awareness aspect for a successful crowdfunding campaign. SOLO Eyewear used Facebook to reach out beyond its immediate circle by appealing to existing fans and followers to spread the word about their Kickstarter campaign. By providing frequent campaign progress updates and enticing followers to help reach the next level of funding with promises of style and color reveals, SOLO Eyewear drew significant traffic to its Kickstarter page from Facebook.
So, what’s the moral of the story? Be strategic, be creative and plan ahead, and your Kickstarter campaign could be just as successful as that of Penny Arcade and SOLO Eyewear.