Are you ready to see how to start a project on Kickstarter? If so, I imagine you’ll love reading this as I’ll walk you through the basics of what I’ve learned, failing Kickstarter projects, what I’ve learned, setting up a project that looks to be successful and what I’ve learned looking at a lot of other people’s successful projects.
I’m Jerry Banfield and I make YouTube videos every day, I’m a full-time YouTuber and I trust you’ll hit that subscribe button. When you want more amazing videos like this, I read every comment on YouTube so go ahead and leave a like and ask any questions you have in a comment.
Let’s get into Kickstarter now. How do we go here and start a project? It’s really straightforward, to start a project you hit the Start a project button and there wouldn’t be a point watching this video if that is all that is was. The most critical thing you need to do enough about starting a Kickstarter project is the approval process.
Make sure you do just a basic version of your project prior to submitting for approval. I’ve had two or three of my projects approved and I had one that got rejected. The worst thing for you is to put in a whole bunch of effort only to realize your project gets rejected.
Therefore, I recommend when you’re starting your Kickstarter project to make sure you just do the basics because you can edit your project after it’s been approved before you launch it. I don’t recommend making any massive edits to try and slide through the review process, for example, start a project on one idea and completely do a different idea when you launch it.
What I do recommend is to just do the basics of everything I’m talking about here before you get approved. Then, once approved, you can write out in more detail, you don’t need to do video until you’ve got your project approved, you can do the rewards and the story in more detail if you want to but go ahead and make sure your project is approved. Submit that as soon as possible because it takes 1 to 13 business days to get your project approved. So go through this one’s quick then go and polish it before you launch.
What I recommend for lunch, based on my experience doing it wrong, is to get your project really well done and polished and ready to go and ready to launch and immediately share it with people on day one.
I’ve looked at some data on Kickstarter, it says 5% of all project funding usually comes within the first 24 hours meaning your project needs to be ready to get one of the single largest days within the first 24 hours, meaning you want to already got it proofread, you want to have already talked to a lot of people about it, you want to have done your research and have people excited that are saying “Yes, please send me your Kickstarter project when it’s out.” before you even launch it.
What I did with my first several projects was just get them out there and launch them before I even told anyone about it, only then started sharing it with people. The first few days went along with no contributions, big drop of morale, and then my project was not funded successfully.
What I see is successful projects get a strong start on momentum and the stronger momentum you get the more sharing, the more positive energy, the more likely Kickstarter is to bring organic traffic or bring people in who have never seen you before and that’s where you can get the really big funding levels. In order to do that you’ll need to fill out what I’ll show you here. I will go through each of these before you submit, in basic detail.
First with the payment, I will not show you this as it has private information but what you need to do is, I recommend, start off on the payment pages as soon as possible. Submit your identity, make sure you get your identity verified, get your bank account and your credit card added because if you can’t do it then you won’t even be able to submit the project for approval.
Therefore, there’s no point putting much time and energy into the Basics, the Rewards, the Story or the People until you’ve got this one done. You’ve got your identity confirmed and you can clink your bank account. If you can’t get that done you won’t be able to start a project on Kickstarter, therefore, make sure you can do that first.
Then circle back and do the Basics, Rewards and the Story. Let’s take a look at how the entire starting Kickstarter project works. You can see where each area is. The Basic section puts your title, your subtitles and then your pledge goal and your day’s up here. Therefore, your Basics cover the top along with your image and video. I highly recommend an image with a screenshot of your face. According to the data I have seen doing thousands of videos, with millions of followers online, earning millions of dollars, the data I’ve seen shows clearly that images with people’s faces get higher click-through rates. So make sure you do a graphic that has your image on it, that it is very personal. You can do text or no text but make sure it’s readable on your graphic at a mobile device resolution. You can get a professional graphic designer to do your image and do your Kickstarter project if you want to, in fact I have a link here if you’ve got a project you want really well done. I’ve even got a service on my platform uthena.com that you can order that has the whole Kickstarter project done for you.
What you can do next after you get to the Basics, you’ve got the Rewards. Rewards are over here, on the right side. I recommend keeping the Rewards simple. If you think about going to the restaurant, the bigger the menu is the more difficult it is to find something that is exactly what you want. It’s much easier when the menu is smaller to just pick something out. That said, if the menu is small and doesn’t have what you want, you might not want to eat there. If you know your audience well you will have a good idea of exactly what they want and just focus on that. I did some projects before that had too many elaborate rewards and then hardly anyone even pledged to support them.
There is no point putting a bunch of time and energy into rewards that people don’t even want. You can always add more rewards as the project gets going, as people start asking for them. What I’ve done is pretty simple, there are four rewards at four substantially different levels. While Kickstarter suggests doing rewards at $20 dollars are so, here’s what I’m thinking: Almost everyone that can put $20 can put $45 in. Mentally, those are pretty close and yet, for the project itself $45 is more than double $20 and I’ve seen projects that have raised about $100,000 on Kickstarter, they did this exact strategy from the start. They made the lowest reward of about 40 something dollars and then got a lot of backers at that $45 level. I realize lots of other projects will do things like $1 or $5 or $10 or $20 rewards. I’m doing, on my project, rewards that are higher because it will encourage people, if they are going to participate, to give more. Anyone that can give $20 can give $45.
Now when you go over $100, that is substantially mentally different, therefore instead of doing a $100 why not do a bit over a $100? I’ve chosen my numbers to be kind of fun here, i just did $123, that is 23% more than a $100 but mentally it is very close to a $100. The biggest difference in money is free to 1 cent. Yes, people are predictably irrational, if you charge 1 cent vs having it free, that is the biggest mental difference. Therefore, rewards I think in terms of big mental differences, $20 or $45 to $100, both of those are big differences. Anyone that can give $100 can give $123. I’ve got $123 for my second reward.
I’m doing a show for my particular project and I thought carefully about what people want out of a show. They want to be able to go see the show, be in the credits and maybe help produce the show. Therefore, I’ve got my reward down to very simple offerings and I’ve chosen titles that are accurate of what is delivered while considering people’s predictable irrationality. For example, on Patron I’ve used friends on the title of one of my rewards and people were really aggravated because they didn’t like the idea of paying for friends. Poor title choice. Make sure you pick good titles.
For example, I’ve put associate producer for my third level on the show here because that’s the expected title you would want for participating in a show. I initially called this one for lunch. Does paying $678 to go to lunch sound good? People would say “I’m not paying to go to lunch with you”. How about paying $678 to be an associate producer? “We’ll meet for lunch and discuss the show? That sounds great.” See the difference? Think carefully about these titles because picking good titles on your reward can make a big difference. Ideally you want to pick something that either talks about what is received, for example, you get credits or you get a season pass to my show or who the person is or wants to become. If you want to be an associate producer or executive producer, pick the reward level.
I recommend you always include a really big reward as well because it only takes one person to be an executive producer to put in more than 100 people putting in at the lowest level. There’s that 80/20 principle you may have heard before. Allow people that have a lot of money to spend it on your the project. I’ve got one executive producer on my show, I literally don’t even need anything else to meet my funding goal. If no one gets to the executive producer level, so what! It’s available if anyone wants it and, by comparison, you can also look at associate producers for $678 vs executive producer for $6000 start of look good. Sometimes you just might want a big reward to make your other rewards seem like a better deal. If you want to be involved with the show and you think about spending $6000, looking at spending $600 sounds much better for going to lunch and being a part of the show. Thus you can even put a reward up, you don’t even think anybody would get it, just to make your other rewards seem more reasonable by comparison.
We’ve got the Basics and Rewards cover, therefore, the last thing to cover is the Story. The story goes in this about section over here. I’ve seen a few projects I studied and the basic format that seems to work is to do this is to write something like “Hi there” or “Thank you for being here with us”, basically something like a little welcome. Then introduce yourself, “My name is Jerry Banfield and I am a YouTuber, here is my YouTube channel. I live in St. Petersburg, Florida”. What I have done is I have my graphic designer do a press kit for me and I’ve got a press kit with all this data about me that is in this compact format that can really help you get to know me right away.
I love this because it makes it easy to pick up particular details like, someone can look down here and say “Wow, this guy has made a million dollars online, that’s cool” or “Oh, man, this guy has over two thousand YouTube videos or 49 video classes and music on Spotify.” What will happen is people tend to be drawn to whatever aspect attracts them. Someone may not notice the money on it but they might say “Hey, this guy is 5 years sober, he has been married 6 years and he’s 35 years old, nice. I’ll contribute to his project.” A little graphic like this can be really helpful to allow people to get to know you right away, just put your stats. Now, you’ve got your own unique stats. You can put where you graduated college, you could put how long you worked somewhere. I think this bio section is really good because it can allow you to put things that are specific to you. For example, for me, I am on a plant based diet, 4 years parent, 5 years sober, 6 years married, 8 years entrepreneur online and 35 years old. You can put anything else you want in there that is relevant and then put anything else that is relevant to your project in these other little stats because people love stats and infographics. Therefore, a little infographic at the top can help people really get to know you right away if you are making something you want people to have a visual representation of that. For example, I’m creating a live show in person and I’m a YouTuber therefore, it is important to show my work right on the page.
What I’ve got is a screenshot of the videos from my YouTube channel that I’ve done recently. This gives people an idea of what I do and allows again, very quickly, as soon as you’re at the top of the Kickstarter, you’ve got a link to my YouTube, the bio page of my YouTube channel. You can very quickly and easily get to know me, see what I do, see what I make videos about and therefore, have an expectation of what kind of show that I might be able to put on and what I’ve got relevant to that.
I’m still editing this before I launch it, which is why I’m talking about the start of a Kickstart project here. I’ll do more about how to get a project from start to finish and all that. This one is just on how to start the project therefore, I’m teaching where I’m at right now.
I’m going through and I’m also writing a life story here because some people are not going to read everything. They might look at this real quick, look at that real quick and almost immediately, just because they’re my Facebook friends, they already like me, they’ll look at a couple of things and maybe put $45 in and that’s great. Other people will read everything and therefore, you want to give the people who were willing to read the whole page a lot to get to know you.
What I’m doing is crafting a story that really explains why I’m doing my show. What I intend to do first as I edit this more is put more about what the show will be about here and then for the people who read everything, give them a kind of full life story of how we got here and why we’re making a show together.
After that we’ll have exact reward graphics just like this, at the bottom of the graphics and the there’s the risks and challenges section down here. You want to pull anything that can get in the way of your project down here.
What I have noticed is that successful Kickstarter projects usually have a lot in the story section. I have not seen one project do otherwise, maybe because I haven’t looked hard enough. All the projects I have seen and have been funded well have a very detailed story section. The key to this is to really put some time and energy into the project before launching it. What I can see is that three projects that I did and failed, I didn’t take the time to do a great job with the project, to really write a good story, to get everything set up prior to launch. I just rushed my project out there and it didn’t get funded.
Most projects that start on Kickstarter do not get funded. The more you work on your project before launch, the better the odds are that it will get funded. The faster you rush through your project, the quicker you try to get it out there, you are just thinking about the money as I did with my first three projects, then those are likely to be a waste of time unless you use them as a learning experience to do something better. I’ve done this with the intention of helping you ensure that when you do your Kickstarter project you get funded because if you’re going to do this, let’s do it well and put some effort into it. What I can say is that odds of your project getting funded are really high because you made it through this far, that’s a good indication that you really want your project to succeed and you’re imagining your projects succeeding and you’re committed to your project succeeding, therefore, you have a great chance at getting your project succeeded when you follow all this.
The last thing I put down here, I didn’t talk about it much because it is pretty self-explanatory, is what category you put in. I’m making a show, therefore, I just put my location and put it in as a web series. I don’t see that you need to spend a whole bunch of time, it should be pretty logical where you put your project among these different categories, just look at the existing project to see what people are doing like yours. Before launching this project I used the search function and I looked around at existing projects, both in my area and on Kickstarter, to get an idea of what people are doing that’s working and to look at some projects that weren’t funded in my area.
What I noticed is that most start Kickstarter projects that aren’t funded get 0% funded, there is never even a first donation. So, before you start, make sure you’ve got at least 10 people you think have good odds at making the first donation because the biggest difference, psychologically, is the first donation.
Now, don’t do anything artificial to try and donate to your own project from example, these things are not allowed on the terms. That said, if you’ve got friends, family, make sure you’ve got at least 10 people you think would be putting in something to your project and get that first donation because the biggest difference in the world is 0 to 1, having nothing pledged vs something pledged is huge, therefore, if you’re not certain that at least 10 people are interested in hearing about your project, at least one person will definitely donate within the first 24 hours then the project probably needs more time in research before actually launching it.
I did a a project that got $250 and failed to fund it, my other two projects both got zero dollars. Make sure you’ve got that first donation and also, the more you do projects that fail the harder it is to keep trying and doing new projects. It has been 3 or 4 years since I’ve started a project on Kickstarter. I’ve only done it because I’ve been so inspired by seeing other successful projects and I’m making something new that fits in really well with Kickstarter.
I imagine this has been very helpful for you to get some insight on how to successfully start your Kickstarter project. I appreciate you reading this.
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