By the time you click launch on your Kickstarter campaign, your customers should be in place. If you’re planning to start marketing your products once they are on sale you’re already too late. Start now, it’s never too early.
Too often I see people launch a Kickstarter campaign with no fanfare and no prior marketing, then share the campaign in a few Facebook groups or on forums and expect it to do well. It never fails to irritate me because it seems so obvious to me that it won’t work. People put a load of work in to an interesting product (usually watches as that’s my industry, but it applies everywhere) and then expect sales to appear by magic.
Let’s be clear about this: Kickstarter is just another store front, launching your campaign should be almost the end of your promotional activity, not the beginning
The reality of using Kickstarter
A few years ago Kickstarter might have been able to generate you enough sales solely on the basis that it was a new and exciting site hosting a sensible number of projects and so your would be seen. That’s not the case anymore! Check the recently launched section in your category now and see how many projects have launched in the last 24 hours. It’ll be a *lot*, and most of them will have 1 or 2 sales and their creators will be wondering why their amazing project has done nothing while some inferior product is flying past £100k already. But they shouldn’t be surprised, they should just be angry with themselves for fucking it up. If they’d done their work up-front rather than expected Kickstarter to be some kind of magical sales platform, they’d be flying along as well because I guarantee you that the £100k project put the time in before launch. It simply doesn’t matter if your product is a bit better if nobody can see it, and on Kickstarter nobody can see it unless you’re shouting about it.
How long before launch should you be promoting your campaign?
As long as possible. I’ve written several posts on how to pre-promote your campaign in my “building an audience” series, but focus on growing your email list until it’s big enough to fund your campaign. I spent around 18 months preparing for my first Kickstarter, and didn’t even start working on a prototype product for the first 7. I was just focussed on building an audience of people interested in watches at the kind of price points that I was aiming to hit. If you’ve already got a voice in the industry, even if it’s not a loud one, you’re on the way.
Are people banging on the door to order from you?
You’ll know you’re ready to launch when your mailing list is big, your subscribers are opening your emails and your social media posts are getting lots of interaction. If people aren’t pestering you for launch details then something has gone wrong, and you need to work out what. Is the product not right? Have you got the pricing wrong? Are you campaign materials not getting your selling points over? Or have you just not spent enough time marketing it? Resist the urge to put your product on sale straight away, and instead focus all your attention on getting people engaged. I’ve said it before and I’ll say many times again – you need to fly out of the blocks and the only way you can do that is by having people desperate to order.