Student Stories

Alexandra: How I Got Over $6000 in Funding with Kickstarter

By June 22, 2015 November 12th, 2019 12 Comments
 

Crowdfunding is the hottest new way to fund your startup. One of our very own students  launched a Kickstarter campaign and reached her goal! She shared her story with us: the successes, the challenges, and everything in between.

Alexandra, an Amazing Selling Machine member who joined in April 2014, has two private label products live on Amazon. She decided to test the Kickstarter waters to fund and launch her third and newest product. Before the 2015 Live Event, Alexandra hadn?t even heard of Kickstarter. At the Live Event, she watched a presentation by John Galley on using Kickstarter to fund and launch a product, and she knew she had to try it.

There is risk involved with Kickstarter: it?s all or nothing, depending on whether or not you hit your funding goal.  The end of Alexandra?s 34-day campaign is only days away and she has already surpassed her goal!  Here are some of the lessons that Alexandra learned from researching and running her Kickstarter campaign:

1. Build up your social media presence before you launch

Having a social media presence is extremely important before launching a Kickstarter. It adds legitimacy to your brand and product. It also gives social proof to anyone you are trying to pitch that the brand can be trusted.

“I found this out about three weeks before I was ready to launch. I launched and then started scrambling on the social media part of it, and it was really tough!”

2. Have a list of people ready to fund right away.

“I?ve heard it said that you need to have at least 100 people ready to go the moment you launch in order to hit that algorithm in Kickstarter. I had that, but people thought it was better to contribute periodically throughout the campaign. You need to make this clear.We did start out slow, which is one of the big things you are not supposed to do.”

3. Launch on a Tuesday at 8:00am Pacific Standard Time.

Alexandra’s research has shown that Tuesday’s are the best day to launch your campaign.

“That’s when I did it. In fact, within five minutes, we had our first backer, and I’d never heard of him. That was kind of cool!”

 4. End your campaign on a Sunday night.

“In my research I heard that Friday nights and Saturday nights are when the most funding happens.”

Because of this, you want to be sure your campaign ends on a Sunday so that you are catching the most traffic before it ends.

5.  Find a champion.

“This means find somebody who’s going to just naturally be so excited about your product they will do anything they can to get it out there and make it happen. Their reach will help you do that. Find a champion, someone who will promote it as much as possible.”

6. Factor shipping costs into price (and Kickstarter’s fees).

“What I?ve heard one person, who has backed around 200 campaigns, say is that it upsets him when the rewards look affordable and then he finds out that the shipping makes the price much higher. Make sure that the shipping is up-front. Tell your backers how much it’s going to be so that they don’t get blind-sided when they receive the reward.  Part of that is that the shipping is actually included in your funding amount.”

Also, don’t forget that Kickstarter does take a percentage of your funding as fees!

7. Make your campaign last around 30 days.

“Kickstarter recommends 30 days or less. Some people who created campaigns said they wished they had done it longer. They wanted to do it longer so that they?ll get more funding, but the downside is you can lose momentum. Those last minute people at the end who want to fund might forget about it and they’re not going to come back.”

8. Use Kickstarter as an experiment

For any entrepreneur attempting to launch a new product or business, Kickstarter can be a great indication of how your product will do once it hits the market.

“That’s one of the reasons why I did it in the first place. I thought this is a great way to find out whether there’s demand.”

9. It’s okay to make mistakes.

“You can create your campaign page and you can edit it all throughout until the moment you launch.  Even then, you can edit your page throughout the launch. Don’t be afraid to just throw things up there and come back to it later, because you can.”

With Kickstarter campaigns, the only two things set in stone are your funding goal and your campaign end-date.  Keep in mind your rewards can only be changed BEFORE someone has pledged that particular reward. Then it’s set in stone.

“You can still ADD rewards anytime throughout the campaign, such as if you get feedback that people want something other than what you’re offering.”

10. Be concise with your rewards.

Any copywriter will tell you how important word choice is. Make every word count in your reward box! You don’t want funders to have to search and scroll for your rewards.

“Keep the text in each reward box fairly short, because the longer it gets, the harder it is to read, and the more confused people get.”

12 Comments

  • Muzzy says:

    Hey – congratulations on getting funded!

    Is there a link to your kickstarter page so we can check it out?

  • Anya says:

    Great article! I’m doing a research about crowdfunding platforms and of course Kickstarter is one of them. Everything what’s written, is absolutely crucial for successful campaign.
    Awesome job Brynn! 🙂

    • Brynn Jacoby says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the article, Anya! Alexandra had such great insight to share!

  • Liat Shamash says:

    Thank you for sharing this-great post! So happy to hear you reached your goal Alexandra!

  • Great advice! Thank you Alexandra and Brynn for compiling these tips. I’m getting ready to put my kickstarter campaign together. The product is almost finalized, so I can start getting images, copy, and social media on deck. Congratulations on your successful campaign and your numerous links and tips throughout the Community.
    All the Best!

    • Brynn Jacoby says:

      That’s awesome to hear that you’ll be starting your own campaign, Timothy! Alexandra has been so generous in sharing her tips with our community!

  • Teri Thomas says:

    Congratulations, Alexandra! I learned so much by following your campaign (and contributing). I have a few questions for you:

    1. Approximately what percentage of the dollar amount you raised came from people you know, versus people who found your campaign on Kickstarter?

    2. Did getting selected as a Staff Pick make a huge difference? How far into your campaign did that happen?

    3. Did you consider IndieGogo before you selected Kickstarter? I’ve heard you can get someone on the phone with them, whereas with Kickstarter you can’t. But Kickstarter has a much larger base of backers and is better-known. I am leaning towards Kickstarter myself but haven’t decided yet.

    4. How are you transitioning your product from the end of your Kickstarter campaign onto Amazon? Are you using Shopify? (I mean, if someone finds your Kickstarter after it’s over, and wants to buy your product, but it’s not on Amazon yet – is there a way they can preorder?)

    5. When you say your “social media presence,” do you mean a business page as opposed to a personal page? And if so, did you do one for your company overall, or just for the new product – or both?

    Keep up the great work – you’re on your way!

    • Alexandra says:

      Thank you, Teri!

      Here are the answers to your questions:

      1) About 10% of backers were people I knew. The majority came from within Kickstarter itself.

      2) I was picked as a Staff Pick on the second day it was live. It helped 7 backers find me, but wasn’t essential to the campaign’s success. The staff sends you an email which mentions there’s no need to put a badge on the campaign, but I know from backing campaigns myself that a badge on your thumbnail image is a real eye-catcher. They don’t provide the badge – I found it on Google and had someone put it on for me.

      3) I learned about crowd-funding mainly from blogs, articles, and podcasts (such as The Art of the Kickstart by Matt Ward) that were mostly Kickstarter-oriented, so I felt much more familiar with them than Indiegogo. I didn’t really research other platforms because I was on a short time-schedule to launch before summer. Kickstarter has apparently gotten better about their response time over the past year too. The average response time for my tickets was about 24 hours – not great when you have a time-sensitive question or problem, but they always resolved my issues and were helpful and friendly. I also found answers to a lot of my questions on the Kickstarter community page as well. Lots of knowledge and experience there.

      4) I created a listing for the blocks on Amazon during the campaign, but it wasn’t active, of course. I just wanted to lend legitimacy to the campaign and show a brand presence. Though I would like to sell direct to customers, I’m doing everything myself and I’m not quite ready for a whole other channel yet – my priority is getting the product out to backers and then launching it on Amazon. Those backers are now part of my email list, so I don’t feel I’ll “lose” them to Amazon. It’s possible to set the Amazon listing up so customers can pre-order, but it’s too tricky to time the delivery just right and I don’t want to get penalized by Amazon. After the campaign is over, you can include a link to your website or leadpage that future visitors can follow if they want your product, so you’re still able to collect potential customers even after the campaign ends.

      5) I have Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook pages for the business. The Kickstarter product is the first of many I plan to have in my product line, so the social media pages are for the business. I want people to be able to look forward to future products from us.

      Also, I wanted to mention that I was mentally holding back a bit on the campaign. I didn’t actually want it to explode, because I was unsure the manufacturer would be able to handle a huge volume of orders. The last thing I wanted to do was not be able to deliver. I’m sure that hurt me in not bringing in the big numbers, but it was more important to me to have very happy customers than to “go big.” I’m very happy with the funding the campaign received.

  • Teri Thomas says:

    Thanks so much for the detailed, thoughtful answers, Alexandra. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. I’m very excited about my own upcoming campaign, so every bit of info I can glean is very useful. I am in awe of you, and wish you the very best. I know you will be hugely successful!

  • Ry Rice says:

    I just love this, I love that you exceeded your goal, love your transparency, and just love the positive energy I can feel as I read this. Thanks for reassuring me mistakes are not the end to chances of success. I’m excited about my campaign even more after reading about yours. Congrats on your successful launch!

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