So Metatopia went smashingly, and I think you’ll start to see some posts from Rob Donoghue about the details of that in the next few days. Also keep an eye on the Jennisodes, as she managed to catch one of the panels helmed by Kenneth Hite. I got to run a few panels too, but was so focused on running that I spaced on any possibility of audio recording. Apologies there.
I was particularly pleased to see Cindy Au from Kickstarter come out to talk to the Metatopians about Kickstarter. Her presentation focused right at the heart of what makes a good kickstarter drive, enough so that I think a checklist could be extracted from it, so I’m going to write down my hastily-scrawled bullet points here in case they happen to be useful to you, the prospective kickstarter. If you have any questions for her, you can reach her at cindy at kickstarter dot com. She’s super-approachable.
Those of you who are already kickstarter-savvy may know a bunch of this stuff already, but I was reminded this weekend when I had to explain what the heck I was talking about that not everyone has heard of kickstarter.
Some of these bullet points came from the experienced members of the audience rather than Cindy.
- Every kickstarter is a story. Tell your story. People want to hear it and be involved with it.
- If people bail from watching a video, it’s in the first 20-30 seconds. Make sure you cover why someone would want to back your project, and what your project is, in those first 15-30 seconds.
- Average length of a successful kickstarter’s video is about 2 minutes. (Personally I favor more like 1 minute.)
Incentives & Goals
- The average goal is $4500. The average amount raised is $6000.
- The most common pledge is $25.
- The average pledge is $70.
- Between 5 and 7 tiers is the sweet spot. This probably has to do with how much reading someone needs to do to make a choice. Avoid overwhelming with choices.
Finances & Timing
- The largest number of successful kickstarters have a length of only 30 days.
- Projects that hit 30% of their goal are 90% likely to succeed. That’s true whether they hit 30% early in the drive or late in it.
- Amazon takes 3-5% of the total pledge amount; Kickstarter’s fee is 5%. So plan for getting 90% of the money you raise.
- End your project on a Sunday.
- Get your Amazon Payments account set up well in advance of starting your kickstarter. Give it at least a week.
- Make sure to calculate shipping costs and make sure your incentive tiers cover those costs. And make sure your total goal accounts for both production and shipping!
- Use the built-in blog to communicate with your backers and keep them involved at all stages!
- Update your project once a week or so while it’s running.
- If you hit your initial goal, consider setting new, higher milestones with additional rewards for backers that help you get there. (I’d recommend doing this one at a time, rather than unloading with a series of milestones all at once. You’ll stay more adaptable that way.)
- Between success and delivery, update your project about once a month to make sure folks know how things are coming along.
- Having something to give your backers right away when the project concludes is a good way to keep people happy, even if you’re going to take some extra time beyond that to deliver the final product. (Consider a PDF, or a look at the current draft, as a cheap way to do that. A protected backer-only blog post can be used to deliver such exclusives to your backers.)
Folks who were at this panel — what’d I miss?