$55,492 funded one man’s Potato Salad Kickstarter – 31,576% above his goal. Exploding Kittens, a card game for people who “are into kittens and explosions and laser beams…”, designed by the creators of The Oatmeal, became Kickstarter’s most backed campaign in history with 219,382 backers. We’ve all heard the success stories, but with the staggering statistic that 60% of all Kickstarter campaigns fail, what sets a good campaign from a great one that gets funded several times over?
While it’s a complicated answer that includes a mixture of timing, marketing groundwork and is highly dependent on your product and audience, we can tell you one thing – every successful Kickstarter has a solid email strategy. Follow these hacks to give your funding a boost and convert backers into long-term customers well after the campaign ends.
Rally up your troops
First off, if you’re reading this and are in the process of building a Kickstarter campaign, congrats! Building a crowdfunding campaign is hard work and it takes courage to put your idea out there.
Start by building up the anticipation weeks leading up to your launch – email your existing community, friends and family to get them excited. Give them a sneak peek of rewards or a teaser of your Kickstarter video. This will help build traction so that you’ll already have backers, comments and engagement the day you launch. Social proof can be a powerful thing – seeing that others have vouched for an idea proves the project is worth investing in.
Then, on the day of the launch, follow up with an email to share your campaign page and ways your community can support. Recently launched
A Song A Day, which sends personalized song recommendations from a community of curators, nailed it with this announcement email below. They started off the note addressing users by name, combined with a personal thank you from the Founder. This personalization complements the text-only format really well.
They also go on to bullet point ways users can help support the campaign by “backing the campaign”, “sharing a tweet”, or “emailing to music-loving friends and family”.
Thank them for backing
Give your backers a shout out and remind them how much you appreciate their support! Snap Judgement, a weekly radio show and podcast, raised over their original funding goal and thanked their backers by sending a team selfie. In addition to that, they unlocked a few additional special rewards to treat their supporters.
Jamey Stegmaier, the founder of Viticulture, a winemaking game, actually took time out to thank each and every one of his 942 backers within 24 hours of their pledge. Stegmaier said, “I have to say, I never regretted sending one of those messages…I got some great feedback that shaped the Viticulture campaign in a positive way, and I laid a foundation of communication that paid off down the road with many people.”
Stegmaier pre-built templates to make the initiative easier to do. He would copy in the template and then work in customized bits about the backer after scanning through their profile. His project, Viticulture was fully funded in September 2012. Stegmaier also shared thatconversations with his backers gave him insights into areas of his project that could be further clarified or improved. This is a great reminder to always remember to think of backers as individuals, not in terms numbers or the greater funding goal.
Reward your backers with special content
Did you know that you can embed videos and GIFs in your Kickstarter project updates? Try switching things up with your text-only emails by occasionally throwing in visual content. After all, they say a picture speaks a thousand words. As part of UNHCR and Kickstarter’s recent partnership, a funding campaign to support refugee crisis relief work, they sent out an email with a powerfully moving video as a last call for donations.
Be mindful though, of which browsers and email clients support special media elements. For example, only Apple Mail supports video. As a workaround, we recommend including a screen grab of a scene from your video with a play button over top, then linking it to a landing page with where your video will automatically play.
Another way to treat your backers with exclusive content is by revealing part of a reward that the public won’t have access to just yet. A Song A Day gave their backers a pleasant surprise one Monday morning by releasing their full poster design (their $20 reward) and a special song.
Become a Staff Pick
You might’ve been surprised – or annoyed – to see this on the list, after all it’s not like you can snap your fingers and become a staff pick, right? Oh, but you can. Kind of. Building a Kickstarter campaign with quality imagery and an engaging elevator pitch is half the battle. On average, a project featured by Kickstarter sees a bump of 150% of its goal the next day.
Keep your backers engaged with regular project update emails – strike a chord with your audience, remind them why they funded this project in the first place and of the goal you’re moving towards. Make them laugh, make them nostalgic, make them cry. Remember that your backers are very much your co-creators of the project – you wouldn’t have made it here without them! Nurturing that connection will motivate your backers to share your content through social, in turn making it more likely the Kickstarter team will get their eyes on your project and feature it as a Staff Pick.
Wrapping things up
And there you have it. As you’re building out your Kickstarter campaign, remember to dedicate some time to thinking about your email strategy. We’ve seen that it can drive valuable feedback that helps you adjust your copy, overall marketing strategy or even your product. We’ve seen email’s role in spreading the word on social. It’s a channel that can’t be ignored when crowdfunding. It’s the key to building community.
You’ve ran a Kickstarter campaign before? Or supported one that you think really crushed it with their marketing? Share your email hacks with us in the comments below!