Looking to launch a crowdfunding campaign? Look before you leap.

These days there seems to be a plethora of crowdfunding sites that will make your dream a reality. And, when you think you have a stellar concept, it’s easy to get excited and get ahead of yourself. Your dreams really can come true. Keyword: can. Don’t get me wrong: I’m certainly not against crowdfunding sites, but I know they are not for everyone. I’ve seen many companies meet and blow their goals out of the water, and I’ve also seen many companies pull out of the race.

Thinking of taking the plunge? Look before you leap!   Here are my tips for killin’ it on Kickstarter:

Set a Realistic Goal

Just because you’ve never heard of it, and neither has the average Joe, doesn’t mean you don’t have any competitors. Scope out the scene. Google. See what’s making it and what isn’t on a variety of crowdfunding sites. Mirror the goals of others in your field. If you’re launching a speaker system and most others listed have set their goals at $10,000-$30,000, an $80,000 goal may indeed be unattainable. Don’t overreach: figure out exactly how much you need to succeed.

Manage Your Expectations for Media Coverage

As I discussed in How to Remove Your Brand’s Halo, it’s easy to view your company/product with a halo. No doubt: confidence is key. However, it’s also important to manage your expectations. Particularly in technology, some of the outlets you may have in mind as your targets, such as Macworld and iLounge, to name just a couple, typically do not cover Kickstarter campaigns. While this may be discouraging during your campaign, this is a great time to begin building relationships with the folks who may like to cover your product when it succeeds and becomes available for retail purchase. And, even so, there are plenty of outlets that do cover Kickstarter campaigns. Do your research. Of course, if you hire a public relations firm to help you, they’ll know exactly who these folks are.

Utilize All Your Channels

Now’s the time to leverage all the traditional and digital avenues you can. Use them to your best ability.

Make your Kickstarter page shine

• Use photographs and videos

• Proofread

• Tweak

• Proofread

Put a press release across the wire

Build out your networks on social media

Join crowdfunding communities and engage; see what people are chatting about

• i.e. http://www.reddit.com/r/kickstarter

Embed the Kickstarter widget on your website

Scope out crowdfunding blogs

• There are a plethora of sites dedicated to discussing Kickstarter campaigns. Spend just as much juice reaching out to these sites as you do on your traditional outreach efforts – they’re your niche audience.

Here are some of my favorite reads for familiarizing yourself with the crowdfunding community:

21 Places to Promote Your Kickstarter Campaign

Who’s in the Online Crowdfunding Community?

30 People to Promote Your Kickstarter or Indiegogo Campaign to on Twitter

Keep Your Promises

Your supporters are your biggest fans and your best friends. If you succeed, you have them to thank for taking the leap with you. Never forget that. These folks can easily turn into your enemies. You must, must, must give them what you promise. Essentially, they should be the very first people with your (working) product. Of course, life happens. If there’s a delay, make an announcement—let them know why and give your best estimate for the arrival of their reward. If this changes, update them as soon as you know. If something goes wrong with their reward, offer a refund or exchange. Dissatisfied Kickstarter supporters will certainly make it known to everyone they do and do not know that you’ve broken their trust. Whatever you do, don’t break their trust—they are key to your success.

Have you launched or supported a successful crowdfunding campaign? Tell us about it below. Looking to launch one of your own? Contact Us – we’re happy to help!

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