KS Lessons 36 Hours In

Our Kickstarter for Hocus launched 36 hours ago and I'm now an expert on Kickstarter! Actually, not at all, but I thought it would be interesting to share my thoughts about things 36 hours into it.

As always, taking things with a grain of salt. What works for us might not work with you. This is my first project, so most of my data is anecdotal.

Repeat Yourself: This is a classic PR lesson. Repeat yourself early and often. You might think your page is perfectly laid out, but people might miss an important detail when reading it on their phone. Or, they don't watch the video. Or, they just don't pay attention.

If you have important details, repeat them, often. Here's an example:

A copy of Hocus is $15. This is a discount off MSRP and shipping. However, additional copies only cost $13. Why? We hope this encourages people to buy additional copies. It's a good deal!

Well, many people ask "How can I buy extra copies?" This info is on our page, but it's below a lot of other stuff. We explained this in our first Update and immediately saw people up their pledges. We explained it tonight in our second update and again saw the same result.

You cannot repeat everything, and you don't want to be a bore. But, if you have key information, it's worth repeating.

Carefully consider pledge level copy. What do I mean by pledge level copy? The little area that says:

"$15 - 1 copy of Hocus. Backer pays shipping."

Once you have a single backer at the pledge level you can no longer alter it. This means you need to be very careful about what you say. We didn't make any mistakes, but seeing as how people are missing our information about adding extra copies, we should have written it here! Lesson learned for the future.

Write your Thank You letters. It is very easy for you to cynically roll your eyes at these. I've been a backer 103 times and when I receive some of these, I think "ugh, another form letter." Don't be a cynic!

Last night and tonight I took the time to reach out to every backer. It's a long tedious slog, but it is SO worth it. Why? Firstly, it's you greeting your new neighbors. You're saying hello. It's a warm and neighborly thing to do. Kickstarter isn't a brick and mortar store -- you cannot greet people when they enter the "store." This is a great way to do so.

Secondly, most people won't come to you to ask questions, even if they have them. When you reach out to them, you're giving them a very easy way to reach out to you. You'll be surprised by what emerges. Some simple questions that you need to add to your FAQ, some great ideas for your campaign, or even a great conversation.

Thirdly, this is an opportunity to resolve issues. Every interaction with a customer is an opportunity. Much is said about how entitled and unreasonable people are, but as Josh told me early today, people are fundamentally good and kind. If someone is angry, concerned, or even just questioning you, and you meet them halfway with sincerity? Even if you don't agree, you'll be delighted to see how quickly you build a good relationship.

Finally, it shows you care in a very simple way. You need to care a great deal. Not everyone does this. Be on the side that greets the neighbors.

Unless you're hilarious, skip the humor and go straight for clarity. Josh and I are snarky people. We think we're pretty funny. Unfortunately, our humor, like most humor, is based on the people around us. It's very tempting to make Kickstarter videos that are goofy. Or write comments with sarcasm. Or write jokes into your updates.

Let me rip off the band-aid -- DON'T! Unless you're hilarious, just get to the point. Adam made an incredible video for Coin Age. Shut Up and Sit Down is hilarious. Me? Nah, not that much.

We received a great deal of feedback on our first campaign video. Some of it okay, some of it very harsh. It had a lame joke that we smugly thought was good. Two days before launch we re-shot our video and we've heard no complaints. I call that a win!

Keep it simple, focused, and leave the humor for game night.

None of these insights are world shattering, but they are what occurred to me. We'll write more as we go!

Comments

Congratulations on the success so far, and best of luck with the rest of the campaign.

With Lanterns, I added another pledge level for multiple copies. Kickstarter's system for pledging above the pledge level isn't that intuitive to people, and I believe having another pledge level made people more confident adding that second copy. (It was also nice to be able to send a survey with slightly different questions to those backers.)

At this point in your campaign, you could still add another level (at $28) that comes with two copies and includes instructions in the pledge level text for adding third, fourth, etc. copies.

Yeah, it's something we should consider...