Tips to Build a Successful Kickstarter Campaign Part 1: Planning your Campaign

Kickstarter (Source: Digital Trends)Kickstarter and other micro loan websites can be a great way to get a new project off the ground, but a good idea alone is not enough find enough backers to make it happen. A successful Kickstarter campaign takes a lot of hard work and follow-through. There are several different pieces that help make a successful Kickstarter campaign.

In this series, I will take a look at the components that contribute to a successful Kickstarter campaign. In this first article, I’ll look at the tools available on Kickstarter and the components of a Kickstarter page that make up a strong campaign. The next article will offer some tips and advice for the social media campaign to help spread the word about your project and find new potential investors.


Content is the backbone of your Kickstarter campaign. You want your vision to be tangible, and be easy to understand. You will need to figure out the tone and have a strong message behind your campaign. Whether you want to come off as professional and polished or friendly and personable, it’s important that your tone and message is consistent across your campaign. Images and video are important to incorporate to, to show off your idea and how it can come to life.

Messages and updates after the campaign has started are just as important as the initial impressions you create. Keep updating your page your backers about project developments. There is a good chance of getting more money out of the people who have already backed you for increased rewards, especially if the campaign is close to its goal as it draws to a close.


A video, though not required for a campaign, can greatly increase your chances of reaching your goal. This is where potential investors can really get to know you and where you can share with them why you are so passionate about your project. This passion can be infectious and can encourage strangers to help you make your vision come to life. Videos can be fairly simple, but putting some energy into production can really pay off. Be earnest and let people know why your idea is so great, and why you care so much to make it happen. Kickstarter is not just about investing in a product or a project, it’s about investing in creative people with great ideas.


It can be difficult to determine an appropriate monetary goal for your Kickstarter project. It’s easy to aim too low in hopes of setting a goal that is easier to obtain. It’s worthwhile to sink in some extra time to plan your budget well, and make sure that you not only make enough to get your project off the ground, but also keep it afloat and achieve all of the goals you hope to accomplish with it.

Another problem with setting your budget too low is that you could run the risk of potential investors undervaluing your project. If it does not seem like enough money to successfully bring an idea to fruition, a lowball figure could be a sign of a lack of confidence or faith in your vision.

Also keep in mind that you will also need to budget for the Kickstarter rewards that you offer your contributors. This article has some great advice on how to plan your budget and set the monetary goals of a Kickstarter campaign.

If you aim too high, not only will it be more difficult to reach your goal and get your project off the ground, but also if people think that this goal can’t be reached, they could potentially be dissuaded from investing. Remember that you’ve got to reach your goal in order to get any money from Kickstarter at all, so you’ve got to set a goal that is attainable within the scope of your project, but will also ensure that the project can live up to its vision, the vision people are investing in.


Rewards are a big factor in a Kickstarter campaign. The most successful campaigns offer rewards that micro-investors deem worthy of the investment price. A popular way to do this is with simple branded products, that might not actually be related to your project. T-shirts, hats, and hoodies can easily be produced for a fraction of their dollar value, especially when you order a large quantity. These can make great rewards because a lot of Kickstarter investors are excited about the projects they invest in, and would be proud to show it off, not to mention the free advertising your investors will happily provide for you. A great site for reasonably priced, quality custom clothing is Spreadshirt for clothing, and CafePress for all sorts of cool custom merchandise.

Think about how many investors at different reward levels it is going to take to attain a project’s goal, so that you can price out your rewards ahead of time and incorporate them into your budget.

If your project is an actual product, then the product itself will likely be the most desirable reward. You can set your reward levels at a realistic consumer price for the product, and if you create a special Kickstarter edition that could even increase desirability.

Some campaigns have even encouraged high-level contributors to add to the project in some way or another, and this can be a very unique opportunity for an investor to become involved in an exciting new project. It’s hard to put a price tag on this kind of experience, and it might be difficult to extend this offer to too many outside contributors, so you can aim for a Hail Mary investment price on this, where even one or two investors could really help drive your funding towards the end zone.

Time frame

A lot of first time Kickstarter projects make the mistake of opting for the longer, two month investment time frame. 30 day campaigns have shown about a 35% chance of success, while at 60 days this figure actually drops down to 29%. Potential backers could actually see a longer campaign as a sign that you lack confidence in the project, while a well-run 30 day campaign has just enough time to build up steam and capitalize on the buzz it’s created.

I’d recommend taking some extra time before your campaign to plan out a timeline, to keep your momentum moving on social media networks and build up steam with publicity. I’ll talk about some ideas for planning a social media campaign around a project in the next part of this Kickstarter series.

Investigate the Market

It’s worthwhile investigating a few Kickstarter campaigns that have been successful, especially if you can find campaigns with similar projects to your own. Here is a helpful article from Mashable where a few successful Kickstarter Campaigns share some of their secrets to success.

I’d also recommend taking a look at some of the statistics behind campaigns. The Kickstarter statistics page has a lot of interesting stats behind the site’s projects, and there have been some great articles taking these statistics to new levels with helpful insights and analysis. This great article from Wired also gives some very useful advice backed up by all sorts of statistics odds of success. There are a lot of lessons to be learned from past campaigns.

Launching your campaign

If you’re thinking of starting a Kickstarter campaign, you should go for it, but put in the planning and time required to do it right. It’s such an awesome opportunity to bring one of your dreams or brilliant ideas to life. The Kickstarter community is there to help you see these ideas come to fruition, but you’ve got to give them reason to. Offer some cool rewards that people would really want, and put a lot of faith in your project. If you think you’ve got a great idea and have a good plan of how to pull it off, let people know that, and get the word out, and you can make it happen.

Be sure to check out the next part of this Kickstarter series, when I will talk about the social media side of a strong Kickstarter campaign. I hope this first installment helped in figuring out how to put together a good project within the Kickstarter site. Now that you’ve got that great idea and its content ready for the world to see, and hopefully invest in, it’s time to do all you can to get that word out there!

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Ross Wilson is a writer, musician, and technology guru. He has worked in many facets of technology and IT since 2005. He also plays in, records, and runs social media for several bands and projects around Portland, Oregon, where he lives with his cat, Lewis.

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    1. […] part 1 of this Kickstarter Series, we took a look at organizing the materials for a Kickstarter Page, and in part 2 we looked at […]

    2. […] In part 1 of this Kickstarter series, I went over some ideas to get your Kickstarter page content in order. In this second part, I’ll take a look at the social media side, and some ideas to generate more backers through social media communities. In the last and final installation, I’ll look at how to run on- and offline publicity to engage your community in a project. […]

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