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I'll be launching a Kickstarter campaign in a couple of months. My product is in prototype right now, and I think it's too early to start showing it to customers. What are some things I can start doing now to build a following before the campaign launches?

  • MB

    Morgan Brown

    almost 5 years ago #
  • AL

    Austin Lilley

    almost 5 years ago #

    Great question, and it's good that you realize this because many people who launch crowdfunding campaigns believe it starts when you launch.

    Do you have any media contacts? What niche are you in? I've worked with several crowdfunding campaigns, and the big thing was to spend time making media contacts and nurturing the relationships.

    Are you doing any kind of pre-launch buzz? You can look into using something like Untorch.com or KingSumo to build up a pre-launch list that you blast with the Kickstarter goes live.

    Who are the influencers that are related to your product? Have you networked with them? Will they use and endorse your product?

    Hope some of this helps. Crowdfunding is great fun!

    • HA

      Hannah Alvarez

      almost 5 years ago #

      Thanks, Austin! I've started gathering a contact list and building a social media presence, but I'm a little stumped on what to share with them pre-launch. I'll definitely share pics of the prototypes when they're a little farther along. Any ideas?

      • AL

        Austin Lilley

        almost 5 years ago #

        In the beginning just focus on building a personal relationship with them. Once you have that relationship you can then start showing them your prototypes, offering them exclusives, etc.

  • CM

    Craig Morrison

    almost 5 years ago #

    Do you have an email list?

    If so, check out The $100 Startup (It's a book), they have a great "product launch" guide that explains a series of emails that you send over the course of a week of so, leading up to a product.

    The idea is that you share snippets of what you have to offer, and if done correctly, by the time you "launch" your audience will have already decided they are willing to buy what you're offering.

    You are wetting their appetite over the course of a week, until they're so damn hungry they will clean the plate in 10 seconds.

    • HA

      Hannah Alvarez

      almost 5 years ago #

      Do you think a week is the right amount of time for that email campaign? Does a month (or a couple of weeks or whatever) give them too much time and make them lose interest or forget about you?

      • VV

        Visakan Veerasamy

        almost 5 years ago #

        I saw somebody else ask this exact same question recently... I think you could draw it out to 2-3 weeks, but ultimately the decisive factor is the quality of your product. One of the engineers on my team waited MONTHS to get a product he was excited about.

        Put another way, if 1 week makes my target customers forget about me, I should probably work harder at being less forgettable (rather than worry too much about the precise timing of my email campaign.)

        Just my $0.02!

      • CM

        Craig Morrison

        almost 5 years ago #

        The length is up to you, I mean as long as it's not over the course of a year, but it's more about the psychology of the "ramp up".

  • AH

    Andrew Hahn

    almost 5 years ago #

    Start showing your prototypes early to online communities of early adopters who fit your target customer profile. They will not only help drive product development but will also help you validate your market before you dump a ton of time (and possibly money) into promoting your Kickstarter campaign.

    If the interest level is high (and you're collecting their e-mail addresses), they will help you generate buzz very early on that will sustain you for the duration of your campaign. Many of these people also have inroads to press and smaller/medium sized blogs that will help you get visibility with larger publications.

    If you are starting press outreach when you launch the Kickstarter campaign, by the time you get any traction it may be too late to max out your fundraising.

    We did this with our Kickstarter project and over the period of a couple of months had built up about a thousand people on our e-mail list. We let them know that we were launching the campaign a couple of days before it went live. We hit our $40K goal in less than 24 hours and ended up raising $144K total.

  • GW

    George Wong

    almost 5 years ago #

    Reach out to everyone in your contacts. Email, Facebook, Twitter. Tell them about your product. Even if they cannot support it, they can at least share it on your behalf. Try to get people to verbally commit to your product.

    Also reach out and set up media coverage of your release. It builds credibility and also helps explode your Kickstarter.

    • VV

      Visakan Veerasamy

      almost 5 years ago #

      Remember to make sure that those people would actually be interested in your product, though! Or know somebody who would be. I think "Hey, do you know somebody who'd be interested in X" is a pretty decent opener. We all like to help out our friends, even if we're not personally all-that-interested in something.

  • SE

    Schonne Eldridge

    almost 5 years ago #

    Take a look at BackersHub: http://newsletter.backershub.com/

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