Earlier this month, we successfully crowdfunded our Kickstarter campaign for our very first comic anthology book, Furr. We handled the basics of launching a crowdfunding campaign quite well, and we didn't make a lot of elementary mistakes that would have led to the likely demise of the campaign.
However, we still made 4 very big missteps. If we hadn’t made those mistakes, perhaps we might have ended up with a bigger amount. We might have met our Kickstarter goal much earlier.
As the legendary C. Spike Trotman of Iron Circus Comics has said, at some point you should “accept that your campaign won’t be perfect.” But we still think had we not made these four mistakes, our campaign would’ve gone a lot better.
Lack of Press for Our Crowdfunding campaign
Simply put, we had zero press going in. And throughout we had zero press except for one mention in a blog. If we had some mentions in the media about our campaign, it would have drawn a lot more traffic than it did.
Missing this was a huge mistake on our part. We should have had a solid press release plan before going forward with the campaign. Unfortunately, we hadn’t thought of it until too late. I scrambled mid campaign to get press exposure, and that just did not go anywhere as the timing was not right.
For future projects, we are definitely going to make sure that we establish a press strategy on our next projects. The Kickstarter Blog has an excellent article about this.
Not Having a Communication Plan for Kickstarter
The one thing that I should have foreseen was that there was going to be a lot of communication involved during the campaign. Ergo, I definitely needed a communication plan.
For instance, what do you say on your updates? How often do you do updates? What message should I consistently put out on my social media? What do you say to your friends and family, and what do you say to your potential supporters? What about in the project description? All of this was done without any planning, and when the campaign began, it was just a one big mess.
Therefore, a communication plan is going to have to be a must. Because a strong campaign, I now realize, needs a singular voice that is consistent and focused.
Not Having a Marketing Campaign Prior to the Crowdfunding
We were focused wholly on how to push through during the crowdfunding campaign, that we completely forgot to market and promote the campaign before we launched the Kickstarter. Part of this was also on the fact that we expected the conversion from traffic to pledging would be reasonably high enough. Needless to say, we were wrong. We should have tried harder to get interest from potential backers even before the campaign had started.
Like having a pre-launch online event. It could’ve been giveaways, or a party of some kind. Could’ve been anything, and it would have been much better than having nothing going on before the crowdfunding campaign actually launched.
Or building an email list. The Kickstarter Blog goes into detail about why this is so important. Having an email list that you could blast your campaign to ensures that you have a block of supporters before the campaign even begins. That’s something we should have done in order to raise our chances of success.
Not Having a More Informative Video for our crowdfunding campaign
This was a big one. Our video was a brief clip with me petting my cat. It was meant to be short and entertaining, and act as a hook to the rest of the campaign. The campaign page itself explained so well about what we were doing. Thus, why bother?
Well that was a big mistake, because in the end, our video just didn’t explain anything. It had a cat and my hand petting it, with my voice in the background going ‘furrrrr, furrrrrrrr’.
And maybe that’s why we just could not get the ‘Projects We Love’ Badge. There’s no publicized formula as to how one could obtain that coveted label, though Kickstarter goes into some explanation on how to get it, but part of it is definitely having a great video, and to be honest, we didn’t take it seriously enough when we should have.
So next time, that video is going to be more informative than it was before. I’m sure there is a sweet spot between informative, fun, and engaging. That’s what we’ve got to do next time.
Looking back, a lot of these were so obviously avoidable, but maybe it’s also that we never thought of them as important as they were. Maybe it was hubris that made me think, ‘ah whatever, we can handle it without all of that.’ Now that I think about it, we were probably lucky to have gotten away with a campaign that was fully funded in the end.
Regardless, We've learned our lesson. No more of me groaning ‘furrrrrrrrr’ on camera. It’s time to get serious.