Hacking Kickstarter: How to Raise $100,000 in 10 Days (Includes Successful Templates, E-mails, etc.)

Hack Kickstarter

Mike Del Ponte co-founded Soma, which raised more than $100,000 on Kickstarter using virtual assistants and free apps.

I first met Mike Del Ponte two years ago when he was running marketing at BranchOut, a startup I advise.

Before joining BranchOut, Mike had explored a variety of career paths, including preparing for the priesthood at Yale Divinity School and serving as a peacemaker in the West Bank.

Earlier this year, Mike came to me with a new product idea called Soma. Soma is, in its simplest form, a high-end competitor to Brita water filters. It combines Apple-inspired design (e.g. sleek glass carafe) with a subscription service that delivers the world’s first compostable water filter to your door. From form to function, from funding model to revenue model, Mike was eager to disrupt a sleepy but enormous market: water. I became an advisor.

To launch Soma on Kickstarter (and raise $100,000+ in just nine days), Mike and his team used some of the techniques that helped BranchOut grow to 25 million users in just 16 months.

You can replicate what he did.

This post includes all of their email templates, spreadsheets, open-source code to build landing pages, and even a custom dashboard Soma’s hacker Zach Allia built to monitor their Kickstarter data, social media, and press.

[12/06/18 Ed. Note: Some templates are currently unavailable. We have reached out to the author for new links.]

This post is as close to copy-and-paste Kickstarter success as you will find. And even if you have no interest in Kickstarter, Mike’s approach is a blueprint for launching nearly any product online for maximal impact and minimal cost.

Enjoy!

UPDATE: Soma is offering a 7-course, private dinner with me at a historic mansion in San Francisco (travel included) as one of their Kickstarter prizes. At the time this post was published, there was still one spot left.

Enter Mike

How many times have you dreamt of launching a new product, only to let your dream fall to the wayside?

I don’t have the money to even get started! What if it fails?

In the past, these excuses held some weight, as bringing a new product to market could be incredibly expensive. Oftentimes, you had to prototype, build, and then hope the world wanted what you were selling. If not, you could end up with a warehouse full of debt: unsellable inventory.

Now, there are new options. Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and IndieGogo allow you to introduce (test) a new product before you start manufacturing, removing a huge amount of risk. If people like what you’re proposing, you can pull in thousands or even millions of dollars to fund your dream. At the very worst, you were able to test your idea without investing much time or money.

But planning and running a Kickstarter campaign is often done in a haphazard fashion.

To prepare for ours, we didn’t want to leave anything to chance, so we interviewed 15 of the top-earning Kickstarter creators. Their projects ranged from a grizzly bear jacket to a gaming console that raised nearly $8.6 million on Kickstarter. What we learned is that whether you’re successful or struggling, your Kickstarter campaign is often “40 days of chaos,” as one creator put it. Either you succeed beyond your wildest dreams and are overwhelmed with inquiries from backers, press, retailers and investors, or you struggle to achieve your goal and frantically beg bloggers and friends to spread the word. Either type of overwhelm can be a huge headache.

So, we got creative.

Using virtual assistants, growth hacking techniques, and principles from Tim’s books, we raised over $100,000 in less than 10 days. Having accomplished our goal with almost 30 days to spare, we are now relaxing for the holidays. The Kickstarter is behind us, allowing us to get back to product development as we get to know our new community of 1,600+ committed customers.

Here are the steps we used to do it…

Step 1: Start with principles that require less work and yield better results

We chose three core principles for our Kickstarter strategy. The hacks and tactics we’ll share with you are cool, but these principles were the foundation of our campaign. Make sure you understand them before moving forward.

  1. Minimum Effective Dose. MED is the smallest input needed to produce a desired outcome. For example, if you want to boil water, the MED is 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Increasing the temperature above 212 degrees will not produce a better result, it will just waste resources. We wanted to focus on the 1-3 things that would allow us to raise $100,000 in 10 days, and eliminate everything else. MED is described in detail in The 4-Hour Body.
  2. Outsource and automate. These two steps allow you to get results by delegating tasks and setting up automated systems so you can focus your energy on more valuable projects. The #1 resource we found for outsourcing is Zirtual. Zirtual provides US-based virtual assistants (VAs) for as little as $399. Do not run a Kickstarter campaign (or your life) without VAs. They will save you countless hours of work. The 4-Hour Workweek is the best book on outsourcing and automating.
  3. Prep and pick up. Chef’s don’t prepare meals like you and me. They don’t start 15-60 minutes before dinner. Instead, they prep everything in advance (sometimes days before), so they can just heat the food and make it look nice when it’s time to eat. This concept was critical to our success. Our goal was to do 90% of the work in advance. For example, crafting emails 2-3 days early so we just needed to click “send” when we launched. We learned about prep and pick up in The 4-Hour Chef. It’s a game changer.

Step 2: Find the MED for Kickstarter traffic

If you want to raise a lot of money on Kickstarter, you need to drive a lot of traffic to your project. And you want that traffic to be comprised of prospective backers of your project. Applying the concept of MED, we knew we needed to discover and focus on the best traffic sources.

My friend, Clay Hebert, is a Kickstarter expert. One of the things he taught me is a simple trick using Bit.ly tracking. Bit.ly is a link shortening service used by millions of people…and Kickstarter. If you add a + to the end of any bit.ly URL, you can see stats about that link. For example: here are stats for the shortlink Kickstarter generated for our campaign http://kck.st/VjAFva+.

Click here for full size image

Bitly 1

Click here for full size image

Bitly

To discover the top referral sources, we gave our VA a list of Kickstarter projects similar to ours and asked her to list the referrers for each project. Almost without fail, the order of top referrers was:

  1. Facebook
  2. Direct traffic (primarily via email)
  3. Twitter
  4. Kickstarter
  5. Blogs

Based on this data, we decided to focus all of our attention on just two goals:

  1. Getting coverage on the right blogs
  2. Activating our networks to create buzz on Facebook, Twitter, and email

We knew that if we did this, we would be listed on Kickstarter’s “popular projects” sections, which is how you get people who are browsing Kickstarter to check out and back your project.

Step 3: Use the 80/20 rule to focus on the best media targets

At Soma, we were fortunate to get a ton of press in just 10 days (Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., Mashable, Cool Hunting, Business Insider, GOOD, Salon, Gear Patrol, Thrillist, The Huffington Post, and many more). We made mistakes and learned a lot. This section offers our best advice on how to get the MED of press and succeed on Kickstarter.

The 80/20 rule teaches us that 20% of stories will yield 80% of your press results. This was absolutely the case for us. One week into our Kickstarter campaign, we reviewed our press coverage. Surprisingly, the post that earned us the most money was on a site most people have never heard of: www.good.is, the online property of GOOD magazine.

We stopped and asked ourselves, “Why did good.is outperform bigger and more well-known media outlets?” We discovered that good.is was in some cases 10x more valuable than other press because the audience is relevant, the readership is substantial (400,000+ unique monthly visitors), we got an introduction to a writer at GOOD, and we reached prospective backers through GOOD’s daily email and its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Therefore, when making your media list, these are the four things to look for:

  1. Relevance – will their readers LOVE your project?
  2. Readership – how much traffic does their site get? [TIM: For a quick idea, I use the SEO for Chrome extension]
  3. Relationships – do you know at least one person who can make a strong introduction?
  4. Reach – will the blog reach prospective backers by promoting your post via email newsletter, RSS feed, Facebook, Twitter, and other channels? [TIM: This is the most neglected checkbox. Blogs that expect you to drive all traffic to their posts are a waste of time. Remember: big site-wide traffic does not mean each post gets much (or any) traffic.]

What follows is a 5-step process for making the world’s greatest media list. Your VA will do 90% of the work. We’ve included email templates you can use to delegate these projects to your VA.

[12/06/18 Ed. Note: Templates are currently unavailable. We have reached out to the author for new links.]

I. Find relevant bloggers using Google Images

Start by looking at who covered Kickstarter projects similar to yours. You can do this by using a simple Google Images hack. If you drag and drop any image file into the search bar at images.google.com, you’ll be shown every website that has ever posted that image. Pretty cool, huh?

Click here for full size image. Below, the Porthole by Martin Kastner.

Google Image Search

Here’s the process your VA will use:

  1. Find 10 Kickstarter projects similar to yours, and for each, do the following.
  2. Right-click and save-to-desktop 2-3 images.
  3. Drag and drop each image file from your desktop into the Google Images search bar.
  4. Review blogs listed on the results page to see which might be relevant to your project.
  5. Fill out the following fields in the attached “Media List” spreadsheet: Publication, URL, first and last name of the writer, and links to relevant posts by that writer.

You now have dozens of blogs that have a high probability of relevance, all neatly organized in a spreadsheet. Your VA can find more sites like the ones in your media list by searching SimilarSites.com.

II. Research site traffic on Compete.com

Bigger is not always better. But it is helpful to know the size of each blog’s readership. Have your VA research how many unique monthly visitors each blog has and add that data to your media list.

III. Identify relationships on Facebook

This may be the most important part of your PR efforts. For us, eight out of ten valuable blog posts resulted from relationships. Either we knew the blogger or got an introduction. When we pitched a blogger without a relationship, less than 1% even responded. With introductions, our success rate was over 50%.

How do you identify relationships? Facebook. Have your VA log in to your Facebook account, search for bloggers in your media list, and add mutual friends to your spreadsheet. You can also search on professional networks like BranchOut or LinkedIn.

IV. Discover each blog’s reach on email, social media, and RSS

After witnessing the value of good.is featuring Soma in their email newletter, we completely changed the way we thought about press coverage. A blog post is just the beginning. Once you get covered, you need distribution. You need to reach your prospective backers through email, RSS feeds, and social media.

To estimate a blog’s reach, have your VA research how many followers it has on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and RSS. Once you make your short list of media targets (see below), you should also sign up for each blog’s email newsletter.

You won’t really know what your reach will be until you’ve landed each story and received a commitment by each blog to promote your posts. But don’t worry, we’ll help you get both below. So keep reading.

V. Review your media list and turn it into a dossier fit for a Seal Team 6 secret mission

Ok. So now you have a really strong media list…and all you had to do is send four emails, which we wrote for you. Not bad. Now it’s time for you to double check your VA’s work and create your blogger shortlist.

  1. Open your media list spreadsheet and look at the mutual friends you share with each blogger. Delete the people you do not know well enough to ask for an introduction. Email the people who remain and say, “Hey ____, I saw you’re friends with [name of blogger] on Facebook. Do you know him well enough to make an intro next month? I think our Kickstarter project could be a good fit for [name of blog]. Thanks!” Based on the answers you get, rate how strong your relationship is for each blog (1 = strong, 3 = weak). If your VA didn’t find any mutual connections, tweet or post on Facebook: “Please message me if you know anyone at [name of blog]. I have a great story I’d like to share with them. Thanks!” I did this twice and immediately got introductions.
  2. Spend some time on each blog and judge for yourself how relevant it is. Rate relevance in the spreadsheet (1 = extremely relevant, 3 = not relevant).
  3. For each blog, research the writers your VA found. Based on their past posts, are they really the best bloggers to cover you? Is there anyone at the blog who is a better fit?
  4. Now, sort your spreadsheet by relevance, relationships, and readership (in that order) to prioritize your outreach. Have your VA find email addresses for the top ten bloggers in your spreadsheet. At this point, you should only focus on ten bloggers.
  5. Using this template, have your VA make a one-page brief for each of the top 10 bloggers. Print these out and hang them on the wall like wanted posters or put them in a top secret dossier. Whether you fancy yourself a bounty hunter or the next James Bond, your mission is to find, befriend, and get covered by these bloggers so the dream you’re launching on Kickstarter can become a reality.

Step 4: Turn bloggers into buddies

The only thing better than pitching a blogger through a friendly introduction is becoming friends with the blogger yourself.

If there’s one thing we learned from our Kickstarter campaign, it’s that friends are incredibly generous. They will go to great lengths to help you succeed. Blogger friends are no exception. Some of our blog posts came from close friends who offered to help before we even asked. For example, this Fast Company article by Amber Rae that got over 6,000 Facebook likes and 4,000 tweets in just 10 days.

The key is to genuinely form friendships with bloggers. They get pitched every day by strangers who don’t care about them and only want publicity. Do the exact opposite. Really care about them. Figure out ways to be helpful. Hang out. Even if they don’t end up covering you, at least you’ll have a new friend.

Step 5: Get the story and make specific requests to maximize your reach

Once you connect with a blogger that is interested in covering your project, your job is to make it as easy as possible for them to write a story that is valuable to their readers and to you. The benefit of starting with a shortlist of just 10 bloggers is that you can really get to know their blog and writing style. Armed with this information, you can tailor your pitch to their needs. For example, after receiving an email introduction to a blogger at Gear Patrol, the ultra cool men’s digital magazine, I sent over this pitch (to someone not named John):

Hi John

It’s great to meet you. I’m a huge fan of Gear Patrol and wanted to pass on something new that could be a nice fit for your kitchen section. I’ve attached an image of the Soma glass carafe and our revolutionary water filter. Our Kickstarter page has a video and bullet points on why Soma is unique.

We think Soma could be a great story for Gear Patrol for these reasons:

Innovative gear – Soma is the world’s first compostable water filter: made of Malaysian coconut shells, vegan silk, and food-based plastic.

Sleek design – The Soma carafe is made of decanter-quality glass, in a world of plastic pitchers. The hour-glass shape is unprecedented in the industry.

Made for busy guys – Soma delivers your water filters right to your door so you never forget when to change it.

If you’re interested, please let me know how I can make the writing process easy for your team. I’m happy to send more hi-res photos. We launch Tuesday at 8am PST.

Thanks for taking the time to check us out,

Mike

The good thing about Kickstarter is that most of the information and assets bloggers need for a story can be found right on your Kickstarter page, including high resolution photos and the embed code for your video. We built a press page and wrote a press release. In retrospect, they may not have been worth it given the amount of time we spent on them. All you need is a DropBox folder with hi-res photos and 5-7 bullet points about your project that you can paste in an email. The key is to make sure you package everything in a way that’s convenient for bloggers.

[TIM: For more real-world successful pitches (e.g. Wired Magazine, Dr. Oz), see my post “From First TV to Dr. Oz – How to Get Local Media…Then National Media“]

Once you get the story, your work is far from over. Remember, you want to ensure each story reaches people who will back your project. So after a story is confirmed, make sure to ask the blogger the following questions, ideally in person or over the phone one week prior to launch.

  1. “We’re launching on Monday at 8am PST, can the story go live at that time?” If they say “no,” ask for the story to be published at another time on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday 8am-5pm PST, ideally in the morning. If they say, “I’ll try,” push for a confirmation of the date and time your story will go live. We missed out on a lot of valuable traffic because big blogs posted our story at night or on the weekend.
  2. “As a subscriber to your email newsletter, I always read the stories you curate and am sure others do, too. Can our story be featured in your newsletter?”
  3. “We’ve found that Facebook is the #1 source of traffic to Kickstarter. Can you post our story on your Facebook fan page the morning it goes live? Cool! And I’m assuming you’ll tweet it out, too, right? Awesome!”
  4. “I follow you on Pinterest and noticed you have like a gazillion followers. We pinned a new picture of our product. If I send you a link, would you mind repinning it?”

Once we realized how important timing and promotion were, we started making these requests. To be honest, initially I was nervous. I thought it would be more polite to not bother bloggers. But then I learned two important lessons. First, bloggers work hard to create content and they want it to be seen by as many people as possible. And second, bloggers won’t get annoyed by your requests if you’re polite, explain why timing and promotion are so important, and give them the time and help they need to work within the confines of a content calendar they may not control. The more you befriend bloggers and consider their fears and motivations, as well as your own, the better your results will be.

What I’ve just shared with you is a step-by-step approach to getting the most effective media coverage possible. I’ve worked with PR firms that charge $20,000 a month and spend three-months planning a launch. Follow our advice and there’s a good chance you’ll get better results without spending anything.

What I’m about to share, how to activate your network, is equally as important. In both cases you want to create what Tim calls “the surround sound effect.” Especially on the first few days of your launch, you want people to see your project everywhere – on blogs, Facebook, Twitter…everywhere. One tool that creates this surround sound effect is retargeting. For as little as $500, you can display banner ads on various sites to 10,000 people who have seen your project, but may not have backed it. I haven’t heard of many Kickstarter projects using retargeting, but it’s something worth investigating.

Step 6: Segment and activate your network

Someone recently asked us, “How did Soma raise $100,000 on Kickstarter in just nine days?” Our answer: friends. The secret to our success was leveraging our personal networks. Our friends introduced us to bloggers, were the first to back our project, and promoted Soma to their personal networks via email, social media, and word of mouth. Your friends are super heroes. Treat them as such.

The way to activate your network of friends is to give them a sense of ownership. Let them know they are part of the team. That way, they are working with you, rather than doing you favors.

Our Kickstarter launch team included three full-time teammates, two virtual assistants, one intern, and an army of friends. Our network of friends had a strong sense of ownership because we engaged them months before the Kickstarter launched. Here’s how.

  1. Ask for (and listen to) your friends’ advice. We asked for feedback on everything from our name to product design to pricing.
  2. Offer them “sneak peaks” that no one else gets. We showed our friends product renderings, pictures, and our Kickstarter video long before we released them to the public.
  3. Throw a launch party. Having a large group of people in one room, all excited about your project, creates a united energy you can’t create through emails, phone calls, or one-on-one meetings. Invite over 50 motivated and influential friends, show them your Kickstarter video and make a speech telling them why you need their help and exactly what you need them to do. The people who attended our launch party ended up being our first backers and our most passionate evangelists.

Segmenting friends to ensure appropriate messaging

I went through the tedious process of making segmented email lists for my personal network. Since this involved making decisions based on my personal relationships, it was impossible to outsource. It was annoying, but worth it. I exported all of my Gmail contacts, about 7,200 total, into an Excel spreadsheet. Then, I deleted 6,000 contacts I did not have a meaningful relationship with. The remaining 1,200 contacts were divided into three groups: influencers, in-the-know friends, and acquaintances.

  1. I identified my influencers using Klout, which measures online influence. Go to www.klout.com, connect with Facebook, select “friends” from the drop down menu in the upper right hand corner of the screen, then click on the “top klout score” tab half-way down the page on the right. This will show all of your Facebook friends, ranked by Klout score. Anyone with a Klout above 60 was put on my influencer list. Our goal for this group was for everyone to share Soma on Facebook and Twitter, right when we launched, to create the surround sound effect.
  2. My in-the-know friends were already aware of Soma. They knew about the Kickstarter campaign, and that we wanted them to back our project and spread the word. The people in this group, regardless of their Klout score or financial resources, were ready to hustle for us.
  3. Acquaintances were people I hadn’t spoken with in a while. They needed to be told what Soma is and why it’s important. This group was by far the largest, comprising at least 1,000 of the 1,200 people on my master list.

Each of these three groups received a different email when we launched, which you can see here. The acquaintances received a mass email sent via MailChimp. The influencers and in-the-know friends each received a personalized email, everyone was slightly different.

Personalized emails require much more time than one mass email, but we put in the extra hours to honor our friends and reinforce that they’re part of the team. One tool proved to be a huge time saver. TextExpander allows you to paste any saved message – whether it’s a phone number or a 2-page email – into any document or text field, simply by typing an abbreviation. For example, when I type “ppush”, a basic form of the email above appears with fields for me to fill in the name, in this case “Joe”. It’s a must have app that probably saved us 1-2 hours a day in typing.

One tool that we did not use, but should have, is Boomerang, a Gmail plug-in that allows you to schedule emails. We crafted emails to our influencers and in-the-know friends the day of our launch, using TextExpander, then slightly customized each one. What we should have done is write and save these personalized emails a few days before we launched. That way, we could have scheduled them to be automatically sent by Boomerang the second we launched. This would have freed up many valuable hours on launch day.

Step 7: Use landing pages to spark sharing

Social Sharing

You’ll notice in our email templates that we often send people to landing pages we built for our Kickstarter launch (rather than to our Kickstarter page directly). We realized that most Kickstarter creators do one of two things:

  1. They ask for too many things (“Back us! Tweet! Like us on Facebook! Email friends!), which often results in people doing nothing at all.
  2. They ask for just one thing, which people do, but miss out on other actions their friends might do if asked the right way.

We wanted to have our cake and eat it, too. So we asked our friends to click just one link, which of course, had 3 ways to help! Then, when they returned to their email, we had a subsequent ask, which was to forward the email to others.

Why it worked: Essentially we were asking them to do just one thing at a time, typically just to click something.

Throughout the campaign we built two more landing pages. Each were meant to maximize sharing on social media, primarily Facebook. We included videos so our friends were incentivized to visit the landing page and got value. These videos were recorded on an iPhone. They were free to make and only took about an hour to shoot, edit, and upload. Highly recommended.

Landing Pages2

The emails and landing pages were sent out on days 1, 2 and 9, usually at 8am. We’ve left them up so you can check them out: Day 1, Day 2, Day 9. You can see the emails and Kickstarter updates here.

These landing pages were critical when it came to creating the surround sound effect. We know because every time we launched one, we got flooded with texts and emails saying, “Dude! I’m seeing you guys everywhere. Congrats!” When you get a lot of people sharing the same link on Facebook, it’s displayed to more people, who share it with even more people, and you get this virtuous viral burst that keeps growing.

You can make your own custom landing pages by using our opensource code.

Final thoughts

If you look at our advice, it essentially boils down to empowering people and making it easy for them to contribute to a worthy cause. Always try to empathize with other people. And take the time to say, “Thank you.” It goes a long way.

The best story we heard about using Kickstarter to derisk a business was by the founders of Hidden Radio, which raised $938,000 on Kickstarter. Inspired by The 4-Hour Workweek, they wanted to test out ideas as much as possible. So before building a prototype, they submitted product renderings to a few design blogs. The response was positive, but they didn’t rush into manufacturing. Instead, they tested their idea again as a Kickstarter project, knowing it forces people to put their money where their mouth is. 5,300 people backed their project, which provided proof of concept, capital, and a big group of customers willing to provide free market research. To us, this is a great example of hacking Kickstarter. It’s about a mindset, not just tricks and technology.

Although we stopped marketing our Kickstarter on day 9 of the campaigin, our page is still up and you can reserve a Soma until January 11, 2013. If you’re fast, you may also get a private, 7-course dinner with Tim Ferriss, which is the last reward listed on our Kickstarter page.

Tools

Zirtual – US-based virtual assistants. ($399 and up)

TextExpander – Paste frequently used text and pictures into documents, emails, and text fields by simply typing an abbreviation. ($34.95)

Boomerang – A Gmail plug in that allows you to schedule emails. You can also receive reminders to follow up on an email you sent if the other person does not reply. (Free)

MailChimp – A service to design and send mass emails. (Free if you have less than 2,000 subscribers and send less than 12,000 emails per month)

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing – This book provides critical insights on how best to position your product amongst the competition. ($11)

Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing – A must read for anyone doing any form of marketing. The sections on pricing and copywriting will be incredibly helpful as you craft your emails, video script, and Kickstarter page. ($17)

Custom Kickstarter dashboard – We built this Chrome extension to manage our Kickstarter campaign. You can see your Kickstarter, Facebook and bit.ly metrics, as well as tweets and press. All updated in real time. You can even see Klout scores of people tweeting about you and reply right from the dashboard. (Free)

Click here for full size image

Kickstarter Dashboard

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with over 400 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

542 Replies to “Hacking Kickstarter: How to Raise $100,000 in 10 Days (Includes Successful Templates, E-mails, etc.)”

    1. I agree it’s outstanding info. My only quibble is sometimes there are links with affiliate codes. I’m fine with the author or Tim making some referral money, but they ought to disclose when they’re getting a cut. Full disclosure is helpful and forthright.

      1. Hi Francis,

        The only special links that I’m aware of this post are to Zirtual. I used them to track the # of referrals out of curiosity, but made it clear to Zirtual that it was not necessary to provide me with any form of compensation. My #1 goal for this article was simply to share everything we learned with Tim’s community.

        I hope this helps to clarify!

        1. Mike you’re a boss.

          I’m about to launch a campaign myself and you’re stuff = huge help. I just moved down to CA from up in Canada (Vancouver, what!) to get closer to all the action… I find it super interesting how so many of you online/tech/marketing people are so closely connected. Few more of these weekend trips down to SF and Sillicon Valley and one of these days I’m buying your ass a drink for saving me all this money! #seeyalaterPRagencies #howyadoinFreeAdvicefromMike

          Cheers to the success you deserve.

        2. I honestly don’t see what the problem would be if ALL the links had an affiliate code embedded…..Is it really a probelm for him to make a few bucks when he’s giving you extremely valuable information in the process?….When did people begin to expect others to help them get rich for free? SMH

          Thanks Mike for an EXTREMELY informative and detailed post which I am positive will benefit me just from the inspiration it inspired if nothing else….

      2. Full disclosure is nice but at the same time…does it really make a difference? If he was flogging something he didn’t approve of I understand but I don’t really think Tim is the type

  1. I’ve seen Mike in action and this is a perfect approach to raising money and attracting an audience to back your idea.

    The 2 key takeaways for me are “becoming friends with bloggers”… because once you are friends with bloggers, they are much more likely to let you guest post or write something for you… and

    “Segmenting friends to ensure appropriate messaging”… there’s nothing worse than getting a blanket email from someone pitching you something. but when it’s a personal email to you (a video to you gets the best response from me) then you are more likely to see results.

    nice work here Mike.

      1. I agree! Segmenting is huge. Quick question on that: In the post you recommend to segment your mailing list into 3 groups:

        a) VIPs

        b) In-The-Know

        c) Acquaintances

        How did you accomplish this? Were you able to do this manually with mailchimp? For some reason I’m only able to get automated segmentation options from MailChimp, which are listed here: https://blog.mailchimp.com/segmentation-seven-ways/

        Let me know!

        Kevin

        P.S. I have a friends who used your blog post to the T and they ended up getting 150% their crowdfunding goal. Great work!

      2. I agree! Segmenting is huge. Quick question on that: In the post you recommend to segment your mailing list into 3 groups:

        a) VIPs

        b) In-The-Know

        c) Acquaintances

        How did you accomplish this? Were you able to do this manually with mailchimp? For some reason I’m only able to get automated segmentation options from MailChimp, which are listed here: https://blog.mailchimp.com/segmentation-seven-ways/

        Let me know!

        Kevin

        P.S. I have a friends who used your blog post to the T and they ended up getting 150% their crowdfunding goal. Great work!

    1. Hi Mike,

      Thank you for the great article!

      I’ve been unable to access the email templates. The links lead to an “error” page.

      Please advise.

      Thanks again!

  2. Spark sharing will be the future of landing pages partnered with premium quality content. Also Youtube’s hangouts on air will put Go2webinar out of business when 3rd party developers come up with a lead capture and chatroll integrated system.

  3. Tim and Mike – great post! My business, the iFlip Wallet was a case study in your blog post Engineering a Muse Vol 4. We launched a Kickstarter campaign 2 days ago to introduce our new iPhone wallet case: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/896866588/iflipwallet-the-evolution-of-the-iphone-wallet-cas

    Having run other successful Kickstarter campaigns and advised other start-ups that have used KS as a launching pad ,I would add one comment to Mike’s amazing roadmap.

    Some of the best preforming Kickstarter projects have used tiered and capped prizes. For example: One iFlip for $25 for the first 200, followed by One iFlip for $29 for the next 1000. This incentivizes people to pledge early on. Kickstarter rewards projects with momentum and early pledges ensure that your project is featured throughout the site. The most successful projects hit their funding goals within 10 days and allow the Kickstarter community to run the rest of the campaign.

    1. Thanks for this info Vincent! I think we will switch to capped levels in the next couple of days. The funding goal in 10 days seems daunting (according to your stats) but we will be pushing harder to reach our low level goal for our Hangover (and jet lag) Detox Tea in the next week and in time for Labor Day/official end of summer.

      Check out our crowdfunding campaign at bit.ly/gomodetox

  4. wow this article blew me away and I had interview 10 successful projects myself. Thanks for sharing and will be sure to use it in my future Kickstarter campaign!!

  5. This is gold! I appreciate the fact that you share these things with others. Thanks also for taking the time to answer questions and chat with some of your fans recently at Samovar Tea Lounge – I really enjoyed it! (And I also feel the need to apologize for one guy who asked an incredibly stupid/insulting question)

    1. Thanks, Chris! Hahaha… you mean the “why are you bald?” question? That was hysterical. He was genuinely asking, so I didn’t take it personally. Jason Statham makes it work. Since I’ve been shaving my head since 12 for wrestling, it’s not much of a transition 🙂

      1. Yes, indeed! : )

        Glad you didn’t let that get to you… The follow-up question was even worse: “Do you wonder what it’s like to have hair?” or some BS like that.. Since you mentioned the shaving, I wouldn’t even call you bald – it’s not like you’re Dr. Evil..

  6. The most important are the resources and connections you have. Of course if you live in SF or Silicon valley and are surrounded by bloggers and entrepreneurs and like minded people you will have no problem gaining the traction Soma had. However I doubt a start-up based out of Montana with no visibility to those kind of people could generate this kind of buzz.

      1. Hey Tim,

        This is a great article and I’m loving your blog. I heard your interview with Pat Flynn, but I’ve been a fan ever since I caught your TED talk on self-education.

        My (small) game company is gearing up to launch a Kickstarter in September and I’m trying to soak up your hacks like a sponge. Granted, we’re probably on a much smaller scale than you can operate on, but just applying a few of your tricks we’ve hit 200 likes on Facebook in less than a month with 8-20% virality per post.

        Virality, there’s a word I never imagined I’d be using in a positive sense. Anyhow, I’d be honored if you could take a look at what we’ve got so far and maybe shoot me some fearless feedback on anything you see us doing completely wrong.

        http://www.facebook.com/playnovus

        Now I’m off to check your post on meeting influential bloggers. How can you give this stuff away for free??

  7. Great summary, Tim!

    It really should be noted that these tactics are all great, but I that the reason this project was ultimately was successful had to do with the product. These guys did their homework, picked a good idea, put their time in, and relied on the network surrounding them.

    People are buying into the project, because the project actually is awesome.

    1. The product is not that important. Lots of successful campaigns (unfortunately) never delivered on what they promised. Emotional engagement is the crucial factor.

  8. Wow. What a great post, Mike. A wealth of resources.

    Thanks for the shout out.

    You planned and executed your Kickstarter campaign perfectly. Thanks for letting me help and be a part of it.

    Looking forward to getting my Soma pitcher!

    -Clay

  9. This is a crazy Kickstarter hacking technique !! Will be using a lot of this stuff…on my other projects.

    What happens if I don’t know influential bloggers ? Do I call Ryan Holiday ? 😉

      1. Tim/Mike,

        Great advice. We just hit $100k in 2 weeks on our Kickstarter Campaign (http://ow.ly/hJlwf). I didn’t read this blog ahead of time, but we followed a lot of the same practices. Now, after reading this, we’re already planning to implement some of your other suggestions for the remainder of our campaign.

        Thanks for the great info!!!

        -Tom

  10. Fantastic Post!

    Thanks so much for this.

    We have been writing scripts for movies and filmed a few short movids in the past year or two. We were wondering if we would ever get to make some of the more ambitious ones…

    Now we are thinking that Kickstarter may be an option, when we are ready to go for it.

    Cheers,

    Chris

  11. I’m continuously impressed by the quality of the content you give away for free when so many would have turned this into yet another $2k marketing course. Absolutely fantastic resource that can be applied to any sort of launch, will be sending this to the team to review. The email template was a good addition, it seems so many “understand” what it takes to make it all come together but get deadlocked when it comes to pulling the trigger not wanting to make a bad impression. Exposing everything raw for the world to see (as you always do as well Tim) makes it all “click”, it’s all quite doable and simple with the right initiative.

    1. And I’ll say it as well Tim. Phenomenal blog with high value, real-time insights. Your free sharing versus direct commercial offering is what keeps me a fan. Originally bought ‘Workweek’ and continue to follow your blogs and look for opportunities to buy your lifehacks. Call it karma, or a really unique freemium plan, but the free sharing keeps me engaged and wanting to buy your next pub. Thanks.

    2. Josh, couldn’t have said it better! I’m so impressed and continually grateful for the pay-it-forwardness of Tim’s regular blog entries. The 4HWW changed the way I think about many things, and I only wish I’d had such a book 20 years ago. Tim, thank you a million times for your generosity of spirit and content, and Mike Del Ponte, thank you so much for sharing as well! This Kickstarter information is so helpful as I prep my first Kickstarter campaign ever. It’s for an indie film I’m producing called “Mercenary Opus.” We’re launching the campaign next week, and I’ve been mining this thread constantly. Our team has already made some changes to things in our efforts that I think that would have tripped us up, had we not seen this blog first. So so grateful for this! Thank you!

  12. Wow, great post. Quite substantial and shows how involved the process of raising money, even on kickstarter, truly is. To pursue your dream and to give it the possible chance, attempting and making the effort by following this example would make it well worth it.

    Thanks Tim.

  13. Tim- Very impressed with this post. I’ve, for a long time, thought someone needs to do better job explaining how to “kill it ” on your first run with a Kickstarter Campaign.

    You’re post does a great job at identifying how to Hack traffic and create buzz(and rightfully so). I’d like to know if you did testing on what works for either Video Presentation/Pitch and Reward Creation. Is this something you researched, tracked or tested?

    1. Hi Kevin,

      We did research on reward levels to find which levels were most popular. $50 was our sweet spot. Only $25 and $30 were more popular, but too low for our product. We also interviewed a lot of people and found that the common practice of offering products that are not core to your project (t-shirts, stickers, etc.) was just a distraction that did not generate substantially more backers or revenue. The best book on pricing we found is Brainfluence. Highly recommended.

  14. Been looking at Kickstarter blogs a lot lately, wondering what makes a successful campaign. Amazing how almost every topic I’m interested in ends up here or in one of your books at some point.

  15. Killer! The personal connections are worth their weight in gold with Kickstarter.

    We’re writing a series called “100 Music Kickstarters to Learn From” and for newer bands our best advice is that your Circle of Influence buys *why* you are doing it, not *what* you’re making.

    When getting your friends on board prior to launch, this is certainly the force that drives them to help you.

    Interesting to compare notes with the design category of Kickstarter. Thanks so much for putting this together!

  16. Tim, You are a rockstar! Thanks for sharing such an invaluable resource. I have helped several projects get funded on Kickstarter including WineHive, Bird Photo Booth, AppTag Laser Blaster among others. You are 100% right on all the steps needed. Another great tip for people who dont have a direct relationship to bloggers and writers would be Twitter. Once you have the Media List of Top bloggers a technique that works out wonders is to start following them on twitter, mentioning them, RT their tweets and replying to tweets related to your project. We got Robert Scoble to notice us this way and RT our post earning $15K just from this post!

    1. Hi Patrick,

      I would like to know if you are interested to help us with the Kickstarter project?

      Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

      Thanks

  17. Having recently done a successful $400K+ Kickstarter for the game Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption, I think there is one simple, yet critically important, piece to a successful Kickstarter:

    Timing Makes a Huge Difference

    The Kickstarter needs to start between Monday – Wednesday. There are two reasons for this:

    1) You need to take into consideration the press cycle. When your Kickstarter launches it’s topical and much easier to get press write-ups. Most blogs/reporters find their next article’s content by reading other blogs. If you launch Friday or Saturday they don’t have enough office time to write an article on your project, and are unlikely to write anything after it’s no longer topical.

    2) We found out that weekends performed significantly worse than weekdays consistently throughout our project.

    You also want to make sure you Kickstarter ends Wednesday to Friday as that is your second largest period for getting press and social media shout outs. You want your final project days to be when everyone is at their computers and can rally around your project.

    With our project we launched as possibly the worst timing – Friday midday.

    We didn’t account for the final approval period by Kickstarter, which took 12 hours (we finalized the Kickstarter page at midnight at the beginning of Friday). We still performed very well ($62.4K), but there is no question we would have performed much better based on the press spread we saw from articles that were ran pre-Kickstarter launch.

    During are our pre-launch press period we had scheduled articles on sites like Mashable driving 5 – 10 additional articles from other websites that get content/inspiration from Mashable. The same scheduled articles on major sites like Mashable were unable to drive additional articles on the actual project launch due to our poor timing.

    1. Mike, thanks for your insight! I knew I had to start monday (or tuesday, as I just found out) but finishing wednesday to friday wasn’t something I had considered. Thanks again for that.

      Mashable is great, but I haven’t found the way to ideally approach them with my project yet. Do you have any specific advice? As I don’t have contacts there.

    2. Hi Michael,

      Fantastic job. That is awesome that you had such a great run. If you can find the time, can you email me privately? Being brand new to this, it sure would be awesome to get some tips from someone who has been successful. Most appreciated.

  18. How did Soma get all of the press attention it did?? I’m not talking about blog coverage. You wrote: we were fortunate to get a ton of press in just 10 days (Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., Mashable, Cool Hunting, Business Insider, GOOD, Salon, Gear Patrol, Thrillist, The Huffington Post, and many more).

    How was this accomplished? Did the founders pitch each of these publications individually? I think the fact that you omit such information is a major flaw in this blog post of yours, Tim.

    Blog coverage or not, companies KILL for this type of media coverage.

    1. Hi Gordon,

      When I say “press” and “blog”, I mean the same thing: online publication. Bloggers are very powerful, whether they write for their own site or a larger site like The Huffington Post. For example, I consider Gear Patrol to be a blog (they called it a “digital magazine”). Gear Patrol isn’t as well known or prestigious as the print edition of Forbes, which we were in, but it drove considerably more traffic and money to our Kickstarter project.

      We got a good amount of media coverage by using the process above, which boils down to finding the best media targets, getting a warm introduction when possible, and making it easy for the writer to cover you. Thanks for asking!

  19. To funny that you posted this just two days after I started to make a Kickstarter campaign. I ran into a wall though. My business I think may get rejected by Kickstarter because it’s charity minded. It’s a for profit clothing company for athletes, but we donate portions of each sale to the athletes charity.

    Any ideas of how to get around Kickstarters “no charity minded businesses” clause? If not, then any other ideas for a campaign similar to Kickstarter? Kickstarter also doesn’t allow ecommerce stores, so I’m having to leave that part out of my campaign, and it just so happens to make up for 3/4’s of the business.

    1. kyle use indie gogo instead….heres a well done campaign for ideas of how tying product into charity…i have no affiliation with them but they KILLED IT!

      http://www.indiegogo.com/1facewatch hope this doesnt violate Fonzi’s keepin it cool with a web link…if so MY BAD TIM…if link gets removed the product is facewatch on indie gogo

      Hope this helps Kyle

        1. Kyle, I wondered whether you did submit to kickstarter in the end and what the outcome was? I’m supporting a UK-based medical appiance delivery company which aims for a portion of its sale to go relevant charities. The organisation I work for has a curated area on Kickstarter (which we encourage the members of our charity to visit on a regular basis) so would be great if they did get approval. Thanks, Alex

  20. I’ve been on pins and needles waiting for this post to go up since the Q&A at Samovar! Great read, tons of value, now time to action it all. Side bar: Loving 4 Hour Chef Double Side Bar: That bald question was an all time classic moment.

  21. Great article, Mike! And thanks so much, Tim, for sharing this valuable information with us.

    It seems to me that one of the absolute and most important elements of a project such as this (or any other, for that matter) is using networking to get the word out. It is even mentioned in this article, Mike saw a 50%+ success rate in pitching to bloggers when he either knew the blogger or had a friend who knew the blogger.

    Do either of you have any insight into how one might approach things if he or she does not have many or any friends who could make this sort of introduction?

    Thanks again for the great post!

    Cheers,

    Benjamin Jude

    1. Benjamin,

      Thanks for your kind words. First off, you’d be surprised by who if your network can help you connect with press. The most helpful introductions didn’t always come from the “most connected” or “high profile” people I know. Use Facebook, BranchOut or LinkedIn to find connections that already exist in your network. Secondly, if you are finding that you can’t get introductions, get on the radar of writers by commenting on their posts (as you did here), interacting on Twitter, introducing yourself at conferences or their speaking gigs, etc.

      Good luck!

  22. Awesome. Thank you Thank you Thank you. Awesome – now torn between the need for rest and the fire within to change the world!

    Big love, and don’t let your lady give birth without your own midwife or Doula!

    xxx

  23. So I just heard back from one of the media targets that featured coverage of Soma. And surprise, surprise, the writer knows one of the founders.

    You see how small a world this is?? When the founder of a company knows the writer at a publication, you’re just about guaranteed media coverage.

    A word to the wise: The more people you know, the faster you’ll get out of the starting gates.

  24. I have a friend who is wanting to do a kickstarter for an awesome project but is very against social networking. It’s so frustrating because I feel like the project could really take off, but I don’t think he will bend on the facebook issue. I feel like he’s dooming his project to failure before it even starts. Do you think it’s a possibility to have a successful kickstarter without the aid of social media?

  25. I just LOVE case studies and templates… and since my business is growing so fast, it’s often difficult to see the forest from the trees! I have wanted to put together a crowdfunding project to add capacity to my young company. Knowing what, where, and how to get started is challenging when multitasking on so many other fronts! Tim, thank you for this resource… and thanks for the digital kick in the butt. I enjoyed working with you on the 4-hour Launch several years ago. Business has been growing steady, now needing more equipment and web-help…. good thing because there are MANY more wine gifts needing personalized presentations!

  26. Although this was a fantastic post, I have one concern.

    I already thought of using Kickstarter as a testing tool for ideas that I have, but after looking through their application process, they CLEARLY state that no “designs” are allowed, only functioning prototypes. Not to mention, Soma actually had a prototype for the video they made. For just the design of a prototype I’ve been quoted a couple thousand dollars.

    So even though you may be saving by testing before manufacturing, it is still very costly to have a custom object made, even from designs a freelancer made.

  27. You mentioned that Zirtual was a very useful tool in your campaign. What did you use Zirtual for? Sending/replying to emails, contacting blogs etc.?

    Also if anyone uses virtual assistants, I would love to hear how long you have been using them, and how they have improved your life / helped you save time.

    Awesome post, hopefully I will reference this in the future.

    1. Jonas – Zirtual has been one of the greatest resources I’ve found, for my business and my personal life. I use VAs for everything from scheduling to online research to managing social media accounts to calling customer service to sending emails on my behalf and MUCH more. I can’t recommend Zirtual enough.

      1. Hi Mike,

        I read this article with great interest and there are three small questions I have:

        01) For all the steps that involved your VAs at Zirtual, do you have a rough idea of how many hours your VAs devoted to researching for your Kickstarter campaign?

        02) What physical time span was all these prep work done by the VAs?

        For example, a task might take me 50 hours to do but from start date to end date, two months could have transpired.

        03) Would you have a rough idea how many hours and time span you and your two full-time teammates worked on this campaign?

        Looking forward to your response and thanks again for this insightful article.

        – Rahul

  28. Tim,

    This content is the GOLD that is soooo freaking hard to find anywhere online, at any price (let alone gratis) ! So,my personal thanks to you, Tim.

    Certainly, I will take action and update this string as progress is made.

    Many well wishes for the holidays.

    Al Herd

  29. Tim/Mike, backed Soma on Kickstarter, absolutely love the product & philosophy of the company. Your filter + Tkaro Inc.’s Water Bottle are a match made in heaven, both are ‘best of breed’ products and meant to be together!

  30. Thanks Mike, and Tim, for sharing. An unbelievably valuable post for someone (such as myself :)) with an impending Kickstarter launch. This blog is just the gift that keeps giving….

  31. How incredibly timely and relevant! We are launching our crowdfunding effort on Feb 1. It’s not a product, but a movie with some incredible artists co-writing the music, and Matt Damon’s charity water.org will be promoting the movie once it’s finished because a part of the revenue goes to help drill water wells in places where children die by the hundreds of thousands because of the lack of pure drinking water. Thanks a million for this info.! Signed, Best Pecs

  32. Excellent advice and well documented. Using alot of the free tools out there to increase profit, what more could you ask for, maybe some pre-wrote templates…. Seems you have even helped with that. Good work.

  33. Awesome post, deconstructing kickstarted is something I was working on myself. This has a load of new ideas though!

    Also, your post didn’t show up in my rss feed (google reader). Normally the posts appear, so perhaps there’s a problem on your end.

  34. WOW, Mike and Tim, this is such a great resource. While I have no experience with Kickstarter, I have had my share of launches with new bag styles at Live Well 360, and I can say for sure, these same tactics would be helpful for anyone looking to launch a new product.

    One thing I can add, (not Kickstarter related but maybe helpful) that was successful for us when we launched our first fitness bag in our line, was doing giveaways with influential health and fitness bloggers. This really helped to create the surround sound effect, which lead to bigger media/magazine attention.

    We also had a big giveaway on our site, which we called the “What’s In Your Bag Giveway” and we filled the bag with all kinds of cool health and fitness goodies. One of the ways to enter was to tweet/FB about the giveaway, which was an easy way for people to spread the word about us.

    Love the idea of the landing pages. I am going to brainstorm ways we can incorporate something similar into our next launch.

    Thanks so much for taking the time and effort to put this together.

  35. What a wonderful resource for folks preparing to launch Kickstarter campaigns or launching products independently. Thanks for sharing your lessons with the world so generously and transparently, Mike.

    Best of success to those who about to launch their own campaigns and products!

    Can’t wait for my pitcher to arrive.

  36. Oh and I just bought two books from this post. I have been devouring kindle books lately! No TV = getting smarter every day 🙂

    … Plus learned about some really cool services through the zirtual plus link.

    My vote is for just one post per decade to be as valuable to entrepreneurs as this. Muitobrigado!

  37. 4hb was my last hope. I’ve been trying for almost 3 months. spinach refried beans sausage or chicken. 2 times a day, egg stuff with whole egg and spinach if I need something more after the wake up protein. water is 1/2 gallon a day. cheat day as well. started icepack at night and working out 5 days a week out of desperation. my body must be fighting me. I am so upset and messed up metabolically I think. I’ve lost about 10 lbs. rapid what? rapid where? rapid who? I don’t get why its not working. I’m disgusted and i enjoyed the book so much. it revitalized my mind into thinking I can master my body with your blueprint. I either need help, or it’s not gonna work. I am soooo mad about all the emotion I put into believing this. just knocks the life out of me. I hate this feeling of failure. if u read his cool. if not, maybe someone else will feel they’re not the only one who feels like banging their head against a wall. your writing and research is absolutely fantastic. I just wish it were true, for me.

    1. Steve

      4HB does work. I am living proof. The issue could be the hormones added to the animals that were the source of the sausage, the chicken, the eggs etc. I eat a lot of meat, but I have to be obsessive about the ‘no hormones added’ aspect. Further, the pleasure of having a new body which has enhanced life is greater than the pleasure any particular food brings. Here’s the fast track: Repeat the section the research done by RAY CRONISE. I applied this knowledge to lose the fat and to look ripped for my show. (From 4HB) “Michael Phelps eats 12,000 calories per day.” “Running a marathon might burn 2600 calories, but working out in an 82 F pool for four hours could burn up to an extra 4,000 (up to 6600) calories, if one considered thermal load.” Switching from running to swimming was key to rapid fat loss. Oh, and don’t ignore the supplements in 4HB. Sadly, it would seem that most food lacks the nutrients these days for whatever reason. TV shows dedicated to food 24/7, but my focus is on nutrition, especially the supplements in 4HB. The MOST important ones in the book (for my fat loss) are ALA, CLA and NAC (find these names in the brand Jarrow and things should change for you). http://bit.ly/WkXxeN – These are the Jarrow supplements I take. You can find them at Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, Earth Fare, etc. I was > 230 and now maintain <155.

  38. Thanks a lot, Tim. Just shared this with a friend trying to create a standing desk. I think it could help him (and me) in the future with a product. Bookmarked!

  39. Great stuff, you guys are genious. I’m sure this blog post will get you that bit of extra traffic to your kickstarter page to leverage even more backers. Good luck!!

  40. This is a truly amazing post, and one of the best examples of Tim’s ‘break it down, step by step’ approach that he’s become known for. I’m going to implement as much of it as I can in a few months’ time.

    Results of the competitions?! 😉

  41. Great post Tim (as per usual).

    We’ve followed quite a number of your tips (you’ve alluded to many of these before).

    Our current project http://www.indiegogo.com/RaceCapture/x/686407 (up now) is coming along, but we’ve seen very little traction with fairly similar intro/PR techniques. I’ve heard a lot of blogs are treating indeigogo/kickstarter projects in the “Advertising” category and seem to have their hand out rather than be excited about something in their niche.

    Have you noticed this much or is it possibly a factor due to the market sector we’re in (automotive). I’d love to hear your two cents on it.

    Keep up the great stuff man!

  42. Thank you so much for sharing so much valuable information and so many helpful tools! My partner and I are in the early stages of designing our own Kickstarter campaign, and we will definitely benefit from your experience and wisdom. And just because you’re so friggin’ awesome for sharing all of your knowledge for free, I’m gonna go back Soma now. It’ll make a nice gift for my parents 🙂

  43. This is the best and most informative article about a product launch I have ever read. I am obsessed with Tim at the moment (in a non creepy way of course) and have been following his advice for months now.

    It’s posts like this that prove why he has such a engaging audience. Excellent work, Tim. Now I must take some of these tips and apply them to my own project. Huzzah!

  44. I came here to say something about “Oh, look, Tim the Hack is teaching people how to hack again” in some cynical fashion, but damn, Tim, you really got your shit covered. Respect.

  45. Wow, this is brilliant! we might not use the exact approach and just modify it to suit our needs according to our product(s) and target market(s), still the principles behind them are exceptionally valuable and useful. great post!

  46. Tim and Mike,

    Awesome article! Thanks so much for posting this.

    TextExpander sounds like a helpful tool, but I wanted to share a free option for Gmail users: look in Gmail Labs (in ‘Settings’) for one called Canned Responses. Like TextExpander, you can save blocks of text and easily drop it into your email. It just doesn’t have the cool type-to-activate thing that TE has. (Then again it’s free, not $39.95).

  47. Thank you Tim and Mike for this post. It is awesome!

    Even though I’m not American and I’m outside the US (actually I’m from Vietnam), I think I’d still be able to apply a lot of the insights you shared here. I really like the 6th step (segment & activate ur network) as well as the tools at the end of the article. Thanks again. 😀

    Ngoc Khong

  48. Thanks Tim.

    I will try to utilize all the help I have been given for my next try to raise funds. My only thing is I’m NOT raising funds for a business, or something people can use in everyday life. What I offer is culture in the form of a film project on interviewing and learning about modern art in this modern age. I’m trying to do what the art books don’t do. Which is give you a REAL insight into the art world, and not colored by a historians ideals.

    I’ve watched so many things on KS and other pages get so much money for little electronics gadgets, and it just lowers my spirits because I can’t get $2K for a historic film project I have put my hard earned time and money into to even get it to this point.

    Cheers, and Thanks for the 4HWW, it’s been one of the best things to ever happen for me.

    Jeffrey

  49. Thank’s a lot Tim, This was very refreshing. I found your blog due to your MUSE posts. You do not write about these things any more, but this helped me to remember, why did I got here for the first tiem.

  50. I love and enjoy reading this information! The only thing I was hoping for was I wish Soma’s offer on Kickstarter to dine with Tim was not just limited to 3 and offered at a more affordable figure. I do see the thought behind it. More intimate to get the biggest bang for the buck!

  51. Tim, thanks for the fantastically helpful resources you continue to put out.

    Mike, I have a question that I consider to be quite important in the pre-launch process.

    In the article, you did not make mention of the stage at which you determined the launch date, or how you determined the launch date. (Not saying this is a bad thing, as you provided a wealth of information already).

    Did you have a launch date in mind (or a rough date) prior to forming the above mentioned ‘army of friends,’ or did you determine a launch date upon receiving confirmed stories from bloggers? Was the date you chose of particular importance? Or was it simply the time that fit the best with the progression of the project?

    I am working on my own project and don’t know whether to set an intended launch date, or just determine it as I move along in the process.

    Any input regarding this would be particularly helpful for myself and other readers as well.

    Thanks!

    1. Nick – You’re right to point out that launch date is important. To determine when to launch, we asked two questions. Which day of the week is best? What will we be vying with to get the attention and action from consumers?

      In general, Tuesdays are considered great days to launch. Monday would be my second choice. I wouldn’t launch on any other days for Kickstarter.

      In terms of competition, we were mindful of the Presidential election in early November, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. That’s why we launched on 12/4 (a Tuesday right between the major holidays).

  52. I think this post should be filed under “No Excuses Anymore”. With this template and some tenacity, anyone should be able to assess whether their campaign/project has potential, without signifcant financial risk or complication. Great post and great value. I think there is some interesting crossover between launching a great Kickstarter campaign and developing you 1000 True Fan’s base as Tim has mentioned elsewhere.

    Mike, I’m curious if you would mind commenting on whether you schedule updates/emails for your backers? And if so, what sort of schedule do you maintain in terms of contact? I’ve backed two campaigns on Kickstarter, one with monthly updates and a second with almost zero contact. I feel more involved and part of the process with the first and am interested as to how you feel about this.

    Cheers.

    1. Hi Mick,

      Thanks for the kind words and questions. You’re right that it’s important for the creators of a Kickstarter project to send regular updates so backers know they are part of the team. We did not schedule these in advance. Instead, we tied them to major milestones. For example, when we hit $50,000 in 36 hours, we sent out an update thanking our backers (see above on how we used this update to spark sharing with a custom landing page). Use updates to build momentum and engage your 1,000 true fans (great post, BTW!).

      Good luck!

  53. Tim, I know you don’t take direct pitches but this post has triggered my enthusiasm. I am currently rigorously road testing Rescuetime and have an idea for a potential product related to this kind of tracking software. It’s very much my “own itch” but It would be great to get your opinion on it. I am talking to Matt and Joe at rescuetime about it and have Pitched the idea to a few trusted people and the response has been great so far. Happy Xmas to one and all at the fourhourworkweek!

  54. Totally disappointing, Mike you have made a great product but you have to have a marketing liar to seduce a reader to give people a hope to make $100 k in $10 days, when your preparation took a lot more than 10 days. Blogs like this make me sick. But, before get caught up in this mental frustrations, nothing made more successful is your Idea of solving the problem and your network of people and relationship you had built over years. 4 hour work week is a pure hype, when you realize the time it took to build the relationship with other bloggers, 4 hour work week was not possible. When we get caught up in marketing messages, and lose sight of the true value you had, you cared for people, Mike. Tim is amazing writer who can create amazing details to back up what happened. But Mike, you did not have this data up front, you took your ideas and went ahead without it. I totally disagree with the headline. and I happy for your product idea Mike. I wish there are more Mike in the world than ton of hype filled writers.

    1. Mike I am starting a project to share my progress in college. Its to raise money for but I want to be the one raising the money and publicly showing my progress just for support but to a broader audience. I hope I am not confusing you. Do you have any tips on how I could go about doing this??

  55. Hi,

    I am about to start a new Kickstarter and need a little help from you. I was wondering if I should hire a free lance videographer. I am also based in SF bay area and was wondering who made your video for SOMA. If you don’t mind sending me contact info or any other info that would be great!

  56. Tim and others on this site – Im curious if this approach to fundraising, business expansion and startups applies to services (community based health and safety training). We have a 6 year old service based busines that we are interested in expanding to “move to the next level”.

    1. Tanya,

      Make sure to check out some of the projects on Kickstarter and Indiegogo that have used crowdfunding to expand their service businesses. Also, you might be interested to have a listen to Seth Godin’s Startup School podcast episodes. You can download them for free on iTunes.

      Good Luck!

  57. Maximizing the potential of the online marketing is definitely very rewarding. It may not be a walk in the park, but still, when you know what you are doing-you will be reaping its reward.

  58. Not only was this article fantastic, but the fact that Tim and Mike have been answering questions throughout this comment stream is note worthy! I think all of my questions have been answered, I can’t wait to start implementing!

    Thank you guys for being so awesome and taking the time to share this!

    Much love and I’ll see you at the top!

  59. Mike – your post demonstrates Elegant Simplicity. You’ve given the critical counter-intuitive knowledge, templates and actions on one page here. Amazing! Too many are trying to spend a lot of money to learn this stuff. Some of us have been funding outsourced talent in attempts to learn and create the GREAT Kickstarter campaign. Now you’ve opened the vault of life-transforming direct paths to real success on Kickstarter! It’s like spending time and resources trying to create the anti-gravity technology we know exists, and then Mike gives us the perfected blueprint with easy to follow instructions. Tim: We’ll meme this… but that’s going to mean A LOT of competition, which means more fun! Thank you both.

  60. I am also full of power after reading Tom’s books and articles. I created new product (bag) and I am trying to find a plant which produce it for me to sell.

    1. Paulina,

      The challenge you are having of finding a manufacturer is THE issue facing most Kickstarter projects. Time and again it’s manufacturing that derails a successful project. If anyone can point to a resource to help solve this problem, that would be very valuable.

    2. Each industry varies for how to find manufacturing. Networking is your best bet, along with some time and patience. Paulina, I’m in fashion too, so I may know some people who can point you in the right direction. If you want to chat let me know!

      1. I would like to help my fahter to run his cloths company. one of many option is to have mercantile agency in Poland, another option is to find a foreign partner to could sell our cloths abroad. website of Vera Moni is very simple and it is only in polish. but if someone will be interested in this, I can translate into english, german or italian. I am receptive for chat and cooperation. Thank you very much.

      2. Christen, you say you’re in fashion, would love to connect. I have two ideas I’m trying to suss out (to see which is more viable) and have been trying to connect with clothing manufacturers in the US. I’m currently in Los Angeles but would prefer to work with manufacturers in perhaps Detroit or New Orleans for reasons I can explain later. Might you have any suggestions? Would be greatly appreciated.

        1. Hi CW!

          I’d love to connect. Can you visit my website (click on my name on this comment) and send me your info via the contact form? We can chat more then!

          Thanks!

  61. loyal means that when you give some project / some design to produce for some manufacturer they will not copy your design and they will not sell it with cheap rate.

    1. Paulina,

      A manufacturer that respects your intellectual property is very important. How do you know if you can trust a manufacturer? Do you know of any cases where an otherwise reputable manufacturer took a client’s design and made a competing product?

  62. Yes, I know. my father has a cloths company. He produces collections for women. after two weeks from fashion show some projects of blouses were on market. I remeber when I was in Hamburg, in very up-market cloths store. I bought very expensive blouse and I was thinking I would be the only one who will have it in Poland (ok, maybe not the only one, but in my town probably nobody would have it). after summer I went back to Poland and my friend had almost the same blouse. she paid 20 usd and I paid 10 x more. have you every read a book Edwards-Jones Imogen eg. Fashion Babylon? everything by everyone can be copy.

    1. Paulina,

      It’s true, everything can be copied. It may not be by the original contract manufacturer, however. It might be by another manufacturer that simply saw it and copied it.

        1. My apologies. I only went onto your site after posting the question (ashamed…) I had a friend years ago who runs a clothing company in the north of Poland. His name is Czarek 🙂

          Regards

          Daniel

        1. Hi Paula. I think we need to move this off here not to abuse the hospitality of our host lol. Find me on 2010wlcc at gmail

          Cheers

          Daniel

  63. Mike, Tim,

    Your article and crib notes are a generous primer in online marketing for product launches, bringing a beautiful blend of low tech/high efficiency to the online ‘dialogue’ which marketing and pr has become. Though I work in this stuff all the time, and am a huge fan of Tim’s 4hww since it came out, I picked up a ton of fresh insights and appreciate the clarity of your methods, it is so easy to get bogged down in the wrong kind of analytics or optimization. This cuts so nicely to the chase. Cheers.

  64. Wow … this is incredibly interesting and highly relevant. Would you be available for a one-to-one should I require some further advise? Thank you and all the very best in your venture.

    Nadio

  65. Brilliant.. Been Saving This Read… Recently launched a fundraiser for my son’s soccer tour this summer in Spain and Portugal (which is nearly 50% funded in 2weeks).. Good to know I am using many of these methods, but there are nuggets that I will implement if it makes sense… Thanks for sharing….

  66. Mike,

    First, this was a GREAT guest post! Loved it.

    I am guessing that this will not work with Indiegogo because they do not use the bit.ly links. Correct?

    Thank you,

    Bill

  67. Excellent piece Tim and Mike. There is so, so little information out there about how to execute a successful Kickstarter campaign. I am launching one in late-Jan, early-Feb 2013, and have been documenting my process on my site…hopefully your writing here will inspire more people to share their experiences and tactics they used with Kickstarter.

  68. Great Article and I love the way you think. Do you think this way of fundraising is appropriate for Mobile Apps?

    I am in the process of raising funds for an internet start up for a Smart Phone App Project my team is working on and I think using a website like KickStarter would be very helpful in securing additional funds. I have also found a few others like Indiegogo.com etc… When I searched these sites I have only seen very few Smart Phone App Projects. Do you think that is because App start ups are ‘secretive’ about the new services they will be providing or are there other website that are more geared towards that market?

    On a certain level, the App idea is very focus and on the cutting edge of what is coming out right now on the App Store. There are a few somewhat similar Apps but nothing quite like ours and keeping certain ideas proprietary until launch is important to our team as not to prompt the competition.

    Thank You

    1. Stefan,

      There is something called “selfstarter” you might want to consider. This is a DIY crowdfunding app that was released as open source by an app developer when their project was refused by Kickstarter. The app, Lockitron, raised over $2 million. Here is a link http://selfstarter.us/

  69. Holy shit balls! This post was awesome.

    Thanks for opening up templates and everything, wow. I’m in same situation of recruiting / cold emailing. This makes it so much more easy.

    Also that 3 button share website was legit, how did you build that? Thanks again!

  70. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we were in the midst of our Indiegogo campaign as this article came out.

    It went well (click my name for the link).

    Tim knows what he’s saying! (Someday we’ll meet).

    Keep up the great evergreen posts Tim!

  71. I love how you template this stuff so we can learn from actual examples, this is very exhaustive and a must read for anyone looking to Kickstarter for funding.

    Thanks a lot!

    @jephmaystruck

  72. Tim & Mike, I just launched my own Kickstarter campaign using your templates and “hacks”. We haven’t been live for even a day and have already raised $1000! Thank you so much for this invaluable information! [Editor: URL removed. Brian, please use the link for your name, not in the text body. Thanks!]

  73. I think this post is awesome and with many useful marketing resources. What’s totally new to me was the Klout service and the Braininfluence book.

    Thanks a lot!

  74. Wow. Seriously this is WAY better than some of the info products Ive paid 2k PLus for….And all designed for action! Seriously a colossal thank you! I wonder how many businesses you have saved or given a means with this excellent post! Many thanx!

    1. wow that’s pretty awesome Zach! I started the process but cannot do it in my niche (Kickstarter doesnt allow medical /fitness ) so am looking at usingthis process for getting traffic via press…..

  75. I have been eating social media for breakfast, lunch and dinner since the new year with the resolution to get my company to the top. Reading your article was the best thing that happened to me today, when I’m wondering if this is worth it or if it will make any difference. I will spend the next couple of days studying your article and all the links you provided. My brains is starting to turn!

    Best,

    Argentina

  76. Can anyone recommend a venue to find VA’s? The company he recommends in this article is a little pricey. I’ve been using oDesk for a while but it’s hit and miss. Mostly miss.

    1. Hey Adam ,

      odesk is great if you qualify them first and keep them on a short leash until they prove themselves and even after that keep checking in regularly to keep them honest.

      I’ve also had luck on craigslist ( Philippines ), But if you really want to take the guess work out of it and learn a lot more about getting the best results from VA’s check out Chris Ducker and virtualstafffinder.com he is the go to guy for VA’s

  77. Once again, I’m reminded by this article of the importance of outsourcing more aspects of business, including research and contact/media list building. Even if someone did it themselves, the criteria you list is invaluable, and I must admit I’ve never thought of securing introductions through Facebook. I’ve typically sought to be as personable as possible, but NOTHING replaces being introduced by a friend of the blogger or writer.

    Thanks for this inspiring post, nothing short of an explosive blueprint/brainstorm.

  78. so i have read your piece on this kickstarter stuff. I dont have all those capabilities. so will you back my project? its called zomb-body luvs you and i just launched it yesterday jan 28th 2013. its a line of zombie inspired shirts i drew and put on clothing.

  79. Great article. Extremely useful. Have you looked into how different scales and/or categories of Kickstarters could affect the kinds of incentives people are interested in? I’m thinking specifically about the claim that people aren’t really into t-shirts. If you’re looking for $1000 pledges obviously giving away t-shirts isn’t going to get you there, but if you simply want to get up to $50 from $30 it might do the trick. Also, depending on how locally-based your company is, wearable unrelated items could offer some street cred.

    I am looking to do a Kickstarter project for my pickling business. We’re called Uncommon Pickle and we’re based in Oakland. Any specific food-related advice you have discovered?

    John

  80. Hey Tim, thanks so much for giving us this valuable information. I haven’t really defined what I want to do when I get older, but I just read your book “The 4 Hour workweek” and I must say you changed my way of seeing life, I only have a $100 bucks and I hope I can began to run a business with MED, outsourcing and automation and with this pay college and then take a round-world trip 🙂 As for the moment I’ll see what I can do to start and thanks for all.

    – Jaime Rodriguez

    sorry for the bad english if I made any mistakes

  81. Hey Mike, is Sparkseed still going strong? I wasn’t able to find a website for it.

    We’re running a projected on Kickstarter for a social media video game hoping to open up doors around the world.

    [Moderator: Link removed]

  82. Thanks Mike and Tim. Very generous sharing.

    I have noticed that there is a layperson perception regarding crowd-funding that you just post your offer and wait, and hope, and if it hits, it hits. But from your (very comprehensive) post it looks more like a “buckle down the hatches and all systems go!” endeavor. To craft your successful campaign, you employed a great strategy and had a dedicated team.

    “Our Kickstarter launch team included three full-time teammates, two virtual assistants, one intern, and an army of friends.”

    You also said that your goal was to have 90% of the work done before you launched.

    For the sake of an even clearer picture of the commitment it takes to run a successful campaign, can you please clarify a few details for me (and all of us venturing into a campaign)?

    What was your prep time before you launched to get that 90% done?

    Were there dedicated roles that your full time teammates took on, if so, what were they?

    Were there any other roles or skills you wish you had had? (I know you had a successful campaign, but were there any bottlenecks of time or efficiency due to lacking an unforeseen skill set?)

    How much time and for what period did you require your VA’s?

    I want to help my friend have successful campaign, and you do such an amazing job at both making the possibilities magical, and showing how the magical is made real–through strategy, technique, and execution.

    Thanks for everything you have done and shared already.

  83. Mike & Tim-

    Thank you so much. I am a recent business graduate student from the University of New Mexico. I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with an amazing company called H2gO Purifier. My boss, Mr. Rodney Herrington went out on a limb by hiring me right out of college to help support his crowd-funding campaign. I am doing everything I can think of to make his dreams come true while making sure I can get another job in this town by not failing miserably at it. I am extremely excited and nervous all at the same time. Being able to read this article, it has given me confidence that my initial steps have been on the right track but you have also shown me ways to manage and measure those steps which I would have wasted precious time building and figuring out myself. Now I’m off to build relationships and try to introduce myself to bloggers! I look forward to following you! Maybe one day we can chat.

    Sincerely,

    Michael J. Hufford

  84. Thank you! I found this information very informative when researching and creating our kickstarter campaign. Hopefully I can report good news after our launch but until then, the marketing strategies here gave us confidence to move forward!

  85. Its great that you shared all this information. It a testiment of the ability to sell something based on the buzz you create for the product. I wonder if people would have been willing to pay so much for a product if they saw it in a store side by side other products selling for $25.

  86. Thanks so much, this is a fantastic resource that I would have paid $$$ to a consultant for otherwise. We’re launching on IndieGogo, could I get your developer’s contact info for the custom Kickstarter dashboard? Would love to hire him to make us one for IndieGogo!

  87. Hi Tim. First, let me thank you for such a terrific post on Kickstarter. I found this while beginning to study crowdfunding options and what it task to launch a successful campaign.

    While what the SOMA guys share is a practical blueprint on how prep and manage a campaign, I am struggling with something much more basic: how to categorize my project. My project is the launch of a typical dot com start-up. It will be a community site that provides benefits to both members and charities related to the travel industry (note: this is NOT a non-profit). It will not “sell” a tangible product as its core deliverable.

    So my question is this: how do you classify a “stereotypical” dot com start-up on Kickstarter that is not an obvious fit in any of their existing categories? I’ve been looking at current/past projects for similar situations, and I’m struggling to find any comparables. Do you (or any other readers of this blog) have any thoughts on this, or advice on where I can search further.

    Thank you in advance for any thoughts you can share.

    Regards,

    Tim

    1. if its not in Kickstarters categories or if you are finding you cannot categorize it it may not be permitted by Kickstarters rules. There are many other corwd funding options which may suit you better. The real key to success is in the promoting of your project not the platform

    2. Hi Tim Myers, I’m in a similar boat. In my humble, newbie opinion, the trick is to come up with tangible (as much as you can manage) manifestations of your benefits of your service, then “sell” that. What do you offer your audience? How can something that you can tangibly give, in the forms of rewards or otherwise, as a teaser/taster/representative of your startup’s real benefits?

      Someone said to me: “can you make a t-shirt?” when I was first sharing my ideas around, and I didn’t think much of it first. But it actually makes a lot of sense! People want to buy things they can touch.

      Good luck!

      And Tim Ferris and Mike, thanks for sharing this awesome resource. I’m floored, and ready to really study this.

  88. an amazing read. i really enjoyed this write up. have been browsing kickstarter for awhile and really love the ideas that people are constantly coming up with.

    kudos tim

  89. Awesome article. I was referred to this by a friend of mine as we are getting ready to launch a kickstarter campaign. It would be great if you can comment/provide more details on the prep time. How many days/weeks of prep was done before launching the campaign? I see that this was asked before and probably missed out on a reply (or I missed seeing it).

  90. Hi,

    Thank you so much for this post, it has been very helpful. Quick question- What if you do not have press contacts or friends well connected? I’m about to launch my kickstarter in a couple of weeks and the item is a food item. Do you suggest I send a press kit to writers with some product samples beforehand? Also do you have any specific advice for food based items and how to get strangers to contribute to your project?

  91. Tim,

    I’ve launched two Kickstarter campaigns so far, (http://kck.st/yLvOs2 and http://kck.st/JuVCUD) the first was successful, the second crashed and burned. What I learned was that I got cocky after the first and what I really needed more research and prep work.

    As I am about to launch a 3rd campaign, I’m in research stage (And the potential is huge if I do it right). Stumbling across this article is an absolute Godsend! I’m almost tearing up as I realize how invaluable the information is that you’ve provided, and at no cost to boot.

    I’m a couple months from launch, and whether this works out or not, I can’t thank you enough as you’ve given me a fighting chance.

    IN appreciation, let me know how I can ship you one of my prototypes.

    (I promise it’s something you’ll be able to use)

  92. Hi Tim,

    Firstly, like everyone else here, I am blown away by the information you are sharing with us. Truly amazing and generous of you! We are following all of your recommendations and have found them to be invaluable. Thanks!

    I have a technical question regarding the use of landing pages. I love the idea, but nowhere can I find out where these landing pages reside? Are they part of your website?

    Thanks so much,

    Cindy

      1. Hey Jan,

        I am curious too about the landing page, as I am not technical and want to set one up. I checked out lander.com and it is not working anymore. Any advice? If anyone out there has any info on how to take those great landing templates that was provided and customize I would be curious to learn.

        With Thanks!

  93. Tim and Mike, thank you so much for a well thought out post.

    My business partner and I followed it to the T and just launched our first Kickstarter last week. Check it out: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bentbasket/bent-basket-a-better-ride-with-design

    We just got featured on Coolhunting, Swiss-Miss, Notcot and Bikenet.

    My question is when did you actually see the bump after those blog posts? We get a little bump but our $100k goal is still far away.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    David

    1. Awesome tips for running a KICKSTARTER campaign! Wish I had seen these before my campaign launched. These tips are very inspiring to those of us who are new to crowd-sourcing. We are currently at 12% funded. I know our concept is very appealing to the pet industry. My biggest hurdle is getting folks to watch the video. After the KICKSTARTER campaign is done, I’ll start selling them on my own website. [Moderator: Website reference removed]

  94. Brilliant article. Only problem I have with it, is that it pretty much assumes that you have 1000+ ‘friends’ of which a lot have influence in your target market. I only have a few 100, and maybe a dozen with some minor influence. Still I’ll definitely follow these rules when I launch a new crowdfunding campaign.

  95. Helpful info! My team and I just launched a Kickstarter campaign to introduce a new way for people to leverage their opinion and drive change by influencing decision makers [Moderator: link removed]

  96. Retargeting in Kickstarter: NOT POSSIBLE!! I paid the $500 and did everything possible to get some retargeting, but it was technically impossible to implement in the Kickstarter system.

    Thanks for the tip, I’ll implement it in the post-Kickstarter website!

    [Moderator: link removed]

    1. @Jan: I reached out to Adroll to inquire about retargeting my company’s current Kickstarter campaign, and they said it isn’t possible since we “can’t insert the snippet of code necessary in order to build user lists that serve as the retargeting inventory”.

      I have, however, definitely been retargeted myself after viewing other Kickstarter campaigns and not pledging, so I’m sure it’s possible. Maybe this can be done using Adwords? Maybe someone reading this has experience with this?

  97. Hi 4-Hour Weekers,

    I just found this awesome collection of Kickstarter how-to articles! They work great in combination Mike’s article. Check them out. I wish i had read them before I launched my campaign.

    Introduction to Crowdfunding: http://bit.ly/121Emix

    Should I do this? http://bit.ly/13cOp3C

    Prepare the launch Pt 1: http://bit.ly/13yaN3k

    Prepare the launch Pt 2: http://bit.ly/XwhhNv

    Communicating with your backers: http://bit.ly/15aV9xJ

    Cheers,

    Jan

    1. Those Don Lehman Core77 articles are great. Thanks for sharing.

      I’m in the second week of my SIMPLcase campaign on Kickstarter, and while my partner Ed & I have been following much of the awesome advice on this blog (thanks again Tim et al), there is a bit of a sticky widget that we could sure use some advice about:

      Our SIMPLcase is a fairly low cost reward. Indeed, our most expensive SIMPLcase, the limited edition tungsten grey with Kickstarter green insert is only $18 including free global shipping. To make things interesting, we added a couple of more expensive rewards at $180 for a hand made custom functional prototype and a $250 lunch / video conference consultation. We didn’t expect that those higher level rewards would be as popular as they have been, with most of them spoken for within the first week. We don’t want to do more of those, because they are quite time consuming, especially the customized prototypes.

      SO, we would like to add some mid-priced rewards, say around the $25 – $50 level. The PROBLEM is that we can’t think of anything really relevant and value added. Kickstarter won’t allow sets of single rewards, so we can’t bundle packs of SIMPLcases. We don’t really like promotional gift items such as stickers and t-shirts because, well, I’ve never backed a project for a t-shirt, and it seems projects that offer affordable product rewards such as ours, would spend more on the related item than on the focus item. Short of designing something else, I’m out of sorts on what we can offer in between our low and high priced reward levels.

      Any ideas or comments are greatly appreciated! And hey, if from your experience you can tell me that people actually like t-shirts and the like, please let me know and I’ll get on designing one 😉

      Cheers!

      Simon

  98. Hi Tim, I love the 4 hours work week and one day I will get out of 9-5 job.

    But this kickstarter article is pure gold. I´m planing on relaesing a kickstarter project, so this is just great for me. thanks a bunch

  99. Tim + Mike-

    thank you for sharing all this valuable insite! We’re working on our campaign now (as Mike knows) and this is really inspirational. Do you have any advice on what should go into making the video for our page? I like that yours was so personable, not pushy. Also, what any tips for coming up with tier prizes for our backers?

  100. Good stuff! Thanks for this post. Trying to get a few film projects up and running.

    If anyone here needs any film production or videography done, hit me up on linked in.

  101. Thank you so much for this article which must be considered SEMINAL 😉 when it comes to info re how to kickstart successfully.

    We’re in the middle of our campaign and I wanted to ask if anyone has any suggestions for a CRM / email handling system that we can use to keep track of who we have replied to etc and who we have sent Surveys to etc?

    Thanks so much,

    Ed

  102. Only question I have is your Google Images hack.

    If I load up a Kickstarter page. All of the images are hosted on Amazon S3. Those same images aren’t going to be hosted anywhere else so how exactly are you hacking Google Images here to find out relevant blogs?

    Why wouldn’t you just google the Kickstarter campaign to find out relevant articles?

  103. With your help I have been able to help myself a bit with my own indiegogo campaign. But it’s quite different from what you are speaking about here. Mine is a documentary film, and doesn’t apply to a lot of what you speak of, but there is some great info for people doing what you are doing. I’m sure if I had the money to hire a VA that would help me too. Or if I had the money to buy into those PR sites that Tim speaks about in 4HWW. But I have to do this the cheapo way, Facebook, Blogs, and Emails.

    http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/who-s-afraid-of-red-yellow-and-blue-filming-trip/x/502312?c=home

    I’ve been working on my film for over two years now and have had difficulties raising funds for every step of the way. I’m hoping this will be the last fundraising campaign for filming trips. So far it really is the best one. And I thank Tim Ferriss for the 4HWW and it’s giving me the courage to go out and stake my claim.

    Jeffrey

  104. Once again you guys are awesome. Thanks so much for sharing this information. We’ve just launched our Kickstarter project and came out of the gate strong.

    The dashboard has been great, and somewhat addictive!

    [Moderator: Link removed.]

    Thanks again. I know I have better tools to run this campaign because of this post.

    1. Sorry- my bad, I didn’t think it was wrong to post the link. Had checked other comments and seen them there. My apologies. The thanks for the resources stand of course!

  105. Thank you Tim…your information came just at the right time…have completed our video…and was just asking all of the questions you answered for us.

    We have developed the “the silver bullet” for Literacy and Reading. At this time, we teach our reading method on SKYPE and in person to individuals and classes of from 3 to 30 students. Our instruction takes 2 1/2 hours for our students to transform from frustrated readers to confident readers, improving a minimum of two grade levels.

    We are developing our method to be taught online …One that teaches students how to read during one 2 1/2 hour interactive, online session.

    Our capital requirements are for the production of our prototype to be used in conjunction with our brain scan research project and study…that leads us to our final product. Would this be a double tiered presentation?

    We were planning on sponsoring students for free for each x amount of donation in the donors name or allowing the donor to receive our finished online product for 50% off our posted price.

    Curious to hear suggestions from you Chris and from others on this forum!

    Thank you!

  106. Very useful information. It helped me hit my goal but I will say having a network and email mailing list built up over time was crucial.

    We had originally thought it would be fun to run our Kickstarter drive for 100 days in honor of Napoleon’s “100 Days Campaign” – which started with Napoleon’s return from exile on Elba and ended on the battlefield at Waterloo. Turned out we needed only about 100 hours to get the project funded!

    Interested readers may search for “Napoleon” by Columbia Games on Kickstarter (live until April 14, 2013).

    1. Hey, we just failed at kickstarter)) – but this gives so much more light into the crowdfunding. Especially the email’s part! I had this mailchimp account I never used and was about to delete it.

      Thank you!

  107. Am in the process of creating a full out campaign so your information proved to be a lifesaver. Like my current motto states, don’t analyse but utilize. It’s keeping me going for sure.

    Thanks a lot and special thanks to Tim for posting these case studies. Owe you big.

  108. I’m a writer/director and I want to raise £50k on Kickstarter for a short film to raise awareness of a feature we have in development. We thought we have all the copy and the vid done, this article has made me realise we have a ways to go. We haven’t launched yet so I’m so pleased I saw this first. Thank you for sharing

    Alexandra Boyd

  109. great advice tim!

    I was hoping to use the media list spreadsheet you mentioned but can’t seem to find a link to it. Is there any chance you could help me with this?

  110. Great article Mike! I am in the process of launching a ‘starter’ company and have been hesitant on which direction to move – search for bigger investors or go down the crowd funding road… While the article didn’t help me make a decision, what it does do is make sure I’m ready with all the information and tools that ANYONE would want to see in my product. It is a method for creating great market traction with a community of people that you essentially have some sort of relationship with.

    I love the details about virtual assistants. This is really the first article I have read that really demonstrates a good system for using them. I have read books like the 4hrWorkWeek and didn’t find applicable case studies to my lifestyle and business method… Your case though is outstanding and brings all the previous ideas I have read about into alignment so I can have my own practical ideas for using the VA’s now.

    I’ll share the Facebook company page to our new product once its ready to go so you can see how we ended up applying your method – and will perhaps be a case study for you in the future.

  111. We took many of the principles and templates from Mike’s amazing post and adapted it for our social enterprise Kickstarter [Moderator: link removed]. We surpassed our 25K goal within three days and are at 55K in less than a week! So amazing. 🙂

    One important mod we made was to change the order of the clicks on the share landing page. [Moderator: link removed]. We divided our personal e-mails into two groups, and the watch page performed a lot better than the original share page.

    1. Thanks Meredith for the data on your A/B test. Since the moderator removed the links, just a clarification that the change in order was to:

      1. Watch the Video

      2. Share via Facebook

      3. Post to Twitter

      You can see how substantial the difference was by reviewing the bit.ly stats.

      We’re launching on Indiegogo on Tuesday. We were planning to change the order – and this was all the data we needed to make a final decision.

      Thanks!

  112. This is exactly the information I was looking for. Very detailed and comprehensive. Thanks Mike! Also, what are your thoughts on using this information that your provided and starting a Kickstarter Campaign for another industry such as a children’s book? Do you think it would take a lot of tweaking, or would the concept be more or less the same regardless of product? (Especially since published work on Kickstarter is known to under-perform) Any advice is helpful!

  113. This is full of ideas to help me back up my round the world trip project.

    Already captured the post on evernote. I will definitely re-read this post to digest all this information.

    Tim you a real life hacker, the quality of the posts in your blog blows my mind.

    Thanks to Mike for sharing all of this.

  114. Thanks for the fantastic How To guide! We’re in the midst of our Indiegogo campaign right now, and I was wondering what you put in the subject line for your emails to bloggers / press. I always struggle with finding the right way to phrase that first attention grabber, so as to encourage the writer to actually read the email. Thanks for your suggestions!

  115. Tim and Mike, you guys rock! I basically did everything you outlined but did not plan ahead. That is key! We are 91% funded with 4 days left. Zirtual is awesome!

        1. Yes. I saw it this morning. Im very pleased for you. When Im ready for my campaigm would you mind me picking your brains with a question or two? My financial goal is closer to yours then Mike’s 🙂

          Regards Daniel

  116. This is a great tutorial! We’ve recently launched our campaign and our in our second week. The email templates you’ve shared and also the tips/hacks to find relevant networks are golden. I especially like the landing page idea. Thanks so much!

  117. These types of posts are especially motivating. To see how you go from A-B helps out tremendously, many times people will devise an idea and this helps bring that idea become a reality.

  118. Hello) Thanks for the article. we are two moms from Belarus. We have now started a project LocaMath-game for the study mathematics but there are not very good at it ((

    try to change something on your recommendations!

  119. This post KICKS ASS!

    I freakin’ love it. I’m prepping to do a Kickstarter to fund a record I’m making with a Grammy-award winning producer, and I’m just LOVING all of the super valuable info y’all put in here. Super inspired to get down to business to create the internal and internet structures to have an awesome and pleasurable funding campaign.

    Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!

  120. Mike and Tim thank you for providing this amazing resource!! My team and I have avidly referred to the information on this post to prepare for our Kickstarter launch. We launched yesterday!! http://kck.st/11hSKzV

    I decided to pursue this project sometime after reading the 4 Hour Workweek so it only makes sense that I find one of the best resources for a successful kickstarter campaign on your blog, Tim. Thanks again!

  121. It is information like this by great people that makes the internet invaluable. Thank you for being so generous. Knowledge is king and those who share it are special people.

    Thanks.

    Emanuel

  122. I’ve been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.

  123. Great info. Since the majority of traffic is coming from facebook I am considering paying for a facebook campaign to promote my kickstarter campaign. Not sure if anyone has tried this.

  124. Just launched my kickstarter project using the share feature described here bit.ly/11AqRlt It was difficult to implement a lot of the other suggestions since it’s a hot sauce! Whoo hooo 28 day to go! If anyone has any other tips especially for food items let me know! Thanks guys!

  125. Tim, great article. In section 3, “80/20” rule, you mention an attached media list spreadsheet but I am having trouble locating it. Am I missing something or can it be sent to me separately?

  126. Tim and Mike – This post is amazing. For sure the best single place to model a successful Kickstarter campaign. Thank you from me and the entire team at Verbosity Online for sharing this valuable information.

  127. Thank you so much for breaking this down into digestible bite sized chunks!

    I’m launching an 8 part online business course for artists and I was looking for the best way to construct a Kick Starter campaign.

    This is just what I needed. xx

  128. I just wanted to say that I’m going through the process now and am using the VA email template as a to do list for myself. Since I’ve never successfully promoted a product before, I don’t feel asking a VA will help with me understanding the process.

  129. 2 Questions, for Tim, Mike, or anyone else.

    1. What publicity methods do you suggest for kickstarts where the owners have no connections with bloggers or a large base of fans?

    2. Since Kickstart is becoming more crowded, and because it doesn’t allow certain campaigns, what do you think of alternate sites such as Indiegogo?

    I’m personally using Indiegogo right now for my campaign because cosmetics aren’t allowed by Kickstart. And it seems alright, though not as popular or as catchy as “Kickstart.”

    Ryan

    1. Hi Ryan,

      there are wordpress plugins now that allow you to do the same thing as Kickstarter yourself if you aver need to. And the money you spend on setting that up, you will save by not using KS.

      Having said that I will be using KS myself

      regards

      Daniel

  130. This reply will be different.

    It is about the common problem I’ve had and I’ve seen posted here and in other places where business promotion is discussed.

    This is about the: “I don’t know any bloggers and I don’t have influential friends”

    I have personally ignored Tim’s advice that he has given ever since the first time he spoke about his 4HWW launch – what he spent his $20,000 promotion budget on. The majority of that sum went on a PR agency which was ineffective, and the balance Tim spent going to blogger conferences and meeting them IN PERSON. See Tim’s presentation outlining his 4HWW promotion strategy here: http://youtu.be/0XtajbPSQxA?t=2m19s

    Not having influential friends and bloggers has been my excuse all this time as well (it’s been 7 years since 4HWW LAUNCH folks…)

    Yes it is true that it is not easy to create meaningfull relationships in a short amount of time, but if we don’t start NOW then we’ll just keep reducing our chances to succeed.

    I’ve been sitting for the past week grappling with this problem, scratching my head and asking myself: ” how do I word my cold emails to get noticed in the sea of messages these people must be getting?” I even sent one or two emails just to test the waters, but with this approach I’d have to blanket bomb the entire blogging space to get a meaningful response. And then, how do I “make friends” with these people without ever seeing them?

    One lucky coincidence for me was that my product has once been picked up two years ago by Neatorama, and I managed to stay in touch with the editor, but even here, the relationship is one way. He’s helping me, and I have no idea how to repay him. He doesn’t need my product, and the traffic from my blog is a drop in the sea of his own.

    So today I did something that makes me feel positive about the whole thing. I’ve done the important, which I had been pushing back for all those years. I went to London (which is half an hour train ride away) and met up with a group of people who I met through Meetup – a website for… meetups lol, and it felt so natural. I spent two hours talking to the same two guys about what they do, and what I do, and we parted our ways knowing that we will SEE each other again in the future. I can’t say that I am CLOSE FRIENDS with them, but it feels certainly more probable than it could ever through email.

    Immediately after leaving the meetup, I looked up blogger meetups in London and signed up to a few. The plan is exactly what Tim did: approach the leader and ask for introductions to people who would be the most probable to receive me best.

    I have been scared of going out to people all my life inspite of the fact that I love you all 🙂 and like everyone have a need for human company and friendship. This is me finally listening to advice from the 4HWW and facing my fears, and doing the important and effective.

    I sincerely hope that this post encourages you to do the same and gives you courage to do the same

    love

    Daniel

    PS. Sorry for the long reply, but I’m too full of positive emotions right now not to share 😀

    1. Some people aren’t in the best position to develop resources however. As a 19 year old in a small town, cold calling has to do- especially when my crowdfunding project only has 17 days left. It was wishful thinking on my part however. But out of necessity comes invention- I’m trying to figure out new ways to ‘hack’ crowdfunding so my project can still succeed in the end.

      1. I can totally understand where you’re coming from. I come from Poland and left the country to get anywhere in life. You are in a position where (I assume you live in the US or UK…) you probably don’t need to leave the country and so making connections should be easier for you. Elon Musk left South Africa to come to America and he had to travel trough Canada first.

        There are ways

        good luck with your KS!

        Dan

  131. Hi thank you so much for this advice, I was referred to this page by someone who was using it and ‘befriended’ me as a similar business so that we could cross promote and help benefit each other, as he is launching his Kickstarter soon.

    I’ve read through and made notes on everything here and am now trying to follow it all… I’m planning on launching my Kickstarter in November to get the rest of the money I need for the deposit on my business premises for my established zombie themed survival training events, We’re only going to be after £14,000-17,000 for the basic need of the 25% deposit on the land and property (though the more I can raise the better the monthly mortgage repayments and the more I can afford to develop the site making the events the best they can be!) Hopefully with your help and if I pull my finger out and work hard over the next few months I’ll be able to build up my support.

    I am a complete technophobe which is really standing in my way at the moment, but I am trying building up my network, joining all the social networking sites I didn’t already have (Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr etc) for the business and beginning to follow your guide. You say your contacts started off at 7000 before you whittled it down to the essential, I only have 500 contacts (email and Facebook included) which means it will be harder I think for me, but I am in the process of finding the bloggers who will be interested in helping me promote so I can befriend them and hopefully we can help each other out… I didn’t realise it was going to be so much work but I am determined and hopefully now I’ve got this help I can make a decent headway…

    I want to link my website but as you asked not to I won’t but as you can see it please have a look and tell me what you think, if you can push it for me when the time comes it will be great!

    Also was wondering about how to structure my gift/prizes for donators? I have limited to offer other than merchandise, free entry to events, year entry to events, life time entry to events and also I have a few supporters with skills who have offered to donate for me such as a professional photographer friend of mine has offered to donate some zombie themed photoshoots for donators, and another friend has pledged some dried food survival ration packs too, both which fit into my business, and help promote them too… any advice on what other prizes I could offer and how to scale the donation-prizes? I hope you have time to respond to this inquiry, if not thank you again for the really helpful info!

    Dom Spens

    Head of Zombie Contingency Planning

    Zombie Survival Weekender

  132. Tim! thanks so much for the advice!!! I hope you are doing well.

    We are currently doing this, but we built our own croudfunding site. we are on our third day of our campaign and have raised $56,000! our product is called Earl, its a rugged backcountry tablet(check out http://www.meetearl.com for more details). I would love to connect with you at some point. If you are interested I think we would be a great case study. I understand you are a busy man and wont be offended if you dont get back to us. I just thought you would like to know since this stuff is right up your alley.

    thanks,

    Kory Tegman

  133. Thanks for this. I had a successful kickstarter campaign myself, but this article would have helped me reach a much bigger audience!

    I will save it for future reference.

  134. I have been researching online the best strategies, and this not only is real meat, it has turned me on to the rest of your resources as well. I did a quick overview outline of the blog suggestions and thought I would share it with your readers if it is useful to them. Its helped me digest all the different aspects and interlocking parts a little better. Share, modify, use or discarded as needed.

    + Based on successful 10 day $100K launch of Soma by Mike Del Ponte, who shares most of the advice.

    – A) Research other projects. He actually interviewed 15 top earning Kickstarter creators.

    – B) 40 days of Chaos

    + C) Used virtual assistants, growth hacking techniques and principles from Tim’s books.

    + Start with principles that require less work, yield better results

    – MED, or minimum effective dose, smallest input to produce desired result (212 to boil water) Focus on those 1-3 things.

    – Outsource and automate. Recommends Zirtual as virtual assistants.

    – Prep and pick up. Compares to chef preparing major meal, prep in advance. Goal is to do 90% before.

    + MED for Kickstarter Traffic

    + Bit.ly tracking

    – Research other campaigns sources: If you add a + to the end of any bit.ly URL, you can see stats about that link

    + Top Referrers turned out to be

    – Facebook

    – Direct Traffic (via email)

    – Twitter

    – Kickstarter

    – Blog

    + MED Focus became

    – Coverage on appropriate blogs

    – Buzz on FB, TW and email

    + 80/20 rule on best media

    + Sort blogs by

    + Relevance

    + Find with Google Images

    – Research similar Kickstarter projects

    – Grab images and drag to search bar at images.google.com

    + Use VA to

    – Here’s the process your VA will use:

    1. Find 10 Kickstarter projects similar to yours, and for each, do the following.

    2. Right-click and save-to-desktop 2-3 images.

    3. Drag and drop each image file from your desktop into the Google Images search bar.

    4. Review blogs listed on the results page to see which might be relevant to your project.

    5. Fill out the following fields in the attached “Media List” spreadsheet: Publication, URL, first and last name of the writer, and links to relevant posts by that writer.

    – You now have dozens of blogs that have a high probability of relevance, all neatly organized in a spreadsheet. Your VA can find more sites like the ones in your media list by searching SimilarSites.com.

    + Readership (use SEO Chrome extension for insights)

    – Research site traffic on Compete.com

    + Relationships (personal intros?)

    – Once you have the list of target Blogs,

    – Search for their FB pages, search for mutual friends

    – ask for introduction

    – Ditto for linkedIn

    + Reach (Will blog promote via email newsletter, RSS feed, FB, TW and other channels?

    + Discover each blog’s reach on email, social media, and RSS

    – To estimate a blog’s reach, have your VA research how many followers it has on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and RSS. Once you make your short list, you should also sign up for each blog’s email newsletter.

    + Review Media List and create dossier and prioritize

    – Look at mutual friends

    – Delete those you don’t know well enough to ask for intro

    – Ask mutual friends if they would intro you to blogger

    – Rate relationship ranking after conversations, 1-Strong, 3-weak

    – If no mutual friends, FB and Tweet request for who does know. Follow up.

    – Rate relevance 1-3 on spreadsheet

    – Sort by Relevance, Relationships, Readership in that order

    – Put top 10 targets with one page brief and post on wall.

    + Make bloggers into buddies

    – Figure out ways to be helpful

    – Bloggers need content

    – Polite and patient and easy to work with makes them like you

    – Follow on Twitter and retweet relevantly

    + Get the story and make specific requests to maximize reach

    – Start with top ten and customize request

    – Set time of launch as ideal

    – Ask to be included in Newsletter

    – Ask for FB referral, and Twitter?

    – Pinterest?

    + Retarget

    – $500 retarget 10,000 people?

    + Engage Army of Friends

    – Ask for advice

    – Offer Sneak Peaks

    + Throw Launch Party

    – City Club?

    – CEO Space?

    + Identify Influencers, different emails for each, use Boomerang to time emails

    – Klout

    – Insiders

    – Aquantences

    + Send to referral landing page, then to update landing pages

    – one link, 3 ways to help

    – update videos on days 2 and 9

    + Tools

    – Tools

    Zirtual – US-based virtual assistants. ($97-$997 per month)

    TextExpander – Paste frequently used text and pictures into documents, emails, and text fields by simply typing an abbreviation. ($34.95)

    Boomerang – A Gmail plug in that allows you to schedule emails. You can also receive reminders to follow up on an email you sent if the other person does not reply. (Free)

    MailChimp – A service to design and send mass emails. (Free if you have less than 2,000 subscribers and send less than 12,000 emails per month)

    The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing – This book provides critical insights on how best to position your product amongst the competition. ($11)

    Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing – A must read for anyone doing any form of marketing. The sections on pricing and copywriting will be incredibly helpful as you craft your emails, video script, and Kickstarter page. ($17)

    Custom Kickstarter dashboard – Built this Chrome extension to manage our Kickstarter campaign. You can see your Kickstarter, Facebook and bit.ly metrics, as well as tweets and press. All updated in real time. You can even see Klout scores of people tweeting about you and reply right from the dashboard. (Free)

  135. Hi Tim,

    Great information and thank you for taking the time to share this with everyone. I am looking into launching a crowdfunding campaign for latest invention. It is a fantastic idea with a lot of traction. It is in the dog space. Do you feel that Kickstarter is the best option now for crowdfunding? Being new to this, it seems that they are saturated with products now. I have an opportunity to go with one which is just launching. Less products, but also less traffic. What would you do? Do you do consulting work? When did you run the campaign you are speaking about in this post?

  136. I think kickstarter now took the bit.ly off the pictures now. Too bad. Probably because of this article. The rest of these tips are very effective though. Thanks guys.

  137. One of, if not, the BEST blog post of how to “do it” I’ve ever read and will definitely be rereading, analyzing and trying to figure out how to implement into my business. I’m not yet a kickstarter style startup, but nonetheless, this gave me a ton of ideas that I am sure will help me in my near future. Thank you so much for laying it all out…I can’t believe you guys laid out an entire business game plan like this. I mean….isn’t there the slightest bit of fear of competition? None? Geez. Thank you so much for the lesson and the value you’ve provided.

  138. This is Great Stuff! Thanks Mike! I am doing a kickstarter any minute here and will make sure to put all this to good use. I have been doing a lot of research on kickstarters and still learned quite a few new things about it here. Great article! Thanks! again

  139. First, thank you for all of the great information Mike and Tim!

    We are first going to test the theory out on three projects on our new sports based crowd funding portal, A KickIn Crowd. We will be launching next week.

    Next, if we feel it yields results we are going to recommend it to the people on our new portal’s business services section.

  140. Hi Tim,

    I just spent 45 minutes reading this post. Not because I’m a slow reader I promise. I really loved how you laid it all out and congrats to Mike!

  141. Mike and Tim again, thank you for an amazing article. I read and convinced a few of my friends to read The 4 Hour Work Week. The book is a life changer.

    My Verbosity Online Kickstarter project (Moderator: link removed) is off and running and hopefully I will be able to raise the cash I need to bring my vision to life also.

    Again, thank you guys for a great article.

  142. Gotta appreciate some of the creative techniques for PR and connecting with the niche audience. That being said – not every project is going to fund the way that Soma did. Technique has to be matched with a project that the world wants and legitimacy that the world can see. Just my two cents. I mean – Veronica Mars funded in rockstar time too – but it’s important to not read into things.

    Things that can cause a project to fund in record time:

    1. Novelty (the new new thing) with good exposure

    2. Unique offering meeting an unmet need with good exposure

    3. Massive fan following

    4. New way of accomplishing a thing that fits the “average” purchases for a person in a year (umbrella for instance)

    These are all things that could be contrasted with the fantastic advice here and could have occurred and in some cases have even without the great niche audience development described here.

    In contrast, having a product that has a hyper small niche could cause a project to fail no matter how hard you go after that niche. Not every idea that I think is good – is in fact good.

    It’s important for people to really think through whether they’ve created a solution to a known problem, or whether they’ve created a solution that’s looking for a problem to solve.

    Like I said – just my two cents – I worry when people read great posts like this and then just try to follow it like a plan of action without regard for the “reasons” that this approach worked.

    Cheers!

    John-Michael

  143. Great information. You didn’t leave anything out. Thank you. I am getting ready to go live on Kickstarter tomorrow and couldn’t get enough of your post.

  144. Thank you Tim, Mike, and the SOMA team for the incredible guide. Following your in depth recommendations, my campaign became a top listed Kickstarter staff pick in under 12 hours.

    [launch 7/10/13 end 8/9/13]

    For reference:

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sandrogerbini/gluten-free-granola-for-people-with-taste-buds?ref=recommended

    On a tight budget (about $2000) we put together our project in exactly 36 days, from start to finish.

    I’m a top quality procrastinator, one of the very best I’ve encountered, so I set a hard deadline for the project launch date and had friends and family force me to stick to it, despite any protest, pleading, crying from me.

    The first thing I did was break down the SOMA guide on this page into bite sized pieces in a shared document. I invited my employees and assistants to view the document, and together we delegated the work so that no one person would carry to heavy a load.

    As my company has a bit of traction already, I reached out to our customer base, inviting them to recommend video producers, media outlets, bloggers, reporters, etc. This proved quite valuable.

    The rest was plug and chug.

    One piece of advice for others looking to launch on a hard deadline — Amazon payments and Kickstarter project review processes can take time! Budget a 2 week lag time for these. Amazon payments, which processes all backer donations for Kickstarter, can get hung up on small details. I had to try three times and speak with a slew of customer service reps before we discovered that my tax information needed to reference not only the registered company DBA but also the official LLC name of the company — A simple problem, but one that took a bit of digging to discover.

    Best of luck to all of you planning to start a campaign yourselves!

    And again, thank you Tim and Mike.

  145. Thank you for all your great info! Most everyone I know in driving distance also has a job and limited time. It seems like a lot for one person but I love it.

    One question. I’m trying to show my big mats as much as possible but then I also need to be in front of the computer. Any recommendations for someone going at it as a one man gig?

    Thanks!

  146. Thanks for providing such informative tips Tim. I recently just started my kickstarter project called Black Merchant$, you can search it in the search box on the home screen. With these great tips and advice, I’m eagerly looking forward into having a successful project.

  147. I usually do not leave a response, however

    I glanced through some remarks here Hacking

    Kickstarter: How to Raise $100,000 in 10 Days (Includes Successful

    Templates, E-mails, etc.). I actually do have 2 questions for you if you tend not to mind.

    Is it just me or does it look like like a few of the responses appear like they are left by brain dead

    people? 😛 And, if you are posting on additional social sites, I would like to keep up

    with you. Would you make a list of every one of your

    social networking sites like your twitter feed, Facebook

    page or linkedin profile?

  148. Things i have seen in terms of personal computer memory is that often there are requirements such as SDRAM, DDR and so on, that must match the specs of the motherboard. If the pc’s motherboard is reasonably current and there are no computer OS issues, upgrading the storage space literally usually takes under an hour or so. It’s one of many easiest laptop or computer upgrade treatments one can envision. Thanks for discussing your ideas.

  149. great post! However, it looks like 90% of your funding came from your existing connections. What if someone doesn’t have that? Can you tell me how you pitched the media? You got more media coverage in 10 days I don’t think Obama himself could replicate it that easily.

    1. Mike – I’ve commented above about how you don’t need connections. It does, of course, help but I know plenty of people who get press with pure hustle. Follow the media list advice as much as you can and be persistent!

  150. Hi Tim and Mike

    I wish I had found this a month ago. We launched our Kickstarter campaign ( http://kck.st/185gj1N ) a couple of weeks ago and have 7 days left. The campaign is at 13% of the total 15,500 we are seeking to raise.

    Can you guys offer some ‘how to save the game’ advice? We do have 7 days (knowing the first 7 are more important than the last). We have a great product. We will be the FASTEST product to ever be accepted into Whole Foods Market, from pitch to acceptance in less than two months.

    In the works are a couple of blog posts and asking high profile clients and contacts to Facebook and Tweet.

    Any suggestions?

    Thank you! Angelica

    1. I’m surprised Kickstarter even allowed your project to be honest, it doesn’t meet any of their guidelines, no product launches or ecommerce sites allowed for starters

  151. I’m just about to start a project and I just would like to say a big THANK YOU

    because I found here very helpful informations more than what I found in the crowdfunding bible.

    Thank You

    1. It’s so great to hear how this article is being found to be incredibly helpful. Keep creating great projects!

  152. Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thanks, However I am going through issues with your RSS.

    I don’t know the reason why I cannot join it. Is there anyone else having the same RSS problems? Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanks!!

  153. Hi Mike,

    Read and was absorbed with your article but I was left wondering about three things:

    01) Do you have a rough idea of how many hours your VAs devoted to researching for your Kickstarter campaign?

    02) What physical time span was all these prep work done by the VAs? For example, a task might take me 50 hours to do but from start date to end date, two months could have transpired.

    03) Would you have a rough idea how many hours and time span you and your two full-time teammates worked on this campaign?

    Looking forward to your response and thanks again for this insightful article.

    – Rahul

  154. This is great information. It shows you how the pros do crowdfunding. I have just published a book “Is Equity Crowdfunding an Oxymoron” as a Kindle book on Amazon. In the book I recommend project crowdfunding over seeking equity finance if you have the network or fan base to promote your project. However, if you don’t have this base KickStarter or Indiegogo will do very little to add to your funding total.

  155. Mike

    This post is awesome – I’d already read a number of the resources you mentioned but you have outlined an amazing check list

    Just in case there are some non US guys out there I have found some challenges for us are we are based in HK with a focus on the UK market so cannot use kickstarter and are looking at Indigogo instead . Also having gone through all your steps over the weekend I’ve found very few quality benchmarks, relevant blogs for the UK market (we are an online fashion brand for women over 30). Did you find that blogs outside the US were as successful to you ?

    What has helped was using some of the techniques you described e.g. pictures from competitive wesbites and google images to help identify their links and coverage.

    We are a still a way off success so if you have any thoughts, tips and ideas for those of us outside of the US I’m keen to know as it seems not so clear cut a path over this side of the world!

  156. I’ve studied this much like I’ve studied the 4 HWW. I’m launching a line of curated teas/supplements to help expedite hangover and jet lag recovery. I’m wondering if anybody here has any tips on how to use/build a KS Status board for another crowdfunding platform (in our case, CrowdSupply) will basic developer skills to track progress. We are launching next week and would love to use this board. Gracias!!

  157. This is some of the most useful information I’ve read in a long time – Thanks for sharing, guys.

    It’s stuff like this that really makes starting something seem realistic. There are so many ‘fluffy’ resources that talk about how simple things are yet offer zero practical advice. Great for motivation, but that’s as far as they go.

    Only someone that gives a shit could have written something like this. I’m willing to bet that Mike had his doubts before starting too.

  158. Using this post as a guide, we’ve launched the world’s first hangover detox tea. Thanks so much for this information Mike! And once again, Tim has provided for us useful, actionable steps.

    Check out our crowdfunding campaign at bit.ly/gomodetox

  159. Wow. What an amazing article. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences! I’ve been struggling with crowdfunding for our game called Dizzlike. This article taught me so much, what I can do more to make our next crowdfunding campaign successful! I can’t thank you enough for these great ideas.

    I hope all good for you!

    Best,

    Anton http://bit.ly/indizz

  160. How did you create your Bit.ly links in advance? Did you do it after you LAUNCHED your project on Kickstarter? I don’t want to launch my page until I set up my email campaign. However, I don’t think I will get the static URL until I launch the page. The old chicken and the egg problem. 🙂

  161. This is stellar! I’ve got 17 days till my launch date and I couldn’t be more excited. Thanks for the great information. Incase of any curiosity out there, I’ll tell you that we’re setting a goal of $100k. By reaching our goal we’ll be able to keep the manufacturing process for our innovative, odor-free compost bin in the States! Sept, 22, 2013 – The Fall Equinox. Woo hoo.

  162. Nice article. Some points though:

    – Although the title is perfect from a marketing perspective you din’t mention:

    – How many hours did it take you to really build the product

    – How many months/years did it take you to build your network of friends that would help you in this 10days span.

  163. Facebook is key, you’re right!

    The best thing I did for my Kickstarter campaign is use Backer Plus (bit.ly/backerplus). they give you contact information of all similar backed projects, pretty powerful

    I am not affiliated with this company, just passing along info.

  164. I’ve got a KS relaunch for an experimental art installation that’s not doing well. I need $10,000 and barely have $ 2000. I had grown my tribe to 1050 (Targeted but I guess not enough). KS themselves had seen the campaign and couldn’t understand why it didn’t get funded the first time around.

    I’m on two blog’s radars, but my work is in prototype phase, seeking funds to buy the materials.

    I have a press release, write a blog and connect daily with FB. My FB contacts are balking about helping out (Disappointing, but common with installation artists).

    I redid a video to talk more about concept the piece to try to connect to the viewer but it’s not working.

    Is there any thing I can do with 17 days left?

    Help is appreciated; got a real lump in my throat.

    Thanks in advance.

  165. Hi, I do believe this is an excellent site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will return once again since I saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.

  166. Mike and Tim,

    Thank you so much for this information! I’ve read and reread this article, now I just have to do it! I wish I had read this earlier as I just started my campaign for a science fiction film called, ‘NEBULA’ yesterday on Indiegogo!

    I’m contacting Zirtual today to set up an assistant to amass info on websites, bloggers, and writers that have an interest in indie films, special effects, science fiction, space…

    I have 49 days left of this campaign to raise the $78,063 Goal to make the film, any additional ideas or thoughts on being successful with a small sci-fi movie would greatly be welcome!

    http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/nebula–2/x/7626

    As with 4HWW and 4HB, I believe this article will be a lifechanger!

    Thanks so much!!!

  167. A very interesting article which confirms most of our thoughts regarding the strategy behind the most successful Kickstarter campaigns. It requires planning & hard work. Congrats for your achievements !

    We’re busy promoting our own project: adsy, a mobile web app enabling anyone to create & share mobile apps on the go, in the browser.

    Have a look and, who knows, join us in this exciting adventure.

    http://kck.st/1gprQjM

  168. First I would like to say Thank You to Tim Ferris. I am 24 years old and 4 Hour Work Week changed my life. At 23 I quit my stupid job to really go for what I want and I haven’t looked back since and to you Tim I owe a huge gigantic thank you! I’ve listened to the book 7x and still go back to take notes you’ve helped.

    Secondly I am launching a kickstarter project to raise funding for my fashion brand. I think it’s a bit harder to promote a clothing brand/ line and get my original ideas funded because its not one specific thing. I’ve done all of the work and the only thing left is my video but I’m still feeling as if I’m missing something. I’m not sure if its because I’m comparing my project to this one or what but I’m feeling as if I’m doing something wrong, or I’m not getting my point across. Is this something that others have dealt with?

    I would really love to use kickstarter to generate more money to get my designs manufactured. How can I make my project stand out as beautifully as this one? I’ve done the hardwork. I just feel stuck. Any advice will help

    Great advice and tips from this and I will use this as my blueprint.

  169. Howdy,

    Firstly big thanks to Tim and Mike for sharing. Today I just launched my own Kickstarter campaign for a new range of Christmas Sweaters. You can check them out in my name link. A couple of them are pretty cheeky so I hope no offense is caused! I learnt a lot from this post but also a whole lot more along the road. Here are a few of the hacks I picked up –

    Kickstarter application process – it took almost 3 weeks for Kickstarter to approve our campaign. I highly recommend submitting a basic draft of your project for approval well in advance and then edit it once it is approved. Nothing worse then creating an awesome video and listing to just sit around with your fingers crossed for days. Get in there early and avoid this headache. Businesses will take longer for approval than individuals.

    Emailing – install google labs canned responses for templates, gmail rapportive for getting social media contacts from an email and yesware for email monitoring (you can see who has opened your email and who hasn’t) Finally boomerang to follow up folk who have not got back to you or to schedule email.

    Facebook contacts – you can export your friends list email addresses using a yahoo facebook exporter trick. Google ‘how to export email addresses of facebook friends’ Add the list to your email list of contacts.

    Blogs – a simple one but use google blog search to see who has featured a similar KS campaign.

    Kickstarter outreach – I reached out to about 30 successful kickstarters to ask them for advice. Almost everyone got back to me with offers of media contacts plus promises to share my campaign. It’s a strong community and people are more than happy to help.

    Submission sites – there is no approval process for sites like buzzfeed, 9gag, fubiz etc so these are some cheap wins and you never no you might get picked up by a bigger blog.

    Advertising – I have launched ad campaigns on google ads, facebook and stumble upon. Will update with progress later. You can buy cheap advertising credit on fiverr so perfect if you want to experiment on a budget.

    Landing pages – we have used unbounce to create a landing page. It’s super easy and requires no HTML experience.

    Facebook pages – I have reached out to ‘Christmas themed’ facebook pages. Some of these pages have + 100k fans and will post anything Christmas related. Find similar Facebook pages in your niche.

    Metric data – check out kicktraq, kickstarter chrome extension, official kickstarter IOS app and this Swiss site ‘sidekick’ which can mathematically predict the success or failure of your campaign.

    Hope this helps some of you guys out and feel free to let me know about any more tips or tricks you have! Let’s do this!!!

    Cheers

    Gary

  170. I had added an outline I created of the article a while back, and so am on the thread for comments, and today there was a great one from Gary with some new tips (I stole it Gary and added it to my Notes on my Kickstarter at my Facebook page, which I share with my notes about my (successful) (YEAH!) campaign as well. Anyway, Gary’s insights and generosity lead me to decide to share that post-campaign link with you all as well, with free permission to share to anyone that might need it. It is more a collection than my own work, but it should help. It is structured like this.

    A) Link to this blog, then the outline I did on it (so I could digest it)

    B) Gary’s succinct post

    C) My post-campaign report (the good, the bad and the ugly)

    That link is

    http://bit.ly/KSOutline ,

    it is on my Facebook Notes section, just send a friend request if you have trouble seeing it, but my settings are open, so you shouldn’t.

    Let’s keep helping each other win.

    Thanks

    Chris

    1. Wow! post.Give online with confidence. If you contribute $50 or more by April 22nd, UNICEF will e-mail you my exclusive field report, in a PDF file format, with some of my own photos from the trip that won’t appear anywhere else. As my personal thanks to those of you who are able to donate $1,000 or more, we’ll mail an autographed copy of my report.

      The children in Afghanistan need help now. Please join me in making a donation today.

  171. Thanks for all this amazing information. You are doing a great service for people. I would add an interesting point… the power of giving. When you give, you receive. The more people give their gifts the more abundance they receive. Please add me to your list if you ever want to help get the word out!

    I have just launched an indiegogo campaign for the development of an epic documentary series on the history of mysticism, which is also about the evolution of human consciousness. It will be like the DaVinci Code on steroids, and all factual. It’s called: “The Mystics: A Journey into the Mysteries”

    [Moderator: Link Removed]

  172. Hi! Amazing article; it’s been so helpful to us. Thank you. I was wondering if you had time to explain to me how you arranged for Soma to be given as a gift. We’ve got lots of people interested in donating to our charity’s crowdfunding campaign as a Christmas or Birthday gift. Did you actually offer it as a perk or just do it over email? Thanks in advance! Kind regards, Helena

  173. This is such a cool post. I love that type of behind-the-scenes stories. It does however bring me to want to discuss product naming. I know Soma is a neighbourhood of San Francisco; it possibly is a bunch of other cool stuff I’m completely ignorant about too. Sure.

    But for me, Soma is first and foremost the state-enforced recreational drug used in Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”, a utopian and heavily stratified society where casual sex is quasi-obligatory -and facilitated by Soma- where babies are produced, born and raised in “hatcheries” and conditioning centres, where everyone has a personal helicopter and where God is called Ford. Sounds a little familiar maybe?

    Soma is described as having “All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects.”

    Turns out Huxley didn’t look very far for the naming of his drug as Soma is actually the name of a psychoactive substance used by an ancient people originating out of Central Asia; what went into the making of Soma still remains a bit of a mystery to this day.

    Thus naming a water carafe “Soma” gives new perspective to the much loved and very versatile “there’s something in the water” and begs me to ask in a rapt voice:

    -“Is there something we haven’t been told about those vegan silk filters :-)?”

  174. Tim,

    Thank you for getting this information out there. I plan on utilizing all of these tactics one we get our new product up an rolling. You have been a huge help with all the knowledge you spill all over. My partners and I greatly appreciate it.

  175. I think this a great guide for launching a product, but what if you’re trying to finance a film or other artistic ventures? If you have name talent backing you, you’re bound to reach your goal. The Veronica Mars effect is what we all dream of.

    But the majority of filmmakers who crowdfund are part of the indie scene and don’t have a major studio or celebrity connections — their goal is to create great art. How do you promote a concept versus a manufactured product?

  176. Hi,

    since i red “note three things” on your contact page, i better put it here: Thanks for great advices! We habe adapted lot of them into our Indiegogo campaign (YO UV I). But stil suffering to get any PR or blog coverage.

    Could any one help us out?

    Thank You!

    Somakanthan

  177. Mike and Tim,

    Have you ever searched the web and actually found exactly what you were looking for? That’s my take on this brilliant piece of work.

    Thank you so much for taking the time.

    I’m looking forward to launching out kickstarter campaign on Feb. 3rd, 2014.

    We will keep you posted on it’s progress.

    Thanks,

    Brent

  178. Squishy Forts just got funded! Managed to raise about $25k in the last 72 hours – going to see if I can beat Soma’s 100k in 10 days!!

    We incorporated parts of the above advice.. the templates were pretty useful, though required a bit of tweaking. Getting featured on Huffington Post and Gizmodo were definitely huge coups!

    Anybody want to click our like buttons?

    http://squishyforts.com/kickstarter/

  179. Thank You so MUCH for taking the time to share this info..I’m working on a KS campaign for family that are converting their 2 NYC restaurants to ALL NON GMO foods..And we want to set up our own Micro-greens farm in the back…so I’ve been teaching myself all I can abt. this..I’m editing the video after I write this!! It’s been a long process but this will help LIKE CRAZY!!! Thank you, it’s so awesome of you to have shared this, and I LOVE UR PRODUCT!! I’m ordering them for my sons, i just bought a Berkey for myself, but the SOMA will be perfect for them…Congrats on ur success, you most DEFINITELY deserve it!!!

  180. Hi Thanks for the template…in the middle of using it for a Kickstarter campaign that is going out January 24.

    Will keep you posted! Just sorted by 7000 contacts and I should send you a message and tell you the secret of how I did it!

  181. Hi Tim,

    Firstly thanks a lot for the mention of our original HiddenRadio1. We just recently launch HiddenRadio2 http://kck.st/IJKqnn . We managed to raise over $100k in our first 4.5hrs of funding. How did we do it? The main factor here was building a loyal fan base. All new projects MUST start this process as early as possible. A great way to do this is start releasing teaser images about the amazing product that is going to solve people’s problems and improve their lives. The second and most important thing is story telling. We spent about 2 months working on delivering the right script that was sincere, authentic and continually builds excitement. All the best to new projects!

  182. Mike,

    This info is awesome… I am a SF Producer and working on our Launch of our TV Show – Dads That Cook. We have a lot of traction from everyone we talk to as well as PBS that wants to pick it up for June 2014. Now we are working on getting some needed funding to continue production and deliver the episodes on time.

    Your info here is really going to help us!!! A lot to chew on that’s for sure… but we are ready for the task!

    I’m super stoked for you too and your SOMA product, looks great!

    See you around the city!

    Cheers,

    Jason

  183. We would really like to see how it is we might be able to get in contact with those who made your progress validation bar for the support Soma with 3 clicks landing page! We could really use your help on this as we believe it is vital to our success. Thanks so much!

  184. Great information you provided a complete layout of crowd funding. Too be precise I’m not of the social media age so Is there any way to get assistance to a total working understanding of how it all fits.

  185. Thank you for this. This is by far the best article I have read on running an effective Kickstarter. I am currently working with two friends down in Chile on a new venture where we have set up a new initiative to fight ocean plastic pollution. Our program collects plastic pollution on the coastline of Chile and then recycles it into the plastic cruiser skateboards. We are called Bureo Skateboards and we are planning to launch our first board on Kickstarter this April. This is a huge help for us, thanks again!

  186. Thank you Tim! Ok – this is going to take me a week to read with all of the links etc., but my brain is happy to get such useful info. My geekhood is to simplify everything in life….so I’ll find a way with this as well. It’s my gift to myself…and hopefully the world too 😉

  187. Thank you very much for sharing this information. I have to say this is by far the most informative article that I have read about crowdfunding.

    We are getting ready to launch our first Kickstarter campaign. I will be utilizing as many of the tips in this article as possible. Hopefully it will help make our campaign a success.

    Thanks again!

  188. Fantastic sharing by Tim.

    I’m about to launch my first kick starter or indigogo project. I like to know if anyone here would like to do JP with me on this launch?

    I’ll be happy to give more details about my launch.

    Email me at fredbc11@gmail.com if you are interested.

    Thanks

  189. What a great post! Everything I’ve heard about kickstarter has been so positive for new business. Your informative post will be very helpful to anyone wanting to use. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

  190. Hello, Tim

    Phonemenal information!

    How do you feel about teespring for non-profits (NPs)? Even though you chair donorschoose.org, I am not sure how much of fan you are of NPs because they don’t make any money. That said, I understand if you do not entertain this question.

    Thank you in advance! Hope to be able to connect!

  191. Huge thanks for this great article. Everyone on the web seems to have written a “[Insert number between 5 and 15 here] Ways Of Running A Successful Kickstarter Campaign”. This is the only step-by-step approach I’ve seen and it’s awesome. Every other resource simply raised more questions. Your one really gave me huge confidence entering the world of crowdfunding.

    I launched last Wednesday and reached 50% of my funding target in just 30 hours (and still have 28 days to go!). I love the templates and HTML pages! Thanks again for sharing this info. All the best! Stef

  192. Great post! Thanks for sharing. If you read this before you launch your crowd funded project you are sure to be much more successful than before. I just paid a couple of hundred bucks for a course teaching me what you gave away for free. Keep it up!

    1. The only issue you’ll run into using these techniques now is Facebook’s news feed algorithm. I’m running a campaign right now and was amazed at how many of my friends on facebook had no idea I was running a campaign simply because they never saw my posts.

  193. Wow what a great article. I’m wondering how well this approach would work if one didn’t have a network of 7200 people though. I have a modest network of 900 or so acquaintances. I’m going to try this approach and see what happens. I have a Kickstarter project for two children’s books I am planning on launching. [Moderator: link removed]

    1. We have covered this very issue in our Crowdfunding Columbus Meetup group, and as a matter of fact are dealing with it in a current raise on A KickIn Crowd.

      I believe the correct answer is you need to grow your group. How? Using the Hacks to get people who are already interested in the kinds of things you have to offer, also interested in your project.

  194. Very good stuff. I used this a lot during my KS campaign. It is a little easier to raise 100k in 10 days when you are an entire office of people. I was a one KS campaign and used a lot of this information. Pogamat ended at 110%. This is great info. Thank you!

  195. My project is now live on Kickstarter. I have used this thread as my bible. Has any one else had trouble getting the url to load in the dashboard?

    Please check out my project and send me any tips you can. We are hosting a twitter chat today at 12 pm PST (April 5, 2014) join us with the hashtag #SaltsKSChat

    If anyone knows how to navigate the URL problem in the chrome dashboard I would love to here a fix. Every time I put the url there I get an error message!

  196. I’m amazed by the level of organization and marketing genius used in the campaign. I will be using it as a guide when launching my Kickstarter, since marketing has always been my weakness. Thank you so much for this post the resources are much appreciated!

  197. These are all great pointers and I have used many for my Kickstarter launch of my modern lamp designs! I am in the process of hitting the top 10 influencial bloggers, and one of them is TIM! I follow him thoroughly, especially his 4hww principles! I might have crossed paths with him in a Tango milonga here in Buenos Aires. Birds of the same feather flock together!

  198. this is a great case study for anyone thinking of doing a Kickstarter project my one concern is that this is a one project fits all scenario. My own project, the Lightcase, does not share similar backers with any other (successful) project and so we needed to find very specific blogs but other than that the advice is superb.

  199. Thanks for sharing the superb information! Wish I had found this BEFORE I launched in March. Will be going back next month a helluva lot wiser, and better prepared.

    Now, why the hell are you holding a hurley in the topmost picture?

  200. Awesome tips. This continues to be a great resources for creators. As another tool – our unofficial KickstarterForum.org site recently turned 1 and has been a great resource for creators looking to get feedback on their campaigns.

  201. Great Info. I’m 1/3 into a Kickstarter Campaign. Not on Facebook, like many of the campaigners, but I haven’t raised one cent. I’ve tried changing the project image and even offering the image for free to the first bidder. No takers. I just want to get this project out there as it has a positive message about the rewards of perseverance. [Moderator: Link Removed]

  202. This stuff really works. We followed this plan exactly and we’re up on $77K in 7 days on IndieGogo. [Moderator: Campaign reference removed.] Cheers.

  203. This is a fantastic post. Thanks for sharing in such detail. There is one thing that really stands out to about all of this…your product.

    Too many companies think if they follow the process outlined above to the letter (and even if they are truly as good about it as you were), that that guarantees them success. It doesn’t. In fact, most people that attempt to emulate this will probably only see a fraction of your success for any number of reasons.

    A big one is the product. If you’re product was average this wouldn’t have worked. So please, before everyone starts doing this or enlisting a marketer to follow this process, understand that if your actual VALUE isn’t that great, you won’t succeed. See the signs early and close up shop if it doesn’t work.

    1. They’re selling a container for water . . . what are you talking about. The crux here was the perceived value of the product. There are already products like this. You can sell or get just about anything funded as long as you sell it right . . .

      1. “world’s first compostable water filter” Sounds different to me. Not to mention, just because the product isn’t REVOLUTIONARY doesn’t mean it isn’t excellent. MacBooks aren’t revolutionary (it’s a computer..), but the design, OS, etc. make them very attractive to some (large) portion of people.

        Marketing can cover a lot of BS, but it’s covering less and less IMO.

  204. Just wanted to say thank you for such a detailed and useful article! The google docs templates are exactly what our campaign needed. We launch in September and now we’re pushing for the $100K in 10 days. Cheers!

  205. Helpful information. Lucky me I discovered your web

    site by accident, and I’m surprised why this coincidence did nnot happened earlier!

    I bookmarked it.

  206. Thank you so much for sharing !! I recently funded 105% of my goal thanks to your tips. Greetings from Santiago · Chile. [Moderator: link removed]

  207. I used this post to raise almost $60,000 for my farm’s Kickstarter. I’ve sent it to countless friends considering the process, and I still think it’s the top post online for Kickstarter success. [Moderator: Link Removed]

  208. In the email pitch template you are using a link to kickstarter page before kickstarter launch date (‘Our KICKSTARTER PAGE has a video and bullet points why Soma is unique’).

    However, I am pretty sure that the final link is generated only after you launch the campaign. Am I right? I want to start informing journalists about the kickstarter 2 weeks before the launch and give them access to the kickstarter link so that they can share it on the launch day, but It seems that it is impossible. I am missing anything here? Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated.

    Cheers,

    Pav

    1. Hey – i’ve had this question too. Apparently, you can use the “preview” page as your link and when the kickstarter launches, the preview will forward to your actual kickstarter page where people can support you.

      Lauren

  209. This article is seriously a GOLD MINE!!!!!!!! Everyone should share this with anyone who is starting their kick starter!! THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing this! Its knowing that there is unlimited abundance in the universe that we can all succeed and that helping each other get there is the human thing to do! Gracias!

  210. Invaluable information Tim! Following this to the T right now and have raised $5000 in the last 4 days.

    The custom landing/squeeze page with the 3 buttons has been a fantastic way to get people to share.

    We also put a retargeting pixel on the landing page (using http://www.adroll.com) to re-market these people later in the campaign across facebook.

    Thanks for the great post!

    –Chase

    Tribe Wallet Co.

    [Moderator: links removed]

  211. Great resource, thanks so much! I was just wondering what happened to the custom kickstarter dashboard(Kickstarter Status Board) Google chrome extension? Is it named something else now or has it been deleted? This would be really helpful for my upcoming campaign. Thanks!

  212. Tim – Your guide help me raise over 20K in two weeks (still 24 days to go!)

    This post has been the most valuable resource during my Kickstarter: http://kck.st/1tnGknE

    Love using the squeeze page (they helped us get over a 1K shares very quickly) and the bit.ly tracking.

    Best,

    –Chase

  213. Tim – I’ve used a lot of your techniques in my very first Kickstarter campaign which I launched yesterday. Thanks for all the awesome resources you put out there. I know you wrote this in 2012, but a bunch of it still applies…

    Also, I think I remember you writing somewhere about the Buckwheat pillow – my Kickstarter is for my company which sells memory foam pillows. I’d love to send you one or get your opinion on ours – it’s a whole new take on memory foam pillows.

    Thanks!!

  214. Hi Tim,

    Even though your article has aged a bit, many of your tips and tricks definitely still apply.

    We have created REST, The World’s most compact foldable chair, and launched our first campaign 2 days ago, and by using a lot of your recommendations we have reached 35% in less than 3 days – That is crazy 🙂

    Simply want to say thank you!

    [Moderator: link removed]

  215. Awesome article. I have a question: In the email that was sent to “John” in Gear Patrol you gave a link to your Kickstarter page before you went live, but as far as I know, the only way to do this is by creating a “preview page” and then sending a link for that. Is this what you did here? Or if anyone else knows how Soma did this. Thanks! 🙂

  216. Can’t believe it, the 4hww is on my desk next to my computer and it didn’t come to mind to do such a thing. I think i’ll use the information i’ve received from here for a different purpose, if I just modify it slightly it should work wonderfully. As always, thanks for the great post and keep up the good work Tim.

  217. Hi Mike,

    Mind glowingly useful post. My ambitious short film kickstarter campaign doesn’t launch until early January.

    I had one quick question – for someone who doesn’t know coding, is there a simple was to make custom landing pages with the sort of sophistication yours had?

    Many thanks for this and all the best with your future project/s!

    Mark

  218. Wow, even 2 years later I still find this info very helpful. Thank you for posting, and thank you for leaving it up!

    I was excited to check out the Kickstarter Dashboard created by Zach, but it seems it has been removed from the chrome store. Is there any way I can still access it?

  219. I have a tip for you. I started alerting the press as I finished putting together my video, writeup, rewards, etc. I had a few inquiries back and was ready to go. Then I realized that Kickstarter wants to give the project one last approval. That process took 5 days and although during the 5 days the project pitch was improved with their help, I lost a bit of momentum with my press contacts. People of the press do not like to wait. So, my advice is to wait until you “can” launch the project before getting everyone excited. [Moderator: link removed]

  220. (Awesome points for you for sharing all this!!!) I have a question about the scheduling of your media outreach plan. I don’t see the info here. Basically when did you reach out to particular media. More specifically:

    1)Did you reach out to blogs before the campaign started, after, or both/multiple times? And did you ask them to blog about you before during or both?

    2)Did you get covered by main stream media before or during your campaign? Did you solicit that coverage with a press release and if so did you do solicit it before or after your kickstart launched? Was getting blogged about a major factor in getting coverage by main stream media?

    Thanks,

    Jesse

  221. Hey There. I found your weblog the use of msn. This is a

    really neatly written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to learn extra of your helpful information.

    Thank you for the post. I will definitely comeback.

  222. Has Zirtual’s price just gone up since this post? It does not appear to me that the price range for Zirtual is accurate? Looks like the lowest price is $399 a month and that is for only 16 hours from the ZA.

    1. Their price has gone up, but it’s not surprising since this post is over two years old. I spoke with Zirtual and they seem very professional, but I’m not sure if that warrants the high hourly rate. I’m going to look at some other more affordable options first.

  223. Thank you for all of this valuable information! Some of this really helped me a lot particularly in the email and other letter templates and on finding the bloggers in the right place. You rock! 🙂 I have my kickstarter live at the moment for another 19 days and your marketing tips helped so much, as well as the launch party (in the form of a facebook event) worked really well 🙂 and I have managed to get backers from friends and their friends and I messaged past project creators I had backed and let them know about my project and many of them backed mine.

  224. This post is now 3 years old, but I’m hoping somebody can help me out – Klout no longer allows you to see your friend’s scores, is there another way to quantify the influence of your social media network online?

  225. I read the whole article and I am still lost. I came here from Google while looking for help on Kickstarter campaigns and I think even after reading through I still feel retarded stupid when it comes to Kickstarter.

    Is anyone here happened to be interested in helping launch a Kickstarter campaigns and in return, get a cut? It’s to raise funds to make the game with animations, right now my game is just mainly text and old school.

    [Moderator: link removed]

    So basically with the funds, we can create the animations on the match engine (eg. free kicks, goals, corners, saves, etc.) If anyone is interested, contact me please.

  226. Tardy to the party, but trying to see if your kickstarter status board is still available? I am unable to locate it and the links in the article come up invalid?! Thanks in advance for your anticipated courtesy and considerate reply.

  227. Mike,

    Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing this amazing helpful post with clear steps for executing a successful Kickstarter campaign. Do you have any tips regarding your video? I’d appreciate any information you’d be willing to share, but also have a few specific questions:

    1) I’ve read a number of articles that recommend shooting a professional video. Do you agree with this or would an i-phone or digital camcorder edited using iMovie or a free trial of Final Cut Pro suffice?

    2) Do you have a ballpark estimate of what a reasonable budget would be for a professionally recorded and edited Kickstarter video?

    3) Do you have any tips or tricks for keeping down costs associated with the video?

    Again, this post is so helpful. Thank you again.

    Best,

    Jonno BD

  228. Hi Mike,

    You are super awesome. Thank you for sharing such an incredible information. I am about to launch a campaign myself, and looking at your message was really inspiring. All the best to your success Mike.

    Cheers

  229. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this outstanding blog!

    I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.

    I look forward to fresh updates and will talk about this site

    with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

  230. Hi, I read through this article to prepare for a Kickstarter campaign. But I felt that a lot of things made me curious(and rewarded when I did) to explore the site. Good job on practicing what you preach. Keep up the good work!

  231. Dear Mike,

    Really well done article! I am about to launch a Kickstarter to support a line of baby board books that use original non-commercial art and a parenting guide that coaches parents to interact with their infants to improve language acquisition and cognitive ability etc. For each book we sell we are going to donate one along with the parenting advice to community-based organizations that support underserved mothers. The goal is to address the growing literacy gap between the “haves and the have nots.” By the time children, who have not been read to on a regular basis, reach kindergarten they have a 30 million word deficit.

    Anyway, how much time should one spend on testing a product – by sharing it with bloggers? A month or two?

  232. (Kickstarter Dashboard) Guys I’ve benefited hugely from this guide and supporting docs. So cool of you to share. You have earned a loyal supporter . Wondering where the Kickstarter Dashboard it!? The link to it doesn’t work? I’m a month out from project launch and for obvious reasons it would be amazing to have it. Thanks!

  233. As always, a terrific posting.

    Question – Suppose I have a product in mind (a “dingbat”) based on the precise material (apparently a plastic) that I have seen in another product (e.g., plastic football) that is on the market and which is in no way related to my new dingbat. How would I find the manufacturer of that exact plastic material (which would require minimal changes in pattern, shape, and size for my product)?

    Wouldn’t the prudent maker of a plastic football refuse to disclose the source of the plastic they use? I have already tried internet search, but no luck so far. Any ideas?

    Thanks so much.

  234. How did you extract 7500 emails? I am trying to extract all emails in my gmail account using various google scripts provided online, however they don’t work well.

  235. The level of expertise in this article is stunning…As a session musician/songwriter I was a part of the cutting edge of the Internet and electronics dawning. Having said that, I was almost totaling lost reading this through for the 2nd time. Not your fault, of course—but I wish my own perception could have decoded everything. I’m former sax with Beach Boys, Aretha, etc.

    I would love to do a ‘Kickstarter’ project but am hard-pressed to put even day-one together.

    I really appreciate the knowledge you have shared with us.

    John Renner

    [Moderator: email address removed]

  236. I’m gearing up to launch a Kickstarter campaign for a music product I invented. My main dilemma is enough capitol to even start a successful campaign. I’m operating on a shoestring…essentially a few 100 dollars. That’s why I need the funding. How do I make a quality video, enlist some of the $399+ resources mentioned and run a successful campaign? Has Kickstarter become a professional marketing ploy as opposed to real grass roots funding? Is it possible to run a successful campaign with only a few hundred dollars for resources? P.S. I do have some video/editing know how and some marketing experience so I’m operating on an extreme lack of cash as opposed to ability.

    Thanks for any suggestions and input!

    Gary

  237. Awesome!! Here’s how I’m segmenting my list based on your advice:

    Inferno (people with a large influence who are interested to help)

    Embers (people who don’t have a lot of influence but are super stoked)

    Sparks (people who vaguely know what I do and will get stoked)

    Tinder (people who are in my network)