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 more than 500 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.

Leave a Reply to Kevin S Cancel reply

Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration.)

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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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)

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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?

  20. 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.

  21. 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!

  22. 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

  23. 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!

  24. 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!!

  25. 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

  26. 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.

  27. 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!

  28. 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!!

  29. 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.

  30. 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

  31. 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

  32. 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. 🙂

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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!!!

  39. 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

  40. 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.

  41. 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

  42. 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.

  43. 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]

  44. 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

  45. 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 :-)?”

  46. 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.

  47. 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?

  48. 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

  49. 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

  50. 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/

  51. 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!!!

  52. 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!

  53. 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!

  54. 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

  55. 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!

  56. 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.

  57. 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!

  58. 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 😉

  59. 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!

  60. 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

  61. 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.

  62. 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!

  63. 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

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

  66. 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!

  67. 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!

  68. 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!

  69. 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!

  70. 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.