Nov 21, 2015

Kickstarter Lesson #1 Educating your Friends about Kickstarter

Learning about how to start and run a Kickstarter campaign is extremely painfully, especially when you are living in a country which is not supported by Kickstarter. We tried to look for online material relevant to an Asian creator aspiring to start a project on Kickstarter but there isn't any dedicated blog or information about it. We had to resort to message fellow Singaporean Kickstarter creators to learn more about the "Hows and Whats" but the information we got were still pretty scarce.

As we embark on our journey to get Wongamania: Banana Economy funded, I thought that it will be interesting to write down my experiences, learning points and key experiences from other fellow Asian Kickstarters creators on my personal blog to help all those aspiring Kickstarter creators around the region.

The concept of Kickstarter is still a pretty new phenomena and majority of the population has no idea what crowdfunding is. In Singapore where the majority of the population is English speaking, Kickstarter is more commonly known as compared to our neighbors in Malaysia or Indonesia. We had tremendous problems engaging our fans in Malaysia and sharing with them what Kickstarter is, so the first order of the day is to educate your friends and social network what is Kickstarter way before you start off your Kickstarter campaign as a Asian creator.

Start a Blog to talk about Kickstarter or share relevant links on Kickstarter on social media
One of the biggest recommendation by many successful Kickstarter creators is to start a blog. In the context of en environment whereby the people around you are not familiar with Kickstarter, you can start writing articles on what is Kickstarter or start posting articles on your social media on what Kickstarter is. This should be done 3 months before your campaign even starts. 

They are not sure where the money goes if the campaign is unsuccessful
Many Singaporeans are concerned about where their money will go if the campaign is unsuccessful. Will Kickstarter take the money? Won't it be better if they give us the donation direct? You need to assure them that their credit cards will not be deducted if the campaign is not successful and there is no loss to them.

They want to back you but signing up for Kickstarter is too much of a hassle
Many of your supporters genuinely want to support you but in Singapore, where everyone works for long hours and time for sleeping is scarce. Signing up for Kickstarter account and figuring out how it works is probably the lowest priority to them on any day of the week (Weekends are reserved for catching up on lost sleep and family time). This is probably true with many of the North Asian countries where long working hours are the norm. There are 2 ways to go about doing this:

1) Be a pest like a salesman and beep them everyday; (Not Recommended)


2) Guide them to pledge for the $1 tier. (Recommended)

The $1 tier allows them to receive backer updates and slowly let them be accustom to the idea of Kickstarter. Once they have a better understanding how Kickstarter functions, it is easier to get them to support your campaign with a bigger amount later.

Show them the Benefits of backing early
Many of the Kickstarter relies on momentum to keep it going. A project that is launched without the initial support will make other backers skeptical if the creator is even serious about the project or not. Getting your friends and network to back early is one of the essential ingredient for a successful campaign. However, many of their friends tend to procrastinate and wait for the very last day before backing your project.  You need to communicate with them on some of the benefits of backing early.

1) Early numbers help creator estimate demand and can arrange a more attractive bulk shipping rate, which can translate to savings to your friends.

2) Early momentum will help to unlock stretch goals, which will make the product more value for money for your friends.

3) If all fails, bribe them with beer or coffee.    

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