In our previous post “How to Get Invention Money”, we talked about using Kickstarter.com to help get the invention funding that you need to turn your invention idea into a reality. Continuing on with this theme, we will be talking about ways to improve your odds of success when it comes to creating an awesome Kickstarter campaign. In addition, we will also be talking about what to do should you not meet your invention funding goals in the allotted amount of time.
Like everything in life, there is no guarantee of success when it comes to a Kickstarter project. In fact, Kickstarter.com might actually turn down your project before it can even be presented to the Kickstarter community. However, below are a few tips of things that you can do right now to improve your chances of getting funding for your ideas.
Ways to improve your odds of success
You’ll probably want to have some sort of prototype on hand that you can pull out to demonstrate your invention idea to the masses. Now, if your goal is to get enough invention funding to build a prototype first before you put your invention idea into production then you might be able to get by with a Computer Added Design simulation instead.
Are you Crystal Clear
Do you understand exactly what it is you want your invention idea to accomplish? Chances are you don’t want to back yourself into a corner by defining your invention idea as the Swiss army knife of inventions. Therefore, you need to figure out the scope of your project. This might mean that you cut out some of the ‘would like to have’ features and only concentrate on the ‘must have’ features.
Show Me the Cash
What is the amount of invention money that you truly need to be successful on your project? Figure out ways to cut costs now. Ask yourself if you really need to spend several thousand dollars on a specific software package when a free open source version can do the same thing. Putting down a number that is too large may scare away potential investors which could result in your invention funding campaign being a failure. On the other hand, don’t short yourself on the capital that you need in order to be successful. After all you avoided your rich Uncle, the bank’s loan officer, and the wily venture capitalist for the freedom that Kickstarter offers you in the first place.
Drop Dead Funding Date
The other variable you must clearly define is the length of time you will allocate in order to reach your invention funding goals. Have you ever heard of the ‘student syndrome’? Give people too much time and they will wait until the very last minute or, perhaps, never to do what they need to do. What you need donors to do is to fund your invention idea. Therefore, set a realistic deadline. By the way, most successful campaigns set a date of less than 30 days to reach their funding goals.
Point of No Return
Once you set an invention funding requirement and a specified time limit, you won’t be able to change either of these values once your project goes live. Therefore, you should really spend the time to figure out what these two values should be ahead of time.
What’s in it for Me?
Throwing the fact that your product will likely you make money as a reason to invest in your project isn’t good enough. People want to know what’s in it for them. Not everyone wants a coffee mug or a T-shirt. If you expect more money for higher donation levels, then your rewards should be matched accordingly. Take time to seriously think about what products or incentives you can potentially offer donors.
Get Some Real Fans
The successful Kickstarter projects often have a huge social network and fan base already well established. This is probably a no-brainer for most of you but make sure that you have a Facebook page and Twitter profile already setup up. Hopefully, you will also have your own business website set up, as well. Makes sure that you spend time with your social network getting them excited about your upcoming Kickstarter campaign.
By the way, there is a Facebook like button underneath each project video in Kickstarter. If a community member clicks this button, a link to your video on Kickstarter will show up on their Facebook wall. Therefore, it’s a good idea to really spend the time creating a quality video that has the potential to go viral for your Kickstarter campaign.
Who Are You?
If you don’t bother creating a website for you invention idea which clearly displays various ways to contact you then don’t expect to get any calls from potential manufacturers, distributors, or fans. Chances are if your invention idea is good, people will contact you.
What’s in a Name?
What’s the first thing that people see when it comes to a Kickstarter campaign? Why, the title of your project, of course. Therefore, it is extremely important that it is clear, concise, descriptive, and it drives people to take action.
The Proper Way to Show and Tell
The second most important component of any successful Kickstarter project is the video.
Show me the Money! Please…
Explain exactly what you need the invention money for. Please come up with a better line than, “I am a starving inventor that has a brilliant idea”. Remember, your audience isn’t stupid, they realize that they are helping to fund your invention idea because you think you can make money off of it.
Get personal with your audience. Don’t bother hiring someone else out there to talk about how passionate they are about YOUR idea. People want to see who they are funding. Potential donors want to also hear you relate your personal experiences to them.
Show investors that you believe that your product can do everything you say it can.
Are We Having Fun Yet?
If you don’t think that you will have fun turning your invention idea into an actual physical product then don’t even bother creating a Kickstarter campaign. Your lack of enthusiasm will come through during your video and potential donors will simply look the other way.
I’m a Genius, Why Aren’t You?
Just because you have a mechanical engineering degree or happen to teach theoretical physics doesn’t necessarily mean that the people on Kickstarter will too. Make sure that you present your project in a fashion that can be easily understood by the masses.
Take Time to Explain
In your video, you need to explain how Kickstarter works. Just because people are visiting the website doesn’t necessarily mean that they will understand the concept of different donation tiers and that not meeting your funding goals within the time limit will result in zero funding dollars for you.
Think Local, Go Global
Have some extra capital dollars lying around? Think local to go global. By that, we mean taking some of that extra money and creating posters or advertisements. Then start placing them in your local coffee shop, college billboard, or wherever to help drive traffic to your Kickstarter project.
You’re a Kickstarter Success!
All right, so your Kickstarter project managed to get its funding approved within the designated time limit. Congratulations! Don’t get too excited though. Chances are if you reach your funding level, there will be long nights ahead of you along with a lot more stress.
Hopefully, you completely understand your production costs and time commitments that will be required to produce your new invention. At this point, you need to hope that your return on investment doesn’t turn out to be lower than you initially predicted.
You also need to start thinking of your donors as your customers. These customers want to know about you, about your business, and about the development of your product so you better keep them in the loop. A simple way to do this is to create a video blog diary every few days. If you talk with a manufacturing company, put that in there. When your product rolls off the assembly line, put that in there too. Treat your donors well and they will be more likely to say great things about your product that they helped to create.
You’re a Kickstarter Failure!
Okay, so you didn’t make your goal in the time limit. By now, you are probably thoroughly upset with yourself, your idea, and those ignorant people that decided NOT to fund your idea. What you really should be doing is looking on the bright side.
Chances are, at least one person out there commented on your idea. Who knows, these people might have actually included what they liked about your idea and what you can improve upon. The great thing is that this feedback didn’t cost you a penny. A similar customer feedback marketing research campaign might have cost you a ton of money.
There are lots of Kickstarter community members out there. Chances are that some of these people watched your project video. Who knows, maybe even some of these people are now following you on Facebook and Twitter. Either way, you win.
A Time for Reflection
Take time to think about what you might do better next time. Ask yourself some questions:
- Did I ask for too much money?
- Did I lack excitement, energy, and passion about my idea in my project video?
- Was my project scope so large that potential donors didn’t believe that my idea was actually feasible?
- Did the rewards that I offered to donors to fund my idea suck?
- Did my video explain clearly what my project was all about?
Either way, regardless of whether your Kickstarter project was a success or not, as an inventor you can walk away with a host of benefits without having to spend any money. I ask you, “Where else will you have an opportunity like this when it comes to your invention idea”?
Now go out and create a Kickstarter project! What do you have to lose?