Kickstarter Musing #2

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I cannot believe that it is  already February!  Last December, I had a Kickstarter campaign for an entrepreneurial endeavor of mine, and I mentioned that I was going to recap the top 5 things I’ve learned from my experience.  I had written one reflection right before the holidays, and decided that it would be better to reflect on the others right after the holidays.  So….it’s a little later than “right after the holidays”, but here’s reflection #2.  Again, these are just my musings from my own Kickstarter experience.  They are not meant to be advice to apply to other Kickstarter projects.  Even though Kickstarter has become quite popular as a way to raise funds for a product idea, it is still a relatively new concept to the general public, and this is just my thoughts in hindsight about what I learned from my Kickstarter campaign.

I had done a lot of research prior to launching my Kickstarter campaign.  I spoke to others who’ve launched successful campaigns, I spoke to folks who didn’t meet their fundraising goals, I spoke with folks who were “too successful” in their fundraising goals and had yet a different set of challenges to deal with that scared them to death.  One of the things that the successful campaigns did (and the various advice I read from bloggers offering their methodology of Kickstarter wisdome) was that long campaigns didn’t work.  What do I mean my length of campaign?

With Kickstarter, you have the option to have your fundraising campaign last for up to 60 days.  The successful ones were the ones that were between 30 to 40 days.   The stated reasons for doing so was that it showed a sense of urgency, and that if your campaign is 60 days long, people’s interest would wane.  In a shorter campaign timeframe, the sense of urgency would lead to all pledgers and community to push towards reaching the fundraising goal.  Sure, the sense of urgency does work to a certain extent….and our last-urgency push led us to raise an additional $30K  in our last 5 days of the campaign.  But in hindsight, we should have chosen the 60 day campaign.  Granted, we were also working against the forces of December holidays and festivities (and we knew that was a horrible time to launch the campaign, and it was never meant to launch so late in the year)…but if we had to do it over again, I would’ve selected a 60-day campaign.

Why?  Because of the demographic we were targeting, and how we were using Facebook as one of our main ways to update folks about our campaign.  I should’ve thought about myself as a tiny data sample….which is that moms (tech-savvy or not, home-makers or career women) don’t check their Facebook status see other types of updates.   They often don’t read the emails right away either.   We had a ton of FB fans, and a lot of support, but (especially around the holidays), many of our fans didn’t even time to react to the Kickstarter campaign before it was over.  And those that did respond rather quickly and tried to spread the word for us, well…they ran into similar issues with their mom friends.  Unless their day job is in PR or high-tech or such, they often didn’t have enough time to react to the campaign.  Many moms in the financial services industry and other corporate jobs cant access Facebook during the day at work….and (save for a few exceptions), not every mom is constantly looking at their FB account or scanning through their personal email accounts at night after a long day of work.  We were targeting moms with kids under the age of 7….so dinners, baths, and bedtimes ruled the evening routine.

“I want to learn more about your project”, “how do I support your Kickstarter campaign”, and other similar emails still came trickling in at the end of January….long after my Kickstarter campaign was over.  “But you just launched the campaign in November!”.   Yup, I did.

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