In September, we took a leap and launched our Eat Your Coffee Bars on Kickstarter. We met our funding goal in fifteen hours and took the next 45 days to quadruple it. We had the time of our lives, and we wanted to share some major things that we learned from our campaign.
1. Build momentum from the beginning.
Kickstarter campaigns are all about momentum – success begets success. People will be far more likely to back you if others have visibly committed. Start building up hype before you launch your campaign. We actually used Kickstarter-specific packaging for our test-run Eat Your Coffee Bars – we wanted to heavily associate our bars with our campaign!
More fundamentally, we reached out to everyone that we knew – friends, family, mentors, colleagues, and relevant organizations. According to Kickstarter, support often comes from personal connections. We broke up our email lists and sent personalized announcements and reminders to everyone. We also closely worked with many of them in order generate buzz. Make sure that you launch well!
Photo Credit: Madeline Heising
2. Tell your story well.
Most of our backers had never tasted a Eat Your Coffee Bar in their lives. How are you supposed to convince people to buy something that they’ve never tasted? We spent over a year perfecting our product and making it caffeinated, all-natural, vegan, and all-around-delicious. The backers wanted more than a product description, though – they wanted to learn more about us.
How did you come up with the idea? Why do you need their help on Kickstarter? If you clearly answer these questions, then you’ll make it easier for the backers to commit to you. We were college students who desperately needed coffee for their 8am classes, and we were going to use our funding in order to clothe our naked bars. We made sure to clearly relate this in our pitch video and on the campaign page.
3. Reach out to as many people as possible.
After you launch your Kickstarter campaign, you have to get out there and sell your product! Even though Kickstarter is an amazing crowdfunding platform, you can’t expect backers to pop out of nowhere. You need to carefully cultivate your relationships in order to see any success.
Because Eat Your Coffee Coffee Bars are convenient, all-natural, vegan, and gluten-free, we were able to appeal to a lot of different communities. We personally went to farmers markets, athletic events, and start-up showcases in order to gain more brand exposure. We worked with vegan bloggers in order to get product reviews and facilitate giveaways.
4. Take advantage of the Kickstarter community.
The Kickstarter community is made up of amazing, entrepreneurial, and passionate backers and creators. Make sure that you tap into that enthusiasm! In particular, make sure to connect with other Kickstarter creators. We did a lot of cross-promotion and received a staggering amount of useful advice.
Although Kickstarter is a fantastic crowdfunding platform, it is also a community that depends on its members. Consider joining the Kicking It Forward campaign, where creators (if successful) commit to spending 5% of their profits on other Kickstarter campaigns. It’s a great way to gain exposure and support.
5. Backers are really the best.
Backers are awesome – they are our financial supporters, product evangelists, and inspiration. Make sure that they know how great they are. We personally thanked every supporter and keep them updated on our fulfillment process. Always value people over product and don’t forget that every backer counts.
6. Expect the unexpected!
No matter how much you plan for your campaign, you’ll never be able anticipate everything. We were so surprised by our first-day success that we had to quickly set stretch goals for ourselves. On a less happy note - because of reasons out of our control, production for a specific reward got delayed for several months. Troubleshoot, adapt, and then roll with it. Enjoy the ride and keep on exploring!