By Bob Tinsley
My Kickstarter funded! I’m a happy camper. Here are some of the things I learned.
Yes, you must promote your Kickstarter, otherwise it will sit there with your mom’s $5 languishing alone until your campaign goes down to ignominious failure. Yeah, I know I just kicked your dog and rubbed your cat’s fur the wrong way, but the truth’s the truth.
I contemplated a post whining about the usual things that make promotion hard. Then I stumbled across the following. Of course I didn’t find it until the campaign was half over.
The Kickstarter Dashboard has a section on it called “Referrers.” This tells you where your contributors come from: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Direct to Kickstarter, and that catchall enigma, “Direct Traffic No Referrer Information.” I still don’t have a clue how that’s helpful.
As you can tell, the sources are pretty general. For instance, one of my contributors (a big one!) came from Twitter, but I don’t know when or what post led that person to me.
Just below the Referrers section is another section called “Custom Referral Tags” that allows you to “create a referral tag to monitor successful backings from each link you share.”
I had to go look that one up in the Handbook, and I’m glad I did. Basically this allows you to create up to 500 unique links to your Kickstarter. I’ve been using it thusly: for each post I make about the campaign whether on Instagram, FB (each of my pages on FB), Twitter, or somewhere else, I create a custom tag by giving it a name with a date: Twitter0831, FBPro0831, FBEscape0831, FBRWT0831, etc. Press the “Generate Tag” button and you get a unique link.
When someone clicks on a link, that leaves a track that tells me the specific post that induced them to take a look. This would be a great thing for A-B testing for answering questions like: Where do you get most of your traffic? Did a different illustration or different wording make a difference?
Apparently this feature doesn’t get much use, though I don’t know why.
Now for some things I learned over and above all the reading and research I did before launch.
- Adjust your attitude on promotion. My attitude was “Gah! Promotion. What a PITA.” Promotion is telling people about things you believe they might like. That’s a good thing! Right? Right? Who doesn’t want to find out about things you would enjoy? So, adjust. And plan.
- Planning is critical. I did not plan well enough. In fact, planning the promotional aspects of this campaign was non-existent. I had not plan past the launch. I thought I’d just handle it on the fly, which I did, but not nearly as well as if I had thought out the 21 days of promotion before I even launched. If I had, I would have been less stressed. Putting things together on the day they go out is stressful. I would have had more promotional posts ready to go and know where to put them when. If I had planned, I would have had more time to do all the other things I should have been doing during the KS. Planning does not end with filling in all the blanks KS gives you. You also have to plan for the fulfillment part of the campaign. It takes 3 weeks for KS to distribute the collected money after the campaign ends. I’ll be using that time to plan. I should have already done it. So, PLAN!
- Make the promotional posts different and fun. I made audiograms and podcast episodes with my characters interacting that segued into a call to action using the custom links. Even after starting with the custom links over halfway through the campaign I can trace 30% of my income back to those particular posts, two from Facebook and one from the podcast feed.
- Plan for Stretch Goals. I didn’t. I didn’t expect for a minute that I would fund before the end of the campaign. When I was notified that I funded 60 hours before the end, I was left flat-footed. Nothing to put up as a Stretch Goal that I could pull off in that amount of time. Might as well have left money on the table. So plan Stretch Goals before launch.Now the real work begins. Stay tuned.
Bob Tinsley is an artist, writer, boataholic and new audio/podcast fiction writer-producer. A mighty fine one too, as his 2nd and 4th place People’s Pilot 2019 finishes demonstrate.