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Friday, 11 July 2014

3 lessons in the art of selling from Kickstarter

I have a confession.

I think I'm hooked on funding Kickstarter projects .

It started innocently enough, backing Seth Godin (a noted giant of the marketing world).  I love his work, there was no risk, it was a win win. Then came Duncan Shotton and his glorious rainbow pencils and that was the start of the slippery slope.  I joined the mailing list and now have my credit card on standby, as the ‘Projects We Love’ email drops into my inbox.

How did this happen?  Why do these serial entrepreneurs wield such power?

Searching through those who make and often exceed their targets, the commonalities are clear.

1. They have personality (in spades)

People buy from people - it's the age old mantra.  That's why kickstarters have to present their ideas via video.  According to a new Cisco report, by 2018 over 75% of all traffic will be video based, proving that people really do have to see to believe.

Whether you've heard of the product or not, those who succeed, use their screen debut to ooze personality.  They help us decide to take the risk and make that pledge, by telling a story, from how the idea began, to their vision for the future.  They know that having the viewer trust that they can deliver on their promises, is the only way to get them to press the big green button. As an aside, what a great idea to make the backing button green - green for go, green for good and fresh and new, you get the idea.

2. They make us part of the process

Selling ideas is really about finding or even building a community who want to buy them. That's why marketing departments spend large portions of their budget on generating content to attract and retain relevant audiences. Kickstarter takes this to extremes, adding the emotional factor, that without your funding, this fabulous, new, ‘must have’ will never reach the market.  Feel the pressure?

Here, at the click of a button, a community is born.  Every funder feels like a hero for getting the project out of its starting blocks.  We see that a number of other backers have endorsed what is now, our idea, of a great project. We feel part of something - a secret group of early adopters with a vested monetary interest in success and that makes us care, share and talk about each venture, as though it were our own. Brilliant.

3. They test ideas and listen for feedback

For the price of a two minute video, entrepreneurs can test their audience, to see if there is enough interest to make their idea a viable business.  If it bombs and/or there are no pledges, it's back to the drawing board, without having spent their life savings on marketing and advertising.  TeamYoga is a great example of this.  Maybe there isn't a market for poseable toys just yet, but could that be because not enough children are doing yoga? What could they do to encourage this market?  Their kickstarter investment may have saved them from financial disaster or even inspired them afresh to take a new approach.  Either way, it was worth the broadcast.

So, if you find yourself hovering over that big green button, please get in touch.  We can form a support group.

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