When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
— JOHN BELUSHI (Animal House)
The image below is from the Veronica Mars campaign, one of the top Kickstarter case studies of all time. Kristen Bell announces that they have just hit the $5 million mark. Time to celebrate and enjoy the success, right?
Kristen thanks the supporters for less than half of the video. Then she delivers the news. Yes they have broken the record for the highest amount of funding ever raised, but not the record for the highest number of backers. In other words, there are projects out there with less money but more supporters.
Hey, that’s terrible!
So Kristen invites every backer to convince one friend to make a $1 pledge. Even if they don’t have the budget or are not interested in the movie, they can still make a difference. After all $1 is a small price to pay for your friendship.
In case you are curious, after this message the campaign raised an extra $702,000. Not all the funds came from the $1 pledges, but they surely played their part. Not a bad result for a few minutes in front of your webcam, don’t you think?
3 Hacks with 1 Click: A Kickstarter Case Study
There is one obvious lesson to learn from Kristen’s video.
- Ask for the help of your backers, it’s simple as that.
But there is more.
- Don’t just ask for help, provide detailed instructions.
- Use a small pledge to get email addresses.
These points both deserve their own chapter, and this is exactly what I’m going to do in the next lines. In the meantime, enjoy the message and take note. Even seasoned sales guy could learn a thing or two from her.
The Veronica Mars Movie Project (by Rob Thomas)
Don’t Just Ask for Help, Give Them a Wish List
I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand.
— CHINESE PROVERB
Veronica Mars didn’t ask for generic help. The request was extremely specific: “Ask your friend to pledge $1”.
Fans tend to react best when they have clear instructions. Sure, there will always be someone more creative developing their own tactics. You don’t send your message to these supporters; in fact they will find a way to help you in any case. You send a specific suggestion to anybody else, including someone who is usually creative but simply too tired or too busy.
The easier you make the life of your backers, the more they’ll expend time and energy to support you.
In our example suggesting a pledge of $1 is brilliant. The sum is small enough to not scare anybody and you don’t risk losing the higher pledges; on the contrary, once the friends of your backers are on your page they can decide to spend more.
Use a Small Pledge to Get their Emails
Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
— ALBERT EINSTEIN
For the sake of privacy you don’t have access to the email addresses of your backers, but you can still use Kickstarter to send direct messages to them. Team Veronica Mars gained access to hundreds of thousands of email addresses with their $1 message.
Even if the sum is small you can reach all your backers, and you have until the end of the campaign to convince them to upgrade their pledge. I’m not talking spamming here. Sending exciting updates works like a charm.
In the meantime they can share your updates with their friends and social media. It’s an army of evangelists; one of the most effective marketing engines and one of the most rewarding experiences from a personal point of view. Don’t ignore them, don’t spam them, instead cuddle them and feed them with amazing updates, videos and funny emails.