Brittany Bloomer, the cofounder of Petflair, explains how to get your business successfully off the ground with Kickstarter. Plus, she provides her top 10 tips and tricks about how to excel in your first Kickstarter campaign.
Ever heard of Kickstarter before? It’s the world’s biggest crowdfunding platform that is changing the way people create, sell and buy amazing products. Since its creation in Brooklyn in 2009, over $3.5 BILLION has passed through projects listed on the site. Turning crazy dreams into very true realities, and changing lives in the process.
About five months ago, I’d never heard of Kickstarter, but have since launched my startup using the platform and have lots of advice to share for anyone who wants to take an idea and launch it into the big time.
My startup, Petflair, prints people’s pets on a range of custom swimwear, towels and bags. The other two co-founders in Petflair, Charlie and Tyler, put forward the idea of launching our startup on Kickstarter to give us extra buzz.
What’s unique about Kickstarter, is that it provides an all-or-nothing approach which offers safety for consumers and project creators. Creators set themselves a target and have a period of one month to reach this target.
If they fall short, no credit cards are charged, and no money changes hands. So you can test a wild idea before you take the leap.
We knew our product was unique, and so we were confident. Petflair was inspired by the love of pets, which we knew was a growing market and had huge internet popularity. We felt our product was inherently viral, allowing customers to create customised bathing suits and accessories — with your pet’s face on them. Better yet, 25% of all profits made were donated to Pound Paws, a charity that assists in the re-homing of pets in Australian shelters.
We ended up smashing our $15,000 goal, raising $108,000 to get Petflair started.
Now the dust is settled and our campaign, here are some detailed tips on how to excel in your one-shot on Kickstarter. I would love to share with you 10 tips and tricks to help you launch and accelerate your online business on Kickstarter.
10 Tips To Launch Your Business On Kickstarter
1) It’s all or nothing: Prepare yourself for a month of round-the-clock hard work. When I mean this, I am not exaggerating at all. This is your one shot of showing off your product to the world, the more attraction it receives, the more customers you will attract.
2) Preparation is key: Prepare a list of emails for leading online media outlets + radio stations that are relevant to your product. We had over 400+ unique email addresses both in Australia and around the world, all pet-related or from viral news blogs, FB accounts and radio stations. We sent these out to each email address individually explaining why we thought they would be interested in our product. I remember the excitement I felt each morning, waking up to a positive response from a journalist keen to cover the story!
3) Have an amazing video – On Kickstarter, having a short video that explains your idea and showcases your personality can be a huge boost. We spent a bit of time and effort on our video, as we wanted to tell the full story of the product and have backers connect with us on a personal level. It was a bit silly, bright and fun. Everything we wanted Petflair to be.
4) Craft your landing page – They say users generally spend around seven seconds on a web-page before browsing, so you want to ensure your KS landing page is as engaging as possible! We achieved this with lots of colour and clear information, with big headlines and not too much text.
5) Know your product – It helps to know everything about what you plan to sell, from where it’s being made to how you’ll ship so you can answer your prospective backers’ questions quickly and clearly. Being professional is a great way to make people feel confident about backing an unknown startup.
6) Launch with a BANG – You want to try to get as much traction to the campaign ASAP, the main goal for the first few days is to try get onto the ‘Trending Page’. This means having lots of people back you, early on. If you manage to get on this – it will make your whole experience so much easier in terms of getting seen! That means friends, family… anyone. You have to find your inner hustle, as awkward as this can sometimes feel. People will want to get behind you.
7) Thinking about getting extra help – There are a lot of businesses that specialise in helping with marketing for Kickstarter campaigns. Some of them run Facebook ads for your campaign, and can take up to a third of all money you raise in the campaign. Others charge a flat fee for PR coverage. We were hesitant about doing this after doing lots of research, and ended up caving into PR-representation in the USA. I personally didn’t think it did too much for us, however we have heard of friends having great success from doing this.
8) Sell your products in Packages – We had listed various different packages which customers could buy and even provided a ‘donation’ option for anyone out there that just wanted to support our idea! I was super impressed with how much backing we received on the support option. The different packages tailored anywhere from; Men’s Pack, Women’s Value Pack or Ultimate Pack which included pretty much every item + a limited edition oil painting of your pet. We also found including fun little freebies like stickers of your pet went a long way too! ☺
9) Get ready for production – We were fortunate enough to be secure and ready for production when the KS period ended, thanks to one of our founders (Tyler Martin) being the founder of a swimwear company. I have read about a lot of other KS campaign stories, where they promoted the product, before researching where to get it made. That sounds like a nightmare to me! We had so many trials of our product before we even considered promoting it. I would recommend the same to anyone else out there, to ensure all your customers stay happy.
10) Keep your backers involved – A lot of first-time buyers on KS aren’t familiar with the set up, so get confused once they make a purchase and don’t hear back till the end of the month. I would pre-plan automatic responses for those who purchase (thanking them for their support) and also schedule a series of emails to the customers, sharing the KS journey with them!
These are my top 10 tips and tricks about how to excel in your first Kickstarter campaign. If you are really serious about launching your business idea on one, I would recommend doing it this way (speaking from a positive experience) as I do believe it creates a sense of urgency in a positive way too, which encourages media to come on board and support you, as well as customers too. Prepare yourself for a month of hard work, but most importantly enjoy the journey as it will teach you a lot about your business idea and whether you are prepared to strap in for the long haul or not.
To find out more about our start-up, please head to www.petflair.co