Raising over half a billion dollars since its inception in 2009, Kickstarter has been responsible for some of the coolest crowdfunded projects on the planet.
Despite the platform’s wild success, figuring out how to crack the “Kickstarter Code” can seem like an overwhelming task.
Great products fail, laughable products succeed, and the formula for hitting your campaign’s goal remains ever elusive.
When I find someone who has cracked the code to successfully crowdfund an amazing product, I am instantly intrigued.
One such individual is John Rochecouste, the creator of a new product called NowPresso which is looking to change the landscape of on-the-go espresso machines.
In a month, John has raised just under six figures and created a community of espresso loving people. To figure out how he was able to create such a successful product in a crowded space, I dove deeper into his approach. Below is how John started on his Kickstarter journey:
Coming up with a unique idea
When thinking of a new product to create, the best approach is to see what you can make better. For John, a frequent traveler and an avid coffee enthusiast, he had tried every other portable unit on the market. He couldn’t find a product that replicated the coffee shop quality espresso so set out to launch a product that he was looking for.
To make a better way to get great coffee on the go, John decided to create a machine that would allow people to do just that. It’s an easy, mess free way to get barista-quality espresso from anywhere in the world.
Funding your campaign on Kickstarter
One of the hardest parts of bringing a new product to life is finding the funding to get into production. This is where many entrepreneurs turn to crowdfunding.
For John, one of the greatest parts about this campaign is how quickly they reached their funding target with almost no advertising.
Several Kickstarter campaigns focus on running paid ads to drive traffic and conversions. Though this approach can work, the best projects often reach their goal from an organic source.
The success of the NowPresso, seems to have stemmed from a strong coffee loving community which can be a key of Kickstarter. If you can tap into an engaged community, you’ll be able to have early supporters who can take your product to the next level.
Common pitfalls to watch
Before launching a campaign on Kickstarter, you need to get feedback. Too many people go to launch a product that isn’t based on someone’s needs.
As an example, one of the most funded projects in history, the Coolest Cooler originally launched with a poor design that didn’t hit their $150,000 funding goal. The second campaign, with an updated design, ended up raising over $13,000,000.
Build a working prototype of your product and then get feedback. See what people like and dislike. Figure out what features people want to have and look for recurring problems that you might have overlooked.
You won’t know how the market will respond to your product until you get it in front of people.
What most people don’t know
One of the most overlooked parts of a successful campaign is the work that goes into a project before you launch. The marketing you do leading up to your launch is just as important as the marketing you do during a campaign.
If you create a big spark from the start of your campaign, you’re going to raise even more funding because of the way Kickstarter ranks popular projects. Aim to have a more robust pre-marketing strategy before launching a campaign to really knock your goal out of the park!
This is an easy step to overlook whenever you create a new product, but it is absolutely crucial to long term success.
With the continued popularity of crowdfunding, funding has become more competitive. Though there is still a huge opportunity to crowdfund your new product, this approach isn’t as unique as it was in the past.
Coming up with a unique product, funding it through Kickstarter, and watching out for common pitfalls will get you closer to bringing your product to life. When you break down your launch into basic steps, you’ll realize launching a product isn’t as hard as you thought it’d be!
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.