10 Vital Steps to build your Community before you start your Kickstarter “Launch” Campaign
With the incredible development of fund-raising technologies & the rise of platforms such as Kickstarter, in 2022 launching a new “Change the world for the better” or new creative project has never ever been easier.
In mere hours you could start your new Kick Starter Campaign and bring that exciting new project to life, but…
And it’s a BIG Butt
Here’s the No 1 factor that you shouldn’t forget, write it down now, because it is vital… and much needed. Ready…?
It’s your Community.
Now while, building an engaged fan base & Community is essential, unfortunately in truth, the word “Community” has become a bit of a marketing “buzzword” that’s really quite misunderstood.
So let me first answer the following question first:
What does Glenn mean by “Community” exactly ?
Glad you asked. Well, it’s in fact pretty simple: Community means …. “A Group of People who ALL SHARE the same PASSION, Purpose and/or INTEREST”
Yes! …These people will be the ones who follow your project & who will be really engaged in it. They will take action…
They are all your “Tribe”
Now you may ask: “Why is having a Community or Tribe so important?
I’m glad you asked, again 😉 It’s because having a community will help you “Build Trust” & also help you to gain that much needed “Credibility”. These are 2 x factors that are 100% necessary for a successful Kick starter launch.
It will allow you to add value to your followers’ lives, while at the same time, creating advocates for your project. It organically increases word of mouth around your project and thus gives it more exposure. Building a community before launching your Kickstarter Campaign is a crucial part for your campaign’s success.
The tricky part is that it takes time, effort and consistency to engage these people to your cause. The perfect timing to start building your community is 6 to 9 months prior to launch.
In the following paragraphs, I’m going to share with you some steps to follow to help accomplish this:
1. Define your Community
At the beginning of everything, (ideally 6 months prior to launch) you should ask yourself the right questions.
For example, to teach defining my community, let’s suppose that I want to create a “Panda focused Board Game”.
Why Pandas, right? Well, because Pandas are funny, fluffy & cute. Don’t you see them everywhere now? On social media, clothes, sneezing on Youtube, going viral or birthday cakes. Forget about passe unicorns, Pandas are the new, NEW trend. Errr according to this weird example…
Now it’s time to ask yourself the right questions. Start here… first.
Who is this for?
Ask yourself who is this for ?
Example: Board game lovers, friends who like to spend time having fun while playing board games. People who love Pandas
What is my Target?
Individuals who love to socialise around board games.
Who are my potential Partners?
Board Gamer bars and cafes (they exist) board gaming magazines, specialist board gaming shops, board gaming group owners on Facebook. Organisers of Board Game conventions, etc etc…
Who can potentially support me?
Family, friends, board games specialists, board game influencers, etc…
What is the Positioning of my product or service?
A funny game to play for groups who want to chill and spend quality time together.
See. Thats a good start. Just by answering these questions first it will help you to get a clear vision about your project & its environment.
By clearly defining your project’s positioning, you’ll be able to easily identify your ideal targets & define its main characteristics, behaviors & interests. Based on these parameters, you’ll now have the opportunity to plan the most efficient communication strategy to specifically reach your ideal target audience.
Your community is not limited to your audience.
It can be other people that share the same passion as you. In this case, we could for example contact the other board games creators. This would give us an opportunity for exposure, potential support & also vital feedback from industry experts.
2. Reach out to your first circle & then start building out from there…
After the Bank of Mum & Dad or Personal savings… friends & family are definately a high number two on the list for funding startups.
Not only are these the people that already know, love & trust you, but they’re also the ones that (hopefully) that believe in your potential & who really want to see you Succeed.
Getting backing from them can be a good way to
a) Get feedback on what to improve.
b) It is also a factor of motivation as their faith & trust will make you more prone to succeed.
Getting backings from the first moments of your Campaign’s launch gives you momentum & fuels exposure on Kickstarter’s website due to its algorithm – thus amplifying your reach and attracting more & more backers.
3. Join Forums & Groups that share the same interest:
People usually join Facebook groups or forums to talk about things they are passionate about or to meet people that share the same interests.
So look for some groups related to your passion or project & join them now.
You’ll have access to a gold mine of resources, content & debates which are made by people who are extremely passionate about what they do. This can be a strong learning opportunity for you as well.
Take part in the discussions and spend a few weeks interacting with other forum members. Get involved in the community and show your engagement by commenting on others’ posts.
4. Build, update and Segment your Community list
This list is the one that regroups all of your community’s data. In other words, all the contact details (names, email addresses, social media & mobile phone numbers) of all the people that are interested in your project will be well categorised.
… a database can be any normal Google or Excel Spreadsheet.
Once the list is big enough, start segmenting it.
Segmenting your list and organising by groups, will help you in later stages to share specific content & for sending tailored newsletters.
This will improve your chances of getting better feedback from your audience.
The following graph shows the results you can get from segmenting your list.
Collecting this data can be hard but you can start slowly, by asking people for their contact details on forums. Another good way is to add a small space on your website for people to leave their email addresses for receiving updates on your project.
There’s no shame to start small. A community doesn’t need thousands of people.
We call it a community as soon as there are 2 people who share the same passion and interests.
5. Create Content that gives Value to your Readers
As Gary Vaynerchuk famously said: “Brand storytelling isn’t about pushing advertising, it’s about bringing value” and this is what separates the successful projects from those that fail.
Your “Content strategy” should focus on giving value rather than selling a product, a project or a service.
What do I mean by making Content that brings Value ?
It is all visual, verbal or written communication that you expose to your community, and it should at least answer one of your followers’ questions or problems, or simply help them learn something new about what they’re interested in.
So make sure to create content that brings an added value. It will be your main tool for driving traffic and building engagement around your project.
Creating content that resonates in your tribe’s mind can be difficult, but if you’ve followed the first steps described in this article, you’d have everything ready to produce some kickass content.
Once you know your segments, their interests and their behavior, you’ll not only be able to understand which type of people you’ll be addressing yourself to, but you’ll also know which channel you should use to reach them.
A good example for someone who produces valuable content is Jamey Stegmaier. He successfully raised over $3.2 million for his Kickstarter campaigns, and he shares his insights, mistakes, and lessons learned on his blog. I recommend checking it out.
6. Use “Paid” social media Ads as a Promotional tool
This is a huge debate within the Kickstarter community.
Many experts & Kickstarter lessons recommend not to use social media such as: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc. as a promotional tool, while many creators have seen a huge ROI from their social media campaigns.
We personally recommend you to use paid, because out of all the tools you can have access to Social media ads are the cheapest and most effective way to reach your audience.
Which platform to use ? Facebook ? Instagram ? Snapchat ? LinkedIN?
The most important thing here is to define your target audience, and then based on that information you’ll be able to choose the platform that is the best to invest in.
Facebook (and thus Instagram as well) for example, offer you the opportunity to use their Behavior Targeting and Interest targeting.
These two features alone will help you Zero in and target people based on purchase behavior, purchase intent and other behavioral characteristics, or based on people’s interests like activities, hobbies and liked pages.
It’s a Gold mine!
Another feature that Facebook offers is the facebook Pixel. It helps us measure conversions and optimize your ads. It also provides the opportunity to track the actions people take on your website, such as reading your amazing content (content that delivers massive Value, of course) or purchasing a product.
The Facebook Pixel will help you retarget them or reach a similar audience on Facebook.
7. Back other projects that are related to yours
While it may seem counter-intuitive, but just backing others projects that are in the same category as yours can really help you to prepare your campaign.
Well, you get to see how Campaigns are executed from the “backer” perspective.
You’ll also be able to access all of the various project updates and what is really neat is you’ll see how other creators run their campaigns too.
But, best of all…
It will also help you connect via the comments with other backers that share the same interests (hehehe) sneaky – people who hopefully may also be interested in your project.
It is also important to back projects as it is badly perceived by the kickstarter community when a creator seeks backing while not backing other projects.
If you’re short on money, you can still back 3 or 4 projects by spending 1$ each. This will give you access to the projects updates and grow your backed projects list. Niiiiiiiice!
8. Use Email Newsletters
Many people say that sharing content by mail is outdated, while yet others rely solely on email marketing for their content strategy.
Yes email marketing isn’t as powerful as it was 10 years ago, but dude, it’s not dead it’s still a really valuable channel and that’s why you should use it.
Usually it’s our highest ROI channel. ROI = (Return on Investment).
As you can see in the graph taken from Truconversion below.
In fact, emails generate 40$ for every 1$ spent, which is a 4000% ROI.
It’s twice as much as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which is the second best on the list.
Another important reason for using emails to reach and engage your community is that pretty much everyone has an email address (5,6 Billion in 2022).
In contrast to social media for example, we all know some people who don’t use facebook, twitter or any other platform.
Now, if you’ve followed our steps and actions, you should already have a huge list of segmented emails and a great (valuable, of course) content.
The next step is to distribute this content.
There are many tools for email marketing. I personally advise you to use Active Campaign. Using it will help you get past spam filters.
You just need to set the parameters and let it do the rest. You can for example send welcome emails, birthday wishes or newsletters twice a month to let your community know how your project is moving forward.
Another good feature is the beautiful Active Campaign templates, also provided with the free version.
Using them will help you save time, effort and money on code and design.
9. Focus on quality, not quantity
It sounds like another cool sentence to write in an article I know, but if you want to keep your community’s engagement, you’ll have to share updates on your project advancement and content that interests them.
The important thing is: these touch points don’t need to be shared everyday but when it’s done, it needs to make people excited to hear more about the project and its launch.
Harassing your community with emails, ads or notifications everyday can be really annoying. It will also dilute the quality of your content and lower its relevance.
One piece of advice, is to set specific touch points with your community. For example, you can set a newsletter each week to update them about your project’s progress or set a Facebook live each Sunday to answer all of your community’s question or debate about the project.
This will give them something to wait for every week and thus excites them to know more and more about the next meetup and the launch. I mean you’re also waiting for the latest episode of Game of Thrones, that is coming out this week, aren’t you?
10. Help other creators to build their Community
Have you ever heard of the BNI old adage? Givers Gain!
Well, this is one of the things I believe in the most. Through my experience over 20 years in lots of different Business communities, the more I gave without waiting for anything in return, the more I always received some invaluable experiences & lessons.
It’s like a weird universal law.
So always, try to always be the first to give! It will come back 3 fold.
So now that you have built a small community (at least), now you can start to help other creators that are going through the same process as you did, to gain more exposure.
You can for example, share with them tips to get things started, or introduce them to your community so that they (and their project) gain more exposure. You could simply share this post with for example (cough, cough).
This is a great way to build trust and to shape strong links within your community, and the more you give when people need it, the more they’ll give back when you’ll need help.
Now that I’ve shared with you all this advice, I believe you’ve got an interesting method to build a Huuuuuuge Community before launching a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Lastly, I would love to know what are your thoughts about it and what would you do for growing and engaging your Tribe!