I recently completed a successful kickstarter campaign for a consumer electronics product called WineMinder (www.wineminder.com.au) and I think I’d have to say that I learnt a few things along the way!
Firstly, it’s incredibly rewarding to have your idea validated, and not just by people who know you and the project intimately. That’s probably a given, but worth saying none the less!
More interestingly, there were a couple of unexpected outcomes from the campaign, which didn’t get much coverage in the Kickstarter guides and commentary that I looked at before launch. These were;
- A massive increase in brand awareness. Just going on website traffic alone, we had as much traffic to our site in the first day of the campaign as we had for the entire 3 months prior, and increased total new visitors to our site by a factor of 6!
- We had two approaches for investment in the business and one from someone offering to be our agent in northern Europe.
- Our top pledge was the biggest mover, even when it ran out and I created another, similar pledge for the same reward at a higher price level!
Many would argue that we could have found out this last point if we were following a lean startup process, but it hadn’t come up in any previous discussion – maybe because we hadn’t been forced to develop varying offers before the campaign. So a lesson there is to get really creative with offerings, even if you are following a lean startup methodology.
Of course, many of the other things I learnt were much more commonly discussed, like;
- The euphoria of the first day or two, where early pledges really get things going – followed by the nail chewing when this drops off temporarily!
- The need to prepare early and well to make sure you hit your targets, because very few people are likely to stumble upon the project via the Kickstarter site itself.
- The fact that you’ll spend the last week of the campaign mailing, texting and ringing people and just generally making a pain of yourself until all those people that said they’d pitch, get off their backsides and actually pledge!
I’d definitely do it again. The funding we raised will be extremely useful, the brand awareness we’ve developed we simply couldn’t buy at this point and the validation of the product and insights into pricing structures was unbelievably valuable!
And, of course, it was just straight out fun!