With more than 300,000 projects pitched to the Kickstarter community so far, it’s clear – you’re not the only one seeking funding. With awesome projects and innovative ideas, heart-wrenching stories and creative genius, you’re going to have to work pretty hard on your pitch. It takes something special to motivate complete strangers to dig into their pockets and back your project. So how do you become successful on Kickstarter and ensure you grab attention? Check out these 5 tips for launching a killer campaign:

  1.   Solve a Real Problem

As you probably learned in marketing 101, your product is pretty important. You can sell snow to the Eskimos, but if it doesn’t satisfy a real need, you won’t have the foundation for a successful business. Many backers on Kickstarter are looking for projects that solve a real life problem or pain point and that appeal to a wider audience.

Your product doesn’t have to be mind-blowing. If you can clearly demonstrate why people’s lives will be made better with it (by saving time, money, or effort) you’re more likely to attract funding. Many people make the mistake of associating Kickstarter with the founder of dreams. But while that may be true in some cases, your dream won’t get backing if you don’t have a solid business proposition behind it.

  1.   Have a Great Story

Just as an awesome story isn’t enough without a real sales proposition; a practical product won’t catch backers’ attention without a great story. Many a passionate startup has been brought to the real world on Kickstarter. Some have even come back once, twice, three times, or more and achieved continued rounds of funding. How? Because they had a great story to share.

Mamahuhu started off selling handmade designed leather shoes in the sprawling Colombian capital of Bogota. At the time, getting funding in Colombia for untested ventures was extremely difficult. So the founders decided to take Mamahuhu to Kickstarter, with tremendous success.

Their story of how Mamahuhu shoes and bags were handmade by previously unemployed artisans hit a nerve with the Kickstarter community. The first campaign completed at over 140% of the target. What made their project so popular? A high quality product supported by a story that tugged the heartstrings of its funders.

  1. Invest Time & Money in Your Design

Well-designed Kickstarter campaigns are far more likely to get attention from backers. So it’s worth spending the time and effort in designing your Kickstarter page. Get a good logo that looks professional and upload quality photos that speak to your potential backers’ emotions.

Provide proof that you’re actually going to follow through with what you say you will. Try to make sure that your photos and content show real people and depict your current situation and your future plans. Backers want to know that you’re trustworthy and will do what you say you will.

  1.   Give Regular Updates

If your project gets support, make sure that you update your backers regularly. Share milestones and notify them of new events and successes. Show them what their money has been able to do for you and how you’re changing the lives of others.

Projects with a lot of updates typically get more backers to join in because they feel as if they’re truly part of something special. Mamahuhu was able to achieve repeat funding after being faced with bankruptcy when their store was broken into and burgled. They shared their story of misfortune, along with their grit determination to recover.

Their persistence and strong will resonated with the community and previous backers, and their second campaign was successfully funded. Just four days after launch, they achieved 300% of the goal.

  1.   Follow the Rules

While this might seem like an obvious comment, failing to follow the rules can lead to your project being rejected or suspended. And if this happens to you, you wouldn’t be the first. If you’re going to invest time and money in creating an irresistible proposition, the last thing you want is to be barred because you didn’t research properly.

All Kickstarter projects must be honest and clear about their objectives and facts. If your goal is to raise money for charity, Kickstarter isn’t the place for you. Check out their guidelines fully before getting started.

Also, take a look at the most successful projects on Kickstarter and think of ways you can emanate their success, as well as the kinds of projects that are popular with backers. If you run your campaign well, Kickstarter can be used to build a sustainable company. It’s not only the perfect platform for emerging start-ups, but as Mamahuhu demonstrated, can be used achieve extra financing along the way.

Christina is a copywriter, MBA, marketer, columnist and general life enthusiast with a love/hate relationship with monkeys.

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