Tom Eilon is the founder of Thinkubator Partners, where he focuses on helping other startups grow.
Tom launched one of the first Kickstarter projects, following Kickstarters launch in the UK and successfully raised funding for The Manuka Belt (The belt reinvented with magnets) in 2013.
Tom has been able to connect with a many other Kickstarter veterans and entrepreneurs and regularly brings them together at a monthly dinner, called Thinkubator. Thinkubator gives entrepreneurs and crowdfunding specialists a chance to reveal their biggest problems and concerns in private, to get advice, support (and therapy!) from each other. The Thinkubator network has grown to 100 trusted and knowledgeable entrepreneurs, consistently helping each other to succeed.
Prior to Thinkubator Partners, Tom was Head of Product and Strategy at venture-backed startup, Metail, and has also worked at Atomico Ventures, the venture capital fund set up by the founder of Skype.
Tom holds an MA in Natural Sciences (Physics) from Cambridge University and an MBA from INSEAD. He shares cool products and random thoughts @tomeilon.
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Course updated January 2015.
Only 1,000 people have raised more than $100,000 on Kickstarter.
How did they do that?
I interviewed 6 Kickstarter Expert to ask just that. Each expert has raised between $50,000 and $500,000 and knows exactly what it takes to create a campaign that delivers well beyond expectations. We get deep into the detail of how the experts planned, executed and delivered their campaigns. By taking this course you will be able to understand the steps they took and replicate their success.
This course covers:
Creating your campaign: How the experts created with their campaign, video and project page and made them stand out.
Planning: How you should plan out your campaign beginning to end. What the experts did and what worked for them.
Launch day: A minute-by-minute plan for launch day.
Marketing and promotion: Once you’ve created your campaign, it’s time to let the world know it exists. The experts will explain how they marketed their projects to get great results.
Project fulfilment: How to deliver on your promises to backers
Tips & Tricks: Little known tips and tricks that can make a massive difference in execution as well as key crowdfunding mistakes and pitfalls to avoid
Cram through this course in a day or take your time over 3.
You should take this course if you don't want to waste time second guessing what works and doesn't work. The Experts have crowdfunded their own ideas using these techniques, and they'll tell you the mistakes they made for you to avoid.
6 expert interviews
Detailed questions on how each Expert planned, managed and executed their campaign
Checklists complied from interviews
No need to hunt through each interview to figure out how to take immediate action. The key steps are outlined for you.
Money back guarantee
This course comes with a no-questions-asked 30 day money back guarantee. If you don't get what you need out of this course, I personally promise you will get your money back.
NOW LETS GET STARTED
Signup to take the course today.
What made you want to run a Kickstarter campaign?
Motivation: There are many reasons to want to start a Kickstarter. Whatever your motivation you can make a big success of your campaign. Here are a few reasons you may want to get started:
·A business wanting to grow and reach a new audience
·A design studio looking for a channel for a specific project
·An idea or project to make income
·Just wanting to get involved
Set the minimum raise as small as possible, while still being sensible:
·Backers can be scared off by a large minimum raise goal
·Exceeding your minimum early will drive extra momentum
·Funding the project many times over will look great and drive more people to see you page
… but, make sure you can deliver your project, even if you just creep over your goal
Set pledge levels that customers want
Put the prototype into peoples hands
·Ask them how much they would pay for it
·And what variations they would like for different pledge levels
Build people up from a low base
·Set the vanilla product at a low cost
·Put value-adding features to the product as affordable increments to the base price (Make it shiny, add colour, deliver some early - do what makes sense for you, your manufacturing capabilities and your product)
Choosing the campaign duration
Keep it short and sweet
· Keeping up the hype and communicating ‘scarcity’ is easier for a short campaign
Longer campaigns will extend the period where you get fewest orders
· Extending the campaign will drive additional orders
· but consider whether it’s worth it for the extra energy you will need to put in
If you are outside the US, consider trying to put your campaign in $
· People understand $ better
· Amazon payments allows people to pay without getting out their credit card
· But you need to have a US team member
· And it will add more complexity around tax and money transfer
· Choose carefully…
How to get feedback for your campaign, that adds value
Share your project with potential backers
· Helps to get your messaging right – people will tell you what they don't understand
· Consider your product from the perspective of different groups of people that may be interested in the campaign
· Get feedback from potential backers on pricing
· Get people engaged with the campaign – means they will back the project when you launch
Consider your retail price for the main product
· Then give a healthy discount for your backers
·Understand the regulation requirements work before launching
·Understand who will be taxing you
·Think through VAT and transferring money between currencies
·This all needs to be worked out before launch
You can launch a Kickstarter project with very little upfront investment
·Invest your time to prepare the project
·Be creative in getting others involved
·Manufacturing partners and videographers can be brought on to share the profits to avoid upfront costs
·Spend the money you need on finishing your product and shooting the video
·You can go from concept to project very quickly if you focus (Ben did it in 2 months)
Build early momentum is crucial
·Dramatic acceleration on day 1 is important to drive buzz and gets you onto popular pages which drives traffic throughout the campaign
Some easy tactics to drive Day 1 momentum
·Emailing friends is the first and easiest marketing activity you can do
·Reduce the price of Early Bird pledges and give extra presents to friends that pledge on the first day
·Consider pricing Early Bird pledges at cost or even free!
·Use Boomerang to email your contact list on the first day: http://www.boomeranggmail.com/
Research similar projects that succeeded
Research similar campaigns that achieved their goal
· Use the Bit.ly link trick to find where similar projects got shared
· Build out your blog list based on which blogs covered similar projects which lead to shares
How to do blogger reachout
Reaching out to blogs
· Condense your pitch into a short email and distribute it to your team
· Create additional photos and copy for journalists that get in touch
· Create a long list of all the publications where you would like to see your project covered
· Hustle to find contact details for people that you don't know – put them all in a spreadsheet
· Reach out to bloggers you know and other big publications as a priority
· Reach out to the smaller blogs once the campaign is moving
· Plan exclusives – offer one publication the chance to cover the article one day in advance of the rest
Finding email addresses can be tricky - Here is a great set of techniques to find blogger email addresses:
Create social media surround sound
· Decide who you want to be your first set of backers
· Line up 20-30 friends in that group to ‘retweet’, ‘like’, ‘upvote’ all of your posts on day 1
· Reach target backers through social media with the same message 2-4 times in quick succession to really grab their attention and get them sharing
Tip: Harvest SEO juice
Benefit from the SEO that bloggers will bring you by linking to your site
· Set up a url on your site that links directly to your Kickstarter page e.g. www.your_site.com/kickstarter
· Ask journalists to link to this page rather than your Kickstarter page
· After the campaign you can redirect this page as you like (e.g. to a site selling your product) and benefit from the traffic that the articles will continue to drive
Find inspiration: Which campaigns inspired you?
Spend time on Kickstarter checking out campaigns and videos that you love. Analyse why you like them and how you can recreate their magic.
·Matt: Inspired by the hardware project Makey-Makey
·Andrew: Inspired by the higher vision of the 10 Year Hoodie
·Paul: Inspired by the simplicity and effectiveness of the TGT Wallet
·Adam: Inspired by capturing the reaction of the public that Remy achieved
Find inspiration outside of Kickstarter too
·Ben: took his inspiration from the Kickstarter-like Polaroid adverts
Craft your product page like it’s a product of its own
·Communicate your message in pictures
·Communicate to the different types of people that might be looking at your page
·GIFs can demonstrate what your product does in a really simple way: How to make a gif
·Add addition content based on the questions and feedback you get from backers
·Explain what the funding will be used for
·Show off the pledges levels in picture format on the page
Break your campaign into milestones
·Achieve 20% of your funding target with close friends and your wider network (80% of campaigns that reach this milestone succeed)
·Achieve your full funding goal by reaching out to a the niche community and news outlets focused on your segment
·Go way beyond your goal by targeting other groups that may be interested and wider mainstream press
Launch on a Tuesday and plan to complete your campaign on a Friday
·Kickstarter gets less pledges of the weekend
·As you first and last days should be your strongest, make sure they fall during the working week
·Monday, everyone will probably be a bit too busy to help you by backing your campaign immediately. Tuesday seems to work fine.
Launch day… “Be on it”
·Get your friends and key supporters primed for the minute you launch to upvote your posts, and spread the word
·Create a stock email for interested press
·Answer questions immediately
·Monitor comments, questions and feedback – a fast response will show a good signal to other people coming to the page
CONTROVERSIAL – Make your own decision on this one
·If people want to buy your product in bulk you could take up to 30% more pre-orders by allowing backers to pay for pre-orders over Paypal (separate from Kickstarter)
·But this will add additional complexity to your project:
oYou will need to link people to orders across 2 separate databases
oYou will dilute the momentum on your Kickstarter page
You can make your life easier by clever pricing of your pledges
·Make sure that no multiple of pledges can add up to the price of another pledge – this way you can work out what people want if they increase their pledge to cover the value of two or more rewards
Keep momentum throughout your campaign
·Schedule multiple casual updates targeted at people who are asking questions about your campaign
·Keep your backers informed through Kickstarter updates
·Listen to what other pledges backers want and try to add additional pledges to upsell existing backers
Plan how you will deliver your rewards
·Double your estimations of time to delivery – its always better exceed backer expectations than to be late
·Consider tracked post – the extra cost will save a lot of hassle – up to 5% of untracked parcels go missing
·Budget a significant amount of time to reply to email and manage issue resolution
Communicate actively with backers
·Assign someone to manage all the communication with backers
·Be honest – don't be afraid to give bad news
·Communicate frequently, but don't let it take over your life – every couple of weeks seems to be the norm
Survey backers the right way
·Survey your backers for addresses as late as possible
·You can consider products like BackerKit which provide more detailed surveys and the opportunity for backers to upgrade their pledge
·Other tools that will help you survey your backers and take orders after the campaign:
Your project evolution
·Expect to see a big spike on day 1
·Getting featured on the various popular pages on Kickstarter will drive significant pledges for your campaign
·Mega blogs, mainstream press or syndication of stories across the web will produce spikes during your campaign
·You can try changing categories to entice people who only browse one Kickstarter category
·You will experience a ‘Valley of Death’ – don't lose heart
·Expect to see a natural spike at the end of the campaign
I liked the course. It was the most relevant, pragmatic and hands-on course I could find for launching a kickstarter campaign. It was just in time learning for me as I helped a client setup, and launch their first kickstarter campaign.
The course was pretty informative, it gave me a few things to consider before I would start another project.
This is one of the most useful Udemy courses I've taken. Many courses try and fill time with fluff or common sense and are rather light on the meat and potatoes of what you would like to know, this course is not like that. I found more than enough info and I am going to watch it all again to reinforce it. The audio quality is a little bad but I cannot pull the rating down because it was still all useful info. But it could be better quality!
Definitely one of the must-watch courses for potential crowdfunders. Incredibly useful and engaging with a ton of practical strategies on things I would never have considered. From pledge levels to manufacturing to taxes, it is very powerful to hear from folks who have gone through the process - and then further supported by Tom with excellent detailed checklists, and discussion responses.
Great course, it is good to have feedbacks from successful people on kickstarter. I enjoyed this course/