The Marketing Genius of Kickstarter

Last Updated on September 3, 2017

Kickstarter is likely the current best pound for pound marketing platform for creatives on the planet. It presents cleanly, is easy to set up and use no matter which country you’re in, and it generates word-of-mouth marketing like nothing I’ve seen in the last three years of managing Grimdark Magazine.

While Kickstarter does a wide range of things really well, the word-of-mouth generation is what I want to talk about today. With a beautiful product pitch to lead the way and some smart setup in regards to your contributors, goals, and most importantly stretch goals, it’s possible to fund far in excess of what you need, and to deliver something magnificent.

Kickstarter is a word-of-mouth fiend

First, it starts with your social network – your friends, your Facebook (business page / personal page / groups), Twitter, etc. Your mates and followers want you to succeed. They want you to create more awesome. Kickstarter’s fundraising model encourages your social network to share their excitement with their own social network to help you fund. They’ll receive plenty of sharing links and notifications to leverage their own social networks to help you get there.

Second, your contributors are up. If you’re trying to fund an anthology, like we did with Evil is a Matter of Perspective, then you’ve got a team of 15–25 (for example) people with audiences keen as mustard to see you succeed. Giving your contributors the marketing collateral and tools to encourage their social networks and followers to put down their hard earned cash is important – especially if you’re not yet a name trusted by the general public to deliver on a project of the scale you’re attempting.

With either follower or collaborator social networks the hope is that each social network will hit a small percentage of their own followers, who in turn will spread your marketing through their own social networks, and on going–viral marketing, in short.

Stretch Goals: where the excitement really kicks off

Here’s the real genius of Kickstarter. By adding on stretch goals that benefit both contributors and backers, you’re saying to each individual, “for no extra financial input from yourself, I’m going to give you even more awesome stuff if you help me out by leveraging your social network to get more people on board.” Combine some tasty stretch goals with a gorgeously presented and pitched core product and you’ve got something that has the potential to create some amazing word of mouth.

An example of this is the addition of interior art to a paperback or hardcover book. A simple finite cost for the project creator, and a nice little boost to the backer’s product.

Do this right, and the backers of a project can really give it the extra financial shove it needs.

A few examples of stretch goals helping really nailing down some sizeable over-funding include Michael J. Sullivan’s Death of Dulgath and Ragnarok Publications’ Blackguards. If you’re building an anthology Kickstarter, I’d highly recommend going and having a look at those.

Putting your head down and having a red hot go

I’ve watched some brilliant Kickstarters fail, and some I thought were rubbish absolutely blow away the funding goal. Word of mouth and a product’s social popularity are fickle things. It’s all we can do to give each project our best shot–just put your head down and give it everything you’ve got. If we fail, just make sure nothing’s left out on the pitch. Learn, and give it another crack.

What’re we putting our head down and having a red-hot go at right now? Check out Landfall: an Occult Grimdark Fantasy Serial Anthology.

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Adrian Collins

Adrian Collins

Adrian Collins runs Grimdark Magazine and loves anything to do with telling darker stories. Doesn't matter the format, or when it was published or produced--just give him a grim story told in a dark world by a morally grey protagonist and this bloke's in his happy place. Add in a barrel aged stout to sip on after a cheeky body surf under the Australian sun, and that's his heaven.