Kickstarter 101

Marek Cieśla

I am often approached with questions on joining Kickstarter in the context of making big money easily. The truth is that you can gather sums that seem to be princely to us when we compare them to our national platforms. The problem is that people who support these projects would not buy a given solution through a simple eCommerce, however, on the other hand, people who are our target group would never have supported a given project on Kickstarter since they had never done this before and they simply are afraid or are unable to effects such a transaction.

What projects on Kickstarter

When startups from the medical industry, fashion or new technologies come to me, I check some of the parameters which minimize the risk of entering the platform, which does not, however, mean that the startups are eliminated completely. These are:
- The scale of the problem being resolved.
- The potential number of interested people on Kickstarter.
- Does the project have a physical element or is it simply a program, service or gamebr.
- What are financial resources of an entity before it enters the platform?
- The uniqueness of the solution. Is it the first one or a duplicate of previous projects?
- What social base of those interested in the project was created just before the campaign was launched.


It may sound strange, but Kickstarter likes the so called project of the centre. According to the principle blood is thicker than water, it's better to make a wallet which everybody can carry on them, a sweatshirt with larger pockets for a few cans of beer or a leather bag which is cheaper by 40 % than the suggested retail final price. Projects that help solve global problems are meant for geeks or need external companies to install a given device, e.g.: to install the module in a car; have a slimmer chance of success.

Kickstarter or Product Launch

When you embark on an adventure with Kickstarter or any other platform, you should do your homework of building a strategy of launching your product. My clients often treat Kickstarter as an end in itself, which is a big mistake. I have seen some excellent pre- sales campaigns where companies like AMP, Navdy or even the Polish startup Clime gathered funds that can be compared only to the best campaigns on Kickstarter. This means that we are not dependent on crowdfunding platforms and the work that still needs to be completed by a company to prepare its product for the market will have an appropriate support before it starts the process of transfer to customers. There are several tools on the market that I can recommend to get prepayments:

• Tilt ( requires a bank account in an American bank. Bank commission 0-2.5% depending on the type of service
• Celery ( this service uses Paypal and Stripe. 2% commission.
• Sneakpick ( a Polish widget using Paypal, Stripe but also our Polish PayU. 2% commission.


Where to start with

Find your niche and do not be bothered by Kickstarter. Consider Kickstarter as the so-called afterburner. Something that will allow you to increase natural conversion by obtaining additional internal movement from this platform. This niche should be examined in terms of the type of the channel you want to use to convey the message. Finally build your brand strategy. For this article, I devised a project called "Silver Armor " – a ski cap covered with silver thread killing bacteria and as a result preventing stench and making our hair are longer fresh

I will list all the steps I would take to make this project successful:

You do not need to spend a fortune in these first phases. They are, however, crucial primarily for next steps, which focus on laborious research, tests and optimization. At the same time you should build a community around the project.

Research and testing

When we have our product we can now check who and where our customers are. Once we have found them we should build a model. According to Pareto principle, 20 % gives us 80 % of profits, we should find as many of those to whom this rule applies as possible. When we find them, we should check channels to get across to them. One should utilize analytics and the proverbial pixel of conversion to carry this out. For these purposes, we could also use our own tool which generates a connection with pixel conversion and which can be linked with mailings so that we could find out if conversion comes from this channel and how much it costs us.

After we have closed our research phase we can pass on to optimization. Usually, when we use our one- pager, we add mechanisms for A / B testing for example Opimizely ( or our native one - Landingi ( Split tests make it possible for us to reduce the cost of winning a customer for our product and above all determine the actual cost of it. It is extremely important when we try to build our pricing strategy of our idea whether to prepare for prepayment or Kickstarter. If the product margin is lower than the cost of winning a customer, we should pack up and pull out our business, or raise the price, which is not sensitive only in case there is no competition on the market.

We are joining Kickstarter

So we are ready to join Kickstarter with our Silver Armor. You only need to shoot a film, whose most important part is the scenario, check with several PR agencies whether they think the idea is so innovative that sites and blogs will want to write about it and we register our company in the US or England in order to get a bank account and to get verified. Preliminarily, we can assume that the service will cost about 4 thousand dollars, but so it is still worth it. Firstly of all, when we have a company in England or the US we enhance credibility of our brand, which is important as Americans are local economic patriots. And if you additionally show the American flag in your film or you write that the product is designed/manufactured in the US, it will immediately get a few additional points of support, not to mention the employees of Kickstarter who can give their own status like "magic" or "staffpick " to the project statuses.

We are on Kickstarter and what next…

Building a very large database and an email fanpage would be the first thing to be done when developing our Silver Armor project; on the first day I would ask people that registered to support this project by purchasing a pledge worth $1 if they do not intend to use the regular pledge of for example $20 which is exactly my cap. I would do it so that Kickstarter and more precisely its algorithm could put this project into the category of "Popular" because what matters is not the value of support is not important but rather the amount.

After the campaign, I would add one of the widgets I wrote about before to my website and begin to raise funds for productions. After two months, I pack my caps and send them to people who supported my project to thank them.

Everything I described above is only a part of a broader plan to launch products and services on the market. If you want to do this, I recommend that you do not do it on your own. Find someone who has experience, which will minimize the risk, although as I wrote before - never completely, as the proverb says - nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Marek Cieśla
– Experienced team leader with excellent contacts in marketing, sales and business development in the areas of: Crowdfunding, Start Up Management, Growth Hacking, EdgeRank Hacking, Digital Media, Social Networks, Social commerce, Web 2.0, IPTV, Brand building, Web Services, E-Business, E-Commerce, Online Marketing, Marketing Automation, targeted advertising, SCTE, Online Communities, Community Management, User Generated Content, Social Commerce, StartUp, eBusiness, eCommerce, B2B, Portal, Internet, New Media, IT, Project Management, PC Hardware & Software, consumer electronics, CE, Mobile, Crowdfunding, Specialties A creative.

This article was written under "Get Inspired - entrepreneurship, startup, cooperation"
project co-financed by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
as part of the "Cooperation in the field of public diplomacy 2015" contest.