Adorable Adventurers II

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Just last week my Adorable Adventurers II kickstarter ended more successfully than I ever dreamed to imagine. I had previously launched the same kickstarter not 2 months before this one, and was unable to reach the goal for it.

So why did this one work? What was so different about them and what advice could would I give anyone else attempting to do a kickstarter?

Well the main difference between these two kickstarters was my goal amounts & structure, and the time of pre-launch promotion.

Kickstarter Budgeting and Stretch Goals

  • Shop around for the best deals for getting your products made

  • Order your goal and stretch goals from most popular to least (to maximise the number of early pledges, which will encourage others to join in)

  • Make sure you take into account kickstarter payment processing fees, and shipping costs

In AAI, the initial goal amount was for 4 pins. I had gotten a quote from 1 manufacturer, and calculated the goal amount based on the cost of the pins being 60% of the total cost, and then converted that from USD to AUD (as I am australian and the kickstarter must therefore be run in AUD). This meant that the initial goal was over $2000 AUD, and if we had managed to unlock all subsequent pin designs then the total amount would have equalled a bit over $8000 AUD.

Now admittedly, the amounts were so high because the minimum order quantity for each pin design is 100, and therefore, if all the designs were unlocked I would be ordering a minimum of 1800 pins. Still, it seems like an absurdly high amount for a small enamel pin, especially when compared to the dollar values of those running their kickstarters in USD (screw you currency conversion!).

In addition to a high cost, the stretch goals were ordered in a way that I had chosen based on my own preference of my designs. Now for someone who has only a few stretch goals, this may not have been a problem, however with 18 total designs to unlock, you want to make sure that the most popular options are available first, as that means there is a higher probability that people will back from the beginning. And when other people see something succeeding, they are much more likely to back the project as well.

In order to find out which designs were most popular, I made a survey on my website and sent all my backers there with a link asking that they vote for their favourite designs, and that the goals would be re-ordered to reflect their preferences based on the number of votes each design got. And in the case of the project failing (which it did) the re-launched project would use these votes as the basis for the structure of the new campaign.

In AAII, I had managed to find a much cheaper manufacturer, one that could do the same order for almost HALF the cost of the original. I also structured my goals differently. This time I got an itemised quote. I determined how much it would cost for each design to be made, and converted that into AUD. I then rounded that amount up to the nearest $50 amount. In this way I determined I would need $250 AUD to make each design, with a little bit left over.

I did however make the initial goal $500, with each design unlocking every $250 after that. In this way I made sure to have enough extra funding to cover the kickstarter payment processing fees, and the costs of shipping. I expect I will have to input a bit of my own money, however I am ok with that as the kickstarter has covered the vast majority of the cost.

Pre-launch Promotion

  • Promote your project in as many RELEVANT places as possible

  • Start promoting early! Ideally at least 1 month before your project launches

  • Consider cross promotion ideas and related giveaways as well

  • If your first project failed, make sure to update your original backers with a link to the new project when it launches. You already know these people want to back your idea, so let them know asap

I did not start promoting my first kickstarter until about 2 weeks before it launched. I had just over 200 followers on instagram, and no idea what I was doing. I’m not surprised the project was not funded. I also did not think of many places to promote my project until it was almost half over.

For my re-launched project I made sure to search out as many relevant places that my project could be promoted ahead of time, (eg, my product was enamel pins, so I promoted in enamel pin groups on reddit, facebook, discord, in hashtags on instagram, twitter and on tumblr. However, my pins are also D&D related, so I promoted in all those places in as many D&D related groups and hashtags as well.)

NOTE: Make sure to check each and every group or communities rules on self-promotion. Some places don’t allow any self-promotion, others allow it only on certain days, and others still are groups entirely devoted to sharing your projects. Make sure not to step on any admin or moderators toes and respect the rules, you are asking them for help after all.

In the course of my promotion, I asked for permission to share my project in a D&D discord community. The admin said they do not allow self-promotion, however if I was willing to do a giveaway then I could incorporate my project info into that. I highly recommend that if you cannot find the information regarding self-promotion rules in any group or community, be polite and respectful and simply ask if they allow it, and if not would they allow a giveaway or something similar instead. It does not hurt to ask!

Finally, if you have run a kickstarter and it did not get funded, make sure to update your backers with the link to the new campaign as soon as it launches. These people have already backed your idea once, they are already excited to back your project and so you can count on many of them to back your re-structured new one as well. This is especially helpful because kickstarters do best if they gain a lot of backers and momentum in the first 24-48 hours of the project.

Congratulations if you made it this far! I’m not an expert on kickstarters at all, but I do hope that what I have learned can be helpful to you in some way.

Good luck on your Project!

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