There's little mystery behind how Pebble just sold over $15 million of its smartwatches with 22 days to go in its current Kickstarter campaign. It is an established brand with existing interested customers and tons of past press coverage, as well as the backing of Kickstarter itself. Not everyone is Pebble though. What can a brand do if it doesn't have crowdfunding resources stacked in its favor? Even though there's no guarantee of success, emulate these five attributes and you'll have a better shot at getting funded.
1. Looking and sounding like the real deal.
The Coolest Cooler raised over $13 million on Kickstarter, and it wouldn't have been able to without a page that not only spoke in plain, conversational English, but utilized audio and visual media effectively. This campaign had professional yet believable photos and videos that played up the potential features of the Cooler, combining well-written copy with visuals that made each feature more interesting. They also used close-up photos as well as flashy footage to show that they had an actual, working product that would make it into customers' hands. This is a very important attribute of any crowdfunding campaign, especially after several high-profile campaigns never delivered an actual product to customers.
2. Using the right marketing channels (and budget for it).
While it's important to get great press for a product, it's also important to combine that with the right kinds of advertising and marketing. For example, if you're raising a campaign on Kickstarter for a software development project, buying a sponsored post on a niche coding blog may help you more than using promoted tweets. Also, if you get a piece of press on a major technology website, using Facebook ads to push that article to more people may help legitimize the project. If you don't have the time or the experience for this, it may be worth considering crowdfunding marketing agencies like Agency 2.0 to outsource the work.
3. Having a solid product market fit.
Great Indiegogo and Kickstarter campaign successes tend, like most best-selling products, to fix a problem that a lot of people have. For example, the Coolbox Toolbox has raised over $224,000, and still has weeks before its campaign ends. That's because it fulfills a something that many people want for their house (a functional toolbox with the right tools inside) as well as solving other problems that potential customers might have. This includes adding novelty features like an internal battery with USB ports, a Bluetooth speaker, and a three-way splitter for tools. Knowing who might use your product and how is crucial.
4. They use a referral program to get social buzz.
It may seem counterproductive to give customers a way to pay you less money, but a great way to get users to share your project on social media is to offer them a benefit. Indiegogo offers a referral program specifically for this reason. If you reward your contributors for sharing your product, you'll be far more likely to get a big social media bump. A PhD from a Swedish university even found a correlation between more tweets and successful campaigns.
5. They've mastered their data.
Both Kickstarter and Indiegogo give you great analytics to work with while working on a campaign. Some of the stats include who's donating, from where they're donating (including press pieces and social media), and at what times. Keeping an eye on this data is a way to target your advertising, or perhaps tell you when to make specific tweets offering extra bonuses or stretch goals.
If you're able to see what is and isn't driving traffic both from your advertisements and from your social media presence, you may be able to help spark a dying campaign before it's too late. This is also key to fostering a connection to your audience and your current contributors, which Indiegogo's senior vice president of marketing recommended to Mashable as a pillar of good campaigns.