Tag Archives: print promotions

Using Print Promotions for a Kickstarter Campaign

This post was initiated a couple of months back when I wrote an ad about marketing for Kickstarter campaigns… I promised to go a bit more deeply into the subject of using print materials to support promoting a project.

Who Are You Presenting Your Materials To?

Before you even decide what materials you’ll need and when to start prepping your print promotions, you might need to do a bit of brainstorming and research to think of places and events where you can promote your Kickstarter campaign. Are there networking events that your audience would be at, where you could pitch your project to interested parties? Maybe there are some watering holes where you could leave postcards or business cards? Perhaps there is a public event related to your project where you could talk to people and gather support.

If you have any connections, consider talking to them about your project to see if they can give you a public endorsement, and if they wouldn’t mind if you gave them materials to hand out. Having someone else pitch your project is always more effective, as it shows that others have your support.

We had some opportunities for our roller derby documentary Kickstarter campaign to hand out postcards at local roller derby events. Think about your project and maybe do some Google searching to get inspiration on places you might go or drop off print materials at.

Overall Project Marketing Plan

You should have a tagline or elevator speech prepared for your project that you can use on various materials. You need to be able to get across in a small number of words what your project is about.

Professional imagery and design is also a bonus. You may not be able to afford a graphic designer, but if you can (or have a designer friend you can take out to a nice dinner in return for their help), then it will help sell your audience on how serious you are about your task. If you treat your Kickstarter like a real business endeavor, it will help you stand out.

When Should You Prepare Materials?

I would prepare your print promotions as far in advance as possible, but how soon you can print and put your materials out may be dependent on when your Kickstarter page link is assigned to you. You can also do some trickery to make this a moot point, if you are web clever. (More info about that later.)

Even if you don’t do any trickery, I would make sure you have your materials print-ready with everything but the final details as far in advance of the Kickstarter as you can. Or you can follow some tricks that I’ll mention later on.

Suggested Promotional Materials and Uses

Business Cards

You could do a double-sided card with the primary site for your business/endeavor, and advertise your Kickstarter on the other side. Or you could use the cards strictly for advertising your Kickstarter. Hand these out at networking events or whenever you are chatting with someone who is showing interest in your project. Next to flyers, these are probably the cheapest form of marketing you can put together, and there are generally a number of public businesses willing to allow the display of business cards. 48hourprint.com has a few good deals on business cards, and their quality is good.

If you have a team on your Kickstarter project, then make sure everyone has a stack of these to hand out. They don’t have to be customized for each individual, they just need to get you through the Kickstarter period.

Flyers

Don’t skimp on the layout for your flyers… If you look like you are advertising lawn mowing services, you won’t get anyone’s attention. You have a little more space on a flyer to go into detail, but refrain from getting overly wordy. Keep it short and sweet. And if you want people to remember you, include tear-offs at the bottom with the web address to your project.

Flyers are a great option, as you can more easily print these out at home or find a friend with a laser printer who can help you produce these at a low cost.

Postcards

I would save postcards for handing out at events or leaving at stores or businesses that are truly a part of your target demographic.  Postcards are costlier, but they give you a bit more real estate to talk about your Kickstarter closing date, display relevant imagery, and give a longer elevator pitch. Again, keep it short and sweet.

Phoenix Media is a local Portland print shop that is my favorite for printing postcards.

Things You Should Include in All Print Promotions

Shortlinks

No one is going to want to type out that ridiculously long Kickstarter link. You can use the shortlink that Kickstarter provides, but I recommend using a service like Bitly.com to create your own. This way you can directly track how many clicks you are getting from your ads, as opposed to other methods. Bitly will keep track of how many total clicks the link is getting, and how many are coming from the shortlink directly. Just be sure you only use these Bitly shortlinks in your print materials, because if you start using them elsewhere, it will severely muddy your tracking results.

QR Codes

Flat Track Example QR CodeYou’ve probably seen those blocks on advertising materials that you can scan with a smartphone to go directly to a link… On flyers and postcards it is even more important to include them, to make it easier for users to get to your page while on the go. Incidentally, Bitly also provides a QR code that you can use in your materials. Make sure however you generate the QR code (there are a number of free generators available if you search for them), that it is going to your Bitly link, because that’s how you’re going to track the success of your materials.

The Obvious Stuff

You also should have:

[unordered_list style=”tick”]

  • The name of your project
  • What your project is/the elevator pitch
  • The goal of your Kickstarter
  • The end date of your Kickstarter campaign
  • Any important rewards (if you have room), or at least mention rewards
  • Relevant imagery
  • The web site to your main site (less prominently-displayed than your Kickstarter… in case people get the promo after the Kickstarter campaign is over)

[/unordered_list]

Examples

Check out our Flat Track Around the World Kickstarter flyer and postcard to see what we did for our project. (I realized too late that I did not include tear-offs on the flyer, but we were using the flyer so little that it didn’t end up mattering in the end.)

Postcard

Flat Track Postcard for Kickstarter, Front

Flat Track Postcard for Kickstarter, Back

Flyer

Flat Track Kickstarter Flyer

 

If You Want to Get Ahead on Print Materials Before Your Kickstarter Launches…

Remember how I said you could get all clever and start promoting things before you get your Kickstarter page? Well, I haven’t done this myself, but it would be possible for you to create a page on your own site that is geared toward promoting the upcoming Kickstarter, with all the details and info you can provide, and an opportunity for people to sign up for newsletter updates prior to the date… Then when the Kickstarter launches, you notify all of the signed up users that they can follow the project, and use that as an avenue to keep up with them. Once the Kickstarter begins, you would no longer really need the newsletter sign up, and you could turn that landing page on your site into a redirect to your Kickstarter page. That way you maintain your Bitly shortlink, but make sure your audience is going to the Kickstarter.

You can do this by manually coding a redirect page that points to the Kickstarter, or if you have a WordPress page you could use a plugin like “Quick Page/Post Redirect Plugin” to help you out.

I’d still create a Bitly link from the get-go and do some testing before prepping your print materials, in case something doesn’t work as planned.

You could also alternatively create materials for a traditional web site in advance of the project, to get more traffic and likes on your site or Facebook page, then make new materials at the time of the Kickstarter to promote the campaign itself. However, that would be a lot of extra work and likely wasted money.

Planning Your Print Budget

You will probably want to calculate your printing budget as a part of your overall Kickstarter budget. Though you will need to be prepared to pay out of pocket in case your Kickstarter doesn’t get funded. Be cautious… One print material done well will do you far better than having a bunch of poorly-executed varieties of materials. Make sure you’ll also have time to distribute all the materials you’ve gathered. Kickstarter is time-consuming as it is. You might need to ask some friends to help you leave some things around.

If in doubt about whether it is worth it or your budget will allow it, just create some nice enough flyers to leave at coffee shops or other relevant locations, and call it good.

Staying on People’s Good Side

Whenever you can, it’s always polite to ask if it’s okay to promote your project at events where it’s not obvious that promotion is an acceptable practice. And be sure, if you leave cards or flyers, that it’s okay for you to leave them and that you are following that business’ policy. You don’t want to make enemies by not following the rules, and you definitely don’t want to waste your money posting something improperly and having it thrown away.

Are Print Promotions Right for Your Kickstarter?

There is no guarantee that you will get funders from your print promotion efforts. However, if you have a gut feeling that it would be the perfect thing for your particular project, and you have the budget and a plan, then go for it.  Every little bit helps.

I’ve also got some ideas for how to use social media and facebook ads to promote your Kickstarter.

CHECK OUT MY CURRENT KICKSTARTER: THE PORTLAND TAROT

 

Questions? Thoughts? Personal experiences to share? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

Kickstarter Logo

Social Media Marketing for a Kickstarter Campaign – Pt. 3

So, you’ve decided that Kickstarter is right for you, and you’ve expanded your horizons for ways to broadcast the message for your Kickstarter. Now you might be thinking:

What makes a successful Kickstarter campaign?

From what I can see, Kickstarters generally succeed for one of four reasons (though the list is certainly not exhaustive):

  1. The campaign focuses on a small, achievable funding target that outlines an easy-to-comprehend need and doesn’t require much capital to succeed
  2. The people behind the campaign have an idea that is revolutionary… or they have a highly-coveted product that they offer as a reward for a pledge that is drastically under-priced compared to what the retail price will be in the future (creating the sense that there is a high return for investing in this product at an early stage)
  3. The campaign or project is centered around a well-known person who can easily rally social support through their existing social media networks
  4. The campaign team spends a lot of time and energy expanding awareness of their project across multiple channels, leveraging personal connections, social media, traditional marketing, press releases, and press opportunities both before and throughout the life of the campaign

Most of us probably don’t have a huge audience yet (though it pays to try to build one up before you do a Kickstarter). And unless you are a well-known musician or in product/fashion design and have an audience ready and waiting for what you’ve got to offer, you might find yourself needing to be scrappy to get your funding targets met.  Sure, scenario #4 probably applies to people who fall under #1-#3, but if you don’t have #1-#3 going for you, then you really have to lean into using all your marketing resources to achieve your aims.

My team is promoting a documentary. Naturally, the impact of the story we are trying to tell, the quality of the team that we have assembled, and the beautiful way that Cynthia and Juvie illustrated the film’s concept are all keys toward communicating that this is a project worth contributing to. But let’s face it—we are competing against hundreds of other quality documentaries who are also seeking funds through Kickstarter, and a film is not something that affords any obviously radical awards that can attract people on their own flash and dazzle.

We had to get creative to come up with some unique rewards, and use those awards to create a personal connection with our contributors. However, persistence has been the biggest key to date, and I imagine that this is true for most projects. Creativity, consistency, and dedication are absolute necessities for anyone to succeed in Kickstarter funding. Good thing we have the wonderful tools of social media and on-line networking to help spread the word and make our jobs easier!

Dedication to the campaign

I have heard a number of stories about people who took the month off to focus on funding their Kickstarter, or at least had to put aside all of their free time toward the effort of keeping the buzz going. You have to be dedicated and ready to release regular updates, or you’ll lose the interest of your audience. People pay attention to things like number of updates over the life of the Kickstarter when contributing, and regular conversation around your project helps people to maintain awareness of your campaign (also, lower numbers of updates could communicate a lack of commitment to the project, and you want to make sure to get across the passion you have for achieving your target).

You also can’t be afraid to keep promoting your campaign in your personal channels, to ask friends to help, or to contact people who can spread your message more widely. You can do it in friendly ways, by offering special rewards to people who contribute by a certain time, are the 25th or 100th contributor, or periods of time where you give higher-level rewards to lower-level contributions. We did a few of these on our Kickstarter, offering $30 level rewards to people who contributed $20 on a certain day.

Consistency in social engagement

One thing I consistently hear is that people worry so much about annoying the people in their social circles through regular updates, and this can cause them to hold back at a time when they really need to keep reminding people about their efforts. During our Kickstarter, I asked friends, “Are my posts annoying you? Be honest.” I was happy when they replied, “Absolutely not!” Most everyone was excited to see my progress and feel a part of the journey. And they universally agreed that it was necessary in order to get to the goal.

So don’t be afraid to talk about your project… If you are sincerely excited and treat it as an opportunity to share your enthusiasm about your vision, people will be glad to tag along for the ride. And as the finish line draws closer, you might be amazed to see friends and colleagues rally around your project to spread the word… Especially if you are bold enough to keep asking.

Creative content and outreach

Keep coming up with content related to your Kickstarter to keep people engaged without simply spamming them with money requests. We had lots of goodies to share over the life of our project, like logo designs, interviews, project news, and video samples. The more goodies like this that you can build up before you start, the better. (And the less exhausted you will be during the campaign itself.) Also, don’t be afraid to add new rewards to different contribution levels as you go, especially if ideas organically come up over the life of the project. There are no people better than your Kickstarter tribe to reveal the things your audience is really jonesing to receive for their pledge.

Contact web sites with related subject matter to your project. The leaders of our project contacted a few derby-related sites with information about the project and landed an article as well as a podcast. Derby-related Facebook groups and pages followed us, and some of their owners promoted the project in their social media venues.

Facebook pages, likes, and ads

Don’t forget to create a Facebook page for your project. This helps you develop a community of people who will follow your journey toward funding. You can use Facebook ads in a number of ways to expand awareness of your project… Try creating an ad to promote the Kickstarter and another to promote your Facebook page, and don’t be afraid to experiment with titles, descriptions, imagery, and demographics. (We got around 500 likes on our page from the ad by targeting derby fans and derby aficionados in Mexico, and if we had done it before the campaign we would have had more people on board and ready to support us from day one. Whenever someone likes the page through our ad, we get a double bonus: they can easily follow the project, and if their friends see that they liked the ad, then they will be more likely to follow along, as well.)

Unless you purchase subscriptions with sites designed to help track return on investment between FB ads and Kickstarter, you won’t know exactly what gains you get from the Kickstarter-focused ad… I think we got at least a couple of people supporting through this effort, and it definitely paid for itself. I will talk more about what I learned about Facebook ads in a later post, but in summary, you should definitely consider making Facebook ads a part of your arsenal.

Print promotions (and connecting them to your social media efforts)

It doesn’t hurt to create print materials to promote your Kickstarter and leave them around town right at the start of the campaign. Make sure you leave your materials in places relevant to your topic. I didn’t get many returns on our postcard endeavor (we handed out couple hundred of them at a derby bout), but I imagine that the results you get will be heavily dependent on the type of project you are running. Try fliers and postcards, and be sure to include a QR code so that people can quickly go to your page if they see it on the go.

Another suggestion for which print assets would be helpful is if you set up a table at any relevant events where you can discuss your project with people 1-on-1 and make an in-person connection. (If you have a laptop handy you can let them contribute right then or there, or you can take cash contributions and work with a friend to turn this into Kickstarter cash.) I’ll share some tips later about ways to optimize your print materials for your campaign.

When generating promo materials and rewards for supporters, make sure you consider the return on each investment. Don’t set yourself up to owe more in rewards or marketing than you make on your Kickstarter campaign. And try dipping your toe in the water of any new materials you put out. If you aren’t sure if a postcard will work for your promotion, start out by trying a few fliers from your color printer first, and track the results of those before expanding.

Tap the tribes of thought leaders

The most results you will get are by finding connections with notable people in your area of interest and getting their help to promote your project. If you aren’t widely known, getting the assistance of better-known people and tapping into their circle of followers is the best way to push your effort forward. Consider offering a favor or special reward in return for their help. Just make sure your ask is relevant to their focus, and that you quickly get to the point on your ask. Anything that makes them feel like they’ve just been spammed is going to hurt your effort more than help it. And they are likely very busy people, so make sure you don’t waste their time.

Go get’m!

In short, be bold and experimental! Get ready to work your toosh off and make new friends! And if you don’t make it on the first try, don’t worry… There is an art to creating a successful Kickstarter campaign, and there are lots of stories out there from successful campaigns about the many false starts that preceded amazing victories.

Stay tuned for my upcoming posts on Facebook ads and optimizing print promotions to integrate seamlessly with your web marketing.

CHECK OUT MY CURRENT KICKSTARTER: THE PORTLAND TAROT!