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Kickstarter Killers Your Band Needs To Avoid

56% of all Kickstarter campaigns fail. Don’t let yours be one of them! If you take note of these five common mistakes, you won’t go far wrong.

1. The cause is unattractive

It’s oh-so-easy to blame the failure of a campaign on not having enough fans, but most of the time this is complete nonsense. Most people’s own extended networks are enough to raise a significant amount of money, but you must show them something worth backing.

Remember that how you explain a cause is just as important as the cause itself. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the narrative is just an afterthought. This is your only opportunity to impress.

2. The goal is too high

high goals

The Kickstarter community is not some pool swimming with large-scale investors. As far as musical Kickstarter campaigns go anyway, nearly all investors come from people’s personal connections. Setting a goal is hard, but there is a simple calculation you can do that works in most cases.

Make a list of the friends, family, fans and associates who you expect to back you. Find the total and then assume that just under half of them will back you. Then multiply that figure by the average pledge per backer on Kickstarter of $60.

3. Laziness

It’s not just a question of creating a campaign, sitting back and hoping for the best. These campaigns need proper management for a long time before and afterwards. Do what you can to sell the concept one-on-one. Send personal emails, speak to people on the phone, speak to them face-to-face etc. etc. Then you need to be ready to respond once the campaign’s live… keep that conversation going!

It’s understandable that bands/artists may be a bit funny about being direct and asking for money. Most of us are. But seriously – you must get over this if you’re going to be successful. To inspire people to invest you must show them how much you believe in the cause and how much you need them on board. The only way to do this is by being passionate and direct.

4. Giving up

People tend to do things at the last minute – that’s just life! Therefore you need to give your campaign a chance to reach its goal. There’s nearly always a lot more investment at the end of a campaign than at the beginning, so stick with it and don’t pull it.

5. Ropey Rewards

Pledges tend to be made on the basis of how much somebody can afford rather than how much a backer is seduced by a particular reward. You need to make sure that you have the right range of pricing to cater for your audience.

Be wary of having jumps in price that are too high. For example, if you had a $20 reward and then the next level up was a $50 reward, what would happen to all the people who could only afford $35? Obviously, each campaign is different – how big your increments are depends on the size of the top investment versus the size of the lowest, but make sure you do your best to stop people falling in between two pledges.

Think of how you frame the rewards too. If you’re selling a CD for example: are you selling it to people as a pre-order where they’re simply getting the CD for the usual price, only earlier? Or are you selling it to them as an item that will cost more than they would normally pay, but that the extra money is effectively a fundraiser for a wider cause?


A lot of the above is very simple, but it really works. Think long and hard about these five things and hopefully you will never see the dreaded “FUNDING UNSUCCESSFUL” message being plastered across your campaign.

You might also want to check out this article on the most successful Kickstarter campaigns ever.

kickstarter project social media

20 tips for pushing your kickstarter project on social media

In an age of information overload, how can you get your campaign to shine? The good news is, it’s easier than you think. Follow these tips and you won’t go far wrong.

1. Avoid industry acronyms. In the course of everyday business it might make sense to shorten certain terms, but don’t assume that your audience will understand them.

2. Post that link! It’s so easy to forget this. Just think of how many times you’ve sent an email, written a whole passage and then said “see attachment” and then forgotten to add the attachment? The best way of avoiding this embarrassment is to copy the link in first before you write anything else.

3. Consider your tweet/facebook post as the ‘headline’ for your project. This is where you need to hook your audience in with a killer title or photo.

4. Don’t get too hung up on the money – everyone knows this is about raising money. Instead, concentrate your attentions on what exactly you’re creating.

5. Do homework on your hashtags. Be certain that the hashtag you plump for hasn’t been bagged by somebody else.

6. Think about your following on each platform. If you think your following on a certain platform isn’t big enough then do what you can to build it up before you push your campaign.

7. If you’re happy with the size of your following, give people a little teaser about the project in the run-up to the launch.

8. Trust your own quality control. Think when you’re drafting the post: “would I share this myself if I saw it in my feed?”

9. Make sure you have an easily sharable image accompanying your post. Never go over 5mb in size.

10. Manage the conversation afterwards. This is not just about posting the project and sitting back and hoping for the best – you need to stay on top of things by replying promptly and keeping the discussion alive.

11. Do what you can to make it easy for backers to share your project. A neat way of doing this is by including some sample text for people to copy when they share, i.e. a drafted tweet.

12. Check your existing backers to see if they can help. If any of your backers have a good online following it might be an idea to ask them to share your project through their channels. As above, do what you can to make it easy for them.

13. Think about video content. A great way of getting people’s attention would be some kind of demo of your project, or perhaps a live Q & A.


14. Plug in to existing communities. Do your research beforehand to see which forums would be interested in your project. Don’t just spam loads of places – take your time to become a part of these communities before you launch.

15. Think of all of the people involved in your project. Maybe it’s a writer, a producer, a director…. whoever they are, make sure you don’t forget to utilise the people around you.

16. Give people the inside track. Show them footage of your project in the making, i.e. from your studio.

17. Keep the momentum up. Don’t forget to keep posting updates as you go.

18. Never start a tweet with an ‘@‘

19. Referrer data is your friend. The kickstarter dashboard is a great tool with all the insights you need about how backers are finding your project. The knowledge from this is invaluable as you continue to build your campaign.


20. Schedule your posts. For any serious campaign it’s very difficult to stay on top of all of the posting yourself, so use a social media management tool to schedule your output.

Before you even start your Kickstarter campaign, make sure you read these 10 questions you need to ask yourself.

The 10 Most Successful Kickstarter Campaigns Ever


1. Pebble Time

Raised: $20,338,986 (4,067% of original target)
When: March 27, 2015

This is a resounding victory for the Pebble Time watch which is not only the most funded campaign in the history of Kickstarter, but it is also the quickest. This comes hot off the heals of the original Pebble which was a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign in itself. Pebble have wasted no time spending the money on innovation, investing in a new interface and a Gorilla Glass lens. As if that wasn’t enough, there is now more than 10 days of battery life and over 6,500 apps on its multi-platform app store.



2. Coolest Cooler

Raised: $13,285,226  (26,570% of original target)
When: August 29, 2014

What’s great about the Coolest Cooler is the story of persistence from the original inventor, Ryan Grepper. Grepper failed to raise his original target of $125,000 for an earlier incarnation of the Coolest Cooler, but he kept the faith and before long, he had 62,642 backers. The Portland-based company managed to raise a whopping $12,285,226 which at the time surpassed the success of the original Pebble. As well as being able to make your own iced drinks, the cooler comes fully anointed with a USB port, bottle opener, space for food and even waterproof speakers.


The 10 Most Funded Kickstarter Campaigns Ever 10 Most Funded Kickstarter Campaigns Ever

3. Pebble Technology

Raised: $10,266,845  (10,266% of original target)
When: May 18, 2012

Over 85,000 backers made the original Pebble a Kickstarting legend. The Pebble basically left its competitors in the dirt as Google, Samsung and Apple failed to create a viable smartwatch alternative. In just its first year alone, Pebble sold 400,000 watches, making CEO Eric Migicovsky a cult hero overnight.


4. The World’s Best Travel Jacket

Raised: $9,192,055 (45,960% of original target)
When: Sept. 3, 2015

This was an incredible story of a husband and wife getting together and managing to conquer an entire marketplace. Hiral Sanghavi and Yoganshi Shah were inspired to create The BauBax jacket as a result of Hiral constantly forgetting his neck pillow when they would fly for their holiday. This all-in-one travel jacket offers an eye mask, gloves, blanket and a pillow as well as specially shaped pockets for various different devices. 44,949 people helped the happy couple smash their initial target of 20,000 by almost $9 million!



5. Exploding Kittens

Raised: $8,782,571  (87,825% of original target)
When: February 19, 2015

Exploding Kittens is a pretty incredible product, summed up by the crazy tag line which says it is: “a card game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats”. Hahahaha! This craziness really captured the imagination and propelled this Russian Roulette-style of card game into Kickstarter folklore.


The 10 Most Funded Kickstarter Campaigns Ever 10 Most Funded Kickstarter Campaigns Ever


Raised: $8,596,474 (904% of original target)
When: Aug. 9, 2012

OUYA was a great fusion of the old and the new. By creating an affordable Android-based videogame console that people could easily hook up to their TV, the OUYA really captured the imagination. The people behind OUYA (Julie Uhrman and Yves Behar) already had great pedigree, having previously devised Jawbone’s Jambox, a wireless Bluetooth speaker and an open-source gaming console.


The 10 Most Funded Kickstarter Campaigns Ever 10 Most Funded Kickstarter Campaigns Ever

7. Shenmue 3

Raised: $6,333,295 (316% of original target)
When: July 17, 2015

Shenmue 3 is the brainchild of Yu Suzuki who people may remember from a number of massively popular Sega games. His original Shenmue concept took the world by storm back in 1999, thanks in no small part to it being an “open world” RPG which basically meant players could go wherever they wanted inside the game. Shenmue3 is planned for release in December 2017.


The 10 Most Funded Kickstarter Campaigns Ever 10 Most Funded Kickstarter Campaigns Ever

8. PonoMusic

Raised: $6,225,354 (778% of original target)
When: April 15, 2014

PonoMusic was the trail-blazing project of music icon, Neil Young. This is all about the quest for the highest-possible quality sound. The PonoPlayer enables listeners to hear music in studio-quality audio, way beyond the compressed, digitized experience of CDs and MP3s. The $6m+ funding has also helped to fund a PonoPlayer app and a music store.


The 10 Most Funded Kickstarter Campaigns Ever 10 Most Funded Kickstarter Campaigns Ever

9. Mystery Science Theater 3000

Raised: $5,764,229 (288% of original target)
When: Dec. 12, 2015

The MST3K managed to tap into a cult following that goes back as far as 1988. That was when Mystery Science Theater 3000 first premiered on local TV in Minneapolis! The funding is going towards 14 new episodes of the series that originally saw writer/comedian Joel Hodgson marooned on “the Satellite of Love” with a load of robots mocking bad movies. The campaign really had the experiences locked down, offering great things like personalized voicemail messages from the cast and invitations to premieres across America.


The 10 Most Funded Kickstarter Campaigns Ever 10 Most Funded Kickstarter Campaigns Ever

10. The Veronica Mars Movie Project

Raised: $5,702,153 (285% of original target)
When: April 12, 2013

Veronica Mars was a cult TV series that was revived as a result of the backlash when it was cancelled from our screens. It ran from 2004-2007 and was surprisingly canned, but a group of diehard fans (known as ‘Marshmallows’) started a campaign that really caught fire, incredibly managing to hit their $200,000 within only 10 hours.