Founded in 2009, Kickstarter has helped creators fund over 150,000 projects worldwide. But even with all the success stories we hear about, campaigns have a success rate of only around 36%. So what makes the difference between a successful and unsuccessful campaign? While there’s no magic formula to guarantee a successful crowdfunding campaign, having a video that stands out from the crowd can definitely make a difference.
According to Kickstarter, “Videos are not required to launch, but projects that have compelling videos tend to succeed at a much higher rate.” Campaigns without a video are 85% less likely to be funded.
Before diving into the tips, tricks, and advice about Kickstarter videos, remember that even implementing everything below still does not guarantee you’ll get funded. However, putting your best foot forward when it comes to your video is going to increase your chance of success.
Let’s dive into what makes a Kickstarter video stand out.
Product/Prototype: Make sure you have your product ready or a prototype you want to see on film.
Target Audience: Knowing who your audience is will help you in the type of video to produce and the direction of your marketing strategy.
Marketing Strategy: Having a clear and concise plan for reaching your target audience is vital. Find the platforms where your audience is most active and design a crowdfunding page that speaks to them directly. This should be done before you launch your campaign.
Camera/Lighting: We recommend acquiring a camera that shoots high-quality. You want your video to put your product in the best possible light (in addition to actual lighting). There are several websites that provide both cameras and lighting kits. Another option is to reach out to gear rental companies for these items.
Script: Even if it’s just you telling the story of your product, the script provides a direction and tone for your video. It will also help determine who needs to be in the video and where it’ll be shot.
Location: Where does the video take place? Where does it make sense to use your product? The best way to talk about your product is to show it in action! This could be a coffee shop, office, kitchen, or the great outdoors.
Cast: Who is going to use your product? You should cast your characters based on your target audience. You want your audience to see themselves using this product. The best way to do that is by casting characters they can relate to when watching.
Post-Production/Editing: This will include your music, voiceovers, motion graphics, and closed captioning. This stage is when everything comes together to produce a stellar Kickstarter campaign video.
People want to invest in a project with a great story behind it. So even if it’s a simple product with a simple function, a campaign that is engaging and compelling will stand out. Don’t just tell the audience the benefits of your specific product, business, or creative service; show them. Take the viewer on a journey and get them emotionally invested in the campaign.
Tell them why you are raising money, the future plans of the project, and most importantly, why it should matter to them. People invest in things that affect them personally or solve a problem. It’s the job of the video to show that.
While several types of videos can be produced for a Kickstarter campaign, the real question you have to ask yourself is: Who is my audience? Are these artists? Blue Collar workers? Stay-at-home parents? Entrepreneurs? College students?
This will not only help you know where to market your video, but the type of video style you should be making. Know your audience so you can effectively speak to them.
Knowing who your audience is will help you pick a video style and vibe that will appeal to them the most. Different types of video styles and vibes include:
While we might all be tempted to make a humorous video (who doesn’t like to laugh?), you want to make sure that you pick the vibe that will resonate with your audience. Consider your product. Consider your people.
Whether you decide to have an inspirational or humorous video, the video should never be complicated to understand. Your backers shouldn’t have to work hard to understand what the project, product, or business does. The video should provide a compelling story, but that story should always point people back to your product/company. With this in mind, always try to introduce your product/company early in the video while you have their attention.
While this might seem obvious, you’d be surprised how many Kickstarter videos don’t show what the product actually does. Show the product in action with people who are your target audience. Show it in different ways, scenarios, and all the versatility it provides. A backer won’t invest in something they don’t understand, no matter how flashy or interesting your video may be.
Be sure to show your product in action and what makes it different/better than anything else on the market. Someone rarely comes up with a completely original idea, but some products can do it better than what’s out there. If that’s your product, then show it! Tell the audience why they should buy this product instead of others. Show off what makes it special!
While you might have a lot to say, research shows that a Kickstarter video should be between 2-3 minutes long. It’s what the experts call the “sweet spot.” Within this timeframe, creators have plenty of time to talk about their product, hold their audience’s interest, and wrap up the video before the audience loses interest.
That being said, they shouldn’t be too short, either. Having a video that is only 60 seconds long is not always long enough to share the features of your project and get the audience invested.
Find the sweet spot of giving information but not dragging on and on like the last episode of Stranger Things Season 4.
Having a founder’s address is based on preference. In our experience, we’ve seen successful crowdfunding campaigns with and without one. It’s entirely up to you! That said, deciding whether to have a founder’s address should be based on your audience. Again, this goes back to who you are trying to reach. For some demographics, seeing the founder face to face explaining the campaign could be exactly what they want. For others, a compelling story and the product in use is enough.
The script is great, the casting perfect, and your story is ready to be shared with the world! But, before that can occur, is your product ready? Videos are often needed as proof of concept for crowdfunding and investors. And while video companies can use some smoke and mirrors on set and in the editing room, you should ask yourself: Does my current prototype do my product justice?
If you don’t like your prototype, you might need to pump the brakes of a video. However, if you are ready to push the video out, the other question is: Am I willing to pay extra to have a video production company make a mock-up? It’s up to you, but remember that mock-ups require a longer lead time and sometimes, a larger budget.
In addition to having an awesome video, here are a few more tips for your overall campaign.
Have a clear plan and strategy. When it comes to crowdfunding, you can’t just throw up a page and hope for the best. A strategy of how you will reach backers and where they gather (LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit) will be a crucial component in a successful campaign.
Have realistic goals. As stated before, the success rate of a typical campaign on Kickstarter is 36%. While that’s not meant to discourage you, you must have realistic expectations about your campaign. We understand you are excited about your project, but set realistic funding goals, find out where the market is active, and promote your product there. Remember that Kickstarter is an All-Or-Nothing platform. If you don’t reach your funding goal, you keep none of the money raised, no matter how close you get to reaching your goal.
Don’t do everything yourself. Collaboration is the key to any project being successful. Find the team, company, or partners who can help you achieve your vision. While we understand this idea is your baby, having people come alongside you to help and give advice can take you much further than you could on your own.
Hire a professional video team. While we understand that this isn’t in everyone’s budget, if you can, hire a professional video team that can ensure your video is polished and high quality. Find a team that can guide you through ideation, scripting, casting, location scouting, production, and final delivery.