I have loved Kickstarter from the first time I heard about it. If you have a project dream in your head, like a floating pool in NY, an icon set (that’s become my default), or even something as silly as the the freaker to forever end bottle sweat, or you can post it on Kickstarter and actually get it funded.
Creative startups are using Kickstarter for marketing and customer validation. When Michael Karnjanaprakorn was building SkillShare, a market place for face to face classes, he wanted to validate and market the idea before writing a single line of code. He did some smart things: a landing page that got 5000 emails, sold out his first class using Eventbrite, wrote for a well read blog. Most interesting, he proposed a video on why college is ineffective and got full funding for it via Kickstarter. Not only did he get a great marketing asset in the video, but he reached a new audience by promoting the project.
So you just hatch an idea, fill out a form on Kickstarter, and wait for the funds to come in? Wrong. Most projects (80%?) never meet their funding goals and don’t get a cent.
There’s an art to marketing Kickstarter projects. Craig Mod has a great essay on how he got Art Space Tokyo, a book about all the hidden art in the city, funded via Kickstarter. His method included a careful analysis of the donation amounts ($50 was a sweet spot), how long to set the time frame (3 weeks), and how to promote via email (send 3: start, middle, just before end), Twitter, and blogs. This is the primer I’ll follow for my own Kickstart project.