Squatch Kick - Tips & Articles for Crowdfunding

Friday, April 24, 2015

Everything on your Kickstarter project page has a function. A lot of thought went into the design of the project page template by the Kickstarter staff. Their basic design has proven to be successful for thousands upon tens of thousands of project creators. The Kickstarter staff knows what they are doing.

The real question, though, is: Do you?

The proverbial red-headed step child of the Kickstarter project page is, I believe, the Comments section. While many project creators "get it," an awful lot still don't seem to grasp the most basic and fundamental role of that project page section - as it relates to the role of the creator.

Yes, backers will use the Comments section to post all kinds of different comments. Praise, criticism, observations, and general verbal meanderings. Some Kickstarter projects get lots of comments on their project page, whereas many projects receive none. If you're trying to crowd fund a project, which do you think is the better of those two situations to be in?

Comments indicate interest. Now, whether it is exactly the kind of interest that a project creator envisioned, prior to launching their project or not, may well be another matter, altogether.

Project creators vary widely, in their chosen approach to responding to comments left in the Comments section of their project page. Some creators respond to comments there, while others prefer to communicate via e-mail, and some creators don't even bother to respond, at all.

Running a crowdfunding campaign can be a very time consuming exercise. Project creators will often look for every advantage possible, both imaginable or unimaginable. At times, they get so wrapped up in trying to promote their projects that they will often overlook a gift horse in the mouth.

What comments are, if you haven't figured it out by now, are opportunities. More specifically, comments left in the Comments section of your Kickstarter project page are opportunities to craft and engage in dialogue with backers. Communication, you see, doesn't have to be a one way street. In your search to acquire backers for your project, one bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. One person who is already interested in your project enough to actually pause long enough to leave a comment can easily be worth multiple potential backers who are yet to materialize.

If you're too busy working on promoting the Kickstarter project that you already launched to bother with responding to comments in the Comments section of your project page, then perhaps it is high time that you reconsidered your chosen approach to running a crowdfunding campaign.

As of the moment in time that I write this blog posting, my profile page on the Kickstarter website informs me that I have left a total of two hundred and forty-six comments on various project creators' Kickstarter pages. Do you suppose that my purpose in doing so all those times was to waste my time trying to talk to the wind?

Did you know that it is possible for actual conversations to take place in the Comments section of project pages? Do you grasp that conversations between backers can take place there. The whole point of nurturing comments is to generate and to grow interest in your project. You do want people to become more interested in your project, don't you? Sometimes, a sense of community can sprout in even the most unlikely of places. Just because you're the project creator, don't assume that the way that you've chose to try and generate a sense of community (and the dialogue that comes along with it) is the way that backers of your project will gravitate towards. The best laid plans of mice and men go astray. That doesn't mean, however, that just because the way that you want to build a sense of community may not be working like you want it to, that you should not be flexible and embrace a sense of community that sprouts from dialogue in the Comments section of your Kickstarter project page.

As a backer of Kickstarter projects, one that some might describe as a serial backer (152 Kickstarter projects backed, as of the writing of this article), I never cease to be amazed at just how many project creators just plain don't "get it." In their search for interest on the part of others in their projects, project creators often turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to conversation starting points that comments by backers constitute.

If a backer leaves a comment, but you as a project creator fail to respond, what does that tend to do to the conversation that was started? Can you say, "Killed it?"

So, let me ask you this, is killing a conversation one of the better ways of getting people to talk about your project? If you won't talk to those that leave comments on your project page, then why should they bother with referring others to your project? After all, it's not as though you're interested in talking about it, you know.

How do you get people who are already backers to increase the amount of their pledges? Did you realize that responding to their comments, and carrying on a conversation with them in the Comments section, is one sure fire way to accomplish that? I've increased the amount of some of my pledges to Kickstarter projects due to that, before. Do you reckon that I am the only person that falls into that category? Hardly.

Do you believe that not responding to comments generates enthusiasm? Yet, isn't enthusiasm at the very core of what every Kickstarter project needs?

Maybe you just don't have time to respond. Then again, maybe people just don't have time to back your project.

When you were doing the preliminary footwork for your crowdfunding campaign, at around the same time that you set the funding goal for your campaign, did you also bother to set a comments goal for your campaign?

If your answer was no, then as your project enters the proverbial Dead Zone, as it most likely will, then perhaps you'll have some time at that point to think about why you didn't.

Maybe no one told you to. Then again, maybe no one should have to tell you to respond to Comments in your project page Comments section, either.

If you're ignoring the Comments section of your project page, whether intentionally or unintentionally, then how are you communicating effectively with your backers?

Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.
- The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Opportunity, opportunity, everywhere, but nary any comments responded to.

If your crowdfunding campaign feels like a trek through the bush, then maybe you should ask yourself why you spend so much time looking for birds in the bush, and so little time paying attention to the woodpecker that is pecking your project in the head.


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