SEO for Kickstarter
Techniques and perspectives to help make your dream project get funded
Over the past few years, the name Kickstarter has taken a quasi-mythical meaning, getting to be synonymous with dreams coming true.
Every entrepreneur, indie developer, online content creator, and creative type person (writer, musician, filmmaker…) knows of Kickstarter. The site has become the go-to crowdfunding platform for those wishing to have their projects come to fruition.
Thousands of video games, films, albums, new gadgets, and businesses have been possible only due to successfully ran, crowd-funded Kickstarter campaigns; projects that might have failed (or that had failed previously) to get the funds needed to create and produce them.
However, comparable to its popularity and reputation there’s also a lot that’s misinterpreted and misunderstood about the platform. Most people have a very limited understanding of how successful Kickstarter campaigns are run and have the (wrong) idea that it merely takes a good enough product to get funded.
In reality, most successful Kickstarter campaigns share more than a few characteristics and an exceptional perspective that goes far beyond the product they are trying to get backing for.
Many people think of Kickstarter as a sort of bazaar, where you can try and sell something that doesn’t quite exists yet to people. This kind of perspective primes most Kickstarter campaigns for failure.
A recurrent theme in almost every funded project in Kickstarter is the need to build a following, a group of people that believe and want to be a part of your project from the ground up. And one of the most influential tools you have to drive attention to something online and build a community around it is SEO.
It is having that mindset of “Work with us to make this amazing project you’d love become a reality” and using SEO for Kickstarter techniques to drive awareness and build a community around it, the thing that can take your campaign to receive that very sought-after message: This project successfully raised its funding goal.
Keyword research is an essential part of any search engine optimization strategy, and as you set out to fine-tune your SEO for Kickstarter, it is no less important.
However, instead of just going over the basics of Keyword research – which we have covered in great detail in other guides (Link to SEO for Bigcommerce) – I’ll go over the nuances and particular requirements that present themselves when doing Keyword research specifically for a Kickstarter campaign.
One of the earlier challenges you’ll find as you try to determine the best set of keywords from which to power up your whole SEO strategy, is the need to convey an idea and set a terminology for something that doesn’t yet exist.
Some campaigns and products are easier to run than others. If you are trying to fund a new documentary or video game; medium, genre, and subject matter are great places to start your Keyword Research and narrow down to your target audience of potential backers. However, if your campaign is a new service or even a new product that doesn’t exist (such as a new type of item of clothing), then this research becomes trickier.
Yes, you want to establish your brand and any new terminology you wish to use to define and set apart your new product. But you also need to find closely related keywords that will serve as the driving force leading people to your product’s campaign and learn those words.
Study similar products. If there aren’t any, study the market/industry your product belongs to, and draw the most powerful keywords from there, those that are more closely related to yours. Use these keywords to build your SEO for Kickstarter strategy.
As a way of example, imagine you are creating a campaign to try and fund your idea for a new item of clothing, a crossbreed between a tiara and a hat, that can’t precisely be defined as either. A case could be made that those keywords (tiara and hat) should still be included as part of your initial keyword pool, but drawing from the industry can be a powerful asset. Keywords like Fashion, headdress, and even long-tail ones like alternative wearable headpieces, can have a massive positive impact on your campaign.
Community building & Social Media Integration
Community building is another essential part of any SEO for Kickstarter setup.
You see, a huge chunk of funded projects on Kickstarter attained that success because they did a lot of prep work before they even launched and ran their campaigns. This is evidenced by the massive success creators who return to the platform have after already having funded a project and built a community around them.
And there are undoubtedly exceptions to this, but by-and-large launching and running the Kickstarter campaign wasn’t the beginning, but rather the final stage of most successful projects on the platform. Before that, they worked at length into building a community of like-minded, interested people, which would potentially, not only pledge and become backers once the campaign actually started, but serve as spokespersons and carriers of your product’s message to people that wouldn’t otherwise even heard of it.
Which is precisely why a large percentage of successfully funded Kickstarter projects get funded within the first few days after launch, and why the first 48 hours from launching a campaign are so critical to its success.
You need to build a community for your project way ahead of its actual campaign launch, and to achieve this, social media integration is paramount.
You need to make sure your company has a healthy presence and user interaction on at least the big three (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) and start creating buzz utilizing every SEO and marketing technique available.
- Start project updates before the launch of the Kickstarter campaign, and use your social media to spread awareness about them.
- Set up a Timeline of tasks and objectives leading to the initial launch date, sharing updates and information on significant milestones.
- Run sponsored ads, implementing your keywords and SEO for Kickstarter tactics to reach people not already connected with your social media presence.
- Set up “events” leading to launch: One-on-One Facebook gatherings to “meet the founders.” AMA’s on Reddit, and live streaming on YouTube, Twitch or G+ are all proven ways to expose your project and greatly help build a community.
Any opportunity to interact with a project’s founders and developers will serve to build little by little an active community of invested, like-minded, passionate individuals that will want to work alongside you to make this project a reality.
Keep in mind these are all things that you will still be doing (and probably will need to double-down on) once your Kickstarter Campaign launches. However, while most people make the mistake of only running these tasks after the campaign launches and end up shouting their message to an empty room, doing so weeks or months in advance guarantees that when the time comes, the right people will be there, eager to listen to your message, and more importantly, spread it.
Kickstarter page content
There’s plenty to be said and a lot of detail we could go into about how to suitably produce and deliver the right content for your Kickstarter campaign. However, most of the general advice about it differs little from crafting quality content for any search engine optimized website.
- Format your content correctly: It matters little the quality of a message when it’s delivered poorly. Make sure all the text on your campaign page is formatted correctly, proofread, and written interestingly, just like any advertising copy would.
- Show who you are and garner trust: Most initial backers will be as interested in who you are as much as they will be in the end product of your campaign. It might be the product they want, but it is you who they’d be entrusting their money and expectations, so projecting yourself and your company as trustworthy and competent is a top concern.
- Cover the essential of the project and its beginnings: More people will be more willing to participate and back your project if there’s already a strong foundation. Talk about the walked path up until this point, the things done and accomplished thus far to ensure the success of the project.
- Use Keywords and other SEO for Kickstarter strategies in the text: remember that every paragraph, image, and piece of content you upload on your Kickstarter page is a potential SEO carrier to help you figure more prominently on search engines and reach more people. Take advantage of that.
On top of these general considerations, there are a couple of additional things that bear mentioning as “musts” when talking about a Kickstarter project page since they have proven time and time again to have a critical impact on the success rate of funded projects. Namely, the production of a quality video, determining efficient tier rewards and setting a reasonable funding goal.
Video content & Kickstarter
Just adding video content to your Kickstarter campaign page dramatically increases its chances of successfully getting funded, since it is way easier for someone be engaged by multi-media content when browsing a page.
Another compelling benefit is that you get to put a face (and hopefully a smile) to the whole project, making it so the potential backers feel like they know who is behind the whole thing and creating a sense of companionship.
Finally, through the use of imagery, sound, and video you can interestingly convey much more information in a shorter time frame that it would take to do so via text.
The ideal video covers the main points included in your page’s text copy in a simplified and summarized way, the intention here is to communicate the most relevant aspects and get the viewer interested enough to want to keep reading and find out more about your project.
Tier rewards & Kickstarter
A Kickstarter project can’t succeed without carefully crafted tier rewards. Yes, most people back projects because they want to be a part of something, help see something they love, come to fruition, but they also want to feel that they are getting something in return.
There’s plenty information out there covering this point in great detail, as well as many ideas on the subject by Kickstarter’s people. And the opportunity for creativity on the matter has been explored marvelously by some already.
Yet, there’s a particular point I’d like to make for low tier backing options, which is an important aspect a lot of project manager neglect.
Many people spend a lot of time and effort crafting the higher tiered rewards, making sure they are both feasible for them to fulfill, but also present enough value to entice people to go for them. However, I believe that as much effort (if not more) has to be placed in the lowest tier rewards.
If a high price reward needs to be attractive and compel those that can afford it to consider it, the lowest tier reward has to be irresistible, a no-brainer. If a person doesn’t want to or is unable to opt for a pricier tier option, they’d still won’t pass the opportunity to take the lowest tier and have the chance to back your project, albeit in a smaller percentage.
This helps to get conversions from people who want to support you but don’t have a lot of money to do so, and from those who are “on the fence” about doing so. Great low tier rewards will have those who aren’t entirely sure of backing you to go “might as well” when a great deal is presented at the entry point of backing reward.
The caveat here is to be careful not to make lower tier rewards better than the ones that come after, and make sure that it is something you can deliver without it becoming a financial burden or loss. Here’s where your creativity will be tested the most.
Funding Goals & Kickstarter
Ask for what you need, not what you want. I think this is one of the precepts that will go the longest way into ensuring your Kickstarter campaign gets its funds.
Any project can benefit from more money, and yours is probably not the exception. There’s always something else you can accomplish, another module to be added, a further service to provide or an extra scene to shoot.
However, when setting your project’s goal, it is important to exercise restraint and judgment. Be very critical, serious, and specific about what exactly your project needs as well as why exactly does it needs it, and make sure to convey this (in a very detailed but interesting way) to your potential backers in your Kickstarter page content.
The last thing you want to do is give the impression that you are asking for anything more than what you need.
Also, a quick point about a campaign length. It is important to note that, even though Kickstarter allows you to set the campaign length anywhere between 30 to 60 days, most successfully funded projects do so within the first 30 days, so it is advisable to build your whole plan around this timeframe.
As you can see, there is plenty of work to be made as you plan and set out to build your Kickstarter funding project, and doing SEO for Kickstarter campaigns is an integral part of it all.
However, keeping on top of it all can be a daunting task, especially with all your time and brain power directly in the already monumental task of conceiving and actually developing a product from the ground up, fulfilling your campaign rewards, running your company, etc.
It is at these times when enlisting the help of a professional SEO firm can do so much to help you spread the word, generate buzz, and built a community around your Kickstarter project in an efficient manner to help foster its chances of success.
Remember, reaching that “ project successfully raised its funding goal ” is entirely attainable, but it requires so much more than a genius idea and a great product. It is also vital that you make your potential backers feel like they want to be a part of the process.
Getting people interested and excited by the idea of the product, the progress you have already made, and the prospect of progressing even more, is the best way to increase the chances of them wanting to pledge and participate in its development. SEO is just a powerful tool to help you reach that objective.
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