We have become the first Irish Whiskey Company to successfully hit our Crowdfunding target and have raised 125% of our $40,000 goal. This means a lot more to me than simply money to buy barrels…. It means that our story has enough resonance with people to convince them to part with their hard earned money and hand it over to us in return for rewards, not equity. It also becomes part of our Start-Up Narrative and will be woven into our proposition for future potential institutional investment, government grants applications or discussions with lenders. Creating and running the campaign has been a great experience and I wanted to share how I did it and what I have learned.
Kickstarter goes to great lengths to say that it is not a store. However the fact is that most of the Blockbuster projects tend to be pre-orders for video games, design and tech products. If you have a very cool product which consumers get in return for their donation then sure, aim high these kind of projects very often go into the Millions. On the other hand if, like me, you are pre-product or you are looking to fund your Play or Book or whatever, you need to set a realistic amount. The reality is that the majority successful projects on Kickstarter are funded at $10,000 or less….
We set our goal at $40,000, this is a fraction of what we need to fund our total business but it will fund one key element which is buying our first batch of barrels and getting them to Ireland. You’ll notice that target is set to dollars this is because we aimed our campaign squarely at the U.S. market, which is the world’s largest Whiskey market and will be our core target. Ireland has not really caught on to crowdfunding yet, so don’t expect wonders from the home market, we had three backers from the homeland. We set the $40,000 target because there was a precedent of successful drinks projects being funded at around this mark. Before you set your goal you need to be really clear on who your potential investor is and also what is being funded and at what level in your category, which brings me to my next point.
- Consider investing a little money into Twitter or Facebook advertising. I spent $180 all in and raised $4439 as a result that’s a pretty impressive ROI.
- Now is the time to reach out to media if you are on your way to success 80% of projects who hit the 20% goal make it…let the media in your category know.
- You need to hit the phone and the email without being spammy. An individual note to people asking to back you is far better than a mass email, swallow your pride and pick up the phone or send that note. It can be cringy asking people for money but as an entrepreneur that is 90% of your job in the beginning.
- Hit up your Facebook messenger or old work colleagues.
- Monitoring the campaign is a must, you’ll need a Google Analytics tag and you need to pay attention to the Kickstarter dashboard it has essential information about where your traffic is coming from, this will allow you to target the right outlets.
- Be prepared as well to tweak the campaign, offer new rewards, change your visuals.
- You need to be ON IT when it comes to responding to backers questions and queries. Expect to spent 6-8 hours a day running and maintaining the campaign properly.