How To Help Your Client Launch a Kickstarter Campaign

Head off Crowdfunding questions with these useful tips and resources


Crowdfunding campaigns give entrepreneurs, artists and businesses a unique opportunity to test the viability of their ideas. Yet for many, the thought of running a Kickstarter campaign can be a daunting prospect.

So how can you help de-mystify the process, and give your client the tools and support they need to embrace all that Kickstarter has to offer? Let’s take a look at some of the contributing factors that enable campaigns to reach – and indeed exceed – their funding goals.

Choosing the right platform
The first question to ask is whether or not this method of raising funds is actually suitable for your business proposal. Each crowdfunding platform has its quirks and benefits, and in the example of Kickstarter, many submissions do not even pass the approval phase. It is well worth taking the time to identify which crowdfunding option best suits your business model and potential project outcome.

Don’t be dazzled by dollar signs – just because there are campaigns raising millions of dollars does not mean that every campaign will be an overwhelming success. For the majority of campaigns, a few thousand or even just a few hundred dollars over the target amount can be a big deal.

Be prepared to work hard
Although crowdfunding has been shown to be surprisingly lucrative for some, successful outcomes are not guaranteed. It takes more than just having a bright idea; you have to know your project very well and be prepared to put time into every stage of the funding process. Understand that for every hour you spend (and there will be many!) on preparing the campaign, there will be just as much time required to maintain and promote the project through to completion. Yet even then, your task doesn’t end when the countdown stops. Assuming you are sitting on a pile of money after a successful campaign, you will need to get moving on production and manage the distribution of rewards to your backers.

There is a misconception that a crowdfunded campaign is something that can be done on the side, in your downtime or on the weekends. This is simply not true… one thing that all successful campaigns have in common, regardless of funding levels or project outcomes, is that the campaign itself was a full-time commitment.

There is a strong social media component to the Kickstarter process, with communication and personal interaction playing a large role in backer satisfaction. It can help to remind yourself that Kickstarter is not an online store, even though some backers continue to treat it like one. Integral to successful campaigns is the way people love to feel like they are involved in making things happen. This is a different consumer experience than traditional online shopping, and with careful planning you can use that to your advantage. Choose a variety of rewards including smaller contributions that can help keep people interested in your progress, even if they aren’t in a position to commit larger amounts of money during the campaign. These potential future customers can become informal brand ambassadors through their own social media activity, expanding your reach before the campaign reaches its conclusion.

Be realistic
Not all campaigns are successful, and that is ok. The reasons why a campaign does not reach its funding goals can be quite varied, and are sometimes just as mysterious as to why other campaigns dramatically exceed expectations. When setting up a crowdfunding campaign, plan out how you will navigate through both failure and success, so that your business can continue to evolve beyond the campaign timeline.

Don’t be shy – a Kickstarter campaign is a lot to take on, and it is perfectly ok to seek out help. In fact, many services are popping up that enable a streamlining of each aspect of the campaign. Gathering and processing information beforehand will help to protect you from nasty surprises and also empower you to fully exploit successes and opportunities should they come your way. Here are a few to start you off:

The Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding
Presented by Shopify, the ecommerce solution of choice for many successful campaigns. This thorough walkthrough over 23 chapters covers all the key considerations to be aware of before taking on your own Kickstarter campaign.

How To Make a Successful Kickstarter Campaign
Using the Pebble Watch as a case study, this detailed investigation looks at how a 24 year old guy’s project with a goal of $100,000 became a $10 million record-breaker.

Tools for Kickstarter: Planning Calculator
A handy tool from Reuben Pressman, you can generate a quick overview of whether your numbers will all stack up. The calculator also includes a valuable Incentives component that will help to resolve the allocation of backer rewards.

Social Media services: Backercamp
Communication and Marketing for your campaign will get a huge boost if you call in the experts to lend a hand.

Manage your Mail: Green Inbox
With so much content flooding your clients’ email and social media, direct personalised messaging gets through to people and saves you time.

Look your best on camera: Elevant Productions
The influence a refined video clip has on campaign success rates is huge. Get it right first time for maximum impact on the small screen.

Case Studies: Success Stories
Also from Shopify, this breakdown of eleven campaigns highlights what they did right and what they did wrong, providing many valuable insights.

Analysis and Infographics
In-depth analysis of campaign metrics, trends and a very handy infographic that helps to navigate The Untold Story behind Kickstarter Stats.

The task of setting realistic goals, achievable rewards and establishing effective communication with backers is often more complex than people first anticipate. By investing a little time in making the most of these resources, the entire campaign experience becomes a whole lot more manageable. Don’t underestimate the impact that thorough preparation can have. By approaching your campaign with the knowledge that you are prepared for any surprises that may pop up – whether they are positive or negative – you will be ready to rise to the challenge.

Are you using the Ponoko Personal Factory to produce rewards for a campaign? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll discuss the best way to help you reach your funding goals.

Keeping it Social: Leveraging Social Media for Product Promotion


Automation. Some love it. Some dread it. But no matter which camp you belong to, there is no denying its power to make our lives easier in some ways. One clear avenue for automation success is social media. Today, the width and speed of social media channels has far surpassed the reach and (in many cases) the efficacy of traditional feet-on-street marketing.

Yet, for many marketers, leveraging this growing resource can feel daunting given the number of choices and the understanding necessary to maximise the potential of each channel. But as we’ve learnt through our own experience, if you plan carefully the results can be stimulating and the process a lot of fun. Through this blog, we’ve tried to distil our understanding of everything we’ve learned (and are continuing to learn) along the way.

Understand your choices
With so many options out there, choosing the right one for your business can feel like an overwhelming experience. But, to avoid information overload, we feel the best way to get things moving is by starting small. While the temptation to jump into every platform will be strong, learn to exercise restraint and be selective about which platforms you choose. Also, take the time to monitor each channel to understand whether they are bringing in positive results for your brand.

Let’s take a look at the recommended options:


Hands-on with home 3D printing in 2015

Reflections after 16 hours with a new 3D printer

As a spectator, it may appear like 3D printers are getting closer than ever to being as easy to use as a desktop inkjet printer. For those who have purchased (or indeed built) their own 3D printer over the last few years, you’d know that this is not the case. There is a lot of tweaking, upgrading and also patience required to get this amazing technology up and running in your own home.

Scott Hanselman plunged into the world of 3D printing and has published an hour-by-hour account of his first two days (16 hours of ‘working’ time) with the Printrbot printer. It’s an engaging tale of triumphs and woes, with much useful advice for others who may be wondering whether to purchase a printer of their own in the near future.

I’ve been using this printer now for basically 16 total hours over a few days, so we’ll call it two days. I went through a number of emotions over this last two days an learned a TON, some about the Printrbot Simple Metal specifically, but also about 3D Printing in general.

Click through to read the full account and discover why Scott’s concluding thoughts are positive and optimistic about the future of home 3D printing.

via Scott Hanselman

Manufacturing The Future

How 3D printing went from pipe dream to your desktop

When Ponoko was founded back in 2006, we envisaged the third Industrial Revolution, where consumers of the future can download and make products at home. The road to distributed digital mass production was paved by the pioneering work of stereolithography inventor Chuck Hull and transformed once again with the rise and rise of MakerBot, to name just a few.

In a fantastically comprehensive article over on Digital Trends, the full history of 3D printing has been laid out in detail.

3D printers are all the rage with enthusiasts, but they didn’t just materialize out of nowhere like the sculptures they produce. Here’s the untold story of how the next big boom in technology came to be over 30 years.

It’s a fascinating story where dreams become reality and the stuff of science fiction enters our daily lives. We have seen this first-hand, with over 400,000 custom products produced online via Ponoko’s global network of digital making services.

Click through to Digital Trends to learn how other key influencers have helped shape the strange past and seemingly impossible future of distributed digital mass production over the past 30 years.

via Digital Trends: Manufacturing the Future

image thanks to Pete Golibersuch/Knurling LLC

A $154k Kickstarter Retrospective: What You Can Learn From the Game Frame’s Success

Anatomy of a successful Kickstarter

Jeremy Williams is the San Francisco based engineer / hacker / programmer / maker / video game enthusiast behind the Game Frame, a fully-programmable grid of LEDs designed to make it easy to display animated pixel art and old-school video game graphics.

Earlier this year Jeremy raised over $154,000 on Kickstarter for the Game Frame – an amazing sum considering the project’s original $15,000 goal.

7 months later – With the last of the Kickstarter rewards fulfilled, we sat down with Jeremy to get some insight into what led to his amazingly successful campaign.

Here’s a look at what has happened before and after the campaign was funded, along with some important lessons—both good and bad—that crowdfunding hopefuls can learn from Jeremy’s success story.


20 tech trends for 2013

Discover where technology will take us over the next 12 months

With another year wrapping up and a whole new 365 days of 2013 ahead of us, the big thinkers over at frog’s Design Mind posed the question of just what this bright future has in store. Some of the technologies mentioned are already surfacing as a part of our daily lives, whereas others are represented by emerging trends that may see continued development and growth, rather than full realization, during 2013.

The list was compiled by a collection of technologists, designers and strategists from the vast intellectual pool at Frog’s studios across the globe. Did 3D printing make it into the top 20? You bet it did.

The broader topics include:

– More Intelligent Machines
– Devices With Human Appeal
– Inspiration From the Physical
– Enhanced Online Selves
– New Roles for Existing Tech
– 3D Printing Goes Mainstream
– Tech Gets Poetic
– Specialized Social Networks

To find out just what it is that digital manufacturing will be doing for us over the next 12 months and see further treats that are just around the corner, click through to the source article for the full story.

frog via FastCo Design

The Fixer’s Manifesto

Sugru sheds light on the unsung hero of creativity

Most of us have already encountered Sugru, and many are using it in all kinds of interesting, creative ways. The team behind this extraordinary putty have enjoyed becoming a hub for Fixers so much that they put their heads together to come up with an equally extraordinary document: The Fixer’s Manifesto.

“We made this to fuel the conversation about why a culture of fixing is so important.”

Drawing inspiration from documents such as the Repair Manifesto by Platform 21 amongst others, this variation seeks to expand and grow by tapping into the huge community of makers, thinkers and fixers that have already shown such inspired creativity using Sugru.

Click through to see the The Fixer’s Manifesto in full, and keep in mind that this currently exists as Version 1.0 in what is intended to be an ever-evolving credo that can be tweaked and tinkered with, in true Sugru style. (more…)

The DIY Economy, video from last week’s Techonomy Detroit conference

Technology, economy, change, and Detroit.

Last week, more than 50 leaders in today’s entrepreneurial technology scene gathered at the invitational Techonomy conference.

Our own David ten Have was invited to join a panel entitled The DIY Economy: The Democratization of Finance, Design, Manufacturing, and Distribution. Fellow panelists included Grady Burnett of Facebook, Mark Hatch of TechShop, and Danae Ringelmann of Indiegogo.

The idea was to feature speakers that represent each stage in creating your own business. Funding (Indiegogo), prototyping (TechShop), manufacturing (Ponoko), and marketing (Facebook).

You can watch the full 45 minute panel sessions in the video below or read the transcript here.


What does 3D printing mean for society? Ponoko CEO David ten Have answers

Dave’s latest interview is online.

3D Printer Hub recently posited ten questions to own David ten Have, digging deeper into the implications of 3D printing.

Dave talks about what excites him most about this technology — “ARM and Arduino platforms… the vehicle for making much smarter 3D printed products” — the ethical grey area of democratizing manufacture, and whether all this 3D printing buzz is an evolution or a revolution.

Favourite quote: “This business is about unleashing creativity. Anytime you allow people to honestly express themselves, you create much, much more value than you can throw your arms around.”

Read the full interview at 3D Printer Hub.

Manufacturing in motion

The results are in from the first survey on 3D printing community

A little while ago, we mentioned that the P2P Foundation were putting out a call for participants in the first ever wide-scale survey on the 3D printing community. The results are now in, and they provide a number of interesting insights on where things are heading in the world of digital manufacturing.

“3D printing has been around for a few decades already. In that sense, the technology is nothing new. What is different now is the method in which 3D printers and related software are developed and in some cases even manufactured: the open source/peer production model.”

People are increasingly aware of the far-reaching changes that are rapidly becoming a part of their everyday lives. Networks of users, development processes and established systems all interact in a cyclical process that fuels enthusiasm and drives innovation.     (more…)