I was invited to a Girls In Tech LA event a few weeks ago at Red Bull HQ, in Santa Monica. It was an amazing opportunity to check out the latest tech product showcases (like an Oculus Rift demo!) and to enjoy a panel of women who provided encouraging tips and best practices for those, particularly women, who are interested in STEM entrepreneurship. I learned some valuable things which I’ll share below plus I met a lot of smart and motivated people interested in the challenges of starting something new.
Out of three panelists, including execs from Disney and Vizio, Julie Uhrman, CEO of Ouya, a company that created an open-source (Android) gaming console, took the floor for about 15 minutes and unleashed a slew of knowledge that was utterly mind-blowing. She told the fascinating story of her foray into founding a company that ultimately allowed independent game designers to get their games made for TV sets to market, and talked about using Kickstarter to achieve the funding needed.
Now I’ll share the three important tips she shared with attendees on how to complete a successful campaign on Kickstarter. I have never run a campaign on that platform myself, but she did and raised almost $1 million to boot!
Tip #1 – Be authentic/genuine. Be a real person before being a marketer. Relationships are key to being successful here. They are formed making memorable connections with people, and not by beating people over the head with your marketing message. Let people know why they should care instead of only telling them that they should.
Tip #2 – Be concise. Most people are not going to watch a 10-minute Kickstarter video with you rambling on about some non-existent project they care/know nothing about, so get to the point within the first 15 seconds!
Tip #3 – Form a community. You don’t want to do this alone. You’ll need an army of dedicated helpers and support. Save some perks to release partway through your campaign to get more people excited to be a part of your campaign. Even after the allotted time has passed, your effort doesn’t end because you’ve been funded. It’s just the first step to getting your product/project released. Now you have new customers who have just given you their hard-earned money. You have people that you can form great relationships with who will be glad to hear about your progress and help you spread the word about your forthcoming project.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? The reality is that it isn’t easy. Running a successful campaign is like a marathon, not a sprint. You’ll need endurance to get to the finish line, but it’ll be worth it.
I hope you’re encouraged by the tips above if you’re looking to do a Kickstarter (or one of the 100 other crowd-sourcing fundraiser sites). If you do one that gets funded feel free to share your tips below! Oh, I also live-tweeted this event. You can check that out on my Twitter @SoCalMad (Feb 18) or by following the Twitter hashtags #gitla2014 or #girlsintechla.