Last week, Jenn and I showed you how to set-up your Kickstarter. This week, we’re taking a look at the all-important step of marketing your Kickstarter.
While you might get some traffic from Kickstarter itself, you’ll definitely need to market to your own readers and potential new readers to hit your goal and find yourself fully funded.
Let’s jump right into the three major marketing avenues we used to target readers for the System Apocalypse Volume 2 Anthology Kickstarter…
Social media was a major focus of our marketing plan for the System Apocalypse anthology (and in the end, was responsible for a little over 30% of our total amount pledged). Since anthologies tend to appeal more to existing readers of a series rather than potential new readers, we dedicated our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages to the Kickstarter for the entire two week campaign period.
Typical Kickstarter social media posts include a launch post, goal updates, a fully-funded post, and a last call post during the final 48 hours. While we utilized all these types of posts, that would barely cover half of our two week funding period. To fill the rest of the time and hype up our readers about the anthology, we posted about a different anthology author each day, excluding launch and the final 24 hours. In the morning, we introduced the author and in the afternoon, we shared a bit about their short story. Each post contained a square graphic that worked on both Facebook and Instagram. That graphic was included on the Twitter posts, too, as Twitter isn’t the best at converting readers and therefore didn’t warrant extra design time.
While posting on your own accounts is important, we’ve been building up our follower base for years. If you don’t happen to have a large number of followers, you can still use social media to get more backers and pledges. A lot of the LitRPG community is on Facebook in various groups ranging from LitRPG Books to GameLit Society. Most of these groups allow promotional posting as long as you follow a few rules (most commonly, including a back matter link or posting on a certain day of the week). Over the course of the Kickstarter, we posted six times in the largest LitRPG groups.
You can also encourage people to share your Kickstarter through a giveaway. We raffled off a signed hardcover of the first System Apocalypse anthology to anyone who shared our Kickstarter on their own social media platforms.
For social media, an important piece to remember is: where is your audience hanging out online (honestly, that question applies to all marketing). For the LitRPG community, the answer is Facebook and Reddit. For other genres, from fantasy to romance to thrillers, the answer might be Instagram or TikTok or somewhere else entirely (though you can find communities for most genres on Facebook). Focus on those channels and try to automate your cross-posting to other, less efficient platforms like we did for Twitter.
We sent two newsletters over the course of the Kickstarter: one on the launch and one 2-3 days before the campaign ended.
Our launch email focused specifically on the Kickstarter and included details on the authors and their short stories repurposed from the social media posts. For the second email, we simply added the Kickstarter graphic into a section within our regularly scheduled newsletter content.
For the System Finale Kickstarter, we sent out a newsletter focusing solely on the Kickstarter near the end of the campaign, but that was more due to scheduling than any strategy. You don’t want to send your readers too many emails at the same time, especially if you normally only email them twice a month like we do. Newsletters diverting from your normal schedule should be sent only on rare occasions and for time-sensitive subjects, like the launch or ending of a Kickstarter campaign.
If you don’t have a large number of newsletter subscribers, join a group like Kickstarter for Authors and find someone to swap with! In return for sharing their Kickstarter on your platform, they’ll share it on theirs, which could include a newsletter list with hundreds or thousands or potential backers. You could also search for Kickstarter promotions on newsletter services like BookFunnel and get your project shared to a dozen different author newsletters in one go!
While paid advertising is a huge part of our everyday marketing strategy, it was a smaller part of our Kickstarter marketing plan. First, we ran a $5/day Facebook ad for six days to Tao’s page audience. Social media sites like Facebook don’t always reliably show your posts to your audience without paying for it, unfortunately. If you don’t have a huge audience to rely upon for your ads, you can always target readers of similar authors and books through Facebook’s ad platform.
For the second half of December, we also set the first System Apocalypse anthology to free on Amazon and all wide retailers like Kobo and Google Play. On the first day of the Kickstarter, we promoted the anthology in Freebooksy, a paid newsletter service that markets free books. Freebooksy allows custom blurbs (instead of pulling descriptions from Amazon), so we included a line about the Volume 2 Kickstarter at the end. While we couldn’t include a link and track click data, the sale boosted the first anthology to the top of Amazon’s charts and gave us something else to post about to lure in potential new readers
The most pledges occurred within the first 3 days when we were sending out newsletters and posting in Facebook groups. Between days 3-11, our growth slowed but steadily increased by 3-5 pledges of various sizes per day. The final two days saw a rapid increase as we gained a little over 20 new backers.
We gained around 60% of our backers from our direct marketing efforts, with the other 40% coming from Kickstarter’s own marketing and discovery efforts, such as their reminder emails or including the project on their “Projects We Love” page. Of our efforts, most of the traffic came from Facebook.
Unfortunately, our data isn’t 100% accurate, as I didn’t know about Kickstarter’s dashboard features like their tracking links until a few days into the campaign. 30% of our backers came from unknown external sources, most likely through our newsletter and Facebook. The dashboard also includes integrations with Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel!
And there you have it!
There’s dozens of different types of marketing and so many different things to try when it comes to promoting a Kickstarter. For most authors, everyday marketing efforts focus on social media, newsletters and paid advertising. As our Kickstarters are book-related, it makes sense to focus on the same methods.
If you’re running a Kickstarter for a board game or t-shirt collection, these methods might not result in the same success. Having a track record (or in Tao’s case, a backlist of books) and existing followers/fans goes a long way towards funding a project.
If you have any questions, drop them in the comments!
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