#Asia Building community is essential to a successful crowdfunded campaign; Here is how we raised US$100K in under 5 days


Successful crowdfunding campaigns will require transparency and trust from your community

We’ve been a small, community based, start-up founded via Kickstarter running for the past three years. We sell premium outdoor survival gear with a mission to incorporate functionality into modern day aesthetics. Essentially, we wanted to the create premium survival gear and turn them into everyday carry gear that everyone can wear as well as use.

Following the success of our two crowdfunding campaigns and now our third crowdfunding campaign, we’ve been featured on various high-traffic websites such as Business Insider, Hiconsumption, Uncrate, Askmen, and many more.

Our first Kickstarter campaign, Bomber Barrel, did almost a half-million dollars in funding. To be exact, $430,393 with 5,102 backers. We created a small to medium sized duffel bag to fit the needs of an everyday carry bag and to find a solution for the excess space as well as clutter that large duffel bags tend to produce. The conception behind the Bomber Barrel was to create a bag that can be used literally anywhere. Whether at the gym, for a hike, as a weekend travel bag or anywhere in between, the Bomber Barrel would be the go-to bag.

However, this success would have not happened without our supporters. The biggest reason on why we were able to launch such a successful campaign (and we’ll talk more about this in-depth down below on how you can apply this to your Kickstarter campaign) was because of the massive support we’ve received from the community.

Prior to launching our first campaign, our founder, Vincent Ng, had experience on Kickstarter for the past three years by launching four successful campaigns under his company, Halo Belt, where he developed his community base. Without them, Bomber & Company would not be where it is today. We cannot thank our community enough and be more grateful.

We recently launched our third campaign, the B-2 Bomber Nano Blade, which is on track to do anywhere between US$300,000 – US$500,000, and perhaps, even higher. It really depends on luck at this point — luck meaning the amount of PR exposure we can achieve as well as getting back on the popular’s list of Kickstarter’s algorithm.

Once the Kickstarter campaign comes to a close, we will mass-produce our knives and ship them out to all of our backers. From there, we will continue to run the company and perhaps, launch another Kickstarter (it just depends on what our supporters want to see from us)!

Here are some helpful tips that may help you with launching a successful crowdfunding project:

The success of our Kickstarter projects would have not been where it is today without our community. They are literally the backbone of our company and as a result for our first Kickstarter campaign, Bomber Barrel, we decided to incorporate every single backer’s name on the packaging of our product as a token of appreciation.

In terms of leveraging your chances of creating a successful Kickstarter campaign, I feel that some sort of subscriber list or community base is a MUST have. My recommendation would be a community or subscribed list of 5,000 people just to be safe. Of course, this is not to say that if you don’t have some kind of list or community that you should NOT launch a Kickstarter campaign, but rather, to higher your chances of creating a successful campaign, it might be best to take the time to build these lists or communities even if it were delay your launch.

Also read: Crowdfunding corner: 9 steps to a successful fundraiser

The reason why is because two years ago, Kickstarter was much more easier. There was way more less competition and less projects. Nowadays, everyone wants to start a Kickstarter project (this is not including the competition you face against other Kickstarter creators who have already launched many successful campaigns!). If you take a look at the projects live on Kickstarter, there are thousands of projects out there to choose from. So, you kind of have to ask yourself, what will make your project stand out?  What makes you different? What makes your project unique? How will people find your project and support your project? Lastly, who will find your project?

This leads to the next question: ranking on Kickstarter’s algorithm and popular’s list. This is where your community / email list comes in. On launch day, you send out an email or notify your community that your project is now live. If planned and organized properly, For example: You have 5,000 subscribed emails, it’s easy for you to rank on Kickstarter’s popular list assuming you have a decent conversion from your list. Lets hypothetically say, 10 per cent, which is 500 backers! No doubt about it, your project is going to skyrocket off the roof and rank on the popular’s list.

Ranking and staying on popular’s is one of the key factors, if not one of the biggest factors, that determines how successful your campaign will be. You want to be able to stay on there as long as possible and in the best case scenario, stay on there the entire duration of your campaign. Think like the Google page algorithm. Say for example, you’re looking to purchase a pocket knife and search up the keyword, “Pocket Knife”. Most people, will only take a look at the top three results and MAYBE scroll down to hit the next page.

In the same way, if Kickstarter backers are looking through Kickstarter’s popular page, they are more than likely to check out the top projects. For the other projects that are lost among the hundreds of pages of Kickstarter projects, they are most likely not going to be found hence a high chance of an unsuccessful project.

So, after reading this, you now may be wondering, “How the heck do I build a list or community of 5,000 people?!” That’s the hard part, but if there is a will, there is a way. You can start creating your own community via Meetups. You can start building your email list via Facebook ads. You can host a booth at some event and build brand awareness. The possibilities are endless. You just kind of have to figure out what works best and what produces the best results for you.

For us, as mentioned earlier, we had the privilege to have a platform of amazing backers from the Halo Belt community.

Some crowdfunding best practices

When it comes crowdfunding projects that get funded, but don’t deliver, there are always indirect and unseen tasks that may present itself during the process of production. For our first campaign, we had everything planned on track and even had our production done earlier. To be more precise, three weeks earlier.

However, due to circumstances that were out of our control (the ports in San Francisco and the Bay Area decided to go on a strike which delayed the shipments to our backers by a few weeks to a month), we had to delay our shipment date. We made sure to notify our backers and kept them posted with the entire process. They were more than understanding.

Also read: Indonesia’s crowdfunding platform KitaBisa shares its story

Additionally, the founder, Vincent Ng, flew out to the manufacturer in China to check on the production to make sure that everything was going according to schedule. He also had a team quality check the entire production (6,000 Bomber Barrel Sets).

Be transparent and honest with your community

I think the best advice I could give would be make sure you’re extremely transparent and honest with your community. As simple as it sounds, being honest and transparent with people in general, builds a mutual trust among one another. And when people can trust you, they are more than likely to support the vision as well as ambition you carry within yourself in this case, it would be your company.

Other advice in terms of getting funded and making sure to deliver on time would be give yourself a lot time to deliver! It’s always better to deliver on time than be late. People are much more happy when they receive their products on the date that was promised. Even if you were to extend the shipping date to be a little longer, at least, backers back the project knowing that they will receive it at that date. Lastly, be sure to visit your manufactures build a strong relationship with them as well so that the production process can go as smoothy as possible.


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The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, submit your post here.

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