Key Idea: Kickstarter campaigns without a video are 85% less likely to succeed
Your video is the single most important part of your Kickstarter campaign.
If your idea is the brains, then your video is the beating heart.
That’s why Kickstarter campaigns without a video are 85% less likely to succeed.
But that’s a lot of pressure. Get it right and you’ll be surrounded by backers throwing their money at you. But get it wrong…and you’ll go viral for all the wrong reasons.
Thankfully, you don’t have to go it alone. Frodo had Sam helping him take the ring to Mordor. Earth has the Avengers. And you’ve got the following 11 tips to help you create a kick-ass Kickstarter video that gets attention, interest and that sweet, sweet funding.
By the end of this article you’ll be armed with everything you need to smash your funding goal (and then some).
#1 – Use the ‘Skyscraper Method’
Don’t work harder, work smarter.
Start by watching at least 10 videos from people in the same creative niche as you. If you’re selling pillows, find other pillow-sellers. If you’re drawing comics, find another comic-drawer. If you’re selling…OK, you probably get the idea by now.
Make sure you keep a note of every idea that works (chances are everyone else is having the same reaction). And keep track of everything you don’t like. If it’s boring or distracting, you’ll know to leave it out of your video.
This is the ‘Skyscraper Method’.
It’s the success-hacking process of seeing what your competition is doing, then building on what you’ve learned to create an even better video.
You won’t want to copy another Kickstarter video shot for shot and word for word. But watch other videos to see what works, then build on these elements for your own video.
If you want to take your research to the next level, check out the most funded Kickstarter videos here. Kickstarter campaigns have a success rate of 37.86%. So your homework is to watch the most successful videos (if only school homework was this much fun).
Takeaway: Keep track of your findings so you don’t base your video off ‘gut feelings’. You’re looking for patterns of success to base your video on.
#2 – Write a compelling script
Your campaign idea is genius, so the product will sell itself…
That sounds great in theory. But unfortunately it just doesn’t work like that.
Your script needs to be 50% story and 50% sales pitch.
There are tons of examples of beautifully shot videos and innovative campaigns that failed because the script sucked.
Once you have your idea, take notes on everything you want to talk about in your video. This should include a logical beginning, middle and end. There’s no room for unnecessary words so dump everything onto paper (or the screen) and edit from there.
A good rule of thumb is to get your script exactly how you want it…then cut another 20%.
Your backers don’t have time to waste, so get to the point ASAP.
Takeaway: Don’t get too hung up on the ‘right’ script or the ‘wrong’ script. What matters is that you HAVE a script. And if you’re not sure how to get your message across, we’ll cover that next…
#3 – Use the ‘PAS’ technique
If your backers had a problem, you’d want to solve it as quickly as possible, right?
To drive donations you need to agitate their problems first. Then, when they’ve got no choice but to admit they need help, you swoop in and provide a convenient solution.
This is known as the ‘Problem-Agitate-Solution’ method (or PAS for short).
The first half of your Kickstarter video should highlight a common problem that your backers will connect with.
Then, instead of solving this problem…YOU MAKE IT 100X WORSE.
Agitate the problem so people can see the long list of potential (and horrible) outcomes. Now you’ve got people right where you want them. Your product swoops in and provides a convenient, smooth and stress-free solution.
Check out how Babeux, the World’s Best Travel Jacket, shows how many problems the average traveler faces.
The solution? Their jacket. Super simple and super effective.
Takeaway: Writing doesn’t come naturally to everyone, so if you’re worried your message isn’t landing you should consider hiring a professional. If that’s beyond your budget, free online writing tools like Grammarly and Hemingway Editor are your friend.
#4 – Make the first 30 seconds count
Attention spans have never been shorter.
People have an average attention span of just 8 seconds (yes, that’s less than a goldfish), so you’re fighting an uphill battle for attention from the start.
A common mistake is to leave your best content until the end of your video. The logic goes that this will help drive a donation.
But you can’t land a donation if no one makes it past the first 30 seconds. Card game, Exploding Kittens, demonstrates perfectly how to hook viewers from the start.
Got a shocking fact or opinion? A dynamic product demo? Or a testimonial from a well-known figure? These are the types of eye-catching, attention grabbing intros you should start with.
Takeaway: Front load your value. Forget showstopper, with people scrolling through Kickstarter looking for a project to back, use your first 30 seconds to create the ultimate scroll-stopper.
#5 – Keep it short and sweet
Ever heard the expression ‘good things come in small packages’?
Well your Kickstarter video uses the same logic.
It would be easy to stretch your video past 5 minutes because your campaign is just that good.
But length is NOT strength.
People get bored easily. Like, super easily. You need to grab their attention for the brief moments you have it.
Keeping your video between 2 and 3 minutes will stop people from dropping off before you’ve made your pitch. Shorter videos also result in higher completion percentages. This is the number of people who make it through your video.
By trimming the fat (and keeping your videos short, sharp and packed full of value), your completion percentage will improve.
Takeaway: The average video length for the 15 most watched Kickstarter videos last year was 3 minutes and 11 seconds. Stay in the same ballpark.
#6 – It’s not smart to use a smartphone
“I don’t need to hire a videographer, I’ve got an iPhone 11, how hard can it be to film a video?”
Don’t be that guy. No one should be that guy.
We’re living in the age of DIY. From home improvements to landscaping and everything in between, it’s never been easier to save some cash and do “it” yourself.
Despite this DIY’ revolution, there are some jobs that are best left to the professionals. Our brains are hardwired to think about the benefits of acting NOW.
That’s why it’s so easy to order UberEats but so hard to commit to a yearly gym membership. So if you’re tempted to film your own video because saving a few hundred bucks is appealing, well that’s your brain chemistry’s fault.
But if a professionally filmed video could help you raise an extra $10,000, would it be a worthwhile investment?
Hiring a professional videographer will help your Kickstarter video go from ordinary to extraordinary. Take the short-term hit and you’ll give your video every possible chance to earn your money back (and more).
Not sure where to find your own Steven Spielberg? Try Craigslist, Upwork or Airtasker for quality videographers without the premium price tag.
Takeaway: Professional videographers do more than film a great looking video. They’ll help calm your nerves on shoot day, get the lighting right, provide notes on your script, suggest locations and more.
#7 – Get your light right
Something, camera, action!
Wait a minute, that’s not right. There’s a word missing. Oh yeah, it’s…
Expert lighting makes the difference between a professional production that demands attention and an amateur video that leaves people cringing in second-hand embarrassment.
Shooting outside can let you tap into natural lighting, though you’ll have to contend with sound recording challenges.
Light can’t be played with in post-production either, so unless you get it right first go you’ll end up with blur, pixelation and heartache.
Takeaway: If you are going to shoot indoors, consider investing in a softbox setup. If that’s out of your budget, lighting can come from pretty much anywhere. Find a window, lamp or light bulb – just make sure your subject’s face is well-lit and easy to see at all times.
#8 – Don’t sell your product, sell yourself
People hate ads.
Admit it, you do too.
You skip YouTube ads at the first possible chance. And pop-up ads on your favorite apps bore you to tears.
One of the worst mistakes you can make is to try and turn your Kickstarter video into a commercial. This is a slippery slope though, because you do need to show people your project is worthy of donations.
But the real star isn’t your product. It’s YOU.
Make sure you put yourself in front of the camera, this will stop your video from sliding into ‘commercial’ territory.
We’re not talking about a 5 second cameo either. Let your audience see your passion because the Kickstarter community isn’t a bunch of polished executives in slick suits. They’re regular, hard-working entrepreneurs just like you.
Takeaway: You don’t have to spend every second on camera. You could choose to introduce the product, narrate the video, or pop up at the end. But as great as your creative idea is, people invest in people, so put your smiling face on screen.
#9 – Don’t forget to ‘ABC’
Always. Be. Closing.
It doesn’t matter if your video cost $100,000 or $10, if you don’t tell people what to do next it’s a failure.
Plus, you managed to hold someone’s attention for this long in a world FULL of distractions, and now you’re going to miss your chance to earn a new backer? No chance.
Do you want people to buy your product? Share your video? Or follow your campaign for future updates?
This is your time to be direct and tell people what to do. You’ll want people to do this quickly, so keep your call-to-action simple and clear.
Don’t worry, you won’t come off like a greasy-haired used car salesman. Only 20% to 30% of people will watch to the end of your video. That’s their way of saying ‘hey, I think this is super cool, what can I do to help support you?’
It’s your job to tell them.
Takeaway: Tons of campaigns end with a dull and dry ‘Help us fund our campaign’. Skip the boring approach and tell people WHY they should back you. Will it change their life? Will it change the world? Answer this and you’ve got your call-to-action.
Let’s sum up what we’ve learned
Thousands of backers. Tens of thousands of dollars. Your funding goals smashed.
You don’t need the deepest pockets to create an awesome Kickstarter video that people love, you just need to be creative.
Kickstarter campaigns with videos succeed more often than those without (50% vs 30%).
So let’s sum up what we’ve learned:
- Research successful videos in your niche (and learn from them)
- Write a clear, simple script that’s half story and half sales pitch
- Find a problem, agitate it, then soothe it
- Front load your value (70% of people won’t make it to the end)
- 3 minutes is your sweet spot
- Leave the smartphone at home, call a professional
- Get the lighting right or don’t bother
- Remember to sell YOURSELF
- Don’t forget your ABCs – Always Be Closing
Making a Kickstarter video can be intimidating, but it’s a challenge worth taking on.
A small step for a huge reward. So get out there and get started!
Do you have any Kickstarter video creation tips we missed? Let us know in the comments!