The Prowling Kind has just laid out a textbook performance of how to fund a Kickstarter with little to no fan base. The facts:
this is TPK’s 1st album
they started with basically no fan base (other than personal connections)
they had no email list and very few FB or Twitter fans
they raised $8215
The Basic Ingredients: Purpose Worth Backing, Personal Connection, and Call To Action
These are the required characteristics that your band needs in order to have a successful Kickstarter. Period.
But wait, you say, I have definitely seen projects that lack this…
Well, I have too. But whether we see these qualities or not, they do exist.
In the case of a project for $800 that has 35 backers, sure you may not see them up front. But that project creator had to put it on the line somewhere, whether it was in face to face conversation, telephone calls, text messages, or social media communication, who knows?
In TPK’s case, it is all right there in the project’s video and project description.
The Purpose Worth Backing and Personal Connection sort of blend together in the back story of the project: a tumultuous childhood on the run from a convict father and a mother’s love for an outlaw. It is, indeed, an intriguing storyline and definitely one that many people can envision themselves in.
TPK also has a very clear Call To Action in their video right at the 48 second mark: ‘we would love for you to be a part of this… so please check out our website… and give what you can…’
Marketing The Project: Our Interview With Mickey of TPK
Ian (L&R): How and who have you reached out to? individual personal connections? coffee shop dwellers? family? etc… by in-person discussion, email, FB, phone, etc.?
Mickey (TPK): One thing we did specifically, was printing and distributing of Kickstarter flyers. They had our name/ logo and link for people to check out and help fund us. We put these at all our favorite local spots. (coffee shops, clothing stores, venues etc) We did post a ton on social media sites…and while overkill is never good, we realized that a relatively small amount of people were actually seeing each post we made… comparatively to how many “friends” we had, so in all actuality many didn’t get the message till the 2nd and 3rd post. Also, a friend in marketing told me in order to get people to act it can take 7 to 12 times of reminding, so we took this concept to heart. We sent out personal e-mails too.
Ian (L&R): How many on your mailing list?
Mickey (TPK): In theory, over a thousand (online) , but in reality those were personal connections. We started building a fan base amidst the Kickstarter launch. (and realized the difference) So, this isn’t something we’d recommend. Already having a following would have made things a lot smoother. (We knew that going in, but were willing to do it the hard way over waiting)
Ian (L&R): Where has your funding coming from?
Mickey (TPK): Friends and friends of friends mostly. A few family members, but mostly acquaintances. Although, some of the band members families did go above and beyond and were such a blessing. So we couldn’t discount them certainly!
Ian (L&R): Assuming much of it was through personal connections, how did those interactions go for you? What did you say, where you comfortable saying it, and how did people respond?
Mickey (TPK): If we had direct interactions, we’d start by talking about our album and the concept for it, or inviting them to shows. If they wanted to know more it was natural to explain about Kickstarter and often people were excited to help out and get our album in advance.
One other lesson I learned – We found out that a lot of the time the people you plan on being your biggest supporters may let you down. Although, what’s exciting about that is realizing you have all these people you never dreamed of rooting for you to succeed. Don’t give up…. listen to the encouraging voices, they have more value than all the negative ones.
Ian (L&R): Anything else that might be helpful?
Mickey (TPK): Don’t worry about publicizing too much or over-saturating. What feels like overkill on your end, might be just the right amount of times to finally encourage that person who keeps forgetting to back. Oh, and pray, pray lots!
When it comes to building a following and marketing your band, cultivating and regularly engaging your email list with content they value is definitely the way to go.
But many bands haven’t had the chance to do so either because they’re just starting out or because they haven’t taken the time to do it.
Either way, when it comes to marketing your Kickstarter project, there is MUCH TO BE GAINED from your personal connections.
Mickey’s situation and advice looks much like others whom we have encountered in the midst of writing our 100 Music Kickstarters series.
Heed their advice:
Get personal and reach out to those in your Circle of Influence!