By Terry Hope Romero
Outreach Lead for Food and Crafts, Kickstarter
Want to raise some money for your food business? Crowdfunding can be a great way to drum up cash for your start-up. To date, nearly $2.5 billion has been pledged to 108,000 projects through Kickstarter, a leader in crowdfunding. While most projects garner under $10,000, there are some that have generated 7 figures worth of capital.
But it's not as simple as ask and the money will come. You have to will have to prove your worth to convince people to back you. Behind every hilarious video or compelling idea that makes people hit that big green “back this project” button is weeks and months of planning.
Likewise, for your crowdfunding project to take off you will need to do a considerable amount of strategic and creative thinking. Your fundraising effort is a campaign to win the hearts, minds, and money of people who want to see you succeed. So you better make a compelling pitch. How will you tell your story? How will you “sell” your product? How will you nurture relationships with your supporters you once your campaign ends? These are the types of questions you will want to address early on.
As you consider a campaign, here are 5 tips for mapping out your Kickstarter project for your food business:
1. Create a great video: The most watchable, sharable videos are under 2 minutes, so you need to use your time wisely. How will you convey the essence of your brand? How will you shoot the video? Hate the idea of just staring into the camera and talking? Then try a voice over in combination with fun, short shots of what goes into making your food (or even better, you making it) and the packaged product. Perhaps you can touch on you inspiration for starting a business. This is a great opportunity to connect with your audience so think about how best to that.
2. Get some mouth-watering pictures: Beautiful food photography is king anywhere on the web, and Kickstarter is no exception. Your project food photos must be clear, in-focus, and delicious looking, always. Get people salivating and you are halfway to a nice donation. If you don’t know how to take a great food picture, spend time on Instagram, which is overflowing with inspiration. There are also apps for food photography as well as plenty of guidance online. Pinch of Yum is one of my favorite resources for tips on taking great food pictures.
3. Use social media: Before you jump into a Kickstarter campaign, build some traction on social media. By posting on social media you will not only build a following, you will start to see which of your posts gains traction. This may help you home in on the right message for your video.
4. Make sure your product is ready for public consumption: One reward you will likely want to offer to contributors is a taste of your product. But if you have never shipped your product and don't know how it will survive transit, then test it out before you launch your Kickstarter project. For example, if you're going to ship to North America, send out a test package to friends or relatives in few major cities (NYC, L.A., Chicago) and even a few in more remote areas. Make sure to follow up for feedback! Even better, ask your lucky recipients to take photos of the packaging and contents and text or email them to you as soon as it arrives so you’ll have a little fodder for your social media.
5. Reward your pals: Once your campaign is up and running considering hosting a “reward pick-up" party for local backers. Not only will you cut down on shipping costs, but you have the chance to meet your local supporters and strengthen your ties to them.
When your campaign ends, don’t forget the people who backed you. As you hit new milestones keep your early fans apprised via newsletter updates and always thank them for being first to the game. Some of the best traction you will gather for your business will likely come from the people who were there with you at the start.
Terry Hope Romero is Kickstarter’s Outreach Lead for the Food and Crafts categories. She has helped hundreds of food business projects come to life. She’s also the author of several bestselling cookbooks including Veganomicon, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Vegan Eats World, Salad Samurai, Protein Ninja, and many more. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.