Have you heard the news? Crowdfunding is all the rage right now. With websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, innovative product-based companies have the potential to raise a TON of money from small independent donations and, if they’re really lucky, go viral.
Case in point: take a peek at the Kickstarter campaign of the summer: the RompHim. Everybody is talking about this Kickstarter campaign– it even caught the attention of Saturday Night Live where they featured it on their Weekend Update segment. Talk about a viral campaign!
Every crowdfunding campaign needs a great video to accompany it. In the past, we’ve produced successful crowdfunding videos for everything from food start-ups to handbag companies. That’s why we jumped at the opportunity to work with an apparel company that seeks to carve out an entirely new category that combines a sweatshirt and a bathrobe. Wait for it… It’s called the DudeRobe!
The DudeRobe, as you can imagine, is a robe made for dudes. It features towel-lining on the inside and sweatshirt material on the outside. From personal experience, I can tell you it’s super comfy and you’ll have a hard time taking it off.
We’re getting more and more calls for crowdfunding videos lately and since these campaigns are so hot right now, I’m going to walk you through the process we used in developing the DudeRobe Kickstarter video. If you’re antsy and want to skip right to the campaign, click here.
Step 1: Determine the problem you’re solving.
Only in rare cases (like the Chia Pet) will people flock to something that doesn’t solve a problem. The RompHim is a one-piece summer fashion statement that makes you stand out. “Turn heads and break hearts” they say on their Kickstarter page. Problem: fitting in. Solved.
For the DudeRobe campaign, the problem is that robes aren’t cool enough for a dude to feel comfortable wearing out in public or hanging out with his buddies. With DudeRobe, they’ve solved that problem!
This is the first piece of the puzzle. Once you can identify the problem your product solves, you’ll start forming concept ideas around that problem. For many Kickstarter videos, they spell out the problem IN the video. Take Onsen Towel, for example. In this video, he starts by actually listing the reasons WHY current towels suck. It can really be that simple.
Step 2: Determine who you’re solving that problem for.
A wise person once said “if you are selling to everybody, you’re selling to nobody.” I can’t emphasize this enough for your Kickstarter campaign video: get clear on your audience. Once you know who you are helping, you can figure out how to get to them. You can also know how to speak to them. Different video styles appeal to audiences in different ways. In order to get into your audience’s head, you need to know WHOSE head you’re getting into. No brainer, right?
Bottom line: a great Kickstarter campaign has a clear target market. RompHim is a great example of this– they are hitting a very specific demographic.
DudeRobe’s target market? The active guy in his mid-20s to 50s who loves to have fun, look good, and be comfortable.
Step 3: Nail down your call-to-action.
The two most important elements in your video are the hook and the call-to-action. We’ll talk more about the hook in step 5. But I prefer to start from the end and work backward. Ask yourself what you want from your audience. Keep in mind it needs to be simple and it needs to be singular. In other words: ask for one thing and one thing only.
Most Kickstarter videos have the same ultimate goal: they want to inspire people to donate.
How are you going to do this? Will you have an incentive at the end? Will you have a motivational “rally call”? For DudeRobe, we stated simply “join the robe-olution. Back us on Kickstarter.” Simple. No email addresses, no Facebook logos, no “learn more…”
This should technically be the simplest piece of the puzzle, but I come across so many call-to-action faux pas, it makes my head spin. Check out my 5 Steps to a Killer Call-to-Action video if you want to avoid these pitfalls.
Step 4: Tell a story.
Now that you have a strong call-to-action, you need to make sure people will watch your video long enough to get there. Bottom line: a Kickstarter video MUST be entertaining. It can be funny, like the baKblade 2.0 body shaver. But don’t be mistaken: entertaining doesn’t always mean funny. Entertaining could mean fast-paced and exciting like the Baubax travel jacket.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when planning out your Kickstarter video. A lot of these questions will also determine how much the shoot will cost:
- What is the tone of the piece?
- How many locations will you need?
- How many actors will you need?
- Will you use voiceover?
- How will you use titles? (Notice I said how, not if. Titles are a non-negotiable.)
- What kind of music will you use?
- What props will you need?
- How will you make every single second of the video count?
Telling a strong story is key to this step. Use visuals, motion graphics, titles, music, voiceover– anything you think will propel the narrative and make the most of each and every second of your Kickstarter video.
For the DudeRobe Kickstarter campaign, we chose to walk through the life of an everydude named Nick. The “conflict” in this story is essentially the problem that this product solves: there are no robes that keep dudes dry and look good. We showcased the problem and solved it with the DudeRobe, tying everything up with a nice little ribbon at the end.
Step 5: Nail the hook.
The most overlooked piece of real estate on the Kickstarter page is the video thumbnail. Your audience will see this thumbnail before they watch the video, and they will determine from that one still shot whether it’s worth clicking “play”. Once they click play, you have merely seconds to grab their attention. This is called the hook. Use that time wisely. Really wisely.
For the DudeRobe Kickstarter video, we introduced our dude right away and hit our perfect target market in the process. This leads me to another point: casting is important, people. Don’t overlook the importance of having a strong cast. Our “Nick” was the perfect guy for the part. He was funny (but not goofy) and totally relatable!
Introducing this really relatable everydude with good music and a strong title was our hook. It makes the viewer think “hmm, I like this guy. Tell me more about Nick.”
There you have it: five steps to creating a successful Kickstarter video. To summarize: bookend your Kickstarter video with a solid hook and call-to-action, and tell an entertaining story in between that speaks to your audience and solves their problem. BOOM, you’ve got Kickstarter video magic!
Click here to check out the final DudeRobe Kickstarter video (and maybe even join the Robe-olution).