Since it’s an all or nothing rule over at Kickstarter, being careless with this number can lead to a bit of embarrassment or create massive problems if you reach your goal after realizing that it’s not enough to actually complete your project.
- Do you have a minimum viable reach to hit your goal?
- Determine best and worse case scenarios.
- Implement the Load Road/High Road technique (flex goal).
Once you’ve gone live with your K$ project the goal is to be in the “this is all part of the plan” mindset vs the “oh man, we actually need a lot more money, how are we going to fix this!” mindset.
So how DO you set the right goal for your band’s fundraising project?
Roll up your sleeves. This will take some focus and a little work, but once this step is complete you’ll breath and sleep a whole lot easier knowing that your Kickstarter project is based on much more than hopes and dreams.
NOTE: Make a Google Doc or write your answers in the Evernote folder you’ve made for your Kickstarter planning…
Determine your reach
- Number of people on your mailing list
- List out individual family members who might support
- List out individual friends who might support
- List out individual influencers – media contacts, friends who have mailing lists or large online followings like blogs or Twitter followers
Determine your budget
- Cost of each package
- Average shipping cost of each package including postage and shipping supplies
- Net profit for each package
- Album or project creation budget including travel, food, lodging etc. You should have gotten a quote by this stage of the game. It’s dangerous to guess here.
DO YOU HAVE A MINIMUM VIABLE CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE?
Once you have a solid feel for your reach and you know your budget, you can decide if a Kickstarter project is possible.
Only you know your Circle of Influence well enough to make a decision here. Of course, if you could study 100 Band Kickstarters to see how a band’s Circle of Influence relates to the total amount they were able to raise, you’d be able to make an educated guess. That’s why we’re busy compiling band Kickstarter profiles right now!
Scurry on over there and sign up for 100 Band Kickstarters to Learn From. We’re making big breakthroughs on the best K$ video strategies, packages and tactics as we move towards our goal of 100 KS reviews.
Right this minute, though, you’ll have to use your gut mixed with some common sense. Let’s roll through some imaginary scenarios so you can get in the mind set for using your Circle of Influence information you just listed above.
If you don’t have a mailing list but you have a few hundred Facebook fans, do you think you can raise $5000? If you don’t have Facebook fans OR a mailing list but you’re a radio DJ with an existing Circle of Influence with your listeners and the other radio DJs you work with, do you think you can raise $5000? Maybe you’re a well known Yoga instructor in your town, with 800 existing and past clients on your mailing list who all love you. Do you think those relationships will be helpful in reaching your goal amount?
The point here is that even if you don’t have a “fan base” or a mailing list, most of us have influence with existing social circles or networks of people. Think about what groups of people you have access to. Do you have a rapport or influence with these people?
Golden Grenade raises $12,000 with only 15 fans
My band, Golden Grenade had about 15 people who knew we existed, but my other band, The Clintons had just raised $22k on Kickstarter several months earlier. The Clintons had an engaged audience with over 3000 people on our mailing list. I’m a founding member of The Clintons so I have a strong, direct rapport with our fans.
Golden Grenade is a trio so our friends and family Circle of Influence was minimal, probably accounting for 35% of the total amount raised.
By emailing The Clintons email list twice, I was able to leverage someone else’s fans to build a brand new band and raise $12k in 30 days. What hidden social influence do you have? No matter the size, it can be an important piece of your Kickstarter success.
Do you have a connection to an audience? Another band, a business, a club? If so, could you approach them to send an email to their following. It could look something like this:
We wanted to give you a heads up that our good friend [your artist name] is finally making her first record. She’s the beautiful voice on our third EP on tracks 1, 4, 7 and a long time friend of the band.
We thought you’d love her unique style of doo-wap drama, spaghitti western, and Czech lullabies. Check out her Kickstarter here and let us know what you think!
Awesome band [mutual connection] loves/played with/is in the club with
DETERMINE BEST AND WORST CASE
First, choose the lowest possible amount that would allow you to complete the project mission and deliver the goods to your backers. Dive deep here and do some soul searching. You need to get this number as low as possible.
How far would you go to get this project done? Would band members have to split expenses? Take out loans? Max out credit cards? Is everyone willing AND able to do that? If there is no way you could deliver the product (s) to your bakers, your worse case goal amount is too low.
What if you get $10k more than what you need to make the record? What happens to that money? Does it go into your band savings account for the next record? Buy a van? Add songs to the record? Get sweet merch printed?
If you actually do have a runaway success, your fans will want to hear about a nobel cause that the extra money will go towards – so be prepared.
LOW ROAD/HIGH ROAD TECHNIQUE (flex goal)
In your video and/or description area, state a plan for what you will do with the minimum goal and how although it’s not the best case, you’ll still make it work and backers will be helping you complete your project.
Then, you also state (and emphasize) your actual goal, which is the actual amount you need to complete the project mission (in most cases, making an album).
The actual goal is the amount you want people to remember. You’re only using the minimum goal as a work around to the all or nothing nature of Kickstarter projects. So you need a visual and several reminders so potential backers don’t give up once you hit your tiny little minimum goal.
Here’s how Anatomy of Frank used the Low Road/High Road Technique
The highly visible short description area just under the video emphasizes the actual goal:
Notice the not-so-obvious $2000 goal in the image below:
Now to get the full context, here’s the video that explains the minimum goal, but strongly emphasizes the actual goal:
Kyle is Anatomy of Frank’s singer/songwriter and from what I can tell, the manager who makes it all happen. In an email exchange he shared that the band had 300 emails on their list at launch. When I asked about setting his Kickstarter goal amount here’s what he had to say:
LJ: How did you determine your goal amount?
KYLE: Determining the cost was straightforward. $2000 was what we needed to pay our producer, who has been slaving away for us for months. That was our first priority, especially from a moral standpoint. So that was our minimum. We need $5200 total to pay him AND print the CDs, so that’s where our projection came from.
LJ: what was your plan if you were to only raise the $2000 minimum goal? Credit cards? Loans? Did you have funds on hand?
KYLE: If we had only raised the $2000, we would have had to take out a loan. Whether this would have been from our parents, a bank, or ourselves, I’m not sure…but we would have gotten it done somehow. The $2000 minimum was just an absolute necessity, because our producer has been losing lots of sleep to get this thing done and we knew we wanted to pay him at all costs.
LJ: How often did you email the 300 people on your mailing list?
KYLE: Only emailed the mailing list once! (I have a personal policy of not sending more than 4-5 emails per year and loading each one with goodies). This makes receiving the emails a treat instead of a hassle, and I really do think subscribing to an email list is something that people are understandably hesitant about.