Kickstarter marketing companies swarm all over you as soon as you launch a campaign. They’ll promise the world, but are they worth using? Here is what I’ve found works and what doesn’t.

Before you even consider working with a Kickstarter marketing company you need to make sure you’ve done everything you can to build your customer base yourself. A marketing company can bring you more customers, but it should be a top-up to your own work.

That means starting your marketing months before your campaign launches. As I’ve written before, launching your campaign should be just about the end of your marketing, not the beginning.

There is no reason to use Kickstarter marketing companies to build buzz around your product in advance. You know your product better than anyone, and it’s almost free to start a blog and build an audience for your campaign. If you can’t manage to do that, maybe you should be questioning your product. It should be easy to get people interested, even if making the sale is less so.

Paying for pre-campaign marketing is the biggest mistake campaigns make. It won’t work as well as the things that you can do for free. Don’t do it.

Note: While I stand behind the advice here, I might do things differently if I were running a campaign for a big company with a 6 or 7 figure marketing budget. This process can take a $0 budget and turn it into a 6 figure campaign. I’ve done it. It probably won’t turn a $0 budget in to a high 7 or 8 figure campaign, because I don’t think that can be done. But if you’ve got a big budget you’re probably not reading this in the first place 🙂

Reasons for using Kickstarter marketing companies

Despite my strong preference for doing the majority of the marketing myself, there are some scenarios where Kickstarter marketing companies can be worth working with.

Assuming they are a company with a history of working on crowdfunding campaigns, they’ll almost certainly have an existing list of backers that they can target on your behalf. There is a certain type of person that backs crowdfunding projects and having access to those people has benefits.

Another is that Kickstarter marketing companies are very likely to know how to target Facebook ads to a very high level of accuracy. Unless you have tens of thousands of people on your mailing list already, running Facebook ads with sufficient focus can be tough. If you’re not a professional Facebook ads manager, working with someone that is can result in incredibly good results.

Reasons for not using Kickstarter marketing companies

One of my key objections to Kickstarter marketing companies is the cut of the sales that they demand. I’ve talked to some that charge 40% of total project funding. Forty percent! If I’ve driven the majority of the sales myself, there is no way I’m giving away 40% of it.

Even if you do agree to terms as crazy as that, all you’re doing is passing on the cost to your customers. You know what you need to charge to build the product and run at a profit, so if you’ve got 40% spare to give away you were overcharging. This is a Kickstarter campaign not a retail store – run a fair campaign at a good price and you’ll pick up customers. Advertise your huge margins and you’re likely to annoy people.

Should you use a Kickstarter marketing company?

It’s a personal decision, but here is my recommendation:

  • Don’t use one in the run up to your campaign. I’ve written plenty on how to build buzz without paying other companies. Do that, and don’t launch until people are excited
  • Reject any company that requires a cut of all sales. If you’ve driven your own sales, that’s your money
  • Know your margin. When you’re pricing your product build in a little extra to give away as a referral fee
  • Use Kickbooster to run a referral scheme. Kickbooster makes it easy to run a kickstarter referral programme and give away a set percentage of sales to people that refer customers. So for example you could agree to give someone a 15% fee for any sales that they send to your campaign. If they send no sales, they get nothing. If they send one sale, they get 15% of that one sale etc
  • If a company offers a no-results, no-fee service then obviously they are worth talking to. There are Kickstarter marketing companies that will run free facebook ads for your campaign if they get to keep 25-35% of sales that they refer. That’s probably worth considering if you aren’t making easy sales as it’ll push you towards your goal