Developing a successful crowd-funded project using Kickstarter is challenging. According to Kickstarter, only 52 percent of the projects successfully reach their goal. The rest end up giving the Kickstarter user knowledge he or she can use the next time around. Though the product should always be your main focus, a great project (like a great meal) should be composed of several elements that complement one another. Here are seven ingredients for a good Kickstarter project—Bon Appetit!

1. Research the good and bad.


(Image: via wikimedia commons)                                                                  (Image: on Flickr via raindrift)

Spend as much time as possible on Kickstarter researching what other people have done, and not just in your project’s genre. This kind of research is like reading recipes and deciding which to make. Delve into other projects from start to finish to learn what worked and what flopped. That way, you’ll be better prepared to tackle the challenges ahead in presenting your idea, product, goal, video and rewards.

2. Define your project by your story.


(Image: via Kickstarter)

Next, tell your potential supporters what you’re going to make. Sell the sizzle along with the steak—define your project and demonstrate why it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Engage their emotions—make them hungry for your success. Focus on what the project will mean for them and how it can help them in the future.

3. Set the right goal.

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(Image: on Flickr via Hiking artist)

All Kickstarter projects run on an all-or-nothing basis, which makes choosing a deadline and an amount important. If you don’t meet your financial goal by the deadline, you don’t receive any of the money backers have pledged. On the other hand, projects that reach their goal before the deadline will continue to be open for funding. The recipe for success is choosing goals that are not too aggressive but not too timid: Like the porridge in Goldilocks, it needs to be just right.

4. Make rewards worthwhile.


(Image: on Flickr via archer10)

Offering tiered rewards is required on Kickstarter, and it’s a big key to reaching your project’s goal. However, the pie should be divided up depending on the level of backing. Reward each backer depending on the level of support they give. T-shirts or hats may be good for your “tip-jar” backers, but if a someone shells out more than $100 they deserve something special. Creative rewards such as naming an ice cream flavor after a donor or promising to follow them on Twitter is a cheap way to offer backers something no one else can.

5. Make your video inspiring but original.

Your video is your project’s eye candy and its heart and soul. The first thing someone will do when they visit your project page is click on your video. Though flashy and artsy videography can help, what matters in your video is how well you explain who you are and what your project will do. The video can also explain your story, why you need money, what you plan to do with donations and what rewards you offer. However, don’t just talk about yourself and your product. Talk about how the product will bring joy to the potential contributor.

6. Promote your project.

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(Image: on Flickr via Grenemann)

Just like the aroma from the kitchen that says, “Supper’s ready!”, no one will know about your great project unless you tell them. Top Kickstarters reach their goal well before their deadline by smart promotion. This doesn’t mean spamming inboxes. Begin with a core group of friends and family who believe in your project and will dedicate themselves to spreading the word about it. Sites like Launchrock are a great way to build awareness before the project has even started.

7. Give project updates.


(Image: on Flickr via ironypoisoning)

Though developing your project should begin before launching, as you move closer to your goal, feed your backers a steady stream of appetizers—development and project updates that highlight your story and emphasize your growing commitment to success.

 (Featured image: on Flickr via Iban)

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