Article first published June 2013, updated June 2019.
Today’s guest post is by serial creative and longtime cool customer, Andrew Spear. Andrew’s projects have always used email marketing in interesting ways, so, when he mentioned that he was sending campaigns to encourage people to back his My Little Geek children’s books and iPad app on Kickstarter, we knew he would have a good story to share.
We’ve seen a fair few of our customers use email marketing to seek out backers, especially designers and creators that have established an audience prior to seeking funding on Kickstarter. So, in this post, we’ll not only be looking at Andrew’s work for My Little Geek, but a couple of other Kickstarter email updates that you may like.
My Little Geek Kickstarter email campaign
Kickstarter campaigns are a lot of work, at the best of times. Add a day job and two kids and there’s very little time to spare! When promoting My Little Geek, we needed solutions that you could get running, forget about, then move on to the next thing.
While we used Campaign Monitor in a bunch of different ways, here are the three most effective things we did.
#1: Give a little, take a little.
The original My Little Geek book has been available for a while now, so, initially, we wanted to email our existing customers and ask them to support our Kickstarter campaign. As they had previously purchased the book and were likely interested in the two new books and iPad app, these were high-quality leads. That said, we didn’t want to jump straight in and ask them for a favour, so instead, we took Shayne Tilley‘s advice and used a “give-give-take” approach—which meant giving our subscribers a little something first.
We used Campaign Monitor to queue up three separate emails to be delivered over a ten-day period. Our schedule looked like this:
- 10 days from launch (give) – We introduced the campaign by giving some exclusive behind-the-scenes photos of our video shoot, and previewed initial sketches of our new books.
- 3 days from launch (give) – We offered a link to our unlisted trailer on YouTube as another exclusive preview, just for these subscribers.
- On launch day (take) – We scheduled this email to coincide with the Kickstarter launch, right down to the minute. This gave our subscribers the first opportunity to snap up the limited pledges as soon as the campaign went live. We also gave them a link a sharing-focused landing page so they could help spread the word.
The give-give-take approach broke the ice with customers that hadn’t heard from us in a while. It made them feel better about our final request and built anticipation ahead of the launch date. Overall, the feedback we received regarding the project and email campaigns were really positive.
#2: Plain-text, for a personal approach
We didn’t want this to feel like a big expensive corporate enterprise—why would people pledge to that? The reality is, My Little Geek is a side-project run by a mom and dad from home and we wanted our campaigns to convey that. So most of our email campaigns were sent as plain-text:
We love creating pretty HTML emails, but decided to give that up this time around and got the personal touch we were after.
#3: Get competitive.
A week after the Kickstarter launch, we started a competition in which we gave away autographed copies of our first book. This raised awareness for the campaign as well as our existing products.
We decided to use a Campaign Monitor subscriber list as our database. Initially, the idea was to use a Subscribe Page, but instead, we settled on embedding their subscribe form code on our own site so we could take advantage of the viral subscribe form we had built earlier. As an incentive, entrants got a bonus entry if they shared the form.
Every time a new entrant filled in the form, we had a confirmation email sent to them, which included a link to the Kickstarter campaign. We also scheduled an autoresponder to be sent to entrants the day before the competition closed, encouraging them to share the giveaway with their friends. Once set up, both follow-up emails were automatically sent to all new entrants, saving us valuable time.
Once the competition was up, our marketing was largely run on auto-pilot. Even better, we didn’t have to use any special tools beyond what we were already using to promote My Little Geek, which meant little extra cost and no unexpected learning curve.
How email marketing can help you raise awareness for any launch
As discussed, My Little Geek experienced great success with utilizing different touchpoints for their Kickstarter email campaign.
The even better news? Email isn’t just for Kickstarter projects. In fact, utilizing a targeted email campaign will not only grow awareness but also boost sales for your next product launch.
Generally, your email campaign needs to create some sort of hype around your upcoming product launch. Between the subject line, email copy, and images, you need to pique your subscriber’s interest to be engaged enough to click on your email, but also willing to convert into a customer.
While every email should include the product launch date, descriptions, and images, your emails should also answer the following questions:
- What is the product?
- How can you purchase the product?
- How does this product benefit you?
- What sets this product apart?
Are you ready to build an email campaign that’s engaging and builds hype? Follow these Kickstarter email best practices that can be applied to any product launch.
1. Build curiosity with pre-launch emails
Have you ever received an email with a subject line reading, “Your life is about to get better” or “Something big is happening”? These subject lines help build curiosity and mystery around the launch with your subscribers. Of course, they want to know how the product will change their life.
Sending pre-launch emails is a great way for not only getting your subscribers excited, but also helping you build an audience who’s ready to buy the product.
To create a successful pre-launch email, include these three elements:
- Define how this product solves a problem
- Identify a clear CTA with your product—like sign up for a waitlist, share on social media, or pre-order.
- Create a plan for how many pre-launch emails you need to send in order to maintain buildup
2. Announce your product is live.
Now that you’ve successfully built suspense around your new product, it’s time to actually launch it to the masses. The launch email should be the first push towards your subscribers to purchase the product, while still convincing those who are still on the fence.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when sending your product announcement email:
- Focus only on the product and its benefits. Avoid including unrelated upcoming sales or blogs, as you don’t want to distract from the main goal—purchasing the product. Adding benefits will help bring home the reasons why your subscribers need the product.
- Include an incentive that’ll entice subscribers to purchase your product. If you create exclusivity around this event (i.e., only available for the next 24 hours), your subscribers will be more likely to take action and not miss out on a deal.
Source: Really Good Emails
As the most popular digital platform, email helps make a great impact on future Kickstarter campaigns and any other product launches. If you’re looking for a way to connect with your audience frequently to build value around your product, email is your answer.
Many thanks to Andrew Spear for taking the time to show us how used both Kickstarter and email to give the My Little Geek book series a well-deserved boost. If his books and iPad app sound like something you’d like, why not swing by his Kickstarter page and pledge your support? The little geeks in your life will love you for it!
Now that you understand how Kickstarter email campaigns can help build awareness with subscribers, it’s time to start developing your own plan. Take a look at Campaign Monitor’s preflight checklist to ensure your emails don’t skip a beat.