Kick-non-starter

So I think anyone who’s ever tried turning a product idea into a reality has thought seriously about doing a Kickstarter campaign at some point.

Back when the platform was still vaguely centered around funding creative projects and not just a store for hipster wallets and watches, we decided to give it a go.

Our product was the Light Switch Adapter. The Light Switch Adapter gives kids under 5 the ability to access light switches that are otherwise out of reach. While there are equivalent products available in the US, there is nothing available for Australian switches, so we thought we had a pretty decent pitch.

As recommended in Kickstarter ‘how to’ guides, we made an amusing informer video and created a rewards package for our soon-to-be sponsors. We then sent out dozens of press releases to local papers and blogs announcing the launch of our campaign.

This was probably the most successful part of our journey. Predictably intrigued by identical sisters with dwarfism, three newspapers picked up our story and Channel 10’s The Project even did a feature on our campaign.

With all this free exposure we were pretty confident that we’d achieve our rather modest goal of $5000. But we didn’t. In fact, we fell embarrassingly short of our funding target.

Looking over our Kickstarter stats we were surprised to discover that the articles and tv feature had generated next to no extra traffic to our page. Take from that what you will, but we think it’s a pretty good indicator that the Kickstarter audience isn’t watching linear television or reading traditional newspapers. That or everyone just hated our idea.

In hindsight, the whole Kickstarter campaign was more than just a demoralising experience though, it was also pretty informative.

We discovered that interest in our story as entrepreneurs doesn’t translate into product sales, that people with disabilities don’t necessarily support disability relevant products, and that trying to merge the children’s market with the disability market just confuses our message.

Who would have thought the “know your audience” mantra spouted in every free business course I’ve ever intended, was so true? Next time I’ll remember not to role my eyes.

Our Kickstarter informer video

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