Kickstarter Series #08: “It’s all in the detail” Choosing Rewards for your Crowdfunding Project

So, you’ve got a brilliant idea, you have an awesome video, your campaign page is amazing and you’re raring to go. Just time to bosh together a few offers and press the launch button right?

Wrong.

Choosing and pricing your crowdfunding campaign rewards correctly is key to ensuring you’re offering backers a deal they can’t refuse. To illustrate this point cast your eyes over the following… The three stages of a person becoming a backer:

 

1. They become aware of/ interested in your campaign somehow.
2. They buy into your idea through your campaign page after watching your video or reading your description.
3. Ultimately they decide to back your campaign and support you in reaching your goal.

 

Choosing great rewards is crucial to make the most of Step 3. After all, without Step 3 you wouldn’t have any backers!
 

 


 

Image source: wlatham92

So, what Rewards do I choose?

Every campaign is different, and unfortunately there isn’t a winning formula that works for every campaign. However, to help you make the right choice for your campaign here are a few things to consider:

 


 

Image source: MUTI

Early Bird Rewards

Early bird rewards are rewards offered to the backers that support your campaign soon after launch. Early bird rewards can encourage people to back your campaign right away rather than “waiting to see how things go” and can be a great tool to help you gain early momentum.

Generally speaking, there are two main types of early bird pledge: quantity-limited and time-limited pledges.

Quantity-Limited Early Bird Rewards

Quantity limited early birds are the most common type of early bird reward offered. They work on the basis of offering a certain reward that can only be chosen by a few people before it becomes “sold out”.

Time-Limited Early Bird Rewards

Time limited early birds are those that don’t have a quantity limit at the launch of the campaign and are instead available to anyone who selects them within a certain time window. For example, you might be offering early bird pricing on your product for the first 24 hours only.

Although Kickstarter currently doesn’t support auto-closing of time-limited rewards, there is a workaround. When the time window you choose has closed, you can simply edit the pledge option from having unlimited availability to being limited to the current number of backers. Simple!

What To Offer As Your Early Bird Pledges

There are many different methods you can use to differentiate your early bird rewards from your other rewards. Here are a few of my favourites:

      • Lower price – You could simply offer your early bird pledge level at a lower price. Making it 10-20% lower is generally a good starting point, don’t go too low though or the difference between your early bird pricing and your regular pricing will look too big and may put off people who miss out on the early bird option.
      • Exclusive bonus item – Instead of offering your product at a lower price you could throw something into the mix for free instead. Perhaps a free case/ refill/ bag/ accessory…?
      • Exclusive variant – You could offer a different version of your product as an early bird (if this is economically viable for you). Perhaps a special early bird colour?
      • Exclusive modification – You could offer some custom modification to make the first few rewards claimed that little extra special. Perhaps you could sign the first 50 copies of your book and offer them as early birds, or even laser engraving the serial number of the first few of your product so people can lay claim to owning the “2nd [your product] ever produced” for example.

Pros and Cons of Early Bird Rewards

When discussing early bird rewards it seems there is a mix of opinion on the matter. One camp believes that they’re a great tool to help build early momentum, whilst the other camp believes that they might alienate people who discover your campaign late and feel like they’ve missed out on something.

I personally am in the first camp. I believe, when done right, that early birds can be a great way to get your campaign up and rolling quickly. Providing your early birds aren’t massively cheaper/ more awesome than your other rewards, people are understanding that it’s the early bird that catches the worm and are still keen to support your campaign and claim one of the other rewards with no hard feelings.

 


 

The Importance of £1

Whatever rewards you choose, be sure to have something available for £1 (or $1 or 1€), even if you’re not offering something physical in return. Many people may simply want to support your campaign if they like it, even if they can’t afford your actual product at the time. Give them the chance to do so.

Besides giving people an easy and low-cost means of supporting your campaign, having a £1 pledge is hugely important in another way…

Every backer who supports you campaign can get notified every time you publish an update.

This means that backers who support you at the £1 level can stay in the loop with the project progress and may well decide at a later point to up their pledge amount and get one of your products after all. This could be for a number of reasons, perhaps they couldn’t afford to at the start of your campaign but subsequently got their pay cheque, or perhaps they were undecided and one of your updates convinced them that your product was perfect for them. No matter the reason they switched, people do choose to increase their pledge, so make sure that £1 pledge is there!


 

Source: Version 22

 

Be Average

 
The average pledge amount, according to Kickstarter, is $25 (or around £19) so be sure to have something of significance to offer backers at around this level. In our Nimble campaign we offered a Three Pack of Nimbles at £19 and almost as many people chose this as chose only one Nimble!

 


 

Image source: Guillaume Kurkdjian

Tiered Pricing

Everyone has different values, opinions, circumstances and bank balances. In others words, no two people are the same…

So, why offer everyone the same reward?

Instead, look to have tiered rewards starting at £1 and increasing in price as your offer more and more perks. As well as catering for more people this way, you might actually convince people to opt for a slightly higher reward than they initially chose because you’re offering such a great deal!

So, how do you tier your rewards and offer something at the low end, something in the middle, and something for a little more?

There are many ways to do this, but the four simplest options are as follows:

1. Multiples

Although Kickstarter didn’t used to allow “multi-packs” as rewards options, they have since relaxed their rules to make this option available to you… use it!

Offering different numbers of your product at different pledge levels is a great way to have simple tiered pricing and offer people amazing deals too. It is logistically quite simple as well…you’re still sending people the same product after all, just a different number of them!

2. Bundles

If your product or products are made up of a number of different components or form part of a set, you could consider creating different bundles to offer people. If you were designing a tea set for example you could offer the tiers below shown in price order starting with the lowest:

      1. A teaspoon
      2. A cup, saucer and teaspoon
      3. 2 cups, 2 saucers and 2 teaspoons
      4. 3 cups, 3 saucers, 3 teaspoons and a sugar bowl
      5. 4 cups, 4 saucers, 4 teaspoons, a sugar bowl and a teapot.

You could go on and on…

Prepd Pack, the next generation of lunch box, recently did a great job using tiered pledges in their campaign.

Image source: Prepd Pack

Check it out their campaign in full here.

3. Customisation

One way to offer more value without having to have many different products to bundle together is to offer customisation for an increased pledge amount. For example, a signed copy of your book for £15 instead of £10, the option to have your name engraved in the product for an extra £20, the ability to select the ideal colour combination instead of choosing from 3 fixed options.

4. Experiential/ Premium Rewards

Sometimes people come along who really like your campaign and what you’re trying to create, they might even be quite well-to-do and want to support your campaign in a big way.

But you can’t expect something for nothing – Kickstarter isn’t a charity – so consider offering a reward at the higher level with heaps of value built in. Rewards can be successful when offered at £100s and even £1,000’s if done right (£5,000 is the maximum in the UK, in the US max is $10,000. See here for a more extensive list of maximums). Here are some great examples.

      • “Be an extra in our film”
      • “Have a character in our graphic novel named after you”
      • “Spend a day at our studio and have dinner with the project creators”
      • “Work together with us to design a custom, bespoke version of our product just for you”
      • “Lifetime meals from our crowdfunded Korean street food van”
      • “Spend the day in our studio helping to design a level in our computer game”

 


 

Image source: Loïs Marcin

How to Space Pricing

As a general rule it’s a good idea to have lots of rewards on offer with lower price points and to space your pricing further apart as the value of each reward increases.

For example -> £1, £5, £9, £19, £35, £50, £75, £120, £200, £500

For someone looking to pledge £5, £9 might not be considered much of a leap. So, providing you’re offering enough value, they might be inclined to opt for the £9 reward instead.

Likewise, for someone considering the £120 option, £200 might not be too much of a leap either if the value is there.

Additionally, gradually increasing the amount between pledges avoid the following situation:

£5, £10, £15, £20, £25, £30…. [aaaaages later] … £155, £165, £170.

Can you imagine?! No, it’s best to aim for around 10 rewards options (or even less if you can manage) to avoid confusing your backers and inducing “choice paralysis”.

Version 22 choice paralysis

 


 

Image source: Matthew Smith

Offer Real Value

Consider if what you’re asking people to pledge for a given reward suggests good value. Put yourself in their shoes, would you pay £2,000 for dinner with project creators if this didn’t include travel or accommodation? Probably not!

(Assuming they weren’t famous or something that is…)

 


 

Image source: Nylas

Be Different

There are many of campaigns on Kickstarter which simply have pledges offering 1 x for one amount and 3 x for a different amount, mine included, but is there a reward you could offer to make you stand out from the crowd even more?

For example, one campaign I saw, I forget which one, said they would shout out the name of each of their $1 backers from a hill-top and share a video recording of them doing so online. In other words, they offered a literal “shout-out” not just an online one!

One campaign was taking 1,000 ping-pong ball-sized student experiments to the edge of space at 100,000 feet and in return for supporting them they sent custom messages people chose up into the edge of space too.

Another campaign to research building a floating swimming pool in the Hudson River gave people the option to have their name printed permanently on a pool tile which would be installed in the pool when it was built.

 


 

Still Need Inspiration?

If you still need help coming up with ideas for your Kickstarter rewards check out this amazing list Kickstarter made of 96, yes ninety-six, different reward suggestions.

 


 

Have you got any ideas of other rewards not mentioned here? Have you seen a great reward idea on another campaign before? Share all that and more in the comments below.