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Kickstarter killers: 4 mistakes that will completely sink your project.

By: Jennifer Perez on July 31st, 2013

For every over-funded Kickstarter project with a cash haul of hundreds of thousands of dollars, there are at least three or four projects that never fill up that goal bar. While some of the hottest products often have full-fledged social media teams working strictly on promotion, even solopreneurs with far less loftier goals routinely undercut their own precious projects. If you're considering going all-in with Kickstarter and want to pop that champagne rather than send endless let-down emails, you'll need to avoid common mistakes that strangle projects in the crib. Here are four big missteps people make when pushing their Kickstarter projects:

Mistake #1: Failing to strategically fund other projects

When you've filled out your profile, got your social ducks in order, and laid out your prizes list, you might find yourself short on both time and treasure. This is normal: hustling your project can easily be a full-time job, only without the pay, benefits or (sometimes) personal sense of accomplishment. No matter how strapped you are, in the Kickstarter world, the quid pro quo is alive and well. Giving to other projects is practically mandatory. However, don't just spend your hard-earned cash indiscriminately. Instead, help fund projects that have a passionate following, a large social media presence, or an influence over other campaigns. In the end, even if you throw a just few dollars at a strategically-sound project, there's a good chance you'll get additional attention and extra cash for your own dream product.

Mistake #2: Failing to research demand for your product

Zombie comics. Photo books featuring dancers. Accessories for iPads, iPhones and other popular tech products. You might feel like your project is unique, well-developed and a necessity for customers, but making it stand out from other projects can be a huge roadblock. Keep an eye on products in the same family as yours. Did those other projects get funding? Are they limping along at 25 percent with just a few days left? Do serious research on the demand for similar products before you even consider putting your stuff out there.

Mistake #3: Ignoring a green angle

It's a fact: Kickstarter users are notoriously eco-conscious. They love projects that not only serve a great purpose, but help the environment simultaneously. Think about your project or product. Is there some sort of green aspect you've overlooked? Can you truly say your product is green, and if not, find a way to make it less of a strain on the environment? From recycled materials to streamlined, energy-conscious manufacturing, try to find some way to “green up” your project.

Mistake #4: Asking for the wrong amount of money

Although this seems like a no-brainer, finding that “sweet spot” goal amount is tricky. Ask for too much money and you'll never get your funding. Ask for too little money and your project or product will never see the light of day (nor will your prizes and rewards for donors). Instead of taking a wild guess, consider working with a company that specializes in publicizing and getting solid funding for Kickstarter projects. Dragon Innovation (one of Geisel Software's clients - full disclosure), was the engine behind several projects funded at more than $1 million, including the customizable Pebble Watch ($10,000,000+ in funding), and Formlabs, a 3-D printer (almost $3 million). With Dragon Innovation and similar companies, you'll get an experienced team to ask all the right questions. If you're looking for a lot of money, how long it will take before your donors see results? Have you fully-fleshed out your project? Have you answered each and every question, from A to Z, that donors might ask about your project? Kickstarter is one of the most powerful crowdfunding tools out there, and the right strategy can turn a little-known project into a cash cow that rakes in thousands of dollars. While no project is a sure bet, avoid these blunders to seriously boost your chances at success.

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    Jennifer Perez