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7 Ways to Build an Email List Before Your Kickstarter Launch

Published by Salvador Briggman. Find him on Twitter.

Despite the popularity of social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, email marketing is still one of the top ways to develop a relationship with potential customers and inspire them to take action, whether that is to support a project, share a link, or buy a product.

“Email conversion rates are three times higher than social media, with a 17% higher value in the conversion”Mckinsey&Company.

Similar to the Kickstarter video, email marketing is part art and part science.

On the one hand, there are techniques and strategies that you can employ to improve email open rates, get more subscribers, and improve click through rates to a particular website page or Kickstarter page.

creating email landing apgeOn the other hand, the individuals who sign up for your email list are not simply numbers, part of a statistic on your email provider’s dashboard, or passive consumers. They are real human beings with thoughts, feelings, desires, and emotions.  In order to get more email subscribers, you need to understand a bit of the psychology behind subscribing to an email list.

In this post, I’m going to be highlighting a few ways that you can build up your email list prior to the launch of your Kickstarter campaign, which is a great way to ensure that you get enough backers on the first day of your campaign’s launch so that you rank more favorably in the Kickstarter search algorithm.

1) Use an email list provider, not a temporary solution.

I know that money is tight, which is why you’re planning on launching a Kickstarter campaign in the first place in order to finance your cool new project! However, it would be a huge mistake to not use an established email list management provider, like MailChimp, which is free up until 2,000 subscribers, or Aweber, which has been around for a while and has great functionality.

Why? Email list software will:

  • Give you analytics every time you send a campaign regarding the number of people who click links, open that email, unsubscribe, and more.
  • Let you create auto-responders every time someone opts into your email list to direct them to a page or convey a message (like the one I’ve set up with my newsletter).
  • Make it super easy to set up a series of pre-scheduled messages, which can be a great way to automate some of the marketing process as you lead up to the launch of your campaign. You can see a demo of this in my free course that will reveal how to hit your crowdfunding goal ASAP.
  • See who most frequently opens your emails.

2) Offer value in exchange for an email address

What is “value?” You’re right. That’s a very abstract concept.

Basically, by giving your potential subscriber something exclusive or beneficial, he or she will be more likely to subscribe to your email list because they will get something out of the relationship.

For example, you could use MailChimp to direct the subscriber to:

  • A behind-the-scenes special video.
  • Deliver an exclusive chapter of your upcoming novel.
  • Send them a link to a poll or special FB group where they can vote on the name of a main character.
  • Get an exclusive discount code that will give them 10% off future products.
  • View an awesome hilarious video “beware: don’t watch this video for our upcoming comedy show while you are at work, or you will burst out laughing.”

Think of these value-adding ideas as mini rewards that are meant to gain the interest of a potential subscriber so that they are more comfortable exchanging their email address for future announcements regarding the launch of your Kickstarter campaign.

3) Make your email-opt in noticeable.

Ask yourself three questions:

  1. Where is the email opt-in form on your website?
  2. What is the first thing that should draw a visitor’s attention when they visit your site?
  3. Why did a visitor come to your website in the first place?

Now, ask these questions to a series of visitors that you’ve connected with (friends, family, individuals who are interested in your project).

question markYou might know where your email opt-in form is, but do they? You might want to direct their attention to a particular video, link, or email opt-in form the moment that they visit your website, but what actually is grabbing their attention?

Determining how your visitor discovered your website in the first place, whether it was through social media, a search engine, an article you’ve written, or an an event you attended, will help you figure out the type of content that you should offer them in exchange for subscribing to your newsletter (and the types of rewards subscribers are going to be interested in when you actually launch).

For example, if someone discovered your website from a funny video that you posted on social media, which will be a part of a larger online comedy show, then it’s likely that they’d love to receive more content like this!

Resources to help track this information:

4) Use Call To Actions (ask people to subscribe).

This might seem silly, but you’d be surprised the amount of email subscribers that websites lose out on simply because they forget to ask a visitor to subscribe!

One way to put this in perspective is to watch YouTubers who have millions of subscribers and who have made a living out of making online videos. What’s the last thing that they say at the end of every video? It’s something along the lines of “if you enjoyed this video, take a moment to give it a thumbs up or leave a comment.” They might also say “subscribe if you’d like more funny prank videos like this!”

ABSYL: Always be selling your list, meaning, always be highlighting why people should subscribe, particularly if they’ve taken the time to watch one of your videos, read through a blog post, or go visit your website.

Don’t just tell people what you want, which is to subscribe to your email list. Explain to them why it’s awesome for them if they subscribe.

5) Build a Landing Page

A landing page is very different from a full-blown website, which has all of the information about your team, your products, and your journey. The purpose of a landing page is to solely to collect an email address or have your visitor take an action, rather than exposing them to lots of information about your company or project.

You might set the landing page as your homepage leading up to the launch of your Kickstarter campaign or even have a custom domain name that you reference on business cards or should you attend any conventions, do interviews, or get linked to by a media publication.

A great landing page will share compelling information about your upcoming project in an organized fashion and highlight any multimedia that you have (video, prototype images), the benefits of being a participant in your upcoming your launch or what’s cool about the product, and more.

infographic landing page structure

Source: Formstack and Kissmetrics.

Tools to help you build a landing page:

6) Consider WordPress-Based Plugins

If you’re not using WordPress as the framework for your website, then this step won’t be helpful. However, if you are, then I highly recommend checking out the OptinMonster and OptinSkin plugins, which I use on this website and others.

If you’re using MailChimp as your mailing list provider, you could also enable “evil popup mode,” but I don’t find this to be as affective in terms of providing data or cool themes as the above two plugins.

These plugins will draw more attention to your message which prompt visitors to subscribe to your email list.

7) Drive Traffic and Measure Results

I’ve highlighted a few tools and techniques to get more email list subscribers in anticipation of your project’s launch on Kickstarter. Ultimately, the only way to get more subscribers is to drive traffic to your website or landing page and adjust the positioning/wording of the call-to-action messaging that you’re using to get a visitor to subscribe to your email list.

This could mean that you might need to use trial and error to figure out the type of incentive that gets a visitor most exited about signing up for your email list, or the content that you’re putting out to get people on to your website in the first place.

To drive more traffic, these strategies are key when promoting your crowdfunding project. I’ve also shared some unique actionable tips for improving and getting more traffic to your page throughout my free crowdfunding course.

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  • Libe

    Great article, those tips are definitely worth keeping in mind! Also, thanks for the list of tools, I’ve used some of them in the past and they are really helpful.

    • CrowdCrux

      Nice! Yeah, I have also used a lot of them in the past. Google analytics brings sanity to the marketing world.

  • Ilya Tarasenko

    Great article! I have recently learned about croudfunding and I start my own campaigns. Such articles help much people like me

    • CrowdCrux

      Thanks for the kind words!

  • Harry Braswell

    Helpful article! Yeah Google Analytics can be a powerfully addictive tool when one is trying to make their dream project come to life. I’ve felt like a lab rat pushing a lever on more than one occasion…

    I’ve also found that it can take your project’s initial failure for you to rethink your target audience. I Set my goal impossibly high for my audience and networking capabilities, and am about to cancel and re-launch the same project with much more feasible goals.
    Luckily, I’m doing so only a few days into my funding cycle, and all of my backers are personal connections.

    Thanks again for the helpful tips!

  • Usually not very keen on having a pop-up in my face asking for an email address, so I won’t do that to my project website visitors either, at least not atm…

    • CrowdCrux

      It depends on your goal. If your goal is to get more email conversions, I would split test the popup and look at the data to see if you get more sign-ups or not.

  • Casey Sampson

    Great article, building an email list of potential backers prior to the start date of a crowdfunding campaign is imperative. Project managers need to communicate with their audience prior to the start date of a campaign. Having a solid email list prior to launching a campaign can greatly improve the probability of success. Here is a blog post that provides some helpful tip on reaching potential backers:

  • Anupam Rajey

    Indeed an awesome post, Salvador Briggman. Thanks for writing it! And I completely agree with you that giving away something exclusive and beneficial will add more subscribers to an email list. Content upgrades for my popular posts have accelerated my list building efforts. What’s your take on this?

    • CrowdCrux

      Totally agree with this. Great way to boost subscriber numbers.

  • morebackers

    I agree that building an email list is key. I’ve compiled a list of 125,000 previous crowdfunding backers (some from my own projects and others via trading). I’m happy to share the list with you or other passionate crowdfunders – just shoot me a mail ben@getscooty.com