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7 Practical Secrets to Create Attractive Kickstarter Rewards


7 Practical Secrets to Create Attractive Kickstarter Rewards

Everybody loves rewards. A fact that is especially true in crowdfunding, where rewards incentivize backers and drive people to support your project. Sure, your video and network are crucial but, without attractive rewards, you risk collecting donations from your friends and family and no one else.

Today, I am going to reveal the six-feature anatomy of attractive Kickstarter rewards (if you’re from the Kickstarter crowd) or Indiegogo perks.

A sample of 29,000  Indiegogo technology campaigns shows that the most popular perks range in value from $10 to $30. Nearly 60% of the total contributions to these campaigns came from backers selecting perks in the $10-$50 range. Projects without a reward of $20 or less succeeded 28% of the time. In contrast, those with rewards of $20 or less had a success rate of 45%.

The lesson? Whatever your main reward value might be, always include a perk at the popular $20-25 mark.

 1. Target your rewards

We speak a lot about targeting, and identifying the precise audience that stands to gain the most from your campaign. These are the guys who will be the most motivated to see your project succeed, so you need to offer rewards that will entice them.

Target your campaign perks:

  1. Identify your audience.
  2. Split that audience into different segments based on a common feature or interest (age, location, industry, family, etc.).
  3. Target a reward to each segment of your audience.

For example, your core reward is a smart wallet (because who wants a wallet that isn’t smart?), and your audience is composed of your family, business people, tech enthusiasts, people looking for a unique gift, and those who like your idea and want to see it become a reality. These are the groups you need to target.

  1. $5 – Thank you note. This reward is for people who just like your idea and want to support it.
  2. $15 – Wallet ambassador badge. This reward is for people who know you and influencers who might use your campaign to gain a little PR (but we’ll get into that in a minute).
  3. $25 – T-shirt: my life, my wallet. This reward is for friends and family, who want to support you and will wear your novelty T-shirt with pride.
  4. $97 – Smart Wallet in faux leather (55% off the regular price). This reward is for the younger crowd, who like your product but might not be able to afford it at the full price.
  5. $137 – Smart Wallet with iPhone charger (38% off the regular price). This reward is for tech enthusiasts and Apple fans.
  6. $149 – Smart Wallet with engraved name and personalized packaging (35% off the regular price). What do you buy the person who has everything? A personalized wallet that isn’t even on the market yet. Target those gift seekers with the option to customize.
  7. $197 – Premium Quality Leather Smart Wallet (40% off the regular price). For higher earners, who want the same functionality with a luxury finish and are willing to pay more for it.
  8. $279 – 2 Smart Wallets with engraved names and messages. (41% off the regular price). Targeting couples, who want to have the same wallet with each other’s names, gift seekers, and friends who want to pair up for an added discount.

Got the idea? Let’s move on, then!

 2. Keep it simple

It’s not always a great idea to offer customers lots of options — some people will be overwhelmed by the choice of 577 colors. And 7000 signed T-shirts might seem like a good idea when you’re creating rewards, but when you’re signing t-shirts, you’ll wish you stopped at 70. Keep it simple; keep your backers focused.

If your product comes in five variations — five seasons of your film or five levels of your game — don’t offer all five options at once. Instead, start with one or two varieties and introduce other options as stretch goals. This approach will ensure you don’t overwhelm your backers with tons of information, create incentives for stretch goals and reduce the cost of your campaign.

Remember: your goal in the first few days is to create momentum and secure 25-30% of your total funding.

3. Impose reward quotas

Limiting the number of rewards you offer at some levels creates a buzz. Backers can see a reward is selling out quickly and are motivated to act.

A good early bird discount is one that takes a reward tier normally reserved for dedicated fans and brings it to a level a core backer might consider accessible. Maybe a little something like this:

  1. $78 (retail price is $150) Super Early Bird – 100 items left
  2. $99 (retail price is $150) Early Bird – 250 items left
  3. $117 (retail price is $150) Special Price – 350 items left etc.

This will encourage people to take action and could potentially unlock the first $7,800 of your campaign very quickly, which will increase your rating on your chosen crowdfunding platform and drive more people to your campaign. This will result in a  ‘green bar effect,’ and it works wonders for your funding target too.

Just don’t make the difference between the tiers too extreme. No one is going to pay $100 for a product if they could have bought it for $2 yesterday. Psychologically, it is better for your backers to think, “Oh, I missed that opportunity, but I’m not too late. I can still get a bargain.”

4. Limit your rewards with Perkfection

Picture 2 campaigns. One with 500 rewards left. One with only 3 left.

Which one creates the urgency to act right now?

There’s nothing more appealing than scarcity. Scarcity increases desirability, exclusivity, value, and gives those that back now a sense of uniqueness. This secret sauce behind most crowdfunding platforms subconsciously pushes backers to act now due to the implicit time/quantity constraint.

Kickstarter and Indiegogo let you change your stock levels manually. Adding more as you’re running low. But monitoring your stock levels can become a full-time (and boring) job. And there could always be a spike in backers when you’re not looking, leaving you stockless and conversion-less!

Instead of that, use Perkfection to monitor your stock for you.

It constantly monitors your stock levels, and automatically adds additional items whenever your stock falls under your preset threshold. You can even keep track of any new orders and automated stock actions in optional email notifications. By taking care of the repetitive tasks, Perkfection allows you to focus on the more important aspects of your campaign.

5. Visualize your Kickstarter rewards (or Indiegogo perks)

The descriptions of the rewards on the right-hand side of the campaign page are not easily visible and comparable. Put clear photos and descriptions of your perks right inside your project description page. Try to make it high-quality, clear, simple, and attractive.

Use GIF-animated photos where you can — they’re engaging and a great way to explain the functionality of your product.

6. Add campaign-exclusive rewards

Everyone loves a one-off. Enhance the attractiveness of your rewards with campaign exclusives and add limited rewards throughout the campaign to keep the momentum going. Just be honest with your backers and don’t offer anything as a ‘campaign exclusive’ if you’re going to sell it on Amazon in a week (you laugh, but the Coolest Cooler campaign did just that, delivering their products to Amazon customers before they’d fulfilled their backers’ orders. Not cool at all and a PR nightmare).

7. Up-sell with add-ons and accessories

Order a Big Mac, and you’ll inevitably hear that well-worn phrase, “Would you like fries with that?” This is called up-selling, when you turn one purchase into two (or three) with the addition of add-ons and accessories. It’s a trick that works in crowdfunding, too.

Try selling complementary rewards to those who opted for your main perk.

Remember our smart wallet? When we first launched the campaign, only the tech enthusiasts bundle included the iPhone charger. A week or two in, and we’re offering it as a stand-alone perk, something those backers who went straight for the wallet might want to get.

Purchased our smart wallet? Why not get the portable iPhone charger to match?

Many people use updates just to say thank you to backers, but you can introduce new rewards in your updates as well. Be professional, use updates to up-sell (and say thank you, of course).

You can add an extra buzz with a ticking clock. Time urgency — this reward will only be available for 78 hours — creates an incentive to take quick action.

On Indiegogo, the most successful campaigns add as many as 12 new perks after their launch.

Indiegogo Secret Perks

Indiegogo recently announced another innovative feature, Secret perks, which you can personalize to your loyal backers and early adopters.

Here is how it works:

When you log into your account, you will see the ‘add secret perk’ button next to the usual ‘add perk.’

Indiegogo Secret Perk

Click on it and you will get your secret URL. Your secret perk will only be visible to those who visit your campaign through the secret URL. Cool right?

Secret Perk Indiegogo


Here’s what’s especially cool about this.

You can tailor a specific perk or discount just to reach out to influencers, making them feel special.

This VIP group of people will become more loyal and committed to supporting you further than everybody else.

It can also be a thank you note with a special discount for all the people who contributed to your campaign in your preparation stage.

You can also incentivize your community to become an early backer and get your Secret perk. Choose something exclusive that your community will be excited to get before anyone else.

You can also offer exclusive special add-ons to those who have already supported your campaign.

There is also a great opportunity to cross-promote your Secret perks with other Indiegogo campaigns.

Search for successful campaigns with a substantial number of backers to whom your perks can be interesting and offer the campaign manager a cross-promotion. In their updates, they can share your Secret perk link and offer a special discount to their backers.

You can do the same for them. It’s a win-win situation where everybody benefits.

Fun Kickstarter Reward Ideas to Inspire You

If you have a product or service, the main rewards are going to be your product or service (that’s why you turned to crowdfund, right), but there are lots of scopes to create rewards that make your campaign that little more interesting or noteworthy.

  1. Pick a Prank – $1 buys backers the chance to vote on which type of ‘torture’ to inflict on your organization’s manager if you reach your funding goal. Personally, I like funny costumes, shaved eyebrows or blue hair, but I’m sure you can think of a few more.
  2. Buy a Meal – This is one for local campaigns and sees volunteers making homemade meals for backers.
  3. Cook-Off – Got a local celebrity on speed dial? Challenge them to a cook-off (you both follow the same recipe) and see who wins.
  4. Gift Baskets – Collect new and nearly new items from your volunteers and resell them as gift baskets. Encourage your friends to give away some cool stuff that costs nothing to them (something valuable they don’t use).
  5. Backer Names – Send a picture from volunteers with the name of the backer: “We Love you, John.” For higher-level backers, you might want to order a cake.
  6. Backer Trees – They say each man should build a house, raise a child, and plant a tree. In this case, the best (and cheapest) way you can help is trees. Plant trees: ask a nursery for trees and then get people to sponsor a tree.
  7. Crowdfunding Lottery – Give a couple of your main products to random backers who would donate $5.
  8. Ambassador program – This is my favorite fun reward. Most of the participants in my Winners’ Program love it and already saw how viral this strategy can be.

Here is how it works:

When sharing or backing your campaign, people become your ambassadors. Design an ambassador badge and put it on your website with the names of people who backed you or shared your campaign.

It’s cool, it’s fun, and it creates incentives for people to take action and get ambassador status. If you can juice it up with a celebrity name or two, then all the better. It makes people feel like this is indeed something very cool they have to be a part of.

So, what’s the secret to a crowdfunding campaign? If you want a rewarding campaign, you have to offer attractive rewards.

Narek Vardanyan - Startup and Crowdfunding expert

Narek Vardanyan

CEO and Founder of The Crowdfunding Formula and Digital Marketing, Startup funding, and Crowdfunding expert. Author of “57 secrets of crowdfunding”. The campaign manager of 100+ successful crowdfunding campaigns. Get acquainted with Narek in Forbes, Marketing Profs, etc.


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