Before You Launch, Build a List

What if we told you that one of the most powerful tools behind nearly every successful Kickstarter project is...a list?

Before You Launch, Build a List

What if we told you that one of the most powerful tools behind nearly every successful Kickstarter project is...a list? Creating a list of your fans, friends, followers, and their contact information is a huge step in running a smooth campaign. And even if you’re not planning to launch a campaign, contact lists are a great organizational tool that you can use to keep your fans in the know about your work. So open up your spreadsheet software of choice! Here’s how you can start your list right now:

Building your list

  • Think of the supporters you already have and how you interact with them.
  • Collect email addresses, Twitter handles, phone numbers, and other means of contact information in a single place.
  • Once you’ve got a sizable list, start segmenting. Are these supporters friends, fans, family, VIPs, or industry contacts? Breaking the list up into groups will make it easier to craft and send tailored messaging later on.
  • Another way to categorize your list is by the amount you think each person will pledge. This can also help you estimate your funding goal and how much you can expect to raise with the help of your community.
  • One last group should be people you know can support your project as soon as it launches. Think of them as the people that will drive momentum!
I made a big list of people who I wanted to connect with and I sent them some images from the series and a personal email. I also built relationships with people who were able to help me promote the project on social media as well as gaining coverage in online news and culture websites. - Photographer Cody Ellingham (Kickstarter Medium, 2019)

Finding your audience

  • Identify and start engaging with groups, forums, and social media outlets with interests that are relevant to your work.
  • Look into organizations and collectives that other creators in your category belong to.
  • Remember to collect names and contact information at any events that you host.
  • Share your ideas, early drafts and sketches, and prototypes with those groups to get feedback and start seeding interest in your project.
  • Where can people find out about you and what you’re doing? Think about places to share updates on your work, whether a blog, Facebook page, or email newsletter. And if you do launch a project, remember to share it through these outlets, too!
I don’t think there’s any one way, I certainly don’t know of a surefire anything, but I would say—look around you. Who needs encouraging? Inevitably, if they need encouraging, they will encourage you back. Who needs care? Who needs to hear from somebody? Reach out. Musician Beverly Glenn-Copeland (The Creative Independent, 2023)

Some best practices

  • Think about how you’d prefer to interact with other creators. Are you more comfortable with email or social media? Choose a medium that will work for you and your audience.
  • No matter which medium you go with, make sure you’re updating it regularly.
  • Try planning out a week’s content and consider whether this cadence and volume aren’t too taxing.
  • If you email a group of supporters, bcc each recipient to keep email addresses confidential. Try a newsletter service like MailChimp or Mailerlite to manage your list and send emails.
  • Respect your recipient's inbox! Is what you're sharing new? Is it something that they'll be interested in? These are just some things to think about before clicking 'Send.'

We hope these tips make you feel more confident about organizing your support network. And remember, these are all things you can get out of the way before you launch without the help of a marketing service. Just take your time, get organized, and utilize the Creator Handbook.