How to do Backer Updates & Link Trading on Kickstarter and Indiegogo

 Backer Updates & Link Trading



Backer updates are possibly one of the most important things you’ll do during your funding.  They play a major role in training your backers to become more than just financial contributors, - this is your team, and you are the coach, and you can use updates as a way of giving people the behind the scenes ride that they have been looking for, and also you can look at your updates as your “blog” - just like people who blog frequently are most likely to attract attention on the internet, if you do public updates frequently you are most likely to be discovered organically from people searching for your project.  Research has shown us that successful project publish 3 updates a week.  That is almost every other day.  The language you use in these updates will help people find your project, and it also has an important role in inspiring your backers to become team members.  In this lesson I’m going to show you the best practices for writing updates and also describe link trading.


So let’s start with link trading.  This is a process that definitely will net you additional backers if you do it right.  The way it works that that in addition of any update you make , and the story and text you create, at the bottom of your update you have a section called “projects we love” - this is a section where you can publicize about other projects.  It’s totally fine to publicize about other projects in this area, because the only people seeing this have already become your backer, but what they don’t know is that the projects that get included in this section are those who hav made agreements with you to be included in their own “projects we love” section.


In addition to creating agreement to have your project link featured on other projects updates and getting clicks and backers from that, this process serves another puprose - link building.  From what you know about SEO , you’ve probably heard that for any website, the number of inbound and outbound links are crucial for getting ranked in search engines.  The same goes for a crowdfunding page.  You’ll see your organic discovery percentage really increase if you use the tactics we recommend for trading links, because you’ll have so many more inbound and outbound links going to and from your project. This means that when you are “ending soon” , kickstarter will be most likely to give you first page results, and that can have a huge impact on your final few days, as well as helping you rank better for keyword searches on the discover page of kickstarter.


How do you do it?  Go to the discover page yourself, or if you are on indiegog go to their search page, and look for projects that have a similar number of backers and funding level.  the only people who are willing to trade with you are those who see it as an even deal - look for people who are at the same stage with their funding.  And send a message to the creator on the platform.  This is a common practice and they’ll easily get what you are offering.  You can say - Hi, our project is currently funding also, I see that we are in a similar industry with similar funding level - would you like to trade links?  i would love to create a partnership where we both mention each others projects in our updates, thus strengthening both of our projects.  Write me back if you want to discuss further, I look forward to helping promote your campaign in my updates, provided that you can help promote mine in your updates! “   Once you have a verbal confirmation of the deal, ask for the exact day when you both agree to post.  Once you have that, you can add them to your projects we love section of the updates.  Try to find three partnerships for each update.  If you do three updates a week, then this is 9 press opportunities going out to existing crowdfunding backers on your behalf!  It can have a tremendous impact on your bottom line and also increase your discoverability.  So go do it!


Okay, now we’re going to talk about the other stuff that is in your updates.  Think of your story.  You wan tot split it up into digestible pieces of information, and keep it interesting, all the while margining in gratitude, excitement, and team building language.  Why?  Because during the last week youare going to ask all your backers to refer their friends and to manager their pledge to give you even more money, so it’s best to treat them really nice and to build up their seances of being on a team with you in the weeks leading up to that ask.  I’ve included some example updates for you to see how we use the language, but here is how we build it.  So we start back with your main points document.  And you ask - what part of my story am I going to tell in this update?  is it about my background?  Or the problem / challenge? Or my Featured solution?  Or the Insights?  Choose one section, then get one level more specific.  Now choose one single point.  Say you are writing about your background, and the moment you had the idea, how you were say on a boat in the wilderness.  You choose one sentence from one part of your story, and that is the THEME of your project update.  You can now write a two paragraph story about that particular theme.  Expand on it, include images, make is unique and interesting for your backers to learn more about you.  Finally, for organic search discoverability, make sure you use your top 30 product keywords frequently in every update you make. 

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Okay, now for the team building part.  For the first and last paragraphs, before your “projects we love” link agreements segment, you want to praise the success of the campaign, praise your backers involvement, and use team building language.  “You rock!” Our team is so amazing!  Thank you so much for being a backer!  This is the best group of backers ever!  We so close!  We’re going amazing!  We did it !  We’re doing great - it’s bee in big week, out team of backers is so amazing, this community is the greatest!  You get the idea.  use language to make the backers feel really appreciated and loved, and then also give them ore story to feel like they are getting to know you.  Withold from asking your backers too many calls to action in the beginning and middle part of your campaign, and I’ll be showing how to conver your newly acquired backer capital into more backers during the last week, when it really counts.  


So go out and start writing updates, write three per week for the whole time you are funding!  Way to go.  


 Train Volunteers & Evangelists


The way crowdfunding gets from local to global is with the help of friends and influencers. To do their part, some people will just act out of their own inspiration and do things to promote your project.  In today’s lesson I’m going to show you how to get the most from this, and also how to promote and even incentivize people to connect with you.


Okay, so say someone tags you on Facebook with a link to your campaign.  This is a great start to demonstrate that they want to be your evangelist.  Many project creators would stop there, but it turns out there is so much more you can do.  


First off, look at their post - was it a link post?  If you catch it early, you can direct message them and say - thank you SO MUCH for wanting to spread the word about my project, I’ve got a special video post that I’m sending all our interest towards - any chance you’d be willing to share this post instead and tag me like you did?  This is going to help the most people find out about the project because Facebook favors videos 10 to 1 compared to links, and I know we’d both love if your friends saw the link that you are sharing.  Thanks so much!



Who knows, they might never write back.  If they don’t, just comment on their original post and tag their name, saying “thank you” first name.  This will give their post a little bit more weight.  


If they click on your special share link(We covered how to make one of these in the “Big Bang” lesson”), then you’ll be notified that they shared that and tagged you on it.  If not, mark their profile to check.  If they shared this, then you will want to immediately go and post the link to your kickstarter or indiegogo in the comments, so that the viewer has somewhere to go if they are inspired to learn more about your project.  


Next, anyone who posts on your behalf, you’ll want to celebrate them, and then lead them in a conversation about affiliates. Here’s how you do it.  Create a spreadsheet called “evangelist leads” - these are where you name people who are behaving like they want to help your project…


Then, send a personal thank you message to them, either on email or facebook.  Dear {first_name} - thanks so much for the shout out on my project, it really means so much! 


Wait for them to reply, 


And then continue the conversation - you can say “ I have a special program going for fans of my project who help bring their family and friends to it - I’m offering project perks to people who bring their friends and family - I’d be happy to coach you about how you could help be part of our launch team, - it basically consists of a personal message that you would send to selected friends who you think might be interested.  Any chance you’d consider being a part of something like this?  If not I totally understand, but if so that would be SO awesome because it would mean my project could reach people outside of my own network!


If they write back yes, then it’s your time to train them.  You can say - Okay, I’ll give a free project perk and/or 30% of the money we get from any backers you bring.  All you need to do is write a list of five to ten people who you think my want to help be a part of this campiagn, and then you’d craft a short direct email to each them describing the project and linking to it with your custom trackable link. Anyone that becomes a backer through you you’ll get 30% of my earnings from their donation!  


This might be a great way to use your evangelists, but there is one other way - for getting introductions to strategic partners.  Remember our strategic partner lessons?  Once someone writes back to your thank you, you could alternately move it a different direction.  Are you are part of any groups or associations, or do you know any business owners or friends of yours who might be students?  I’m trying to find groups who might volunteer to put my link out to their association, student group, or business newsletter.  Do you have any ideas for anyone that might be willing to partner up and share about this?  Thanks so much for putting your mind to any ways you think we could broaden the reach of this project!   


I hope the above two ideas, incensing your evangelists to bring in a small handful of their own family and friends, or asking fi they have any connections for ways to promote it further, can help broaden the impact of your project.