Kickstarter Success the MST3K Way

Kickstarter Success is simple. Let’s see how Mystery Science Theater 3000 did it.

MST3K

Kickstarter success? I’ll tell you all about Kickstarter success. Today I am downloading all of the new MST3K movies. Yes I said downloading. Yes I said new. Hmmm it just occurred to me that lots and lots of people reading this blog probably has no idea what MST3K is or what I’m talking about. So for those who need to be brought up speed on what MST3K is, I refer you to the Wikipedia entry on MST3K.

So why am I downloading brand new movies from a long-defunct show? I was one of the higher tier backers to the MST3K Kickstarter so I get all kinds of cool perks. In fact, I’ve been getting a steady stream of MST3K perks for several weeks now. That’s one of the best ways to achieve Kickstarter success or crowdfunding success altogether. It all started in 2015 when Joel Hodgson, the creator, one of the original writers and cast members of the original MST3K, decided to respond to consumer demand for new MST3K episodes.

You see, there hadn’t been a new MST3K episode in about 20 years. But the fans kept clamoring for more. Former cast members and staff writers tried to fill the gap as best they could with ventures like RiffTrax and while successful, it just wasn’t quite the same thing. Enter MST3K co-creator Joel Hodgson and his Kickstarter. Make a note: The MST3K Kickstarter was one of the most successful Kickstarter projects ever.

To add a little perspective it needs to be said that the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crowdfunding campaign is the highest funded film project in crowdfunding history. Period.

Key crowdfunding success tip: Have something the public wants. Or needs.

While season 11 of MST3K hits Netflix tomorrow, I have been enjoying the first new episode of season 11 today thanks to my higher level perk that gives me privileged, pre-Netflix access to not only stream the movies before the general public can but to download them. That’s happening on my laptop as I type this on my desktop. I guess my special Blu-Ray collection will be shipped to me at some point in the near future. I’m not worried about it. I trust Joel Hodgson and the MST3K people. I’ve been getting perks for months already so I have no doubt I’ll be getting more.

That’s a critical factor to Kickstarter success right there — TRUST. Can people trust you? Will they believe you will deliver what you say when you say? When you gain the public’s trust you’re halfway to the finish line.

Let me emphasize another point I made above — have lots of cool perks that people want, offer lots of those cool perks in a number of price tiers appealing to people with all kinds of budgets and discretionary cash and deliver your perks as fast as you can. Look at all of the different perks available on the MST3K Kickstarter to see exactly what I mean. If you want me to save you time, the lowest price perk is $10 and the top perk is $25,000. Talk about a price range! I need to point out that all 5 of the the $25,000 perks sold out. When I deliver crowdfunding consulting I advise against offering too many perks but there are times like this when it makes perfect sense.

While you’re looking over that Kickstarter check out the updates — all 52 of them — keeping backers fully informed of what’s happening every step of the way. Ditto the comments. Check out all the comments and notice how someone from the MST3K team responded to comments on a daily basis. That’s another crowdfunding success factor right there. Keep your backers — and potential backers — in the loop. Stay in touch with them. Talk to them all the time. Let them know you’re paying attention and you’re committed 100%+. Your current backers will have even more excitement and anticipation of what’s to come as potential backers are instilled with a higher sense of confidence in you and your serious dedication to your project. This ties in to the point I made on trust too…

In general I urge everybody to analyze the MST3K Kickstarter as a case study of exactly what you need to do run a successful Kickstarter.

Like I said — Kickstarter success is simple.

However, don’t confuse simple with easy. Crowdfunding success isn’t easy. Joel and his entire team worked hard on their Kickstarter every single day for hours at a time. I followed their progress every single day not only as a crowdfunding professional but a very devoted fan. You see, I’ve been an MST3K fan for well over 20 years. In fact, watching an MST3K episode was a default entry in my Saturday morning routine for years and years. So when I watched the constant and ongoing crowdfunding marketing and their daily engagement with the project I had to marvel at the energy. These guys pulled out all the stops. Joel Hodgson and his team were RELENTLESS. That’s what you need to bring to your project to achieve crowdfunding success. Heck this exact same road map could apply to Indiegogo success too.

Hard work. That’s another critical crowdfunding success factor. It’s been said many times before that you need to think of your crowdfunding campaign as a full time job and act accordingly. If you don’t work hard enough or long enough there’s a good chance you’ll be fired from your job in the form of not hitting your goal. Regular readers of this blog should not be surprised to hear me talk about the daily effort needed, the extensive amount of crowdfunding marketing you have to do and everything else necessary to make crowdfunding success a reality.