We learned a lot from our Kickstarter campaign, and we covered it in depth several months ago. But where that post looked at Kickstarter funding as a whole, this time we're getting into the nitty gritty of Hydroponics and Aquaponics Kickstarters. What makes them different and what specifically, if anything, helps them succeed. Read on to hear more
HYDROPONIC KICKSTARTERS 101
The most important aspect of any pitch, whether aquaponics or antiquing, is knowing what type of product you are making, and who is going to buy it. Hydroponics Kickstarters, in general, appeal to a small, niche market. This market is generally food-conscious, environmentally aware, and interested in plants.
That may seem obvious, but the most successful Kickstarter campaigns, like this one that raised almost $10,000 more than it asked for, aren't afraid to get a little technical with a technical subject. Every successful aquaponics Kickstarter teachs their audience something about the science behind their product. The ones that fail often leave out these crucial details for fear of boredom. People that visit your site are funding you on the faith that you can provide what you promise -- so show them the awe-inspiring wizardry that makes your project so special. That doesn't mean, however, that every project or product appeals to the same crowd.
The best kickstarter campaigns, such as this personal aquarium/garden combo, recognize that no one wants to digest information through a long block of text and find inventive ways to tell their story visually. People learn in different ways, and by presenting multiple modes of explanation -- a good video, graphs, pictures, text, and even sound let's your investors feel confident their money is being well spent.
Commercial: These are the Kickstarters to fund a new product, usually a home hydroponic system or small aquaponics aquarium. They often give away the product as a reward for donating, and make up the large majority of Hydroponic Kickstarters. Here it is key to truly explain your project, and, most importantly, prove that you can deliver an exceptional device. Often, this is done by covering all the basics, painting a picture of your project so a donor feels informed.
Community Projects: Almost as popular, these are for beginning gardens or educational opportunities to help out a small community in need. The most successful projects recognize that people are not paying for technology, they're paying to help people out. Accordingly, they focus on the community and the measurable difference the project will make in their lives. A good example can be found here.
Industrial: These are for large-scale operations, usually small businesses. Because the direct impact of a company in Texas is tough to feel for a young gardener in NYC, the best fundraising often focuses on the environmental impact of hydroponics or aquaponics, and the future of the industry. More often than not, these projects attract a smaller number of larger donors -- so offer rewards to higher levels. They are a lot harder to get funded, but it's certainly not impossible.
You need to decide where your big idea fits into this scheme and work your pitch accordingly. This is not to say that there is a script depending on your "type", or that there is no overlap between them. In fact, the best hydroponics and aquaponics kickstarter campaigns borrow a bit from all three, explaining the environmental, personal, and community benefits of the industry. The recipe, however, depends who you are talking to.
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE?
But there are some distinctions between the two fields worth noting. In general, most successful aquaponics kickstarters tout the educational benefits of the system, and often times rewards such as school visits or classes reinforce this angle. This makes sense, because it broadens the appeal of aquaponics to laypeople who might be intimidated by a somewhat foreign concept and a new frontier in food science. This kickstarter, for example, offered a variety of education and immersion rewards including a visit to a school for $5,000.
Hydroponic Kickstarters, on the other hand, are often more about convenience and the commercial production. Analogues are made to gardening, already a familiar activity, and how hydroponics can make the experience better. Almost all projects talk about the lowered cost, less hassle, and water savings of hydroponics for the average consumer.