I recently offered to give Stephen Bozzone a little feedback on his kickstarter project, the TabLetGo. Since it's largely stuff that I would advise all projects to do, I've copied my email below.
I have a decent amount of feedback, but some of it is stuff that can't be changed at this point in the process, so I will focus on what can be affected. Just a heads up, I will be re-using this email as a blog post because it's a lot of stuff that I have told to people before, but haven't written until now.
A. Changes to the rewards:
I think it is really good to have simple reward structure, so I would suggest that you keep things pretty close to how they are now. I would recommend two things:
- Dropping your $20 reward level to $10, or maybe even $9. A shout out on your web site costs you nothing but time and virtual real estate. The point of this reward is that someone wants to see your project launch, but doesn't want the actual product. This may be friends, but it could be random strangers. $20 is too much to give to someone without getting a physical thing in return.
- Come up with some sort of physical reward at the $20 level, or, even better $25. I know that it needs to be something that you make, as per Kickstarter's rules, and I don't know what you can offer, but figure something out. Check out this post on Kickstarter's blog: http://www.kickstarter.com/blog/trends-in-pricing-and-duration
B. Changes to the way the info is laid out:
I am an iPad user. It took me watching almost all of your video before I finally saw the thing that might make me want your product: the in-bed/on-couch viewing position. I'd recommend coming up with a diagram that shows the 4 or 5 basic use positions, and make it the very first thing you see of the product, possibly even the custom image on the video. Don't expect people to review all of your info. Most people make flash decisions in the first few moments.
Don't make the images huge, and, in fact, try to put them in a grid so it's easy and fast to digest the information.
C. Potential changes to the product:
My background is in industrial design, so I'm a big guy for looks. Right now, the product looks a little… plain. I can't tell if the lap boards are something that is being custom made for you or not. If It is, is there something you can do to add style? I mean something as simple as cutting one of the corners off at 45°.
Also, is there a way to reduce the size of the board at all? I would personally rather have it thicker than cover a bigger surface area. I'm not really sure the pillow is a necessity since the iPad doesn't put out a lot of heat and isn't really heavy enough to bug your legs.
This one is pretty straight forward, but also one of the hardest things to do. You need to update at least twice a week, more if possible, BUT, they need to be things of interest to your backers. Every time you update your project, it gives people paying attention to your project a reason to be thinking about it and to talk about it again. Sit down and brainstorm about what your updates can be. They don't have to be about the project itself, but something very relevant to it.
Possible ideas: give a little lesson about bamboo as a material. Maybe a brief history of how bamboo ply is made and why it's a good material. Talk about hinges in a way that a lay person (non-engineer) might think it's interesting.
Just keep them coming.
You already mentioned in an update that you will be looking for blogs to submit to. This process is important, but not the slightest bit of fun. Most blogs are inundated with submissions like yours, and they care even less if they are coming from the person behind the project. Sad, but very true.
Get your list of blogs, in your case, anywhere from tech to cooking blogs, and get other people to submit your project as a tip. Each blog has a list of rules for submitting tips, so do the hard work for your friends/family, and read through the rules of each blog. Give your support network a list of blogs with specifics on how to submit to each of them. Possibly break the people you ask into a few groups and space them out over a week.
Have them submit the link to the project. If you land on any of the blogs, start having people submit that link instead. Bloggers LOVE to repost what other blogs have already written about. It's like it validates to them that the story is worthwhile. If you can pull strings to get featured somewhere through a friend's site that isn't obviously connected to you, do it. Use that link for your submissions. It seems lame… it IS lame… but it works better than just submitting your story yourself, most of the time.
I think those are the big things that I can think of that you can bring in on your project now that it has launched. You can only change pledge level info for rewards that haven't gotten any backers yet, so if you think you might make the changes I suggested, please do before someone pledges at the $20 level.
I would love to see things start to pick up for your project. Let me know if there is anything else I can do. Also, talk to me about the board changes if you want more feedback or help sourcing other options.