So you’ve met your original goals on Kickstarter, congratulations! But did you know that nowadays, your backers and followers will be expecting to see some Kickstarter stretch goals from you? But what are Kickstarter stretch goals? When should you introduce stretch goals on Kickstarter? How can you create a stretch goal on Kickstarter? And what are some of the best techniques for Kickstarter stretch goals?
By the end of this read, you’ll understand everything there is to know about how Kickstarter stretch goals work and if it’s something you need to consider setting up for your Kickstarter campaign!
What is the Purpose of a Stretch Goal?
On the surface level, a Kickstarter stretch goal is a marketing tool used to stir up some buzz and excitement about your project/product and a great way to generate some additional funds.
But let’s start from the beginning.
Right when you launch your Kickstarter campaign, you set your fundraising goal. This is the minimum amount that you need to take your project, idea, or product and turn it into reality. If you don’t reach your goal, then none of your backer’s cards will be charged, you won’t get the funding you need, and the campaign is considered a flop (but at least it’s a learning experience, right?).
If you hit your target goal by the end of your Kickstarter campaign, that’s great news, because it means that you will be able to keep the funds that have been pledged by your loyal and excited backers. Now you’ll be moving into the next phase of fulfilling all the rewards that you’ve promised them.
Now, let’s assume that you managed to reach your crowdfunding goal and get funded with plenty of time left before the end of your campaign. What then?
This is when creators may consider Kickstarter stretch goals. What is a stretch goal? A stretch goal is when creators promise either additional features, expanded functions, more colors, customizable options, more sizes, anything that might pack an extra punch to your product and make it all the cooler.
What makes Kickstarter stretch goals different from the official original funding goals? Well, for one thing, there are no serious consequences for not reaching your stretch goals, in the sense that you will still be able to keep the money raised from your original campaign.
Worst case scenario is that you don’t offer the extra colors or features and that’s that.
Be warned that it’s not wise to create Kickstarter stretch goals for the sole purpose of making extra money. The most successful campaigns incorporate stretch goals that are well-planned, purposeful, and that fit in with your theme and overall idea.
If you are wondering how to create a Kickstarter goal, there are some things that you ought to keep in mind. Let’s list a few benefits of Kickstarter campaign stretch goals, to help you structure your own approach.
Your Kickstarter campaign stretch goals can help you to enhance the value of your offer, by either upgrading to the usage of better materials, sizes, options, design elements, and more.
If the suggested upgrades are something that your backers want, they’ll be ready to spread your campaign and share it with others so that you’ll be able to meet those goals. Even if you haven’t met your initial goals yet, the prospect of a stretch goal perk might motivate backers to help promote your campaign. This is highly beneficial, even if it only results in reaching your initial goals.
Oftentimes (and this is something we will delve into a bit deeper later), the options offered as part of your Kickstarter stretch goal perks are more expensive elements that you would like to include, but which may pose a risk for achieving your all-or-nothing goal.
Many opt to offer the bare minimum for their initial goal, and reserve the expensive frills for their Kickstarter campaign stretch goals, thereby reducing the risks by making those extras optional.
Finally, we live in a world where people have very short attention spans. Capturing attention is difficult enough, but keeping it and staying relevant is even more difficult. That’s where Kickstarter stretch goals can help, by exciting backers, piquing the interest of new potential backers, and giving your campaign a second wind.
That’s why Kickstarter stretch goals are actually a useful strategic step in any crowdfunding project.
Kickstarter Stretch Goals Explained
Let’s take a deeper look at how Kickstarter stretch goals work. In most cases, stretch goals are things that the creator had always planned for their idea/product/project. Whether you’re using better material, offering snazzy customizations, or variations in designs, the best ideas are not thought up in a rush.
More often than not, Kickstarter stretch goals were planned well in advance, and are revealed incrementally. This not only keeps engagement high but also makes each goal appear within reasonable reach.
By spreading out your goals, you trigger excitement and momentum to reach all of your set goals by the end of the campaign.
In fact, some campaigns opt to include the last stretch goals into their project even if the goals weren’t met.
By now, I think we’ve come to understand, that stretch goals are not the most straightforward things, it depends on how you choose to implement them, but there are some, so to speak, Kickstarter stretch goal rules that you might want to keep in mind.
- Stretch goals should add value: Don’t create added awards just because you think you have to, or because you think it’s a great way for money. Stretch goal rewards should make your project genuinely better and get your backers truly excited. Don’t force it. Be authentic.
- Stretch goals should make financial sense: If you are doling out extra cash from your bank account just to fulfill the promises made during your stretch goals, then you are going about Kickstarter stretch goals the wrong way. You don’t want to take away funds raised by the initial goals to finance your stretch goal rewards either.
- Stretch goals should be feasible: Don’t come up with stretch goals that are going to cause more trouble than they are worth. Be careful not to create Kickstarter rewards that will demand more time, and resources or complicate the shipping process. And don’t create stretch goals that have features that were not thought through beforehand or originally planned.
- Stretch goals should be available to all: Don’t reserve your stretch goal rewards for your higher pledgers. It’s a surefire way to upset your backers and demotivate them.
How to Add Kickstarter Stretch Goals: Best Practices
So how do you add stretch goals on Kickstarter? It’s actually a lot more straightforward than it may appear. It starts with a well-formed Kickstarter stretch goals announcement.
Basically, you advertise it as a perk or enhancement that will only be unlocked once a certain project milestone is reached.
Let’s use an example. Say that you set a goal of getting 200 backers on your campaign who will pledge $50. Once that milestone is met, you will add a cool product feature that your backers will get as an extra reward or perk.
Kickstarter stretch goals can be anything you want them to be, based on what it is you want or need for your campaign to be successful. For example, you may decide to offer a stretch goal reward for getting a certain number of social media shares (helping you to get more visibility and ultimately more backers).
The main thing to keep in mind is, for your part, you need to deliver on your promises.
When it comes to techniques for Kickstarter stretch goals, one thing you shouldn’t overlook is communication. You need to think out your Kickstarter stretch goals announcement(s) through.
Keep your backers informed and involved with your process. Kickstarter actually encourages creators to describe their intentions, motivations, and long-term plans to their backers. Below are some more key points to keep in mind.
Don’t wait till you reach your initial campaign goals to create your stretch goals on a whim.
Like all things related to launching a successful Kickstarter campaign, every detail deserves planning, and that includes your Kickstarter stretch goals.
Before making your Kickstarter stretch goals announcement, be sure that you’ve already planned the costs, timeframe, and resources needed to add the new features you’ll be promising.
It’s extremely important that you are absolutely certain that you can deliver on these goals before you dare to announce them. You don’t want to lose the support of the public by failing to deliver on your product and promise!
Plan Beyond Your Fundraising Goal
One key to successfully strategizing your Kickstarter stretch goals is planning well beyond your fundraising goal. All that extra planning will help to make sure that you don’t end up scrambling to create stretch goals later on.
Pacing your Kickstarter stretch goals is also wise, helping to ensure that you meet them all.
There’s something gratifying about backing a project that has managed to unlock all of its stretch goals.
Increase the Budget
Don’t fall into a financial trap by poorly planning your stretch goal budget. You’re better off increasing the budget and making it larger than the actual estimates for the project.
This way you’ll be able to cover fulfillment, Kickstarter fees, production and shipping costs, and more.
In this case, it’s better to pad your budget and overestimate the expenses than to fall short.
Increase the Timeline
The same can be said for your timeline. Your stretch goals may affect the production and shipping times of your project.
By estimating with an increased timeline in mind, you protect yourself from having to disappoint your backers with messages of “we need more time to deliver.” By planning with a padded timeline, if anything you may be able to deliver your promises early!
When to Introduce Stretch Goals
Timing is everything so when it comes to answering the question of when to introduce stretch goals on Kickstarter, the answer isn’t that straightforward.
There are many approaches to Kickstarter stretch goals announcements.
If you announce your Kickstarter stretch goals early on in the campaign, you will likely get backers excited about what they can look forward to in the future. This will motivate them to promote your campaign and spread the word in order to help you reach those targets, and then those perks.
On the other hand, announcing the Kickstarter stretch goals during your campaign as a surprise gives you a lot more flexibility. It helps you to take feedback into account and maybe even give you the opportunity to reconsider what kinds of enhancements you will be offering.
As a rule of thumb, most projects end up seeing a spike of backers at the beginning of their campaign, after which the number of pledges tends to dwindle. This is a great point to introduce a stretch goal to revamp some activities.
Whether you decide to announce your stretch goals at the beginning of the campaign or near the end, depends on what makes sense for your campaign in particular.
If you already have a large following, announcing your stretch goals ahead of time might make sense. You probably already know what your target audience will appreciate and value.
If you don’t have a large following yet, it might make more sense to wait and hint at different ideas to see what sticks.
Part of what sets Kickstarter apart is the sense of community. Backers of Kickstarter campaigns like being heard, and enjoy feeling that their opinions and suggestions have an impact on the project.
Kickstarter stretch goals are a great opportunity for you to incorporate some of their ideas, giving them what they want and making them feel more involved in the project’s overall success.
Sure, it’s ideal that stretch goals are announced after reaching your funding goal, so as not to distract from the main goal itself. But, no two campaigns are exactly alike, so what might work for one may not work for you and vice versa.
If you want to integrate Kickstarter campaign stretch goals into your crowdfunding campaign, then there are a lot of things to consider.
Needless to say, it shouldn’t be done impulsively or rashly. Kickstarter stretch goals should be planned out thoroughly to secure maximum success. In fact, you should plan out your stretch goals while you are planning out your Kickstarter campaign.
You need to figure out if stretch goals make sense for your campaign in the first place. For some, simply incorporating Add-On Rewards may be a sufficient alternative to stretch goals.
Remember, while Kickstarter campaign stretch goals are becoming common, they are by no means mandatory. Plenty of Kickstarter campaigns are perfectly successful without them, so long as creators are transparent with their backers ahead of time and set the expectations straight head-on.
If you decide that you do want to have stretch goals in your campaign, then make sure that you have those important conversations with manufacturers and partners, so that you know just how much those extra features will cost you.
You’ll need to understand how much extra weight will be added, how much more fees you’ll need to pay, how much delivery costs will change, and other details, so that you ensure that you protect yourself from any decisions that are ultimately unprofitable.
Don’t make any kind of decision that will cost you more than what you’ll be making.
The most important point to take away is that you need to plan, plan, plan. The more you have planned out pre-launch the more likely you’ll be heading for success.
Avoid the temptation to add any last-minute stretch goals that may cause more challenges than benefits.
Take an incremental approach to your Kickstarter stretch goals and relieve yourself of any unnecessary stress. If you’re lucky enough to get more funding than what you originally planned for, that’s already a reason to celebrate!
Crowdfunding certainly demands a lot of hard work, planning, and time, but in the end, if you manage to launch a successful campaign, all the sacrifices are well worth it if it means that you can realize your dreams and make your project come true!