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Have you recently completed a Kickstarter campaign, or are currently taking pre-orders on your website?

The last two years have seen unprecedented delays in product manufacturing and fulfillment.

So many brands have had to pause sales, or slow down pre-orders due to delay, upon delay, upon delay.

After a while, it’s normal for your customers/backers to lose faith in your ability to deliver and to start asking for refunds.

And if you don’t handle this situation delicately, things can turn ugly really fast.

For this reason, I’ve put together this list of my 10 best practices to keep customers on your side — even with months of delays — and protect your brand if you need to pause sales/change manufacturers, etc.

  1. Regular communication with your list and customers that includes a mix of content (value add, offers, as well as production updates)
  2. If you aren’t taking pre-orders on your website, allow people to join a waitlist to get notified when your product is available for purchase.
  3. If you are doing pre-orders, be clear at checkout the date you’re shipping
  4. Be transparent about any production schedule changes
  5. Have the founder get on video for monthly updates. This is a great way to build trust, a connection with the founder, and keep people from requesting refunds
  6. Post regularly on social media — you’re building a following!
  7. Promise a regular update schedule with production updates, and stick to it
  8. Consistently ask for feedback, know your numbers, and iterate
  9. Secure additional capital, do product development
  10. Continue to build your audience through content on social media
  11. Reach out to retailers and wholesalers for volume orders

This is the dark side of pre-order campaigns or Kickstarter launches that many don’t talk about — how to keep the faith of your customers if your delivery timelines get pushed up to a year from original delivery.

You might be reading this and think “wow, why even bother taking pre-orders for my product?”.

It’s because the benefits FAR outweigh the risks outlined at the beginning of this article. I cover some of them in a recent video:

– Khierstyn, founder of LaunchandScale.co