You may spend a lot of time creating your product, working on messaging or building your campaign page, but if your Kickstarter project doesn’t successfully fund, it’s all in vain.

Fortunately, in addition to being crowdfunding experts ourselves, we’ve interviewed hundreds of Kickstarter and Indiegogo creators to find out just what they did to make their own campaign successful. Based on our own experience and what we’ve learned through this podcast, we’ve compiled some of our top tips and secrets to meet your crowdfunding goal and bring your new product to market.

Start Early and Build Up Your “Crowd”

Make no mistake, creating a product and launching it on Kickstarter takes a long time. Generally, the longest part of this process is the design and prototyping stage, which can take 18 months or longer. However, rather than thinking of this as a barrier to getting your project funded, view it as more time to get prepared for launch.

Consider Alchema: they spent two years going from an idea to a working sample. Once they had a working sample, they started doing demos at exhibitions and meetups, which provided value in two important ways. First, it helped them realize that people loved the idea, but didn’t like the original design, which gave them a chance to come up with a sleeker design for the kitchen counter. Second, they were able to collect email addresses of people who were interested in the product, who they could email on launch day to get the first influx of backers.

Rely On Your Previous Backers

If you’ve run a crowdfunding campaign before, your previous backers are critical. Take a look at the Superbook. The team behind this laptop shell that turns your Android smartphone into a complete laptop initially launched a similar dock in 2014 with a $100,000 goal that they, unfortunately, did not meet. However, as soon as their unsuccessful campaign ended, they rebounded and used it as a jumping off point.

During the campaign for their dock, they consistently received feedback that the dock was too complicated because it still required the user to get a monitor, keyboard and mouse. The team was able to use this feedback to ultimately create the Superbook. What’s more, their original backers stayed with them through the next year and a half, provided feedback and purchased the Superbook on the day it launched.

Have an Ads Budget in Place

When we talked to Ray Wu of Wynd, he mentioned that one of the things that helped them fund quickly was spending the weeks leading up to the campaign building up an email list. By the time the campaign launched, they had a list of thousands of people who knew they were launching the project and were excited about the product.

His team built this list up primarily through Facebook ads. They used creative ads that didn’t reveal everything about the product, but offered enough information to get people interested. These ads sent people to the landing page, where they could request more information by entering their email address. Facebook is great for running ads because targeting can be expertly refined using their platform.

By starting early, relying on your existing network and running Facebook ads to build up a list of potential backers, you’ll be on your way to a successful campaign. For more crowdfunding tips and Kickstarter secrets, tune in to our podcast each week.