Over the last several years we’ve seen a trend of new product concepts being brought to market through the power of the crowd. Many of these companies wouldn’t exist without the financial backing and proof of desire from their backers.
The biggest problem many of these new companies face is how to promote their product and become one of the few ‘wildly successful’ crowdfunding campaigns of the year.
A little background on myself – I currently run growth / marketing campaigns for several companies (doctors, TV shows, retail, education), and have run the marketing on a few successful crowdfunding campaigns, most recently including Tovala – $255,000 Funded.
One of the most important things to consider before starting your kickstarter campaign is that you need to start organizing & implementing your marketing strategy long before you push your campaign live. It should be plug-and-play by the time you click ‘Publish’ on your sales page.
You want to setup a website on your own domain to tease people and start collecting emails from family and friends. This is the page you share with people when you talk about your product before you actually launch – and that’s really important.
You want to show as many people what you’re doing as possible – even if they’re just friends and family.
Don’t try and hold out and not show people until you launch – that’s a huge mistake. You want to tell them early, and give them updates as you make progress. People buy into stories, not into products – and bringing them along on for the ride will only help your chances when you launch.
The momentum of your campaign is probably the most important metric in crowdfunding — and having a strong base of friends & family is a great place to start.
You’ll want to notify them before and when your campaign goes live, as well ask them tweet / facebook since social shares are always important.
There are lots of email lists out there for various niches of crowdfunding projects— and its always helpful to contact people who have similar products and have finished their funding campaign.
It’s likely they will have email lists and also be helpful in sharing some of their analytics (so you can know what traffic sources were most valuable in that product niche).
You can also purchase email lists from various websites / people – I’m not going to link those but feel free to contact me and I’ll help you out
News & Blogs:
You’ll want to get covered in as many new publications and blogs as possible. This is not only the niche blogs that features cool new products, but also mainstream coverage.
What I’ve found is that getting one piece of coverage in mainstream media will cause a waterfall effect with the niche blogs.
The strategy I’ve found most effective is to sneak your way into some mainstream media coverage (paying, connections, favors, etc.), and then use that as leverage for reaching out to smaller niche blogs.
Reaching out to niche blogs should be a core part of your strategy, the traffic they send is really high quality, organic and tends to have a higher conversion rate than paid traffic.
The way most campaigns work is they get a huge boost in the first 1-5 days, then slow down in the middle, and pick back up at the end (usually when you run a ‘only 3 days left!’ campaign).
You will want to time your marketing spend to accurately reflect those dips and bumps. Go heavy in the beginning, slow down (but don’t stop) in the middle, and ramp up when your campaign is finishing.
Facebook ads can be extremely valuable if you can hack early momentum.
The key with your ad copy is to make a bold claim – this gets peoples attention and gets them to click, which is your goal.
Something like “The fastest growing ________ Kickstarter Campaign!” or “The #1 Trending _______ Product on Kickstarter!”.
These are the most effective ad styles for crowdfunding campaigns on Facebook ads.
You should realistically start marketing your product a week before your campaign for several reasons.
The main reason is Facebook marketing takes a few days to get ramped up and converting – you want to have some history in your campaign before you load up the budget.
If you start day 1 with a $500 budget, chances are you’ll only get served like $50 worth of ad space. This wastes a critical day when you should be able to hit the market hard and flood it with ads.
So, the solution is to create your campaign a week before and try testing with one demographic (for example, 10 mile radius of your office). This will get people already familiar with your company to see your ad – you get some spend history on your campaign, and aren’t spoiling the launch for 99% of your audience.
This is especially important with kickstarter campaigns as people don’t always purchase the first time they visit the page.
Setup remarketing pixels (facebook and google) on your KS page as well as your landing page.
This allows you to double down on the users you captured in your early marketing campaigns who may not have converted. Also great for end-of-campaign marketing “3 days left!” since these people will already be familiar with your product.
I don’t know if I would waste time setting up a referral campaign – you may drive a few sales, but the time and energy you put into managing this, isn’t likely worth it.
You may drive a few sales via referral, but chances are random people aren’t going to be able to sell your product for you.
The truth is if someone likes your product enough to share it, they don’t really need the incentive of cash, and adding a potential cash incentive may scare them away from sharing organically.
UTM parameters should be included in everything you do – you need to segment your users so you can learn what sources of traffic are effective for your particular campaign.
I see lots of campaigns that are pretty decent from a marketing perspective, but they didn’t have tracking setup properly so they didn’t know which verticals were driving the traffic that ended up converting.
This sucks because you don’t know where to double down your marketing spend, and really the point of testing multiple traffic sources was to find a single scalable channel that you can dominate. So, tracking is extremely important because it informs all your spending decisions.
It’s also free – Google Analytics is still probably the best solution for tracking your campaign.
The easiest trick in the book to hack early momentum (and, it’s not always advised, but it’s still helpful) is to set aside a small portion of your marketing budget and reach out to your friends and family to have them purchase your product. You’ll pay them back on Venmo, but the key here is to get donation velocity early on in your campaign.
This will lead to more news coverage, more effective ads, and the chance of becoming a trending project.
…and with any luck, you’ll become the next crowdfunding success story!
If you have any questions about your specific campaign feel free to drop a comment or shoot me an email!