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What advice do you have about all of those marketing services that promise backers?

We’ve heard from lots of you about being approached (and often spammed) by marketing and PR services that promise backers, pledges, and shortcuts to getting funded. This post has some recommendations on how to approach these offers, but we want to hear from you.

What services have worked? What services didn’t? What’d you consider when thinking about which company or service to work with?

Carol Benovic Last edited on
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Field Company
Creator
16
Answered on

So... we're going to be a little contrarian on this.

Context: we raised $1.6M on Kickstarter for the Field Skillet. We worked with one of "those marketing services" for the last four days of our campaign and we had a pretty good experience. The rest of our campaign was the result of great luck in the cultural timing of our product and campaign, 6 months of preparation, and the strength of our personal networks.

More context: we launched a passion product that we hoped would become a business. Projects that are more purely artistic in nature would have different goals. As a business, one of your core challenges is always distribution—and figuring out how to do that in a cost effective manner. Cost in distribution includes both time and money. Our goal in engaging with one of these agencies was to test the effectiveness of paid acquisition (predominately Facebook ads) and see if it was possible in a cost range that might work for us in the future, post Kickstarter. We were terrified of polluting the purity of our campaign by doing this, which is probably why we waited so late in our campaign to try it out.

We're lucky to be familiar with Facebook acquisition and have friends that have run large ad budgets for companies like Buzzfeed, Casper, Zynga, etc. We also had done our homework on our cost structure to create our product. We don't really believe in paid PR—journalists love the joy of discovery and not having press releases shot at them. Share you enthusiasms, embrace the hate with humor. Build relationships early. What follows below is mainly some helpful ways to think about paid acquisition and other forms of marketing that these services offer...


Beware of:

  • Anyone that asks for a % of your entire campaign
  • Anyone that isn't willing to be fully transparent with all data: ads run, conversion rates, demographic information, etc
  • Not knowing your own product and business and having some granularity around cash and budgets

When you see Kickstarter campaigns—or any businesses—that implode (Coolest Cooler, Fab.com, etc) it's because they don't have a handle on their cost structure and haven't built in any room for error and slippage. 

Here's a couple good rules of thumb: 

  • if you hope to ever sell your product wholesale, your cost of goods (COGs) for making your product should be 1/5 - 1/4 of your final retail cost
  • if you think paid marketing / acquisition (Facebook, Twitter, whatever) might work for you, you generally need 2-3X the acquisition cost in margin to succeed.* Sample simplistic math: if you are selling your product for $100 and it cost $25 to produce (COGs), that gives you $75 in margin. That means that an acceptable Cost Per Acquistion (CPA) would be $25 - 37.50

How does that tie into working with a service?

Most of these service providers are also trying to make money. They're businesses. They should be allowed to do that. But the best way to engage with them is to know what's within the range of acceptable for your project. Then craft an agreement with them that fits in that range. So, given the hypothetical $100 product above, perhaps you'd be willing to start at 25% of pledges driven directly by said agency. They will try to negotiate for more, you can always raise that percentage if you're seeing success and you know your numbers. That's up to you about what will break your bank. 

To be fair to these agencies, they can drive more pledge volume if you can spend more money and so interests are somewhat aligned. The part where that breaks is if you're spending $1.50 to sell something for $1... so don't do that. Also, many of these agencies are operating speculatively—they are risking their own cash to drive pledges. One of our primary reasons for working with one of them was to try to hit the CPA range we knew was acceptable without us having to front the cash or time to do it.

This also gets into being conservative when you're getting something off the ground and there's many unknowns. To be conservative for budgeting purposes, think about inflating all your costs by 30-50% and imagining that all your timelines will be 2-3X what you think they'll be even though you try as hard as you can to be diligent about accuracy.

The service we ended up working with started off with many of the beware tactics mentioned above. Because we knew our numbers, we were able to get them to be more reasonable and work with us on our terms. To be transparent, we were already a "successful" campaign at that point and they had also done their homework and believed they could succeed. Ultimately, knowledge is power. So work on knowing everything you can about the structure of your project. "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

7 comments

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Timothy C
9
Answered on

They're scams. Almost every single one of them. If they message you, they often haven't been a member of the Kickstarter community for any real length of time, they've never backed projects, and they tend to promise the world. There is no REAL company that can guarantee you a successfully funded project. You need to grow your audience organically through social media and traditional marketing and media forms. 

Companies that claim they can help you fund generally point to projects they've "helped" that would have funded without them or worse, they never did anything. Always VERIFY who it is you're talking to. If you can't get a phone number and address and find evidence or talk to actual project creators about them, it's a scam. Period.

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Dave & Calvin Laituri
10-time creator
63
Answered on

Drawing in fresh 'outsiders' is the most challenging part of running any campaign. Eventually, every project exhausts their friends & family (people they have email addresses for) and the general population shopping on Kickstarter, the only option left is to draw in new candidates. 

What we learned from 10 successful campaigns:

1) PR agencies with access to blogs where your type of customer hangs out work. Expect to pay $5K - $7K, which should be no more then 10% of your total raise. Not just any agency will do, you need to choose one with a track record of delivering in your category.

2) Crowdfund Ninja, Krowdster, Fundzinger, Brainiacs from Mars, Backer Club et al, there are dozens of them that promise traffic and pledges. While 'scam' may be a strong word, we have tested most of them, one by one, during 'quiet' times in the middle of our projects to calibrate the ROI - none delivered enough new backers to offset their cost. They just don't work, period.

3) Blogs that your backers are likely to frequent all have a 'tip' or 'suggestion' line, but note that 100's of projects hit them up weekly and they are most likely sick of featuring projects - unless they are in flames like Zano Drone or Coolest Cooler or they're good for the blog, like Reading Rainbow or Potato Salad. Never the less, it's free, you can submit tips yourself - worth a try.

4) Targeted social ad buys - we haven't tried it, but we've heard this works. Again - there are lots of spam services that promise help here, some want 35% of what they bring in (ouch). We plan on trying this on our next project - will weigh in late with what we learn.

Hope that helps,

Dave

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John Wrot!
8-time creator
311
Answered on

Don't use any of them, period.  ...Why not?  -  They're not reliable, and many are just some guy that used to be in sales that will run google adwords for you for a huge price tag. 

I discuss this at length on my blog about advertising here.

I hope this helps you steer clear, and know where to better focus your marketing time, energy, and money.

John Wrot!

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dialed
2-time creator
5
Answered on

From a Creator that has successfully raised funds in the 6-digit range across a number of successful product concepts (including our popular Dialed Notebook Wallet), I would not launch a single campaign without an experienced and proven Marketing Team that can show real results. FUNDED TODAY has been, by far, the top performing group for our brands. (having raised somewhere around $50M on KS to date) For those that have been scammed, you must have used some other team (not Funded Today) and I'm sincerely sorry. I wouldn't throw this recommendation out there to a community that has supported us so well if I didn't genuinely feel it was in your best interest. Get an "A Team" if you want to be a productive contributor to this world-changing platform! - The Dialed Crew

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Walt Langhans
9-time creator
5
Answered on
I've done 9 Kickstater now, so here's my 2 cents. Although I sure you get a lot of email reported as spam start there. I report ever "WE CAN REACH MILLIONS OF BACKER..." message I get becasue they are ALL B.S. See if you can find a way to block those better or do something about it, that would at least be a start. However, with that said, first time creators typically don't know any better. So you might want send a message to all first time creators warning them about such scams.
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Alex Eames - RasPi.TV
7-time creator
283
Last edited on

I haven't and wouldn't use any service that spammed me through KickStarter or any other way. There have been a few threads like this in Campus and not once have I heard of anyone saying really positive things about any of these services. I report each and every one of these to KickStarter as they are a complete nuisance. Usually the KickStarter account used to send these messages has backed ZERO projects. Why? Because it's a throwaway account, set up specifically for spamming. (I do not report individuals' requests for cross-promotion - I just ignore those. Why would I ruin my mailing list to promote your project?)

To be honest, they are preying on people's desperation to succeed. The best way to succeed in KS is not to expect magic, get-rich-quick shortcuts. Build a following by doing good things. Keep doing good things and build a reputation. At that point things will start to get easier.

Everything you do in public should be seen as an act of marketing. Give your backers a great experience including...

  • great communications
  • great instructions
  • interesting, good quality projects
  • attractive pricing
  • innovation, experimentation and fun
  • underpromise and overdeliver

I've done 5 projects now. The most recent one funded in 85 minutes and shipped in 5 weeks.

Hope this helps

Alex

Edit to add. I'm currently running campaign #6 and getting a LOT of spam. In the first day I had 7 or 8 of these offers. OK I was tech project #2 and Hardware #1 on day 1 (funded in 4 hours 23 minutes) but in that time I had about 3 emails from backers and 7/8 from spammers. I reported each and every one of them. They annoy me soooooo much. GRRRRRR. If everyone does this, they will soon be weeded out. OK they can start a new ID, but maybe KS can cookie or IP block them? 

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Don Moyer
26-time creator
21
Answered on

These spams seem to be increasing. They must lead to more business for these companies or they probably wouldn't do it. I mark them as spam but have no idea what Kickstarter does next. They never seem to go away. When I have experimented with some PR and social media marketing services on my projects, I have always had poor results. So far it feels like a complete waste of money.

1 comment

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Lisa Vollrath
6-time creator
64
Answered on

I just launched my fifth project this week. I have seven backers---and have received seven solicitations from PR people. They're a plague, and it gets worse with each project. 

I report every one of them as spam, because they've all joined Kickstarter this month, and not one has ever backed a project. Most of them don't have profile pics, or a bio, beyond a link to whatever "company" they're hawking. And most of all: I am only raising a tiny amount of money for each project. Why on earth are these people contacting me about PR, when I just need to raise $1,000.?

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Manuela Rocker and Megan Wisheart
Creator
5
Last edited on

We launched our campaign and got the first backer within 20 minutes. We thought that everything was going to be fine... BUT we also soon found out that our project would soon be buried under hundreds of other amazing projects within Kickstarter. We are designers, not marketing and PR gurus so we started to do some research  to see which agency to go for. We received an email that looked like it was from Kickstarter. The sender was "Kickstarter Update" in this email we read with interest that they were recommending 3 agencies,, namely: FirstWavePR, CrowdFundSocial and CrowdChirp. We did some research and found that the latter 2 had some negative feedback but we found nothing on FirsWavePR. We spoke on the phone and they were absolutely sure they could get us funded. We emailed to and fro a little and we finally decided to trust them and go ahead. We paid for PR and social marketing, a total of US$995.  As soon as we paid we received an email where they suggested we hire CrowdFundSocial for our social media. This was the first warning sign... we didn't think that these 2 companies were linked...  We declined and a couple of days later received 3 pitches for approval. They were meant to be different from one another (3 different angles). They were pretty much the same. We didn't approve them and instead of sending new ones they send the same email again about hiring CrowdFundSocial for our social media. By this stage we also went back to the "Kickstarter" email and found that there was no logo on it. We pretty much fell into a trap and are now fighting to get our money back. If you find yourself in this position and have not signed off on the pitches you are within your rights to ask for a refund (stated in their terms). So, all in all, we sadly discovered that there are so many sharks out there. Through this misadventure we got to know another 3 backers (so there are 4 of us that we know of) who got done by the same company. I would say STAY AWAY from them!!!

We are reporting this to Kickstarter now, especially as they pose as them with their emailing.!!!

In the meantime our campaign is on the way to crash and it is really gutting. We'll probably cancel and relaunch further down the track!

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Podo Labs
3-time creator
4
Last edited on

We've tried quite a few things across our multiple successful campaigns, and in general tend to stay with most backer newsletters, reporter lists, and other offers that do not have guarantees of tracked revenue. Besides agencies to help with Facebook ads, we've had positive experiences with GadgetFlow. Like those above have said, Evan and the team are responsive and most importantly, we saw a 3.5:1 ROI on our investment. Happy to chat directly with other creators anytime.

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Thomas Brush
Creator
3
Answered on

Getting help from a PR service is a good idea, but, to be frank, don't spend too much money on this. For my Kickstarter campaign, which raised over 100K, I knew how to do a lot of the marketing myself, so I simply enlisted a PR service to distribute emails for me, simply because that was something I wasn't too familiar with. That was a hundred bucks, and it helped the campaign a little bit. 

That said, a good campaign will pretty much sell itself, and any PR agency telling they are the sole reason for any campaign's success is most likely not telling the complete truth. The value of a PR agency will only be added value, it won't make your campaign, and shouldn't cost too much if you know what you are doing.

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A K Nicholas
15-time creator
64
Last edited on

Real marketing companies will partner with your before you launch your campaign, not in the middle. Also, good marketing companies generally build a relationship, not with a single generic pitch, but over time and get to know your audience, product, and company (In other words, they engage in skillful marketing of their own services.) 

There can be good marketing services that are small, new, and specialize in Kickstarter campaigns. But I haven't found any yet. Most just want to blast a message to thousands or millions (claimed) people, who, I would expect would be pretty tired of getting those untargeted messages. I dabbled with a few services, giving them the benefit of the doubt, none of which seemed to bring me a single backer.

I have tried Facebook and Google Ads, targeted by demographics and geography, without generating any revenue in excess of the advertising costs.

Here is my next marketing strategy: Take a list of emails of my previous backers; filter out those who are already on my mailing list; and run a Facebook ad campaign to reach them. I can tell you in about a month how that turned out.

My best source of marketing my Kickstarters over the past two years has been: Discovery on Kickstarter, followed by repeat business. I guess that people who are likely to use Kickstarter already use it. An people who like my stuff have already backed me.

I would love to hear other people's stories of marketing, especially with ads or third party services.

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J.M. Martin
6-time creator
2
Answered on

I used one of these services once to get more traffic to my campaign. I ended up with 2,700+ visits within the next 24 hours but NOT ONE SINGLE PLEDGE. That pretty much tells me I got reamed. Those visits were likely just some sort of bot/crawler or whatever it's called and not real people...or perhaps some ad-click based service where folks get paid per click, so they click and move on without even looking. In short, do not trust. I'm even wary of the posts above by Dialed, Scott Wiser and John VDN. They're making a small part of my brain itch a little; though, to be fair, I have not researched this Funded Today or Jellop as of yet.

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VEAR
2-time creator
2
Answered on

I worked with backercamp.com from Spain on our previous campaign (www.vear.me) and they were worth the money since they worked with me to build the campaign and also partly handled the PR. They got expensive since last year but I would still recommend them.

It is true that no company can guarantee your campaign's success but they did work hard and did their best to make it work.

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Lotofideas
Creator
2
Answered on

I was contacted by Ashley Jones of Marketingqueen, who was committed to spreading my campaign to thousands of interested people. In the end for $ 160 he brought me no backers, only false trafic coming from indonesia, brazil and russia. After understanding that that was a scam I looked a little better his site (marketingqueencfq . com) and seeing that the company was created in September 2016. Nevertheless he cites testimonies on kickstarter campaigns that he allegedly made succeed, But when I inquire about this campaigns I see that they were closed in May 2015, more than a year before the creation of the site. Through this message I try to avoid others being trapped as naked as I by false testimonies and false promises.

Marketing queen = 100% scam

(sorry for my english, it's principally a google traduction)

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Chameleon Art Products
2-time creator
2
Answered on

We were approached by a TON of “PR” and “Promotional Firms” but I have to say the Gadget Flow is the best way to go, they helped our campaign go like a 'Shot' out of the gate!  In our opinion it is the best value for money when it comes to reaching people who are looking for NEW and INNOVATIVE products! We used them for both our Chameleon Pens and Chameleon Color Tops campaigns and they delivered!

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Vivent SARL
Creator
1
Answered on

We are into the 2nd day of our campaign and I have received all these "offers".  Does anyone have advice on how fast you have to accumulate backers to know if you are trending towards successful funding?  I'm nervous we are not getting traction fast enough but know how campaign funding normally evolves over the 30 (or so) days of a campaign.  

2 comments

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Scott Wiser
Creator
1
Answered on

Funded.Today has an amazing track record. I was lucky to be one of their first few campaigns, since one of the founders (Zach) was a personal friend (and an impressive businessman). I honestly wouldn't have succeeded without them. Now they're doing incredible things like taking campaigns that may have made $100K and making them 500K to a million. They are honest, hard workers from what I've seen. 

 They might not be for every campaign, as some of the fellow kickstarters I recommended were passed on because funded today didn't want to "cut into their campaign's profits." But hey, that's the kind of attitude that wins my respect. I can tell they really love to help others succeed!

As for the other services who contacted me during my campaign, I didn't think I could trust the others.  :)

2 comments

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Car Spotto
2-time creator
1
Answered on

Thank you so much for everyone's answers - I feel so much more at ease.  I started my campaign last night and was shocked to have been spammed by so many of these "Social Marketers", one within 2 minutes of the launch.  I did think about it at first, but then as the night went on and they kept coming, I was certain something was amiss.

As with all your comments, its about the connections and work you put in yourself to promote the campaign, so that's all I can do to the best of my ability and resources.  Only 29 more days to go...its going to be a long month.

Thank you all.

1 comment

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Erik Burg
Creator
1
Answered on

Yes, thanks to everyone for the responses in this thread. Pretty informative. I've been approached many times since I launched  and even tried tracking down reviews on the some of the services online to see if any worked. Looks like they don't. I'm currently running a KS for a photobook which don't really tend to to generate much traffic from what I've seen. I've been reaching out through my social media accounts, asking people to spread the word, etc. but I haven't seen much of a bump in traffic, let alone pledges.

I've got 19 days left, so we'll see.

Erik

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Manuela Rocker and Megan Wisheart
Creator
5
Answered on

We launched our campaign and got the first backer within 20 minutes. We thought that everything was going to be fine... BUT we also soon found out that our project would be buried under hundreds of other amazing projects within Kickstarter. We are designers, not marketing and PR gurus so we started to do some research  to see which agency to go for. We received an email we looked like it was from Kickstarter. The sender was "Kickstarter Update" in this email we read with interest that they were recommending 3 agencies,, namely: FirstWavePR, CrowdFundSocial and Crowd Chirp. We did some research and found that the latter 2 had some negative feedback but we found nothing on FirsWavePR. WE spoke on the phone and they were absolutely sure they could get us funded. We emailed to and fro a little and we finally decided to trust them and go ahead. We paid for PR and social marketing, a total of US$995.  As soon as we paid we received an email where they suggested we hire CrowdFundSocial for our social media. This was the first warning sign... we didn't think that these 2 companies were linked...  We declined and a couple of days later received 3 pitches for approval. They were meant to be different from one another (3 different angles). They were pretty much the same. We didn't approve them and instead of sending new ones they send the same email again about hiring CrowdFundSocial for our social media. By this stage we also went back to the "Kickstarter" email and found that there was no logo on it. We pretty much fell into a trap and are now fighting to get our money back. If you find yourself in this position and have not signed off on the pitches you are within your rights to ask for a refund (stated in their terms). So, all in all, we sadly discovered that there are so many sharks out there. Through this misadventure we got to know another 3 backers (so there are 4 of us that we know of) who got done by the same company. I would say STAY AWAY from them!!!

We are reporting this to Kickstarter now, especially as they pose as them with their emailing.!!!

In the meantime our campaign is on the way to crash and it is really gutting. We'll probably cancel and relaunch further down the track!

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Lainie Chait
Creator
1
Last edited on

Has anyone ever tried to get their money back? CrowdFundSocial in particular?? Predators is such a good term for them. I've seen that word used alot in the threads. Mongrels more like it (Aussie term for feral, rabies laden dogs)!

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Miguel Olivas, CEO, Olivas Rocks
Creator
1
Last edited on

We hired a social media and PR firm that spammed us. Huge mistake. Fortunately we used our company credit card and were able to retrieve our refund immediately. We hired them for a full service platform and all we received were bogus analytics. When asked to view the ads and press releases they became unresponsive. Our project flopped, but it likely had more to do with the description of the project than the project itself. The other firm we hired to write the project description miscategorized us a technology project. The project is a case study of a tech start up. Surely people were looking for a gadget to donate to instead they found our project. We're good, we are now handling everything in house. We can't seem to figure out how to edit the project now that it is complete. We also need to recategorize it. 

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Cliff
Creator
1
Last edited on

On one of my recent campaigns I considered the marketing of The Gadget Flow. Their numbers look great on paper and their Facebook posts for other campaigns seem to have such a nice reaction with thousands of Like's and shares and comments. I was almost ready to pull the trigger on a $3500 package and then took a closer look at their Facebook responses. Nearly 9/10 were from people from the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia... and when you click on those profiles you can see that many are fake profiles with barely any content.

 In a nutshell.... do your due diligence before signing anything or handing over any money! These thoughts are just based on my personal findings and thoughts based on what I found on their Facebook page but feel free to do your own research and come to your own conclusions! If you have other opinions based on past experiences with The Gadget Flow I would love to hear them because we'd love to work with a legit marketing company.

UPDATE: 

After this post I did personally discuss my initial concerns with Evan from Gadgetflow and he reassured me that although they do get many follows on Facebook from people overseas they do have a very large following of actual Kickstarter backers. I was collaborating on a different campaign for a different company and was able to use a GadgetFlow coupon which was previously sent to me for a nice discount on their package deals and decided to give it a shot! I must say that Evan was a pleasure to work with and the services performed by the GadgetFlow really worked wonders! They were able to generate an additional  84 pledges. At the same time I was trying to run my own Facebook ads and was unable to duplicate the results that the Gadget Flow had so I can now honestly say that their service WORKS! I do highly recommend them and their effective marketing strategies.

-Cliff

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TEMPO
Creator
1
Last edited on

We used Gadgetflow and got Instant results, The investment (standard package $649) paid for it self, GadgetFlow boosted our kickstarter campaing immediately with their mailing newsletter we've got backers straight away, we loved their facebook post too, their tweets aren't great even though they tweeted our product more than they should, but not very much impact from them. Apart that I strongly recommend them. They are very serious, they are always in contact if you need them. Plus, their e-commerce platform looks awesome and cyclyk our product will be there forever ;)


Julian A.

From cyclyk

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Stephen Gomes
Creator
1
Answered on

I can't trust any offers to market my product if they can't spell or use proper English. Maybe it's just me! 

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EyeQue
Creator
1
Last edited on

We raised 134K on KS in 50 days. For the noobs—I read this thread word by word before our campaign and it’s got a lot of helpful tips.

  • 1. You may be desperate but stay away from the spamming messages— They sound promising but they won’t do anything for you so don’t waste your money, not even $99! 
  • 2. If I could start over, I would have at least ONE trusted media/marketing outlet set up prelaunch. The snowball effect is real on KS: the more backers you have, the more backers you will get. 
  • 3. Reach out to other creators with similar amounts of backers to do cross-collaboration—Do it yourself! It works! 

We did not have any experience in the crowdfunding space when we started our campaign. However, we have a very innovative and affordable product (<$20 for early birds) and thought it’ll sell itself—we launched without any marketing set in place (not recommended!!!). We had a hard time getting traction, as you may have guessed. We received a FLOOD of messages promising backers, exposure, tweets… it’s almost like these marketers knew how to take advantage of a desperate situation. Yes, they are scam artists, and yes, you should report spam. 

A couple of weeks into our campaign we were STILL struggling. A nonchalant GeekyGadget post sent us a few backers so we decided to reach out to a few other gadget-focused websites to see what we can do. TheGadgetFlow responded quickly and their website is a good outlet for new Kickstarter projects. We jumped on the cheapest package (~$600?) and started seeing traffic and backers almost immediately. They are a small team and always responded within a couple of hours, which made changes and updates very easy. Within a week we opted in for the most expensive package. ROI was great for us! Try to get the dedicated email blast ASAP. We didn’t end up working with other websites because they were out of our budget. 

Another company we worked with was FundedToday. While they did bring us traffic and backers, the ROI was not worth mentioning (for us; others may have benefited more?) They have a whole network of products on crowdsourcing websites and the most effective tool seems to be cross collaboration—You can essentially do that yourself by reaching out to other creators— make sure you reach out to those with similar numbers of backers so you get the most positive experience. Make a quick “cross collaboration” package on GoogleDrive so it’s easy for others to access and use! We didn’t have any creator flake on us :) Yay KS community! 

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TriboTEX
Creator
1
Answered on
"We jumped on the wave of the Gadget Flow 14 days before our campaign ends with premium package and we had not been happier with their performance. Cohesive team with excellent communication and great ROI in a very short time. Great results well tracked!" - Dr. Pavlo Rudenko, Ph.D., Founder/CTO, TriboTEX
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Ivaylo Kalburdzhiev
1
Answered 1 day ago

I'd recommend Evan and the team behind http://thegadgetflow.com

They've done a phenomenal job with the Superscreen campaign ($2.54M raised) in promoting to a narrowly targeted audience of tech adopters. 
For comparison, the ROI on our investment in their paid plans was easily worth 4x and more, and their customer support is also top-notch. 
Their marketing channels have also been an invaluable resource and I'd defeinitely recommend them to anyone looking to launch a hardware / technology Kickstarter campaign.
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John VDN + Vitor Santa Maria
3-time creator
0
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In short no marketing or PR company can guarantee coverage or an increase in pledges, sorry no free lunch guys. Be wary of ones who ask for a payment up front. I’m not saying they are all bad but it is hard to work out whether these smaller companies are any good or if they are just looking for a quick buck. In the end there are two heavy weights that are the go to guys. They are FundedToday and Jellop. Both of these companies aren’t cheap but they do get results. They both work on a percentage basis of the pledges that they direct to your campaign (plus possibly a little bit of the overall total as Google Analytics doesn’t always truly capture each pledge).

Both of these companies will not offer their services to any campaign as they are working on commission hence if they don’t believe they can push your pledges up then they won’t work with you. The upside of this is that if they do decide to work with you then you can be fairly sure their work will help. If they see that their advertising is not working then they will also cease working with you.

We found both of these companies very good at what they do. We found overall FundedToday delivered more results. They test a bunch of Facebook ads and demographic combinations. After about 3-4 days you start to see results (or not if it’s just not jiving).

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Jose Francisco Ribeiro Duarte Seijas
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I really do not understand that marketing companies that want to work with projects in kickstarter are not working with the same business model, I mean payment when success. Paying upfront something without the warranty of success is to put all risk in our side. Why we have to assume this risk?
It is also funny that they have different prices and packages when no one of them have a warranty that really works and what will be the difference of backers selecting one or the other.  
So if you know a marketing company that works with a % of success and that have office in the EU, just let me know.
Best regards

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Tess Winningham
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Thanks so much to everyone who added comments.  We are revamping some of the wording and pictures on our current campaign and hope to get some momentum.  I think I was too close to the project and did not explain the value well.  I have some new input and a great group of Web design team who took a look and made really good suggestions.  Wish me luck and (Shameless promo) check out Carmine for every woman and new driver.

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Greg Mason Burns
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I got spammed by BackerClub, but I did take a risk and knew I was doing it. They had really good customer service and really took the time to help me set things up with them. Because I am an artist, they gave me a discount (un-guaranteed - their full price is guaranteed) because they do mostly tech gadget type of stuff. In the end, I got exactly $0 from them. So it was not worth it. Lesson learned.

However, one service that did work was Green Inbox, but not all of it. I spent $30 for the FB/yahoo mail service (this service comes together in the same price due to how they get access to FB profiles) and I raised about $200. I then spent another $30 on the LinkedIn service and got $0. I didn't do the Twitter service because it takes about 10 days for them to fully process Twitter messages due to how often they can send out messages. I would consider the Twitter service because I know the vast majority of my followers are artist types.

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GNARBOX
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I would not say all are scams, but like anything you should vet the opportunities thoroughly and don't rely on them too heavily. If they are offering a service that SUPPLEMENTS an already healthy campaign, then yes! If your campaign is performing poorly, the service is not going to turn that around by any means. 

It starts with your product then depends on your team, timing, pricing, messaging and execution. If you are doing well, don't shy away from trying a service like backerclub.co. IF you can get a free e-mail blast, take it. Maybe open up a few extra low price rewards for a superbacker club and go for it. 

The majority of these though, should not be relied on to bring you success.

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Carol Benovic
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We talked to creators about some of the consultant services that did have a positive impact on their campaigns and assembled a list.

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Laurence Flood
2-time creator
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Personally as a newbie here with my first campaign, I was disappointed that my first messages were all from social media promoters. I reported them all as spam and wrote personally to each spammer. One apologised sincerely for his approach and the others said nothing. Seems a shame to allow these people to latch onto new campaigners. But hey, that's just my view.

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Founder & CEO, Lee Gerdes
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I'm logged in as my only project on here, but represent the gentleman you see as his boutique agency, which I will NOT promote in this thread. This is the only campaign I've done and we raised 95K with zero budget using a substantial existing email list and followers on Facebook. The only money that was spent was for the video and what they paid me to manage the entire campaign working the emails and social posts personally supplying the images. We're getting ready to launch a second campaign and this time I will have a budget for social media, but we've been marketing our product we launched on Kickstarter for a year now and it's doing great still with almost no budget. I work the emails and social media like a champ on behalf of Lee Gerdes at Brain State Technologies and am proud to say I've accomplished a lot organically. But you do have to be a master at images, messaging and writing blog posts and emails that convert leads to sales aka backers.

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Headstrument
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Hi, I explored three (that seemed to make sense to us)- Jellop, Funded Today, and GadgetFlow. Jellop will only take you on if you are at 100k in pledges (or higher) at about the halfway mark on your campaign. So, we weren't accepted. Funded Today: just got off the Skype call with them a few minutes ago... A couple days ago, I reached out to them- and got the [probably canned] response of: "URGENT...I reviewed your project; and am really exited to go ahead and discuss the next steps with you! Skype is probably the best way to talk more." This intrigued me, because (as I understood it), they would be compensated 35% of all pledges that were directly captured due to their efforts, no upfront costs, and no fees due if the project does not successfully fund. I figured that they felt the project had significant merit and appeal. We have 18 days remaining; and FOR SURE need the exposure.

OK- I was skeptical about this call, because 1). The guy's profile pic looked fishy, it was a crop of a groomsman in a wedding- (maybe it's him "Jordan David") but sealed it when on the Skype call he wouldn't turn on HIS camera; which I suspected would be the case (or that another representative would field the call instead). And worse, 2). Nah- it's $3,500 UP FRONT, plus the 35%, and a 7 day "further review" process after you pay the $3,500. The want to ensure that in that first week that they see an acceptable ROI on their end.

GadgetFlow- some backers highly recommend, other say to steer clear. Yes, they will get hundreds / thousands of Facebook (mainly) accounts to "like" / 'share"- most of the accounts are offshore- not associated with an actual individual. They claim all these followers on their own site, mostly bunk accounts, too. The benefit iS that it shows popularity (whether legitimate or not) and can get you higher placement within Kickstarter (which leads to more exposure)- so... it depends on if you want to play that game or not. That being said, I may still invest with them [GadgetFlow], but I DON'T dig a deluge of emails that all begin with "My Dear Friend", and sales reps only trying to push the PRO and PREMIUM packages.

PLEASE understand, I am only sharing our personal experiences thus far with those three firms- I am not bashing nor praising any one in particular. Yes, we need assistance- and I encourage others' comments and to share their strategy and outcomes, too. Thanks for reading- very glad to be a part of Kickstarter!

P.S. I have seen a huge increase of likes and shares on our HEADSTRUMENT (Facebook Page) using some of their "Boost Post" packages. And? These are actual PEOPLE (with friends), with accounts that have been active for more than a just few months, yeah? It's a genuine "like"; which were proud to earn. It IS a cool product; that's why were here.

-Justin

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Paul M. Ellender
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This is my first drip as it were, into the wonderful world of Crowd Funding. It is quite a steep learning curve. One thing however I wasn't expecting was the barrage of Services providers, all experienced in the field of raising vast amounts for my Project. Or are they? My alarm as to if these companies are true or not,  would have to be the way they sell and promote their services to me rather than the message itself.  

Look at my flash Ferrari, and the Las Vegas view from my window...and the Helicopter fly by. Oh yes and the Offer $999 but for you $199.97 ?......??.......???? You can rent a Ferrari on the Strip, Its easily book a hotel room.....and the Fly By? A Drone. As for the Offer, well remember the old quote "if it sounds to good to be true...It is". Another ploy come when you are sent a link to an on-line Interview with successful Creator, all posted on an Impressive website.....Try clicking one a drop down menu once in a while...Opp's nothing there. Seriously ask your self if they are that good would they be that tacky? These are both examples I have come across on my short journey so far. I had to take a look as part of my education, but I didn't click any Buy buttons.

The problem starts when these sales groups tell you should be pulling in $1000 per day, and you are not. Thus generating a feeling that your project is failing and time is running out, even though it may be just days old. Yes, who wouldn't like to see 300% on their Pledge'o'meter.

 But just remember your business plan set a target of 100%, and for me it is 35 days not 7. I'm an ex Racing driver and its all very well being several seconds ahead half way through the race. The real trick is being in front at the end. As it says on the back of a well know Guide Book.....'Don't Panic'

In closing, By all means read some of these ads they can point out things you are not doing,  but from that I find it worth, having a look at blog sites, or press articles, for the ideas, and answers. Seek advice, and do it your self.

Don't touch the Buy button.

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Kathryn Coster
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My campaign is small fry, so most of these packages would probably cost half my goal. I'm sure most of them are spam. I'd be more impressed if any of the had actually backed anything, though one guy has actually pledged money towards my campaign. I'm assuming that will get cancelled by the end though...

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