Do advertisement or crowdfunding agencies help to spread the word about crowdfunding projects?
I posted this elsewhere on a forum but think this will help:So we just used 'Joopio' which is the hardware and design agency by Samit Patel. Samit has been in the industry for a number of years and I came across him and his business in Hong Kong where he did a talk. I got talking to him and he seemed like a knowledgeable guy that has worked with a number of accelerators and projects.He charges a small fixed and a small bonus which works out well, everything was done through our own accounts and all very transparent. He helped build sales funnels, mailing lists, email marketing campaigns and more. For a first timer in the world of Crowdfunding he was very patient and answered all my questions and helped me understand the process.The reason we chose to work with him is that he believes in working with a client long-term and from his portfolio he works with clients all the way through from launching on Crowdfunding through to generating sales via my own E-commerce.The project when launched got off to a great start and the email list he created converted very well. It bought roughly $50,000 in trackable sales in the first few days. His agency continued to help us and used their lists to drive traffic and awareness to super backers.He also helped navigate the world of cold emailers who spam inboxes with their services, he recommended a few services which he knew would work. He recommended Backercity and Crowdfindly who each delivered a good amount of sales for the money we put in.I highly recommend his work and his teams patience as well as execution, he started from the very beginning when the project had zero fans and built this all the way up. We are now working with his team on In-demand and also to start building up E-commerce sales.
New York Standard Watch Company, LLC
What is on your how-to Kickstarter reading list?
I'm currently on my 15th Kickstarter project, so I don’t read anything about crowd-funding anymore. But initially, for my first few Kickstarter projects, I read and reread all the info on the KS site. I mean everything. There is plenty of sound advice scattered there.I haven't found any crowd-funding bloggers that have content that helps me. They often seem to be focused on blockbuster technology projects. That's not me.Let me explain where I think I learned the most about running Kickstarter projects. I supported several projects before I even thought about doing my own. I'd say the best way to learn about doing Kickstarter projects is to support Kickstarter projects and pay attention to what people do well. Copy the stuff you like. But more important, I learned from the mistakes of others. Pay attention when you see updates complaining about schedule problems, wonky prototypes, manufacturing fiascoes, shipping delays, and problems with customs inspectors. These are vital lessons from the front lines. Much better than some author or blogger pontificating about their theories. Plus, these glimpses behind the curtain can be highly entertaining.
What tips do you have for someone who is nervous to make a video because they are shy in front of a camera?
Try having a good friend stand next to the camera, and talk to your friend. Very few people are comfortable in front of a camera, but most people are OK with talking to a friend. Do lots of takes and edit the best parts with static shots or illustrations as segues. I used to work in video, but it took me 24 takes to get something that isn't too embarrassing!
I am nervous about sharing my idea without a patent. Have others used this site without a patent?
First things first. The internet and Google are wonderful tools to find out everything you need to know. If you are even asking this question, it tells me you have not spent the time to research your questions. The more you research and learn, the more you will understand the risks involved with becoming an entrepreneur. Before you spend any money, research your idea and make sure it's original and has not been done before. Is your idea patentable? Understand the difference between design patents and utility patents. Ideas are not patentable - but the product you create to solve the problem and how it works is. Only good ideas are worth ripping off so how do you know if you have a good idea or product? Kickstarter is a great place to find out if there is interest in your creation. Kickstarter is also a great place for competitors to look for new products and innovations they can copy. We have our Skoother Skin Smoother campaign running and have been contacted by at least a dozen Chinese factories that want to do our tooling and manufacturing for us. How many others have seen our campaign and have not contacted us? Domestic and foreign companies scour Kickstarter looking for new ideas. This can be good and bad for your goals. If you have no intellectual property protection, these companies are free to steal your idea. If you do have a patent pending, you may get large companies contacting you to license the exclusive rights to your product and pay you royalties. "Patent Pending" will also scare and deter other companies from copying you. Exposing your idea on Kickstarter is exposing your invention to the world and so you should be prepared. You want to always limit how much risk you take, both financial and how much work and time you put into it. A simple U.S. utility patent will cost usually between $6,000 - $8,000. That's a big risk to take on for an unproven idea! A good strategy is to write a "provisional patent application" yourself. $125. This is a temporary application that last for one year from the time you file it with the USPTO. This application does not need to be written by a professional. You need to explain very clearly, with as much detail as possible with illustrations, photos and descriptions your invention. Show what it looks like, exactly how it works and any other variations of it you can think of. This basically reserves your idea at the USPTO and gives you one year to file an actual utility patent application. The provisional application is your "first to file" protection you need from the USTPO. So you have a choice; You can forget all of the intellectual property protection and just try to make a quick buck from your Kickstarter campaign...or, you can file a provisional patent application for $125, (which makes it legally "patent pending") and then show the world your invention. If your creation proves successful, you can then go ahead and invest in the full utility patent application. You then have a choice of licensing your invention or starting your own company so you can have it manufactured and market it yourself. But...if your brilliant idea is a flop, you've only lost the $125 for the provisional along with the time and cost of your campaign. It's all about risk, and knowledge will always lesson your risk. Learn about patents, look for similar ideas or products. Is there a big enough market for your product and can it be manufactured at a cost that will be at least 1/5th of the estimated retail price? Look up invention sites and advice but beware, most all of them want money from you. So research, research, research yourself! And remember, if your Kickstarter campaign does not succeed, it is not a failure. It is a lesson learned to be applied to your next great idea. The only way you fail is to never take a risk in the first place!Best of luck and never give up! - Scott Comstock/ TheInventionBrothers.com
THE INVENTION BROTHERS.com
Any suggestions for marketing email subjects that don't look spammy?
So a few people are interested in the answer to this, and nobody seems to have it ;) I'm hoping by posting some more details we might be able to generate some discussion, even if we dont have the answers!What I ended up going with was "Preview of my new FPV/Drone Kickstarter for better video reception" for the subject and trying to personalise every email to the person I've sent it to. Like I said, I know these people, or am at least known by these people if their contact details have been passed on to me.For the post launch emails, I've been using "New FPV product to improve video reception on Kickstarter", pretty generic, I've had emails from friends sending me interesting projects with similar titles - whether the project is on KS or just on a webstore.I'm customising each email I send from the template, ask them about their family if I know about them, or how things are going with the company, or just checking the weather in there area and seeing if they have managed to get and fly in good weather, or commiserating over the bad run of weather they've had (hey, weather's a great neutral topic!). Like I've said, I dont want to be a spammer but I do have a pretty good list of industry contacts i've built up over the years. Of course any reply from a person i've emailed gets an immediate and completely person un-templated response. Most are technical questions or just a thanks for sharing with them/thanks for creating the product.I'm using HubSpot CRM for the emailing, I created a contact list and imported it - their CRM product is free, their email-mass-marketing product is horrendously expensive. They have a "free" addon for chrome+gmail and outlook called "SideKick" which allows you to track people's opening of emails and clicking of links for templates. You get unlimited notifications for the first month, normally 200 - I'm at over 1000 notifications and just 2 days in to the campaign. Some people are opening my emails 8 or more times, and clicking on the links many times. I assume this is them forwarding the email on to others. It also gives you 5 email templates you can use in the CRM when emailing people as part of the free deal. I'm a little confused as to the pricing for upgrade, in the addon itself it says it is $10/mo, but then there is "SideTrack for Business" which is $50/mo however that comes with unlimited calling through the CRM as well. It also gives you more reporting on the templates, without it I'm just getting the total view/click through rate for all emails I've sent. Given the rate I'm burning through Skype credit I'm probably going to spend the $50 in the next day or so. Their sales people were very good on the phone and didnt try too hard to push me towards their marketing solution that would cost me far more money than I have!Since I guess I'm trying to turn this question into more of a Creator-Marketing discussion, I'd also like to link this guide:http://socialwebthing.com/2014/05/social-prospecting-success/I was already doing a lot of this, but certainly found some interesting points (the email checker link in there is awesome). I've been looking up dns records (whoismind.com) for domains of companies I'd like to call or contact to see if I can find out who started the business. Privacy records and domains purchased by web design companies are certainly annoying ;) I've had some good success with at least finding the name of the person behind some one man shows which have worked out well for me.The feedback I'm getting from people I'm emailing and calling is very good, nobody has complained about me reaching out to them, quite a good percentage have actually thanked me.How have you emailed people about your campaign, or otherwise gotten the world out without using an existing consent-given mailing list? Or, have you got any thoughts on improving upon what I've been doing?Marketing without spamming is something we all need to do if we want some success, so I'd be pretty interested in hearing your plans/story/successes.
Using ads to promote Kickstarter; Analytics tracking
Hey! We are currently live on Kickstarter and 7 days in at $234k. We allocated a budget to Facebook Ads and after testing with small $ across 20 ads in week 1, we've dwindled it down to 3 that are performing at 3-6% CTR & 3-6.0 ROI. That means for every $1 spent we are seeing $3-6 in return. our Total conversion (as found in Google Analytics - can explain more soon) is around 1.3% off of facebook in total but this includes more than just the Ads. My best guess is you are getting abotu a .5-1% conversion on Facebook Ads.This means, if you drive 1,000 clicks to your website (DO NOT USE FACEBOOK CLICKS, USE A BITLY TRACKER!) you would gain 1 pledge. This is NOT bad. We are about to upgrade to Google PreRoll because our videos are performing best and an ROI of 6 is not going to boost our campaign as much as we hoped given our small budget.In summary here are my key takeaways:1. Use Facebook Ads to generate pledges & brand awareness.2. Facebook Analytics (find "manage ads") are not 100% accurate and fail to track conversions and clicks accurately. Use BITLY to track your clicks (each ad has a custom Bitly, put that bitly with + after to see clicks&data) and use Google Analytics to track conversions.3. Conversions will still be hard to track, because lots of people will see the ad, open a new tab, go to kickstarter or google and search for your campaign. 4. Market CTR on Facebook is 1.8%. Try running 20-40 ads at $50 to get a good idea of what will work. Pick the winners and move on to other parts of your campaign. Gain an ROI of 3+ to really make a difference.I am beginning a campus thread HERE to track my experience about Google Analytics. This will be abit more intense. Maybe can also repost BITLY + FACEBOOK AD info. Once we run Youtube Preroll, will post that as well. SUBSCRIBE! THANKSWill from GNARBOX
How do you deal with all of the marketing spammers?
Report them all! Every one I reported got banned pretty quickly. Its clear they are scammers, they havent backed anything, and havent created anything. They are likely computer generated accounts run by software looking for new projects.
How do you determine the right goal for your project?
For both of my projects, I determined the minimum (bare minimum!) I would need to accomplish the goal. For my first project, this included a TON of research about paperwork I would have to do, related fees, supplies (minimum orders and bulk orders to get the best prices for my backer rewards), etc... The more facets you have to your project, the more difficult this task will be.You should also give yourself a buffer, about 10-15% of the bare minimum you calculated depending on your risk factors, to account for unexpected rises in prices of supplies or an unexpected permit or certification you may need, etc. If you end up not needing it, you can put it toward your inventory order for that new business you're launching, or you can put it toward improving the experience for your backers (such as newer or better artwork/print quality/other feature of your rewards).If you're still not sure, you may want to reach out to a project creator who has done something similar to what you plan on doing. I think you'll find that many Kickstarter Creators are more than willing to help a fellow Creator! If you're launching a food business, feel free to reach out to me.
Vincent B. Donadio
How can you use Kickstarter Live to connect wth your community?
I think everyone's experience with live-streaming might be slightly different. I laser cut miniature war-gaming terrain. I currently have a live project running (my first ever Kickstarter) and I live stream my laser cutting nightly on Twitch.tv. Every night at about 10pm CST I turn on the cameras and interact with my backers, friends, and the community at large. I show backers the rewards they signed up for and I let them see their things being cut live. I also answer a lot of questions about lasers and design. So far it has been a very positive experience for me and I think it might be the reason that my project was 100% funded in 4 hours and is now holding steady at 600% funded. I think with live streaming people want the interaction, they want the creator to say hi to them and single them out when talking so they feel connected to the creator. So when you live stream you have to be very personal with people and ask how they are doing and be genuinely involved in conversations with them. All 500 of them at the same time. It is a very exhausting thing to do. But after over a month of doing it I already see a very loyal community forming around my brand and what I do. So it is very worth the time. I also feel one single live stream event is just dead hype. People log in to see it but don't stick around until the end. If you consistently live stream more than once a week at set times and days and stick to that, you will find more people showing up week after week and hanging out until the end.My tips?Dont plan every word to say, have a list of topics, but be genuine and engage the audience. the reason people watch live is to engage. If they wanted a scripted speech they would have watched your youtube video.When your stream starts no one will be there. so have something to talk about for 10-30 min where you can just ramble on. Make it fun and exciting, like a youtube video. People will latch onto something you said or an interesting thing that is in frame and make a comment. When they do, acknowledge them and start talking about what they want to talk about. If the tangents get too far off topic just jump the rails and get back on topic.Have interesting items in frame. Wear an interesting T-Shirt that your viewers can ask about.Go to Twitch.tv, go to the games section, and there is a "game" there called creative (normally the 10th or 20th on the list) open that up and watch some creative streamers. See what they are doing and try to do that. Even if you are facebook streaming or youtube streaming, you can learn a lot from those twitch streamers.Have a blank notepad document open with links to places pasted in. This allows you to quickly grab a link via copy/paste and send it to your viewers. Also, great place to put notes.Anyways, My campaign ends on 10/14 at 10:14am (CST) and I will be live streaming that whole day to celebrate. Before and After. Most of it will be a view of the laser cutting their rewards but it will also be me chatting with the viewers and giving shout outs and giveaways.
Success rate depending on project's country of origin?
Hi Samuel,First of all, you shouldn't be worried about your project not being seen in other countries. Every project on Kickstarter has equal chances of being seen by anyone worldwide and it only depends on the quality of your project that makes for its success. I've created two projects myself and the majority of my backers came from Austria, Germany and the US. But I also had backers from countries like Japan, Singapore, Denmark, the Netherlands.. I could go on. It's so exciting for me to ship packages to all these countries I wish to visit one day. If your project has the chance of attracting international backers then in my belief Kickstarter is a good place to reach them. If your project's good, you'll find the support from your local people too. At the beginning, your backers will be friends and family because it's hard to convince strangers to support your project if people who know and trust you don't.. you wouldn't go to an empty restaurant either I assume. Once you have your friends supporting you, more people get curious and will check out your project.I've seen many projects create their campaigns in multiple languages or they used subtitles to make their projects available to everyone (SolidLUUV from Berlin or Livin Farms from Vienna) and I've also seen projects done in German only (Nicht Lustig from Frankfurt or the Towell from Kiel). They were all hugely successful. What is your project about?Take care, Monika