We've been working hard to generate press. While trying to sell the house we've spent most of each day promoting West By Sea. More backers means more "social proof" and better quality rewards for all backers. We contacted adventure travel companies, cancer survivor groups, motivational leadership types and the local press, plus email, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
You have all been great getting us to our first goal and to three of the five stretch goals. Normally there's an uptick during the last 48 hours of the campaign and stretch goal #4 will probably happen. The graphic below is from Kicktraq which shows project activity (check the full report here).
If our goals are met, why keep working to get more backers? Well, just like sports figures have sponsors, so do world travel bloggers. In April we'll be contacting adventure travel outfitters for sponsorships. More "social proof" means we might actually be sponsored by a couple great outfitters. For them it's a numbers game. (If you are or know an outfitter - let's talk.)
The most exposure has come from Jetset Times. They published our guest blog on 3/25 - please share it! This article connected 16 new backers, 5 new Facebook 'likes' and almost 100 new followers on Twitter. Thanks to Bill for introducing us to Wendy. And please add Jetset Times to your regular reading list.
The cool folks over at Sports Car Junkies Business Podcast featured an interview with Ed on show #3. The host Steve burned the midnight oil and moved us up in his release schedule to be sure you could listen before the Kickstarter deadline. Please give them a listen. (You can also read the transcript here.)
Both Michelle and Ed were interviewed by DJ Grandpa’s Crib, an internet radio show about Kickstarter. The main website for Bedrock Communications will be the best place to find it. If you’re already a backer we think you’ll enjoy hearing our story in our own words.
Andy put a note on a message board which brought in four new backers - thanks! Andy also reached out to his media contact in Baltimore (postcard backer Chris) who sent us contact info for local CT media. We got a reply from the patch.com contact, nothing to report yet from other media.
Nancy got us in contact with Susan who will put in a placeholder for the New London schools. It will be fun to have a bunch of kids along.
Michelle will meet with the media folks at Mass General (where her doctors are) in April.
Facebook has been good for building community. We hope more of you join the conversation over there. We spent about $25 for Facebook promoted posts which brought in 15 backers. During the trip our ground crew will cross-post to Facebook and Twitter, but the main action will be at westbysea.com.
For $20 we had some nice business cards made up and wish we'd done it sooner. People really like seeing a miniature version of the postcard and having the website address on hand.
And of course, word of mouth. You have all been great telling others and sharing the links. Great work there!
Some things we tried that didn't work out:
- Twitter. Two backers could be considered a success but the time spent trying to build an audience there hasn't been well spent. Twitter might be useful for marketing an already existing brand with a large and loyal fan base. We're not talking town Twitter. You folks are absolutely great and the Twitter following (with your help) will be nice and big by the end of the trip. It's just a different market with a different focus.
- The Ellen DeGeneres show. Yes, somebody (THANKS!) put us in for the show. It hasn't happened yet. If they decide to contact us before we leave for the trip, we'll let you know the air date.
- Local media. This story has several possible angles: leadership, travel, human interest, medical, new media, business and literature to name a few. The news cycle is winding down without any hits or interest. If something pops up we'll report back.
Some things we didn't do:
- There was no way to pay for mass marketing and frankly having thousands of followers (while awesome) would have been a lot of work. So no mass email lists or advertising. We want to bring along the people who care (you).
- No national media. Same reason, but also we're just two people doing this. It's one thing to go national if you have a staff. Maybe that'll happen some day: "West By Sea, Inc." Not today.
- No website ads. We want to keep the website to sponsors only and tightly controlled affiliate programs, like Amazon (we get about 4% referral credit for Amazon links at no additional cost to you.) Also no other internet or in-app advertising.
On Saturday night I'll put out one more update. This will be the last reminder to make any adjustments to your pledge. After the campaign is over it'll take a few days to complete the funding process. Then the focus shifts to trip prep and packing. Updates will be less frequent but we're going to plan one per week. We understand people are following this project for different reasons so the April updates will report about two things: trip prep and blog/book prep.
In May the focus will shift to the website. Kickstarter updates will still go out for major milestones related to the project. We will have a separate email list for website alerts - this will be in addition to Kickstarter updates, and entirely voluntary. If you don't want to join the email list you will still have access to the site as a "contributor" and we hope you join the conversation by commenting on daily reports.
If you discover an interesting way to spread the story, please do. Things are busy busy busy, but we want to inspire as many as we can.
As Bill says, "Life is a team sport." Great to have you on the team.