So this is a quick post about how we raised 100% of our Kickstarter goal in 14 hours and 44 minutes - the 7 most important things I think you should consider that have got us to 212% funded with 19 days to go. Here is our Kickstarter project
On April 6th we started telling people about our website
for a Kickstarter we were planning for a UK-based subscription box of Japanese sweets, snacks and drinks.
We set ourselves a target of building our audience for 2-3 months before we would publish our project, managing to raise almost 3,000 Facebook fans by launch day and around 900 newsletter subscribers, so here's a summary of how we did it;1) Set a reasonable goal.
We set a goal of £1,650, because this should give us at least 50 subscribers with hopefully some other backers to cover fees and web development costs. This is the minimum we thought we should ask for, instead of asking for something like £10,000 which is simply not necessary. What I would recommend
: Figure out how much you need, add a little bit for miscellaneous costs and fees, then set that as your goal. If you go into your project with exactly £5,000, £10,000 or so on, then this will show visitors that you don't know what you're doing and you're just asking for money for the sake of asking for money. 2) Built a conversion-focused landing page / site.
Our website had one goal: To convert traffic into newsletter subscribers. By placing a signup form and title prominently above the fold with the introduction further down, we could easily capture the targeted traffic who already learned about us on Facebook who then wanted to join the newsletter. Heatmaps show that almost everyone scrolls down quite far and that not putting an introduction at the top has not negatively affected conversions.
Spaced throughout the mid-long form home page was 3-4 other signup forms, all which helped give us a conversion rate of up to 25% from Facebook and 13%+ over all.What I would recommend
: Make sure you have somewhere to funnel your visitors before you tell anyone, then make sure it's streamlined with a conversion focus - there is no point in driving people to a website if they are not going to remember it or convert.2b) Built the newsletter audience.
Want traffic on tap? If you have enough newsletter subscribers then you can quickly drive a lot of traffic to your website, so our site was heavily focused towards getting visitors to join the newsletter.
This is something that everyone in Internet Marketing tells you: Build your list. It really does work well.
In the three months leading up to the project, we gained over 875 subscribers - a large portion of these open our emails (up to 49.5% from 800 subscribers in one case) and very few of them ever unsubscribe.3) Heavily focused on Facebook promoted posts.
I love these, because they get so much more exposure than regular Facebook adverts. Why? Because they're right in the middle of the feed where you literally cannot miss them as you scroll. Using adverts in the right sidebar costs far more per click due to 'ad blindness'.
We took photographs of our product, wrote an introduction and published it on Facebook with a link to the site. We boosted this and heavily targeted it to a specific age range, gender, location and numerous specific interests, then left this post boosted for the entirety of the 3 months before the launch date.
The boosted post spent an average of £3.67 a day for 3 months, with 73,000 people reached and 4,839 post engagements (7 pence each), a 4.2% click through rate and achieved almost 700 newsletter subscribers.What I would recommend
: Research your audience and then target your boosted post to them: Who are they, where are they, what do they like? etc. Use sites such as Alexa to get some basic information, then look on social media for similar products and see who's talking about them.
Also, trial targeting your posts to interests that are not specific to what you do. We had great success targeting the interest 'Japanese Culture', whereas targeting specific candy severely limited our reach. We think this is because people that like the foods are likely to like the culture, but may not be so over-enthusiastic about the individual candy that they actively 'like' pages about them.4) Told everyone we know.
On April 6th when we announced the Kickstarter, both myself and my business partner posted personally on Facebook, tagging about 20 friends each and asking for their support. About half of them shared the page on Facebook.
We also invited almost every friend we had to our page, then had some family members do the same.
The result was that over 1,000 people were invited to the page and even more found out about it through shared posts, helping us get over 200 likes on the first day.
With the Kickstarter live, a dozen or so friends have repeatedly shared it around on social media and have contributed themselves in the first few days. They have also had many of their friends contribute to the project. All together about 30% or more of our funding seems to be from friends, family and friends of friends.What I would recommend
: A big portion of your support will come from people you know and people they know, so tell absolutely every single person you can think of about your project. Even people you have hardly spoken to in years or ones who you wouldn't expect to like your product, as they may still want to support you.5) Posting at least twice per day on social media.
Social media has been the basis of our campaign. Despite having worked in SEO for most of my working life, I decided that it would not bring fast enough results in our industry (although we're ranking quite highly for some terms already), so the focus was set on Facebook and Twitter.
Using photographs of individual snacks, we've posted at least twice a day, almost every day for 3 months, managing to keep up engagement that has brought in a lot of new likes and conversions.
I did this almost solely with Buffer, scheduling posts based on the best time for engagement, which also allowed me to schedule 2-3 weeks worth of content at a time.
5b) Using the 'Invite' button.
You can view a list of the people who have liked your page's post, then invite them to like the page. Every single person who has ever liked our posts has been invited, usually in bulk once every 1 or 2 weeks - this usually results in a spike of referrals from Facebook either on the same day or the day after, which results in a conversion spike, so I know this works well.What I would recommend
: Get Buffer - it has been a huge time saver for us. Post photos - do NOT post just text statuses, as these do not get the attention that photographs get. Instead, take as many photographs as you can, or scour the net for royalty free images you can post, then schedule these out at least twice each day with a comment or question.
6) Asked questions and surveyed our newsletter subscribers.
Out of around 500 subscribers at the time, 140 of them answered a survey that we sent out. This survey was about 10 questions long and the sole purpose was to find out more about what the subscribers liked or didn't like and what they wanted us to do.
Almost every single person who submitted the survey was overjoyed about helping us to make our product even better and this seemed to increase social media engagement afterwards. One of the latter questions informed them that we would heavily benefit if people could pledge on day one, then asked them roughly what timeframe into the project they would prefer to pledge: most said 'Day 1'.
This survey helped us understand our subscribers and also seemed to solidify in the subscribers' minds that we want our product to be the very best it can be, which appeared to build a lot of trust.What I would recommend
: Think about what your fans / subscribers want and look at the questions they email to you, then ask them questions about what they want from your product. Don't make any survey too long (about 10 questions is enough) but also don't make them too short - the more questions you have the better the data will be.
7) Sending periodic newsletters throughout pre-launch.
We've had great open rates with our newsletters, but in 3 months we've only sent out 13 emails - only 8 of these were before the project went live.
We considered a weekly update email, but many weeks the only things we could say would be along the lines of "Yep, we're still here... Just doing some social media and contacting wholesalers". Instead we focused on big announcements: A competition, a survey, launch date announcement, pricing announcement, rewards announcement, a change to delivery pricing announcement, 1 day to go before launch & 1 hour to go before launch.
These newsletters achieved open rates of over 40% in most cases, except for the last two which had 30% and 24% respectively, likely due to how close together they were.
I think the excellent open rates were because our subscribers were used to only getting an email from us if it was something worth reading - telling them each week that we've just been using Facebook and emailing people is not interesting for most people, so I expect that fewer people would open our emails if we sent those.What I would recommend
: Just tell them about big things, not the boring parts of pre-launch. Ask them questions and invite them to simply reply to your email to give you feedback (this works, albeit very low converting). Don't go months between emails, but try to send out at least two newsworthy messages a month or more.8) Ignoring the competition.
Less than 2 weeks after our Kickstarter announcement in April, another UK company started selling the same product. Their audience was 10x larger than ours at the time and they had lots of engagement when they announced it. We depressingly considered cancelling our plans, to instead carry on with our regular business, but after a few hours we decided to carry on to see if we could still get a few backers anyway.
As time went on, it seemed that there was very little happening with this competing product - it was available for sale already, yet social media was silent apart from their boosted post. On Google, the only mention of this product was an Italian (I think) blogger who posted about it - she didn't purchase one to review, but simply just mentioned it.
We became a little more confident as time continued to pass that fans of our product were far more engaged - one of the reasons is likely because their product was far more expensive than we planned ours to be, with added delivery on top (whereas at least for the UK, ours is free). As well as the pricing, there appeared to be very little marketing happening, whereas myself and my partner were (and still are) spending almost every waking hour either at our jobs or marketing our project.
After announcing our project launch date, we found out our competitor had also launched a Kickstarter project, just one week before our launch. This appeared out of nowhere, as their product hadn't been mentioned anywhere (even by themselves) for several weeks (or even over a month, I'm not sure now).
Despite expecting that this would massively hurt our chances of funding we continued regardless, because while we had been heavily marketing ours to keep it in fans' minds, they had been silent and no-one had been expecting it. The result? They had £434 in the first 2 days, whereas we achieved £2,562.What I would recommend
: As long as you are marketing your product consistently and don't let it fall silent in pre-launch, there's no reason why you cannot out-fund a competitor who has a far larger and more established audience, who doesn't market it so consistently.
Your passion for your project will shine through and your audience will see it. Don't let anyone else put a dent in your plans, even if it looks like they will win - you have the eye of the tiger, they don't.
I do hope this helps some of you - I'm planning to do a long blog post on our website in the next few months about how we built our following, because I took so much advice from others and want to give back to the community.
If I helped at all, please check out our Kickstarter - I'm always up for taking on more advice to continually make it as best as possible: Kickstarter project