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by xiller » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:49 am

A very interesting conversation here. Thank you Sal for starting with this topic! I have to agree with what you told earlier. The biggest problem with our campaigns too was and is the low traffic. I think that bad conversations really tell if the people want the product or not but if there is not even traffic to your page is hard to tell if your idea is worth of making into reality. For our Kickstarter campaign we got only 500 views but we received good feedback from those who visited our page.

We did not want to invest money in PR since crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo should be for those who have a small budget. Unfortunately that does not seem to be the case, at least not anymore, since there are many campaigns with a huge budget in advertising. It is very hard to compete with those as a small start-up company.

After Kickstarter we are now trying on Indiegogo since we hoped that in a little bit smaller platform we will not be so invisible. Unfortunately that is not the case and we still have only a little traffic to our page.

Sincerely,
Anton Levitskij
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by inflexionUSA » Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:55 pm

Hi Anton,

First, I love your concept for Friend Wars or is it Dizzlike?, now let’s get to work.

I agree with you that a big problem in crowd funding campaigns is low traffic. If your objective is to test market, can you tell if your product is liked or not with low traffic? The answer of course is no.

But low traffic is a symptom not a cause. The reason I had low traffic, I am guessing, is the same as why you do. We did not prepare and build a strong social connectivity network up front. Of course there are other ways to gain traffic - blog referrals, positioning in KS ... but social connectivity is most important for the long term viability of your business.

While I can’t say that your points about being a start up, having a small budget, expectations of Kickstarter and Indiegogo, citing of campaigns with huge budgets is wrong, I don’t quite agree with you. Mostly, because it will not help you achieve your goals.

This perhaps will:

Look at these platforms as the best marketing, branding, promotional, connectivity, customer centric way of building a business EVER, and I do mean EVER! It should change your perspective. Then find out how to use them, not just for now - forever.

Here is what I am doing:

First I am looking for success stories. People who know how to leverage social connectivity. People like Ferris, Godin, Ellsberg, LaPorte, Sinek, Carmichael, Kawaski, Vaynerchuk, and Briggman. If you can’t find them and want more contact me.

Follow them. Start with Crowd Crux, read, read, read and watch the videos. You’ll find amazingly curated articles there. And post comments, many comments. Remember someone may read what you say and to this point ... tangent alert ... I am responding to your post because what you wrote made me interested in you ... and back ... and recommend Crowd Crux and Kickstarter Forum to others - many others, because these are YOUR sites, you need to help build them.

Follow the link on Crowd Crux to Guy Kawasaki’s video. It’s over an hour and forty five minutes long. Watch it in parts if you must, but watch it. It’s interesting, Guy is entertaining and it’s really important. And watch Seth Godin.

After you watch the video, please feel free to contact me.

James
Last edited by inflexionUSA on Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by c1ue » Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:21 am

Interesting stuff.

My approach is quite a bit different. What I have done is spend 3 months observing other projects in the same space. Most of the above info seems to be about the Games category; what I looked at were the Design and Tech categories. I did so because my project is Tech with a little on the Design side. Note the dynamics are probably very different for Tech and/or Design vs. many other Kickstarter/Indiegogo categories, though not necessarily for the Game sections.

Anyway, what I did was this: while as a project owner, you can see views on Kickstarter page and what not - this is not information accessible by anyone else.

Instead I focused on clicks on video, facebook shares, #backers, and amount raised. All these numbers are accessible by outsiders, and so can be used to gauge traffic on projects other than your own.

From this I created a series of secondary metrics: Shares to click ratio, clicks to backers, shares to backers, and $/backer average. For a few projects, I would actually watch them live - for these I would have shares/clicks/backers/$ per backer on a daily basis. Also where I could tell, I'd note if there was PR or not. In general, if there were 6 or more blog mentions including 1 or more big ones like CNET or Wired, professional PR was involved. Obviously I probably made some errors here!

Here's what I observed from the 100+ projects on my list (I didn't look at all, just ones which I thought were most similar as well as a few just tossed in for informational purposes):

1) Facebook shares are irrelevant. Some projects had huge numbers of facebook shares, but in general the shares/clicks on video had no discernable relationship. Projects with PR tend to have much higher share/click ratios as well as absolute numbers of facebook shares/clicks on video

2) clicks/backers seems fairly consistent for a given project. My belief is that this represents the attractiveness of the project to people who view the video. A high $/backer, for example, just about always guarantees a high click/backer ratio (i.e. over 10). Almost all projects in my list fell between 0.8 and 3 clicks/backer with the range extending from 0.17 to over 60. In comparison, the shares/backers ratios ranged from 0.04 to over 16 but only 1/3 were between 0.8 and 3 (much more even distribution across range, i.e. random).

3) $/backer did seem to have some relationship to click/backer ratios. Over $175 $/backer, the click/backer ratios jump dramatically. Under $80, the ratios can be higher but not as bad as being too expensive. I think for these projects the question is value. Even a $50 item can be considered overpriced.

4) For projects on Indiegogo that used vimeo - I was able to link at least some of the top 10 referral sites to daily totals. This was pretty good both for culling potentially good blogs/emagazines to push marketing requests to as well as giving some idea on potential traffic.

5) Length of project: projects over 30 days don't seem to get much benefit. In fact, most of the action happens in the first week or so. There are exceptions, but these tend to be the big $200K to $1M+ headline projects - I think this is due to follow on effects from being featured on the top of the Kickstarter/Indiegogo project categories or from being on the primary Kickstarter/Indiegogo landing page.

6) Organic vs. PR - the organic numbers for Tech and Design aren't very impressive - at least from the #clicks standpoint. I gauged this by looking at the daily click numbers after the first 2 weeks - because in general there is a major tailing off. The tailing off seems similar to what I have experienced first hand with PR for apps (with respect to downloads).

Conclusions:

If you're offering a new product for which donations = units sold, you must do PR. There really isn't any reason not to because more traffic = more donations, and you don't have to worry about people stopping once you hit goal because they'll want the product. If your product isn't attractive, of course, you'll have wasted your PR money, but regardless you'll get more traffic than if you hadn't. You don't have to do PR - I did see a couple of projects which garnered considerable traffic, but these projects did so via extremely sophisticated social media work. We're talking huge lists of relevant blogs + names of the bloggers, then flogging already large social networks for intros from mutual friends. This obviously isn't for everyone nor can anyone even realistically be successful at it.

Another way to be successful without doing professional PR is having a product which is very niche, but going after the blogs which focus on that niche. A number of photography related projects, for example, did very very well despite no major media mentions, but with some number of photography blog coverage.

Anyway, with what I've learned - I'm in the process of shooting the video and tuning the Kickstarter page. I'll probably go live 1st week of September, and will see whether my above work was fruitful or not!
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by xiller » Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:16 pm

Thank you James for your thorough comment. You have excellent points there, which helped me a lot. Our game is called Dizzlike but we noticed that when people hear “Dizzlike”, they think immediately only about a dislike button and not a browsergame. That is the reason why we added “Friend Wars” there.

I follow Crowd Crux, there are many good and useful articles that have helped me a lot. But you are absolutely right: I should comment too and not only be a passive reader. Also the names you mentioned above: some of them were familiar but some were totally new so thank you so much for sharing them! I actually had already read Sal’s article about the video of Guy Kawasaki but I had not watched the video. Now I watched it and I have to say, even though Sal has made a great article, it was definitely worth of watching. I got so many great ideas and on top of that: Guy Kawasaki is such an inspiring person.

I noticed that you have canceled your Kickstarter project even though it started well. Do you think that you did not have a strong enough community around you? You are right that we do not have it yet but our object is also about testing the market and not only getting the game funded.

I hope you will get the funding for your wallet since I can really see a future for it.

Anton
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by inflexionUSA » Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:25 pm

Hey Calvin (C1ue),

Of all of the posts I have read here on this forum, including those I’ve written, your post above is the most interesting to me. You begin by stating “My approach is quite a bit different” and you continue by describing what you’ve done.

You have taken what I would describe as a more scientific approach to a problem: Identify and acquire relevant data, analyze it, draw conclusions and test. And while I can’t say whether or not you will achieve your desired goals, I do believe, using your words, that this experience for you will be very “fruitful”.

There are many ways to approach a “problem”, and how to successfully crowd fund a project is problem for many of us here. By sharing what must have been a lot of work and importance to you, you have raised the bar not only for yourself, but for all of us.

Thank you.

James
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by inflexionUSA » Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:55 pm

xiller wrote:I noticed that you have canceled your Kickstarter project even though it started well. Do you think that you did not have a strong enough community around you? You are right that we do not have it yet but our object is also about testing the market and not only getting the game funded.

I hope you will get the funding for your wallet since I can really see a future for it.

Anton


Hi Anton, thank you for your comments.

While I was trending to successful funding, I did not think that was enough. I knew when I started that I did not have a strong enough community, however, I felt that launching my project would teach me more tangibly than research alone. Success or failure really had less to do with my decision than opportunity cost, utilization of my time and learning potential.

Adversity has always taught me more than easy success, so for me this experience has taught me a lot. I agree with you about testing the market, and KS is a great way to do this. I would argue that your approach is fundamentally more sound over using KS simply for short term success or profitability. As such, this is one of the rare instances in business where I believe the focus is better on top line rather than bottom line business.

The landscape is rapidly changing and the table stakes are getting higher. But this is a good thing. My thought is to look and learn from the best and devise and perfect a successful system of my own. While others may have more resources, money, PR and such, I believe I can and should compete against the best of them. The key is to compete in a game you can win. With hard work, creativity and smarts, KS is a game anyone can win. And I would argue that it offers far greater opportunity at much less risk than more traditional ways of doing business of the past.

So that is what I am trying to do. Can I succeed? I'm confident I can, but I don't know for sure. What I can tell you is that the fear of failure never plays into my decisions. Think, try, get results, evaluate and try again. Think of it like doing laundry - Wash, rinse, repeat.

Over the years my companies have been fortunate to work for some of the smartest people and companies in the world. One of which was Bloomberg L.P.

I remember once hearing Michael Bloomberg say something like this I am paraphrasing "While other companies are planning, revising, rewriting, meeting and perfecting their business plans, we {at Bloomberg} are on our third or fourth implementation of it in the marketplace"

That just made sense to me.

Anton, I plan to relaunch soon for the holiday season. Could you please check messages in your Kickstarter Forum account, or could you send me an email to my account below, I would like to continue a dialog with you.

James
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by sbriggman » Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:43 pm

Awesome conversation guys!

@Xiller - The hard thing about Kickstarter is that you need to drive a lot of traffic at one time. With startup products, there is the luxury of being able to measure traffic and conversions over the span of a month, assess, and then re-tool for the next month. Even if you're only getting 100 views a day, that adds up to 3,000 over the course of a month, which is a good sample of visitors. With Kickstarter, that drive traffic-measure-learn-retool loop has to be even faster.

The only way I've found getting around that challenge if you have a small social base is to not rely on traffic from a single source, but to get views from multiple sources. For example, let's say that out of 200 people that visit your page, one person will pledge $30. If you can drive 10 people from 10 difference sources each day (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, G+, LinkedIn, Forums, Emails, , Articles written about you, etc.) you could expect about $100 worth of pledges in one week - assuming a linear type of model.

The secret comes when you focus on marketing outlets where you can reach a larger audience than your own social network, and where views will grow over time exponentially. That's kind of an abstract idea, but for example... by being an active member in LinkedIn and Google Groups, I make it more likely that my messages will be clicked on when I do share them, and therefore more likely that they will be upvoted or shared and reach a larger audience. I try to exchange a few words with the organizer with every google group I post in so that they also are aware and know I'm not just a spammer. Over time, the more active I am, the more people will comment or upvote my posts, and the more clicks I will receive, because they see I'm active in the community.

As a side note, I'm still receiving views on my material from certain groups I've posted in months ago because the posts were upvoted and new people that come to the group discover the post, like it, and upvote it or comment.

One thing to realize though is that this only happens with like 1% of products or content I share that I want other people to check out. Most posts will only draw 1-3 clicks. When messaging resonates and they like what you are doing, then you get a little viral effect.

If you are an active member of the community, it's a good "in" if you speak with the organizer or influencer of the group/forum before you actually need something from them. I'll be sure to read and respond to any email James sends me because he's been an awesome active member on this forum and has helped other people out. When I see his message vs. a random one in my email box saying "I'd like you to share my link on your blog if possible" - I am definitely more inclined to read his message first.

As kind of a cheat: If you have even 5 people working with you or willing to help you with social media, getting each of them to upvote or like a message in any group you post in will draw people to check out that content. It's just kind of natural....even on this forum you gravitate to the threads that have the most replies.
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by sbriggman » Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:49 pm

c1ue wrote:Interesting stuff.


Conclusions:

If you're offering a new product for which donations = units sold, you must do PR. There really isn't any reason not to because more traffic = more donations, and you don't have to worry about people stopping once you hit goal because they'll want the product. If your product isn't attractive, of course, you'll have wasted your PR money, but regardless you'll get more traffic than if you hadn't. You don't have to do PR - I did see a couple of projects which garnered considerable traffic, but these projects did so via extremely sophisticated social media work. We're talking huge lists of relevant blogs + names of the bloggers, then flogging already large social networks for intros from mutual friends. This obviously isn't for everyone nor can anyone even realistically be successful at it.

Another way to be successful without doing professional PR is having a product which is very niche, but going after the blogs which focus on that niche. A number of photography related projects, for example, did very very well despite no major media mentions, but with some number of photography blog coverage.

Anyway, with what I've learned - I'm in the process of shooting the video and tuning the Kickstarter page. I'll probably go live 1st week of September, and will see whether my above work was fruitful or not!


Wow! Some really interesting/awesome findings from this experiment. Thanks for taking the time to share all that helpful information. Please do let us know if your hypotheses are correct when you launch.
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by drlouisechughes » Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:04 pm

Some interesting new posts, I am enjoying following the conversations and whole-heartedly agree about the PR side.

I have received a bit of feedback from people visiting my page and it may indicate where I have a slight problem. I get a lot of people loving my project but are being put off by the fact my rewards are displayed in British pounds. As I am based in the UK this is not an option, but it does mean that I have lost several potential backers from the USA. I am going to try to address this, but it is something for UK Kickstarters to be aware of.
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by fvreeman » Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:07 am

What a great series of comments. I finally had time to read them all tonight. C1ue is a lot like me - trying to find a scientific way to get some information that will guide efforts. I never knew that clicks was available for other sites - I'm definitely going to research that some more.

One question for both Sal and James (others?) - How do you figure out this "Conversion"? It is pretty easy to get video views from Kickstarter - but how do you get total page views? Unless you have total page views how could you possibly know what your "conversion" is? I think Louise asked that too.
Hope to hear more!

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