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Crowdfunding Agency Case Study: How To Raise $100,000 on Kickstarter

Published by Salvador Briggman. Find him on Twitter.

A step-by-step case study that shows the ad strategy, PR strategy, what worked, what didn’t, and more. Written by Eli Regalado

When businessman and inventor Jay Lee first approached Mad Hatter Agency,  (our crowdfunding agency) we were blown away with how simple, complex, and awesome his invention was! Jay had created the world’s sturdiest and easiest origami folding canoe. He wanted to bring his invention to the market with a 6 figure crowdfunding raise on Kickstarter and he needed a crowdfunding agency to partner with.

Unlike other agencies, Mad Hatter crowdfunding agency is different. We’re not a big crowdfunding agency that takes everyone if you have the money to spend to hire us. We’re a specialized and boutique firm that only works with a maximum of 4 crowdfunding campaigns at a time.

Before we take any client and before any money is exchanged we run a feasibility study. We look to see what other similar campaigns have done, how much was raised, who wrote about them, what the average pledge was, and more.  

To see the study for this campaign click here:

Name Amount Raised # of Backers Average Pledge Date Launched
Pakayak $546,562 497 $1,495.00 June 2016
The Coast $356,507 238 $2,650.00 May 2015
ONAK $235,230 275 $995.00 July 2016
Oru Kayak $443,806 730 $800.00 November 2012
SCUBAJET $115,113 160 $590.00 September 2016
Kayacat £85,280 130 $650.00 July 2016

 

What the study showed us was that there were other origami kayak campaigns and one other origami canoe campaign. These projects were all in the $100k and up range. MyCanoe has a $1k price point and the study also showed that backers were willing to pay that hefty of a price.

The Start

The first thing we did to get started was focus on a target audience. We initially created FB ads targeting people who like canoeing and kayaking but those weren’t converting very well.

We then changed up our ads to target people who like outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, backpacking, and also liked crowdfunding, Kickstarter, or Indiegogo. This audience responded very well and we were getting leads for under $2 each.  

Below Is The Top Performing Ad

In this ad, you will see that there is a “Text” portion, a video (upload your video – 15 to 45 seconds long), and a “Headline” This example reads as follows:

Text “ATTENTION OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS! Do you like to go camping, hiking, fishing, and spend time on the water? Don’t want to store & transport heavy equipment? MyCanoe will be ready for adventure, no matter where you go”

NOTES: 

  1. The opening line is meant to grab the target audience’s attention and peak their interest right away by asking them questions that they relate to, and most likely will say YES to. In this case, the target audience was campers, hikers, canoers, backpackers, outdoor enthusiasts etc….
  2. The questions are meant to bring up negatives about competing products. In this case, the was built for a folding canoe that travels in an easy carry package vs. a standard canoe that weighs a ton and is impossible to store or transport for people living in a city….
  3. The statement at the end is meant to imply that your product is the solution to these problems stated above

Headline – “Kickstarter Launch Coming Soon! Sign Up Today for a discounted price!”

NOTE: This statement is meant to give your audience and incentive to sign up as well as give them a “sense of urgency”

Conversions

Now let’s talk about the next step. You can get an ad that gives you all the clicks in the world but how we measure success is conversions. During a live campaign a conversion is a sale. During a pre-launch a conversion is an email address. That is, someone who signs up to receive updates on your launch.  The founder already had a beautifully designed landing page at Mycanoeusa.com. (see below)

However, with this page there are a few things that can be improved. For one, there are too many links that take the visitors away from the signup form. For example, About Us, Contact Us, FAQ’s. Remember, the goal is to JUST get an email address at this point. You can tell the potential customer all about you AFTER you get that.  

One of the most effective ways we found to do this is to use FB lead ads. Instead of taking a visitor off of Facebook, Facebook will popup a lead form right on the news feed when a user clicks “Learn More”.

WATCH THIS 30 SECOND EXAMPLE BELOW

In the example below you see the ad.  The prospective buyer then clicks “learn more”, is prompted for their info which auto-fills, and then upon clicking “submit” they are redirected to the Kickstarter page. (May need to reload page to play gif)

Think about this. No one goes on Facebook to buy stuff. Meaning all of your advertisements are interruptions to them checking out what their friends and family are doing.  

You will have better results if you can capture the email on Facebook rather than taking them to your landing page.  

The Email Nurturing Sequence

Getting an email from a prospective buyer is one thing. Actually turning that email into dollars is an entirely different story. The strategy to turn email subscribers into crowdfunding backers is called email nurturing. You do this through a soap opera email sequence. That is, telling a story a little bit at a time over a series of emails.  

We sent out 5 emails in 5 days with the first one going out immediately upon someone signing up.

To see the emails go HERE  

Now you may be thinking to yourself, “if someone sent me 5 emails over 5 days I’d unsubscribe.”  Good. I want you to. You see, I need to get a feel for the list before launching. If we have 10,000 emails that means very little. If we have 10,0000 emails who have received 5 emails from us and are still around and did not unsubscribe that tells me I’ve got an engaged audience who is ready to buy the product once we go live.

The email nurturing sequence is specifically designed to turn your passive subscribers into active buyers when you launch.

Public Relations

About 3 weeks prior to launch we started reaching out to the press requesting an embargo. Basically, we told the media what we were doing, how we were doing it, why we were doing it, and why their readers should be excited. We then requested an embargo, basically asking that they hold the story until launch date.  

High Consumption

http://hiconsumption.com/2017/02/mycanoe-folding-canoe/

Entrepreneur.com:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/289951/4

Canoekayak.com:

http://www.canoekayak.com/canoe/field-tested-mycanoe-origami-canoe/#7jASs4HWLohqbptF.97

Houseboat magazine:

http://www.houseboatmagazine.com/2017/02/not-your-canoe-mycanoe

GeekyGadgets:

http://www.geeky-gadgets.com/folding-canoe-27-02-2017/

Digital Trends:

http://www.digitaltrends.com/outdoors/foldable-mycanoe/

We also had big social pages post about the product. These are not articles but Buzzfeed posted a video using our footage that got quite a few shares, comments, and likes.

BuzzFeed Sweaty:

https://www.facebook.com/BuzzFeedSweaty/videos/1367297716627033/

The Launch

All of this buildup leads to a successful launch even if you can’t see it right away. Look at the image below. We raised $28,767 on the first day. The reason is because of the pre-launch activities we did BEFORE we went live.  

Four days later we hit our bare ass minimum goal of $40,000. From there, we continued to climb past the $100k mark.  

Kickstarter organic traffic accounted for 32% of our pledges. There were a few reasons why.  First off we got selected as one of Kickstarter’s “Projects We Love.” Secondly, our page bounced back and forth between the first and second page of Kickstarter under Design category. If you go past page 2, your chances of getting discovered are slim to none.  

Collaborations:

To bring in free traffic we also did collaborations with other project creators. We asked them to mention our project in an update and we did the same for them. About 20% of all creators we pitched decided to collaborate with us. Below is a real life example of one of the collaborations we place right after the signature and draw attention to it with a PS.

Sharing

Word-of-mouth advertising is the best form of advertising there is. Crowdfunding is no exception.  To make it easy for our backers to share we Googled and found a Facebook Share Button. We then linked that image to a share link created by http://www.sharelinkgenerator.com/.

This handy tool pulls in your, your message, and links to your campaign. It’s never been easier for people to share.  

Conclusion

All it all this was a really fun and successful campaign to work on. If I could turn back the clock I would do the following things different.

  1. Spend more time on a prelaunch. We only had 4 weeks to prep and I usually like 8.
  2. Spend more of the $5k ad budget before launching. With a $1k price point consumers really needed that email sequence in order to convert. While we did this during the campaign too, I would have liked to spend more of the budget pre campaign.  
  3. Change the video. We had zero editing capabilities on the video being as the founder already scripted and shot it. This is the NUMBER one sales tool and not allowing your marketing team to be involved from the beginning will cripple your raise. In the founders defense this was his first campaign and you don’t know what you don’t know.  

If you’d like to talk in detail about your project we’d love to talk to you.

Best,

Eli Regalado: eli@madhatteragency.com

Eli Regalado is the Chief of Madness at the Mad Hatter Agency. He’s a growth hacker who has raised over $50 million crowdfunded dollars and his online crowdfunding course boasts over 10,000 students globally.

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