Thursday, June 19, 2014

Crowdfunding 101 - Using Social Media

There is a lot of advice out there on how to crowdfund your project or idea, the best ways always involve social media. Social media through avenues such as Facebook and Twitter are great for trying to reach targeted audiences who are talking about crowdfunding campaigns. You can also target people who are known crowdfunding supporters and other fellow crowdfunders. You can do this with promoted posts and sponsored posts on Facebook.

With Facebook Ads manager you can actually specifically target custom audiences based off of what Fan pages on Facebook they have 'Liked'. This gives you more information about what audience to hit, and if they 'Like' a page on Facebook that is similar to your or even your products fan page, then you can target them with ads that will end up right on their newsfeed.

This is a pretty advanced tactic to use in generating some real traction for your campaign. If you want to target some custom audiences I would recommend the crowdfunding service that we used. We (as a lot of crowdfunders will know) were contacted by a lot of promotion based services through our Kickstarter page, the main buzz going right now are people trying to sell you low-level press release services. Beware that most of these services didn't even have a phone number to reach, which is very scammy and raises some concerns. The ones that did had a call center representative answer the phone, which is also a clear red flag.

The only targeted promotion service I was approached by and the only one I could find online was They launch custom Facebook ads for Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns in front of targeted audiences using custom data scraping software. Facebook ads combined with your own general social media promotional efforts works wonders for covering all your bases, getting promotion within and outside your social networks.

In terms of promoting your campaign and press releases you're better off just just doing that yourself. Although there are some crowdfunding services out there that manage your facebook account and send messages to all of your friends, but you're better off just doing that yourself so you can make it more personalized. The last thing you want to do is come off as spammy to your friends and family, they're going to be crucial for your early momentum on the campaign! Get exposure outside of your social networks with targeted ads, and then send out some personalized messages to within your social network to support your campaign.

Building a fan page for your product and brand on both Facebook and Twitter is also really great for building momentum before you launch. This builds audiences to reach out to once you finally launch your crowdfunding campaign, to further gain more momentum on your campaign. Along with promoting your crowdfunding campaign on social media and among friends and family, this is great for building custom audiences who are already interested enough to 'Like' and 'Follow' your page.

Plus constantly updating your fan pages will show that you are active on social media, and if anyone has any question about your product, idea or campaign you will be able to answer them promptly, which will increase contributions! This shows people that you're serious about your crowdfunding campaign and that you deserve the funding your project needs!

Then when you do launch you will need to constantly be updating your page, commenting and thanking people who contribute to your page. Along with constantly updating your gallery tab, and providing live updates about your campaign across social media. Getting the word out about a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter and Indiegogo is very important because of the crazy amount of campaigns on both websites. There are over 300 campaigns launched per day on both Kickstarter and Indiegogo! That makes it ever so important to build the momentum your campaign needs before you launch. Then while you're live to reach outside of your social networks of friends and family with some targeted Facebook ads to draw outside contributions to your crowdfunding campaign.

These are some of the tips that crowdfunders are using on their own campaign and that we used on our own Natural Time Crowdfunding campaign that was on Kickstarter that got us massive amounts of success!

We're also planning on launching a project sometime this Spring for our new lineup, see you then!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Building a Audience for Your Campaign

The most important aspect for launching a crowdfunding campaign is building an audience that you can reach out to for support and contributions before you launch your campaign. Building an audience as you lead up to your campaign is great for drawing supporters from as they are also eager to contribute to your campaign once you go live aswell. Here are some ways to build an audience and what you can do with that audience once your campaign goes live that we got massive amounts of success with on our own campaign on Kickstarter.

Building E-mail Lists:

Building out E-mail lists of fans, friends and family is a great way to build momentum for a campaign. Also having a email sign-up form on your website is a great way to build out lists of people who are interested in your product, and are waiting for you to launch your campaign. Sending out weekly emails to your email list helps bring people to your campaign page.

Getting Fans on Social Media

Getting followers on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr is another great way to build momentum for a campaign. This is great for spreading the word on your own social networks and having them also share your content which will show up on their own social networkds. These users have already shown interest and can now be targeted once you go live. This is great for pulling some early supporters to your campaign.

Using Facebook Ads:

Now that you have a buildup of users you can run targeted ads on Facebook to these users! By building custom audience lists you can target people who gave you their email address, people who liked your fan pages, and people who don't know about your project yet but have shown interest in your product, or crowdfunding in general. This is good strategy to use for throughout your whole campaign.

Build a Blog:

Building a blog is key to getting traction from within the blogosphere. Tumblr is a great way to reach out to the crowdfunding community on there. From there you can get in touch with other crowdfunders and crowdfund supporters who may be browsing for new campaigns to support. This is great for before your campaign goes live and is a great way to build mailing lists and driving fans to your social media networks! These are some great methods that we used on our campaign last month that got us great results before we ended up launching!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

How We Raised Funds Outside of Kickstarter

Our crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter raised more then $20k in just one month! We surpassed our goal in no time from friends, family, and outside support that we got from outside the Kickstarter platform and community.

We owe a good amount of of first and initial contributions from our friends and family and anyone else in our social networks that got our campaign going. The best way to raise funds for a Kickstarter project is to review your campaign before you launch and build an audience to draw contributions from before you actually launch your project. This will give you ample time to get the best results from your promotional efforts.

If your project is already live and you didn't take too much time to plan out your project in the beginning then that's okay! You will just need to step up your promotional efforts to really reach a targeted audience outside of the Kickstarter platform who would contribute to your campaign. A great (and free way) to promote your campaign once you launch is through your social media networks and fan pages. Doing that before you launch and while you're live will get you some good results.

Also I would recommend running targeted Facebook ads to promote your campaign, you can try doing this on your own and experimenting (if you are already pretty facebook-savy) as we did. We didn't really know what we were doing and didn't get very good results from it when we were launching Facebook ads on our own, that's why we used the only crowdfunding service that specializes in running targeted Facebook Ads for corwdfunding campaigns, you can learn more at Kickstartmyads

They were able to scrape custom audience lists of fan pages on Facebook to target the best audience possible after the team over at Kickstartmyads reviewed my project! They're helpful with getting your ads just the way you want them and actually do a lot of other tricks and techniques I never even knew about!

We're planning on launching a new campaign for our Fall/Winter lineup later this year. We will definitely be using our media networks, along with getting our project in front of targeted supporters again on Facebook, and getting support from friends and family. We'll be launching sometime this Fall, be sure to check it out!

- Evan

Monday, June 9, 2014

Finding the Right Audience for Your Kickstarter Project

The last two to a few years we perceive the crowdfunding market, which is led by Kickstarter has now grown so rapidly that a lot of business insiders are really caught off guard. Kickstarter right now deals with so many new projects every week, with many bringing in more than $2 million in funding. Not all campaigns make the big bucks though. For every campaign that reaches its goal you'll find 15 that do not. 

Here are some techniques to find the right audience to Kickstarter project, that we used on our own campaign that got us the funding we needed! Here are the Top 5, key elements that successful crowdfunding campaigns are using this summer on Kickstarter that we have used in the past, and are going to use in the future for our upcoming campaign.

#1 Social Media

Utilize Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for the best of you skill. Before launching your Kickstarter project towards the public, come up with a fan page on Facebook, a Twitter account, and a Linked In account. Generate buzz and rack up the likes prior to going live. This way after you do go live you will possess the buzz from your very start. Those projects which leave to a good start are usually the ones to meet their goals.

#2 Notify Friends and Family Right Away

Friends and family will be the almost certainly people to bring about your project. The projects that can get a substantial amount of funding as stated above over bat are the ones to get the buzz, and also ultimately succeed. Plus they can give you that early support to get your campaign going.

#3 Make Use of Social Forums

Social forums vary than Social networks per se. Social forums are, by way of example, LinkedIn Groups, Google+ Communities, and Facebook Groups. These are efficient ways to network and let people know about assembling your shed. Search for communities based on keywords which describe the project you're just about to launch. 

Once found, introduce yourself to the communities and drop a link to your online community profile. This will help you develop the network you'll need once you launch.

#4 Targeted Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are great for small businesses in general, but are even better for crowdfunding campaigns! You can try to do this on your own by scraping users off of Facebook fan pages and uploading them as a custom audience into your Facebook Ads Mangers. 

The only service that specializes in running Facebook ads for crowdfunding campaigns is Kickstartmyads. They target people on Facebook who are known crowdfunding supporters, and are interested in your target market, which is great for getting some real results. Launching Facebook Ads using targeting software from Kickstartmyads will give you targeted promotion for your crowdfunding campaign.

#5 Consistently Update Your Campaign

Having a lot of activity on a campaign page is great no matter what your category or goal amount. People are more likely to contribute to your campaign if there is more content throughout the campaign page. This shows that a campaign's owner and a campaign's team are serious about their project and are serious about reaching their funding goal. More people are likely to contribute if you are active on your project page. It takes time for you to develop your campaign and prepare your audience.

Ultimately the product you happen to be offering on your Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign could have the biggest impact on whether it gets funded or otherwise not, though with a right product through following the four guidelines above you ought to soon be in relation to Crowdfunding success. 

- Joshua

Friday, June 6, 2014

Why You Can't Rely on Kickstarter to Get Funded

New Kickstarter Changes in Review

Kickstarter has now unveiled it's new changes to lower the project requirements for a campaign to launch on their platform. 

Their initial screening by a Kickstarter community manager helped Kickstarter avoid charity based projects or begging-based campaigns. This kept Kickstarter as a platform of new, original ideas that the crowdfunding community was interested in, and was the main difference to it's counter part Indiegogo, who also allows anyone to create a project with no initial screening.

Kickstartmyads Review
New changes to Kickstarter in a nutshell

Bad News for Project Owners on Kickstarter

Now Kickstarter is going to see a surge in projects on their site, who would normally go to Indiegogo, but are now going to flock to the platform that everyone wanted to be on, but couldn't get on because of the screening process. Indiegogo has been an open source platform from the start, allowing everyone to start a project for any topic they wanted (which explains the low success rate of their campaigns). This is bad for the average Crowdfunder because now their project is going to get lost amongst all the others in the pages.

Kickstartmyads Review Review
Your project, like a needle in a haystack

What Does This Mean Going Forward?

It means that making your campaign stick out to a targeted audience is going to be that much more important. You can no longer rely on the Kickstarter community to fund your project. You need to seek out new ways to target Crowdfund supporters and people interested in supporting your campaign off the Kickstarter platform, but not in a way that is just general promotion to generic media contacts across the web.

Targeting Specific Audiences

Kickstartmyads is a Facebook Ads agency that specializes in promoting crowdfunding campaigns by using targeted Facebook ads. They helped us target past crowdfunding supporters, Kickstarter community members, people who 'liked' our fan page and anyone who would be interested in our unique type of product. That combined with our own social media promotion to our friends and family got us the results, and funds that we needed!

Using Social Media

Facebook is a great way to get in front of crowdfund supporters who have already contributed to Kickstarter campaigns before. Using your Facebook fan page and your own social media networks is a great way to start off your campaign with some contributions from the start! But social media promotion only goes so far. 

Another great method along with social media promotion is using targeted ads on Facebook. You can actually get in front of more people who are interested in your Crowdfunding campaign. You can sort by age, gender and country on Facebook's Ads Manager but that only goes so far and does not allow you to target crowdfund supporters and people who would likely contribute to your campaign.

- Natural Time Team