TagTalk’s Kickstarter crowdfunding period is half-gone, and although we are only 26% funded at this moment, we’ve learned a tremendous amount about the fundraising process and would like to share the hard-earned lessons. Check out some of our tips below and let me know if you find them to be helpful via a comment!
1. Campaign Video Tips.
If you are a well-supported team with sufficient seed funding, $20K for a killer startup video will be the most worthwhile early-stage investment – it serves as permanent education material for the public, saves potential customers time learning about your product, and increases the conversion rate from onlookers to backers.
However, there are many people like us who are bootstrapping, and our budge allocated to marketing is less than $5k. So, if you are working with an independent video producer – student director, part-time hobbyist or amateur friend – consider the following things.
a. Find the one-man army. Part of the reason why established film making companies are expensive are:
1.They have to cover large equipment purchases, rental costs, and maintenance.
2. Each member of the company has a specific role and they are specialized in part of the production line (filming, post-editing, etc).
Before reaching out to the well-equipped person who can do-it-all, ask yourself, what’s in it for that person if she/he is really so good? It can be anything from diversifying their personal portfolio to helping an early stage startup with a dream they also share.
Our Method: We emailed local universities that carry film programs. Usually the departments are proactive about getting students some hand-ons experience, so they broadcasted about the task and helped us to schedule two meetings in a very short timeframe. We met an avid film practitioner the very next day who had access to all the filming equipment needed, loved our idea, and who lives just down the street! Check out our video here.
b. Plan ahead & prepare for delays. Labor has a cost. If someone is not hired full-time to tell your story, very likely your plan will be squeezed and shifted along with other things on her/his agenda.
As a temporary team, you should at least know the next month’s schedule of your helper, and share a mutual understanding of how likely add-ons and revisions will be needed.
When we first met with our awesome producer on February 3rd, we all thought a 2-minute video could be done by end of the month. However, finding the right location and resources for shooting took about two weeks and thus we didn’t finish filming until the 22nd.
From March 4th to 16th, we watched the footage twice at the apartment of our poor guy – who was swamped by exams, classes and TagTalk’s four-page-long revision suggestions. Luckily, two days later, we finally submitted a satisfying project with a concise, explanatory, and most importantly, eye-pleasing video.
It’s important to keep in mind that even if the main part is done in time, you might also get request from Kickstarter to add extra demonstrations of the product, or clarify the status of the project. All these things might postpone your launching date, so it’s never a bad thing to prepare ahead of time.
2. Connections Determine How Far You Can Reach – Market Education Affects How Many Customers You Can Get.
Even if you failed to start early and suddenly realized how little time you have before your fundraising duration is up, don’t cut corners with the market plan. Since marketing is so important for startups, I have consulted with many experts, read numerous articles and reflected on TagTalk’s strategy. Here’s my take.
a. Be bold. Many people feel uncomfortable asking people to share their campaign on social media, provide a testimonial, or pledge to their campaign. If you want to get support early-on, you need to be shameless.
Go to lengths to find people that are interested in your idea, care about what you are doing, and make them your “startup catalyst”. You need to get hungry and be willing to ask people to join your movement in some specific way, whether it’s signing up to your email list to receive notifications or watching your campaign video.
Worst case, the person would say no. The way in which they say no will give you feedback about your campaign. If they say “I like it, but I don’t think you can pull it off,” then you need to go back and re-tool your campaign to demonstrate your credibility in your particular niche.
b. Transform your communities into your evangelists. Everyone carries multiple identity tags. For me, I’m an international student, female creator, part of an active startup ecosystem, and newbie to the entrepreneurial world. I have been in Canada for only 20 months, and most of the time was spent at school.
Therefore, I relied on not only local groups, but also my acquaintances at home in China to create brand recognition. As a result, we gained 15% clicks from Weibo, which is only third to direct source (41.5%) and Facebook (30%). Even though we emphasized the North American market and did no advertising in China, TagTalk still gets 26% traffic from there, which improved our website ranking and search friendlyness.
Check out our Bitly statistics and Campaign statistics below.
c. Start Content Marketing as Early as Possible. Product design and business model formation might mean the world to you at the beginning, but the Internet is a flea market with excessive fancy things. No one will voluntarily swallow your bait, unless you have built a trustworthy, fruitful relationship by regularly feeding them useful content that solves problems they encounter in their business or content that is entertaining.
Be sure to take time to explain what crowdfunding is and how it works. Explain what they need in order to pledge to your campaign and how the platform is secure. At first, many of my friends, who were in an entrepreneurship-focused Master’s program, thought “support” meant only sharing and liking on Facebook – which is wonderful, but we needed pledges!
In a nutshell, do your homework. Find the best way to communicate with your audience early-on through content marketing.
3. Scoop the Data.
The achievement of similar crowdfunding campaigns should definitely be considered as a benchmark, but don’t just look at the final numbers; study exactly how their accomplishments were made.
Before launching TagTalk, we reviewed all the creative card campaigns, the hotness of every NFC related project, and the percentage and success ratio of novel products on Kickstarter. We’d recommend using a crowdfunding analytic website such as Kicktraq or KickSpy to analyze how similar campaigns progressed over time.
Although we have not yet reached our goal, we are working 15/7 (If you are still getting sleep, you aren’t working hard enough) until the end of the campaign. We’ll continue to test the best marketing channels and get feedback. If you have any feedback for us, be sure to leave a comment on this article.
This article may have briefly scratched the surface about the hidden points that you only begin to realized during a crowdfunding campaign. I recommend that new creators also read5 Kickstarter Mistakes You Should Avoid from Crowdcrux and Hacking Kickstarter: How to Raise $100,000 in 10 Days (Includes Successful Templates, E-mails, etc.).
If you found this article to be helpful, please take a minute to browse TagTalk’s campaign athttp://kck.st/QlueNt. Drop us a line in the comments area about what you think, and of course, back and share the campaign if you like our idea. We would be truly thankful! Check out the video below.