Bootstrapping · Public relations

Kickstarter Campaign Launched...what next? How do we make it happen?

Saurabh Palan Everything HARDware at Nascent Objects

November 7th, 2013

Hi 

We launched a KickStarter campaign this week. Followed all the advice, had the first 100 buys lined up, but all hell broke loose when we launched. 

It is one thing to get a commitment to buy and another to actually buy. We also reached out to several bloggers, media etc, but no response yet. 

We are a boot strapped company, and it is a make it or break it for us. How do we turn it around? Does lack of a SV Godfather (investor/angel) is the reason to get attention from media. Is the message not clear. 

Looking forward to your thoughts. 

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Robert Clegg

November 7th, 2013

If the average donation is $10 you need 8,000 donors to reach your goal. At a 1% conversion rate you need 800,000 media impressions. But that doesn't account for a secondary source of impressions from other media that require a click through just to get to the kickstarter page, an additional user action. So at a 10% click through rate (which is extrememly high) from say a NYT article, you would need 8M impressions.

Someone want to do the CPM value of that kind of ad buy vs. PR?

What "should" it cost to raise money on Kickstarter. I'm open to other estimates.

Robert Clegg

November 7th, 2013

Even if your first 100 buys came through, it doesn't sound like you had a PR campaign set up to reach those outside your circle. You need a 3 month campaign getting you in well placed media that drives traffic to your Kickstarter page. Expect to pay $15k-$25k for a good 3 month campaign.

Earl Santos Founder at Cable Tipster

November 7th, 2013

Hey Saurabh,

I found this article on hacking PR to be a good one - perhaps you can use it to get more press the cheap way?

http://customerdevlabs.com/2013/09/24/google-news-api-mturk-press/

I'm sure there are a lot of journalists who have covered the dangers of texting/calling while driving, and you can get them to write about you.

Unfortunately, I have heard that Kickstarter projects raise the vast majority of their money in the first few days and last few days, with much less activity in the middle. So, you'll really need a PR or viral boost to pick up backing in the meantime.

Todd Ellermann Experienced I.T. Leader, CTO, and Creative Entrepreneur

November 8th, 2013

$.02 on the product.  I would never buy it because your form factor is unstable and unlikely to work.

I have used the Garmin Nuvi Dash Kit, and it isn't great. but it is still light years ahead of your design.  It does 3 things yours doesn't,  soft on bottom to keep from scratching, wide distribution with rubberized bottom to not slip, and it easily detaches the device.   Conceptually you are on to something, implementation wise it looks like it will fall over every time I round a corner. 

Search google images:  garmin nuvi dash kit

http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/59576?productId=999533&qs=3016887_mercent_google_pla&mr:adType=plaattrValue_0=Not%20Applicable&mr:trackingCode=26F81996-B0F0-E211-A497-90E2BA285E75&mr:referralID=NA&mr:device=c&mr:adType=pla&mkwid=qMaR1989_dc&pcrid=30047743737
Garmin Nu

Good luck with the next iteration!
-T 

Saurabh Palan Everything HARDware at Nascent Objects

November 7th, 2013

Thanks Robert, will remove that if needed. 

PR is expensive, plus we are bootstrapped. It did not make sense to us that we need to spend $15k to raise $80k. 

Tim Scott

November 7th, 2013

I attended a presentation at SXSW by the founders of IndieGoGo.  The thing that stuck with me is that successful campaigns get to at least 20% (or was it 25%?) of the goal with only friends an family. Turns out people you don't know won't open up their wallets until they see that a campaign is already "succeeding."

Robert Clegg

November 7th, 2013

ps - I doubt you have the rights to use that picture of the TV Star from Big Bang Theory. That's going to get you in trouble.

Karen A. Sorensen

November 8th, 2013

The first thing, I would like to know is who is your customer? What huge pain point point does this solve that makes them want to invest? Yes, I think a Wireless Smart Dock is useful, but really is not that much of a pain point for most people everyday and cell phone usage is only banned out right in 12 states. Further, you have a barrier with the fact that it is Android not iOS. The pain point would fall in a niche market, where having access to the device is dependent on safety and/or monetary reasons.  Some groups that come to mind are Truckers, RV Snowbirds, Traveling Salesman, etc... anyone that uses automobile travel  regularly as part of their job or how they live  These are the people that would invest in your product for a kickstarter campaign and be early adapters of the product.

Once you have your niche targeted and defined their pain points, then you can customize your social media channels, target bloggers, find partners, and work on PR to position your product for outreach.  No matter how much you spend on a PR person if they are not targeting the right niche then it is a waste of money. 

So what would I do to reach the kickstarter goal? Since your time is limited and at this point you have not created the buzz with your target yet, I would pack up the team, take the dog and pony out and go on a Road Trip!  Hitting every truck stop, campground, RV park, Motel 6, etc... and start talking and listening to your customer base about your product and Kickstarter campaign handing them a device to donate right there, until your goal is reached. Blog about your experience with meeting with customers, finding out their social media channels/influences,  generating buzz, etc... then do a PR release about what you are doing to all the investor trades-- about your marketing campaign and the passion you and your team have for your product and how you reaching your goal. Investors love these types of stories and might jump on the bandwagon. 

Hope this helps, K

Andra Keay Director at Silicon Valley Robotics

November 7th, 2013

Hi Saurabh, hope things pick up with the kickstarter but you're unlikely to get tech blog interest as your story isn't appealing to them. Your best bet is putting news into local 'patch' type sites and out through the non-profit/charities you mentioned. How many pledges are you going to need to turn it around? - looks like 1000. How big is your marketing list? Can you try to get local tv stations interested as a color piece - even better if you have a photogenic before/after story - from one of the charity groups talking about what happened to them with distracted driving regards, Andra

Saurabh Palan Everything HARDware at Nascent Objects

November 8th, 2013

Hi All, Thanks for great feedback. Here's what my research tells me. Most important thing for Kickstarter success is eyeballs. Our current conversion rate is approx 5%. Currently we have 2000 view. So if I am not mistaken, I need to get atleast 100k views. Any tips to get that. At this time I cannot undo the launch. If there is something we could have done, maybe we will remember that. But question is what can we do now. How do we do damage control. Any tips to get eyeballs on site? So far we have Google/Facebook/YouTube ads... none effective enough. Also cold emailing bloggers has not paid off. Even tried to drop by their office. Your 2 cents are valuable to us :) Thanks Saurabh