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. 

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 

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.

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."

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 7th, 2013

I have been trying to reach the bloggers, will try to reach the local groups first. And advice or tips on reaching out to them except for cold call/emails? Marketing list is up to 4500 people. (thats the email we sent). Local TV would be good, but again, how do we reach out? As per non-profits, they need to try out the product (we have couple prototypes for now) before they endorse it. Thanks Saurabh

David Lynch Firmware and Python Automation Engineer

November 7th, 2013

@Robert Clegg:  Where are you getting the 3-month, $15k budget from?   Is it the strength of the idea, or the strength of the marketing that brings in the dollars?  How do you really know?  You cannot go back in time and relaunch one way versus the other and do a study.  Once the idea is out there, it is out there.

I have been trying to determine the magic formula for Kickstarter success, and my research suggests no magic number for spending.  I have spoken to a few people responsible for big KS paydays, over $2M total between them.  I find a commonly reported theme that it is best to ramp up the PR machine before the Kickstarter, but I'm not convinced that even that is absolutely necessary for the right product.  First-day sales seems to be a common theme for the winners.  But if there is excitement there, people will be tripping over themselves to write about it.  How long does it take to get something into a blog these days?  How would $15k help in that effort?  Seriously.  Someone tell me where it goes that is effective.

@Saurabh: Use KS as validation.  If you are not pulling the numbers you had hoped to pull, or not getting the attention in the media, that could be telling you something about your product.  Don't ask me why the "Life is good" Tshirts was such a hit.  The creators of that line don't even know.  But they knew it was a hit right away when they sold out of the shirts in minutes.

BTW, your video and ad copy is good quality.  I was a little confused about the purpose of the product at first, but I eventually got it.  It certainly looks like you worked hard on it.  So that is not the problem.   How many page views do you have per day?  Does KS offer those statistics?  Good luck.  I hope you can hit you number.