Crowdfunding · Product Marketing

Marketing my Crowdfunding project - Which sites actually work?

Tom Lemmons Founder - Nimbus, Ltd

May 17th, 2016

Our startup is getting ready to launch a crowdfunding project.  There are so many marketing and promotion sites that claim to push your project to success.  Which ones really work?  We are launching a product (www.nimbusframe.com) on Indiegogo so I would really like to hear from anyone who has had experience with some of the crowdfund marketing sites like crowdfundbuzz and backerclub.  Are they worth the money or are there better places to put what little cash we have?

Alison Lewis CEO/Creative Director

May 19th, 2016

Lots of input here. We are doing research now on what it will take to do a kickstarter campaign. We have 17k people signed up to learn more (good start) but doesn't answer all the questions needed to be able to have a successful campaign. Who are these people? Where do you want to target? What method works best for them? How do you engage them over time? A strategy needs to be done FIRST before bringing in any partners or talking to them. 

We talked to a couple of agencies costing $1500 - $3000/mo for promotional PR and helping with copy writing (including the all important call to action). I didn't go with them because we do not have the budget and I didn't hear them say how they would target our customers and through what channels. 

I've been here before. I spent over $18k in 2008 on my book launch PR and kind of learned my lesson. Yes, we got on Martha Stewart and in the New York Times but the PR agency didn't have any clue on how to turn that PR into profit or book sales. That requires much more in-depth research and coaching on how to speak and having a back end set up to receive and respond to inquiries and push me forward as a speaker (they didn't do that b/c I didn't know to ask them too). If you have your campaign strategy figured out, the numbers and costs of delivering figured out, then go talk to to someone at an agency. If you don't, do it, or find someone that will help you. Otherwise, don't waste your money or their time on throwing seeds of PR everywhere. Get people that know how to TARGET your audience or make sure they know how to help you find that target audience. 

David Berg "Some Men see things as they are, and say Why? We dream of things that never were, and say Why not?

May 17th, 2016

Dear Tom, 

Thank you very much for your discussion, 

I have read the replies with interest. I can agree with Robert, to succesfully crowdfund a startup takes time and a lot of preparation. The quality of the preparation predicts the success of the campaign. 

Based on our experience as a firm that designs and manages crowdfunding campaigns (and other financing options) in close cooperation with our clients and never stand alone. 

We don't wish to crowdfund a campaign succesfully one-time but make sure that our client can continue to crowdfund and crowdsource many other future campaigns. 

In your case of 'Nimbusframe.net' we would advice against Indiegogo, because it has not much traction of its own and a very low success rate. 

We advise entrepreneurs like you to find 10% of the required working capital first, this requires another approach, but with that 10% you have the budget for the right experts and marketing, and the 10% investors are carefully selected and asked to invest. These investors, their expertise, access to networks etc also determines the success of the campaign. 

If you wish to know more than feel free to contact me. 

With kind regards, 

David Berg
Financing Europe BV
  

Robert Hoskins (4,400+)

May 17th, 2016

People that offer any for less than several thousand dollars probably will not deliver the results you will need to achieve success.  Building social media networks takes a lot of time. Performing a competitive analysis on the competition takes a lot of time. Writing SEO'ed press releases takes a lot of time. Same thing for building quality, clean databases of media contacts. 

Hire someone off the street at $7.25 x 40 hours per week time 4 weeks per month and the minimum you would spend is $1,160.  But an experienced marketing/PR/social media person should be charging $50 to $100 per hour. Anything less is probably someone in a foreign country that doesn't even have a firm grip on the English language. 

Here is a breakdown of what the bare minimum that needs to be done to prepare for launching a successful crowdfunding campaign. 

https://crowdfundingpr.wordpress.com/about-crowdfunding-pr-campaigns/crowdfunding-campaigns/



Curt Schulz Design and Media Consultant

May 17th, 2016

Just listened to good real-world experience on crowdfunding podcast on the commute this morning.  http://www.podcastchart.com/podcasts/the-inventor-s-mind-inventions-ideas-product-design.  Look for the crowdfunding episode. 

Ulli Appelbaum Strategist, Problem-solver, Contrarian

May 17th, 2016

If I were you I'd focus on finding firms that want a little piece of the equity (or raised funds) for their efforts rather than getting paid for their services. They usually go through some kind of selection process to make sure the idea will have a return for them but that's already a good way to test the appeal of your product. Another option is to look for advertising agencies that offer the same idea. I know for example Fallon in Minneapolis (www.fallon.com) does that (or used to). They help crowd sourcing projects through a campaign (usually free or very little money). In exchange they get the credit for doing a successful campaign. I'd frankly stay away from those firms that sell a service. They make money whether you succeed or not, which is great for them but not good for you. Good luck.

Derek Liu Founder and CEO at Homing Systems

May 18th, 2016

My experience with PR firms is you got what you paid for. For a few hundreds dollars or less, what you can buy is a PR release that got blasted to media and normally with zero feedback. For a decent PR campaign, a team with proven track of record is needed. I checked out this team and I am planning to work with them for the next project (didn't work with them before, simply based on my friend's recommendation and a couple of references checked). www.hottomato.net  the contact person is Erica at hottomato.net  What I have checked out is that they have a solid process including research on their side about the product and its market, competitors etc. Their charge is not cheap but I think is reasonable in terms of ROI. (A big firm charges 2-3 times more). I'd like it more if they can offer some risk sharing scheme as above mentioned by others. Hope that helps.

Patrina Mack Experts in global commercialization

May 19th, 2016

As someone from the agency side it's interesting that startups want agencies to take all the risk.  What I can share from the agency side is that we are only as good as our clients and their product.   Has there been due diligence on customer demand for the product or is the startup looking for the crowdfunding campaign to be their due diligence.  If you don't have any quantitative analysis on how appealing your product is in your current form to your target market then don't start a crowdfunding campaign until you know that customers want to buy it at the price you want/need to sell it.   While I believe that there are some agencies preying on naive startups promising them the moon while delivering at best a little moon dust most agencies are quite reputable and in the end you get what you pay for.  Invest wisely by evaluating a marketing/PR partner to implement your campaign, ensure that you have valuable incentives to inspire promotion of your product within the campaign and think through not just to the end of the campaign but product delivery.  Many successful campaigns end up in PR crisis mode because the startup lacks expertise/sufficient funds for timely manufacturing or simply doesn't understand how to scale up a company to deliver and support a new product.

Barry Burr founder, Barry Beams llc, a startup to re-light your night.

May 17th, 2016

Crowdfunding platforms themselves will not succeed at launching a business.  I did a Kickstarter, and reccommend to others not to do it.
You may get orders and publicity.  But the money and effort you put into running a crowdfunding project will bring much better results done the good old fashioned way, pound the turf, network around til your LinkedIn is at its limits, have the most kick-ass Executive Summary in the universe, infinite patience, til you land Angel and seed money to do it right.  If you can't attract legitimate investors, then there's probably a good reason why.  That reason is that your business isn't ready for prime time anyway.  Not trying to be mean.  Its a harsh reality that successful founders learn and embrace, and that failed startups refused to accept.

Barry Burr founder, Barry Beams llc, a startup to re-light your night.

May 19th, 2016

"Want agencies to take al the risk"?  Who are you kidding lady?

Founders are sticking their necks out from day zero, funding themselves, walking an talking their ideas to anyone who will listen, barely paying their rent, not fixing their cars, fueled by one simple concept, chasing a dream.
Whoever started your agency probably did that once upon a time in their past too.

Founders want a PARTNER, not a vendor.  Your attitude is that you're a vendor, a hired gun.  My attitude is that anyone who promotes or markets me functions as a partner.  They share the wealth, but get nothing if they don't generate any.
If your agency doesn't have the expertise to generate the wealth, then you need to bring on other partners who have the specific skillsets, such as you mention in your post.
But don't EVER try to declare that a founder hasn't taken more risk than you may be capable of comprehending, before they even try to draft up a submission to a crowdfunding platform.  Because by you doing so, you have just revealed yourself as one of the self serving snakes who try to exploit founders for your profit.

Jonathon OBryan

May 17th, 2016

Just wanted to state a few points, one is that David is absolutely correct when saying " The quality of the preparation predicts the success of the campaign". I am putting together one right now, with the assist of The KickStarter HandBook, real-life crowdfunding success stories, know it inside and out, and you will not fail. and then read step-by-step crowdfunding, create your rewards and go on Fiverr.com and have someone in America (no offenses) do your campaign page for you, you'll get a good one, but go premium on a five star seller only!  And let the magic begin... I will keep you posted on my success, or you could just follow me... May I remind you, that a lot of hours are needed if you are wearing all the hats, farm out as much as you can... Heck DuckTape Marketing isn't a bad read, but bores me... Social Media is where its at, and affiliate marketing is a must... Get that done on Fiverr.com, too... my website is under complete overhaul which will be done in the next 6 or 7 days, but is:  www.DoTheSheets.com  which I have 2 patent pendings on in the US, and just hired international attorney to patent in the top 10 civilized countries... Exciting stuff... If you want to learn more, just ask, and follow please for updates... Most importantly, you have to an edge, my product I invented so I have the only one in existence right now, but I had it professionally done as Working Product Sample instead of just prototype, that helped too... I hope those tips help you along your path, keep us updated as well.