9/10 Crowdfunding Campaigns Make This Same Mistake. A Manual of Success in the New Social Paradigm.
By Greg Jacobs www.IncredibleDreamMachines.com
Prologue “So I’ve got this idea…” Said the man across the table. Everybody has an idea about the next latest and greatest thing. Everybody seeks validation and wealth from these ideas as well. Chances are you are reading this for one of three reasons: Reason One: You have already completed your crowdfunding campaign and want to know how you could have done better. Statistics show that 87% of all campaigns fail to meet expectations. Because of this high failure rate, there is a strong statistical chance that your campaign was one of those that fell short of the mark. Or perhaps you were in the 13% that met your goal and want to know how you could have improved. Maybe you just want confirmation that you were on the right path. Reason Two: You are in the process of thi(or considering) implementing a crowdfunding campaign in the future. Preparation for this requires you to learn and absorb everything about the crowdfunding “industry.” This way, when you launch the machine of your dreams, you come to the table prepared to be in the winning 13%. Reason Three: You may have no direct connection to the crowdfunding industry, nor any intention of launching a product -- yet. However, you are a student of success, and by studying what works across different industries and paradigms, you are able to formulate and develop your quantitative skills that assist you in your daily strivings. So whether your reasons fall under one, two, three, or a combination thereof, after reading this short book you will have the blueprint -- the “connect the dots” -- required to implement the most important part of your entire crowdfunding campaign. This will allow you to directly tackle the “thing” that 9 out of 10 people that launch a campaign fail to do. This “thing” is why approximately 87 out of 100 campaigns fail. So before we go deep into the ONE MISTAKE and how to avoid it, let me tell you precisely what this book is not about. Keep in mind, however, that many of these things will be key to your crowdfunding success.
This book is not about product sourcing and manufacturing. Yes -- this is a key component of your crowdfunding success as you will need to deliver your product to customers at an effective cost and quality. Volumes can be written on this subject, and we don’t have time for that here. If you are one of the 13% to get to this stage, then there are numerous resources available that can take you through this process by hand.
This book is not about idea generation. I will be honest with you, great ideas fail while bad (and recycled) ideas raise millions. It can also happen the other way around. Have you ever heard of the “e-bike” sourced directly from a Chinese export website that raised $6 million? Six million dollars for something they sourced directly from China with nothing original on their part. No inventing, no building prototypes, no special skills whatsoever -- they found something on the internet and put it on a crowdfunding site.
Get my point? So while product selection is paramount to your success, it has been proven time and time again that being successful at crowdfunding has more to do with following a scientific blueprint for success (or being very lucky) than it does having a “great idea.” Although a great idea can certainly do wonders, I’d rather not leave it up to dumb luck, especially when the rest of us are just not that good at coming up with ideas or inventing things. -This book is not about the “mid-campaign doldrums” and how to avoid them. Yes, it happens to all of us. If any problem can be considered “good,” then this is a good problem to have. If you are in a mid-campaign doldrum, then
it probably means that your opening days went well -- and your closing days will do well, too. Plowing through the “middle weeks” is a science that deserves its own piece of work to walk you through it. -This book is not about what platform to launch on, whether you should hire a consultant, the best way to make your video, or how to structure your rewards. All these things are useful – actually, they’re necessary – but this book is not about these things. This book is about one thing and one thing only. It is about the ONE MISTAKE that 9/10 crowdfunding campaigns make and the exact steps to take in order to avoid it. Don’t get swept up with the 87 percent of campaigns that fail. Turn the page.
Part One: THE MISTAKE You are probably itching by now to know what the “one mistake” is. All you want to do is quickly skim through your mental checklist to see if it is something that you implemented or not. It’s almost funny because whenever I tell people the one mistake, they all react the same. It always sounds something like “Oh yeah – I really should have done that, but I didn’t know where to start.” This is a problem in itself. In this barely hatching industry, there is no authoritative blueprint -- no roadmap -- to follow. It is a Wild West collective of mad inventors, cowboy consultants, snake oil salesmen, and a spray of different social tools all vying for this new paradigm -- a paradigm where these early adopters come to spend considerable amounts of money to try and stay ahead of the curve -- and on top of the potentially latest and greatest inventions. Many of the so called “consultants” know this mistake very well, and for a large flat fee -- or an equally large percentage of sales -- they will (at different degrees of effort and effectiveness) try to mitigate it for you. Others will just take your money and run. So the purpose here is to not only reveal to you the one mistake, but to EMPOWER you and GIVE you the tools to correct it yourself -- without any further outside resources or assistance. Sounds like a good deal, does it not? With that being said, this information is only useful to you if you learn from it and implement it in your own way and methods and according to your own means. Different people will do this at different degrees, so if your resources ($$$) are not abundant yet – don’t worry. You can still get there with hard work, and our tactics will help you on this path. So have you guessed what the one mistake is? Avoiding it is the EXACT thing that moves the needle in our favor when launching our campaign. Even those who have made this mistake have still found success and riches, while others who implement everything said here will not. They will go home with a non-funded campaign and end up back at the drawing board. Even though there is no definitive magic bullet, when you implement this you can stack the odds in your favor. This way when the when the time comes, you have given yourself every opportunity for success. You now have a solid foundation of the “why” and are ready to hear what the mistake is. Drum roll, please. The one mistake that 9 out of 10 crowdfunding campaigns make is this: They do all of their groundwork and research, spend exponential resources designing the product, the video, the rewards and the page, and then... Well – they simply put it on a crowdfunding page and turn on the campaign. Did you miss that? Most people -- even after reading that sentence above -- will miss the mistake because it is at a place where most people do not know what else to do. Can you see the mistake now? It is important that you connect the dots yourself as it will be all that more real to you. Let me repeat it again for you. The one mistake that 9 out of 10 crowdfunding campaigns make is this:
They do all of their groundwork and research, spend exponential resources designing the product, the video, the rewards, and the page, and then… Well – they simply put it on a crowdfunding page and turn on the campaign. If you still didn’t get it yet, let me put it this way – Let’s say you are going to open a new retail business. For sake of discussion – let’s say that you are opening up a gym. You have to rent and renovate a space, you need to buy equipment, and you also have to train staff and establish protocols. Then one day you decide you are ready to open, so you turn on the lights and open the door. Guess what happens? ...Nothing? Well, you have no customers. You have spent all of these resources -- and more importantly your time -on building your dream gym, but when you opened your doors, nobody came in -- even though you are just a block away from a main shopping street and can be easily accessed. If you get lucky, some local reporter will come across your gym and write an article about it and then people find out about it so they come to see you. Or maybe a customer will stumble in while visiting the flower shop next door, so they sign up and might tell their friends about it. Do you see the mistake that the “gym owner” made here? Of course you can see it now because it is an example outside of yourself. However, when working too deeply on something, it can become difficult to see the forest because of the trees. If you are still trying to figure out how some failure of a gym relates to your campaign – let us briefly go over how the “gym owner” could have created a successful opening day. A gym -- like a crowdfunding campaign -- is a communal experience. Nobody wants to be the only person in a gym, just as nobody (under standard circumstances) wants to be the first person making the pledge -- unless they are your parents or friends from Facebook. People move in herds -- kind of like sheep or horses -- and in order to find the success we need, we have to educate ourselves on how to move that herd. Then when the herd starts to move, it joins with a bigger herd, and this is where you find the tipping point. In the case of the gym owner, simply opening their doors and hoping for the best was equivalent to business suicide. Some will get lucky and will catch a “wave” and traffic will pick up, but what if they don’t get that lucky? Then all they will have done is regulated their hopes, dreams, and livelihood to a factor out of their control. What we are learning to do here is how to “control our luck” -- to stack the deck in our favor -- so that when our crowdfunding campaign launches, we already KNOW EXACTLY on DAY ONE where our initial sales are going to come from. This is in order to meet our goal in the first 24 hours. This in turn will kick in the selection algorithms of the crowdfunding sites which creates the dual effect of sending more sales from other people on the network and generating massive amounts of press and exposure, which then sends more sales. Why wouldn’t you do this? Don’t feel bad, because 9 out of 10 campaigns still don’t do this -- and most fail. The ones that find success are the ones that follow the blueprint that I am about to lay out for you. Are you ready? Turn the page.
Part TWO: The Tools So if it was not abundantly clear in the first part what the one mistake was – it was failing to have the initial batch of “backers” ready to help you reach your goal in the first 24 hours. Having these backers “ready to go” creates a network “black hole” effect where the crowdfunding sites see that your product is a seller and starts to feature it. Then the journalists pick up on it. The rest is crowdfunding history and legends -- which you are now a part of. Now the question that begs to be asked of is the “how-to.” In this section, I am going to do my best to give you all the golden sauce for exactly what to do and where to do it. I am not holding anything back, and when the “cowboy consultants” read this, they are going to be quite angry as I am revealing in a few pages the “magics” that they use to charge people thousands of dollars -- and here it is all laid out for you. Now while all of the information is here and clearly explained on the page, some people may still require more of a “supported” approach. We are in the process of building a “dream community” consisting of people helping other people with some of the most incredible expertise. If after reading this mind-blowing book you feel the need to connect with more like minded-people doing the same thing that you are, then feel free to head over to IncredibleDreamMachines.com to find out more information about what we are building together. Let us now start with a “connect the dots” approach for you and your campaign. It will feel like you’ll need a full education in online marketing to do this, but after completing it the first time you will have a skillset and mindset that can keep you earning income doing one of many things online.
Things you need first: Okay, so the purpose of this “exercise” is to generate pre-launch traffic and interest. This way when it is time for you to launch, you will already know where your first batch of sales is coming from. Now let me state this disclaimer: while none of these things are individually necessary -- and you can have a perfectly good “million dollar campaign” without some (or even all) of them – what we are doing is stacking the deck in our favor and solidifying the best luck that we could possibly have. You may need the following things:
The Foundations A Facebook Fan Page- This is 100% necessary as it is how you connect with your audience. You want people coming to your gym when you turn on the open sign, right? A Twitter Account- This isn’t necessary, but if you are comfortable with it and/or willing to learn how to use it, then it can be a powerful tool. An Instagram Account- This will be an extra booster if you have lots of photos or videos to share. Think creatively -there are many ways to engage your audience. However, know that unless you have a product and story that leads to the sharing of many pictures and sharing them often -- then instagram is not recommended.
A Website- Building a website for your new product is not required at first. If putting up a website is something scary to you, then please SKIP THIS -- you will spend WAY TOO LONG figuring out how set put up and get completely off the mark. This is NOT a “How to Build a Website” document. I will tell you, however, that if you want the “easy” version, go to Wix.com or SquareSpace.com as they will make it very simple for you. ***If you do decide to build a website, then what you will need on your website is the following: I. II. III.
-A Homepage – Show off your product and tell them a little bit more about it. -An "About Us" Page -- Tell them about you, your company, and your team. -A Media Page -- This is where you will put links to your press releases, your Product Images and contact information for members of the press.
The Tools A Landing Page- This will be a page that helps you collect email addresses. If you have a website, you can host it as a page on there. If not, then you can host it on a landing page service website like Leadpages. In fact, we recommend this even if you have a website to use because they offer one click page creation (talk about easy!) and integration with your auto responder. A Landing page is necessary to build your pre-launch traffic. What we will be doing with it is running different “campaigns” -- either free or paid -- and instead of sending people to our website, which will just have people nodding their head and leaving, we will send them to our “Landing Page” where we can capture their information and make them a part of our audience (more on this shortly). A List of Press Contacts - There are many ways to go about this. The slow way is to go through various blogs and articles in your niche and try to dig and find the contact information for each journalist. The quick and easy way is to get an account at Krowdster -- This link will send you to their media database -- which has tens of thousands of direct email addresses for journalists in your niche. This means you get their DIRECT CONTACT email addresses. A Press Release- This is an article that you write to get attention on a newsworthy topic (i.e. your company and product launch) and submit to the press services. A good company that can help you write and launch your press release is PressCable.com. An Email “Auto-Responder”- This is the tool that will collect people's email addresses into a database for you and automatically send them messages. You will need this in order to collect people’s information and contact them -more on this below -- and for now you just need it to get started. I use a company called Aweber -- they are $19.99 per month and the first month is free. A Facebook Ads Account- This will be used to drive traffic to your fan page. This is a VERY powerful tool and can be found inside your personal Facebook account.
Part THREE: Ignition Okay -- Keep in mind that everything that is mentioned in Part Two are just tools. The tools are not our goal. Our one and only goal is to know where our sales are going to come from. In fact, with the complete toolkit that comes with Incredible Dream Machines, most of the tools listed above are included. In that case, you do not need an outside auto responder, landing page building tool, or an account at Krowdster -- everything is included when you sign up. We built Incredible Dream Machines because we know that not everybody is a tech genius and wants to manipulate 5 different web tools to achieve their goals. Now let’s go through the basic blueprint that you will need to follow in order to achieve your goal. YOUR GOAL IS TRAFFIC TO YOUR LANDING PAGE – And there are a few basic ways to achieve this. Some are free, and some paid. Let’s go through this the FREE way first. Here is the blueprint – First, we will give you the high level outline and then we will delve as much as we can into each individual component. A – Create Social Media accounts -- We will be focusing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. B – Set up a basic website -- Yes, you will need this even if you are running off a crowdfunding website if you are comfortable with making one. C – Make sure you have a “press page” with a link to a media kit -- or a file with a link to it in Dropbox D – Create an opt-in page with a “lead magnet” E – Gather a list and contact information of interested journalists F – Drive traffic to the “lead magnet.” G – Contact journalists and notify them of the “embargo” H – Offer a “first day limited discount” to get the leads to purchase I – And now… Profit! Simple enough? Okay, now for the deep dive. Keep in mind, everything we set up will be for your business/product/brand -- we want to keep these pages and profiles separate from your personal ones.
A. - Social Media Accounts As described above, set up a Facebook brand page as a bare minimum, and add Instagram/Twitter if you think you have the focus/bandwidth for it. B. - Create a Basic Website I need to repeat again, if you are not comfortable putting up a website, then SKIP this -- I have seen too many people get lost in the jungle-maze of website creation while completely losing focus on their main goal. However, if this is something that comes effortlessly for you, then it can only help.
C. - Press Page with Media Kit Okay -- let me reiterate that this is REQUIRED and there are a few components that are also required to be in your media kit: I. Press Release - A press release is essentially a boilerplate that a journalist can copy and/or get inspired from in order to write an article about you. You will need to use a service such as PressCable to get this written and distributed. II. Exec Summary - Think of this as a list of 10-20 bullet points with fast facts that a journalist can quickly copy and put in their article. Are you getting my point here? You basically have to write the article for them. III. Hi-Res Photos- These need to be high quality/high resolution and ready to be copied into a web article. Don’t give them too many -- just give the best ones. Reporters don’t like to think. You can also say this: “print quality available upon request.” IV. - Team/Contact Information - If you have lots of people on your team, then you really need to milk this. Put up their pictures, their history and backgrounds, etc... These can even be people who are working with you part time. Remember -- you are painting a “professional” picture. If it is only you, that is okay as well. At an absolute minimum you will need to include contact information for “press inquires” -- which can be just an email address or a phone number (I personally don’t like calls, so I only put an email address and it seems to be fine). THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT-- If you have a website up, then you are able put the press page on yourwebsite.com/press (or yourwebsite.com/media) and link it there from the main menu. Or, if you are taking the light approach, then you can simply get a free Dropbox account and put all of the above assets in a single Dropbox folder and have the link to it ready to share with journalists as you come in contact with them.
D. Opt-In Page with a “Lead Magnet” What is a lead magnet, you ask? A lead magnet is something that incentivizes the potential buyer to provide you with their information. And an opt-in page is simply a website that your traffic can go to and opt in to receiving more information from you about your product. These leads are your qualified first buyers that will drive you to hit your goal in the first 24 hours. A “lead magnet” can be anything -- the purpose here is to get them to give you their email address. When in doubt, the best lead magnet can be “Win a FREE ______” -- which of course is where your product name is inserted. Using Leadpages, you will want to make a landing page. This page does not need to be complicated -- it can just have a nice picture of your product with some text and a lead entry box that says “Enter your email here to win a free ______”. On this page, you will also want to put a Facebook retargeting code so that you can retarget those people that don’t end up opting in.
E. Gather a List of Interested Journalists When you go to Krowdster, they provide you with a database that will allow you to gain contact information of journalists. Have a plan going into this, and get the information from databases that you need. More on this shortly.
F. Drive Traffic to Your Lead Magnet There are two ways to accomplish this -- the paid way and the free way I. The Paid (and Fast) Way If you have money to spend (which is not required) the fastest way is to use Facebook Ads. This is not a comprehensive course on Facebook ads, but the sauce is that you need to target people by interests or products similar to your product. Here are a few pro tips for maximizing your Facebook Ad spending:
Only target people in relevant countries. Sure, clicks from India are cheap -- but is anyone from India going to buy your product -- let alone pay the shipping to get it there? Experiment with ONLY using Newsfeed Ads. This means that instead of an ad in the sidebar, your ads will show up in peoples newsfeeds. This can produce INCREDIBLE RESULTS because you will get FREE SHARES of your ads. It also ends up with lots of people LIKING your Facebook page -- which is in itself is another avenue of free marketing. Segment into LOTS of different target markets with targeted pictures/ad copy -- you never know what is going to work or not. Play around with different bidding strategies. Facebook is inconsistent, and sometimes you can get very cheap clicks just by using a different bidding method. Use a Conversion Pixel. You will put this on your ‘Thank You’ page that people go to after they opt-in by providing you with their email. This lets you know which one of your ad targets is working or not.
II. The Free Way If you are on the “no budget” approach, keep in mind that this method is IN ADDITION to the Press Embargo described below. The Press Embargo will get you launch day traffic, but this is where you are looking for email address opt-ins to get a fan base built before launch day (Think of it as selling the gym memberships before the doors even opened). With that being said, here are the ways to get “free traffic” -- none of which involve contacting journalists.
There are so many “free” ways to generate traffic, it is like me trying to tell you how long a piece of string is. A good place to start would be a Youtube channel -- simply post a video everyday, or write a blog. The point here is that you need to establish social proof for yourself as an “expert” or “personality” in the industry.
Be active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and in industry forums -- focus on sending each individual in your contact list to your lead magnet, which is the page that will capture their contact information and email address. These lead pages are a “capturing place” for your qualified leads and will be some of your first backers in your campaign. Are you starting to see the importance in them now?
The other way is better described on this blog post in which the author generated over 100k pre-launch leads using a viral opt-in system. You can also use this system in conjunction with the paid methods above to multiply your reach. And if you need a viral opt-in system, I have found that UPviral seems to work exceptionally well.
G. Contact Journalists and Notify Them of an Embargo Now that you have a list of contacted and interested journalists, keep them on the line regarding your big release. Even if you don't really understand the word “embargo” as it relates to this industry, trust me when I say that they will. When contacting a journalist, you can use this as a basic template:
Hi There NAME -- I just wanted to say that I loved your article in ______ about ____ and I think that I have something that may be a very powerful story for you. Keep in mind that we are launching on DAY AND TIME(and timezone), so we are asking for an embargo until then if you choose to write about it. So here is the short version -etc..etc...etc.. (no more than 2 paragraphs) I have also attached a press release, and here is a LINK to our Media Kit with Hi-Res Images. If you need further information, please let me know. I am also available for interviews by Skype or email as needed. Thank you for your time. Your Name and Title
Go ahead and send this out at least 2 weeks before your launch date. If they don’t reply in 3-4 days, then you can send one POLITE reminder -- just reply to the initial email with something like this:
Hey - NAME - I wanted to follow up with you to see if you had a chance to review the information below - we are currently arranging a press embargo on our launch dates and wanted to see if you could participate for your readers.
Okay, got it? Remember that the Press Embargo is just one of a few ways that you will be generating traffic -- so make sure to do the lead-generation as well. In addition -- and this is VERY IMPORTANT -- you do NOT want articles coming in before your launch date. Why? Well, it is because of the black hole effect. When people see one article on your product, they quickly forget about it. But when they see multiple articles all coming in on the same day -then things start to multiply. They see it is a big deal, then they tell their friends, and this is when the big time starts to happen. This is when the tipping point takes over.
H. Your First (and most important) Day. So you have a few things here:
Your REAL GOAL -- this is how much money you actually want to raise. For this example, let’s say your goal is $500,000. Your STATED GOAL -- This is your “goal” on the page.
You want your STATED GOAL to be significantly lower than your REAL GOAL for a few reasons:
Let’s say your REAL goal is $500,000 and you only raised $400,000 -- then your campaign shows it as only 80% funded, and now you risk not collecting all your funds. This doesn’t seem very attractive to other backers -- and it is difficult to get them to jump on a campaign when only 80% of the funds are raised.
However, if you had your stated goal set at $50,000 and you raised $400,000, then you were at 800% of your goal. Now THAT seems like an event to follow!
The crowdfunding sites have algorithms that you want to activate. Once these are activated, they will do things like put you on their front page, send emails about your product, and much, much more. The summary is that they can literally drive your product into millions of dollars in funding -IF THEY WANT TO. And you need to prove it to them by driving your own first sales and HITTING YOUR GOAL.
Got it? Set your goal low, correct? As far as how low -- I say $5,000 minimum and $100,000 max. Whatever you set it at, make sure it is at a level where you think you can hit it in the FIRST DAY with your given press and qualified leads.
I. Profit Okay, so we want to hit our “Stated Goal” on the opening day, and to do that we are going to count on two ways to get us there: 1. - Our collected email list and social media following. 2. - Journalists following the embargo and publishing stories about us on opening day. Now in order to CONVERT this traffic into buyers, we need to have a call to action. The best one is usually a lower price. Let’s say that you want to sell your product for $100 and your Stated Goal is $20,000 - So what you want to do is offer a DISCOUNT for just enough people to purchase your product at that discount to hit your Stated Goal. In this case, I would offer 225 units at $90 to get me to the $20k goal, and everything sold past there is at $100. This will kick people into overdrive to get your product at the discounted price. The rest is up to the algorithms of the sites to start driving organic traffic to you.
IN CLOSING What we have covered here is a high-level outline of steps that myself and many others have followed to raise tens of millions of dollars on their crowdfunding campaigns. I have tried my best to keep this document “close to the meat” and I assume that you already have some experience navigating around the internet. However, we do realize that some people will either need more in-depth instructions -- or more importantly the support of a community in which people mutually work together towards a goal -- not to mention a shared marketing list which can be invaluable. For those that are willing to take this to the next step, we are building something great together over at IncredibleDreamMachines.com. Not only is it a comprehensive training solution (and goes deep into detail for those who need it) -- it is also a support community and a LIVE Event where we all meet up to help each other within our crowdfunding community. Billions have been raised on crowdfunding, and there are billions more to come, but it requires the right team. If you are ready to take the next step, head over to IncredibleDreamMachines.com and follow the directions. And now, it’s your turn to make history. We are in this Together -Greg Jacobs