If you remember, I ran my first Indiegogo campaign back in February and March and it’s finally time to share some of the lessons learned as a result of that crowd funding experience. Read till the end – there is a news item, too 😉
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
I am sure you have all heard this saying – I had heard it, too. I am a strong believer in it, actually! And yet, I did fix something that wasn’t broken and it cost me not-sure-how-much forgone profits…
Anticipating the increased traffic we would have to the Meliway site as a result of the Indiegogo campaign, we decided to upgrade our shared hosting to a VPS. We would anyway need it eventually because of some technical details I won’t bore you with right now.
So on we went and did the switch. It was only a couple of weeks later that I found out our new VPS IPs were blacklisted. Which meant all the buzz I was creating on social media and via email was in vain, because:
- People could not open the links to the site from any social media (popular or not)
- My emails were going straight to the spam folder
- All the credibility I had and all the relationships I was trying to build – gone.
Just imagine – what would you do if you got an email or saw an update about an Indiegogo campaign and clicked the link only to find a malicious website warning on your screen? What would you do? Would you support the campaign? I know I wouldn’t…
By the time we fixed the IP issue, whatever chances we had to attracting fresh funds were gone – and the time for the campaign was almost over. I don’t know how much funds we would have attracted if it weren’t the IP issue – but I can speculate it did matter, and a lot…
Having said this, the toughest lesson learned was if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
Planning is a must
I will never get tired of repeating this – planning does matter, and it matters a lot!
We had a nice campaign page. We planned what updates to release when. Our website was ready for visitors and potential supporters of the campaign. So were our social media profiles on popular networks. We had video material to release to the general public in due time.
We knew our financial goal of $12,500 was ambitious, but the planning and all the work we put into the campaign page and execution alone brought us to 7% fulfillment of that goal!
Never underestimate preliminary research and preparation!
I know from my experience as a marketing consultant that one can never be too prepared. And yet, I fell in the trap I have seen so many clients fall into before me – I thought I know it all and I could wing it 😀
Yes, we prepared for the most part. But what I didn’t do well was my homework and my preliminary leg work.
My research showed the majority of the people who’d buy our product are baby boomers – but I thought my research was wrong. I didn’t know anything about baby boomer audience; I am not a baby boomer so I couldn’t quite relate… but I was confident travel bloggers of all ages would be attracted to the product like flies to honey. Well, they weren’t.
Had I spent more time networking with the right crowd before the beginning of the campaign, I would have known that and I would have changed the course of the campaign entirely, or chosen a better timing for it; or a different venue… and I for sure would have spent more time getting to know the people who will be buying my product – as they are those who would support the fundraising campaign, too!
And because I didn’t network with the right crowd in the right industry in advance, I had not created demand for what I am about to release as news and product for beta testing.
It’s ironic – I would have never let a client go in to a fundraising campaign without doing their homework first. Why I didn’t do the same for me as a client – I have no idea.
So the second toughest lesson learned here is to never underestimate the importance of preliminary work and preparation. I know we could never be perfectly prepared; there will always be something else and something more to be desired. But there’s no such thing as being too prepared.
Outsource and delegate so you can focus on what’s important
When running an Indiegogo campaign, one thing is for sure – time is never enough. See what you can outsource and delegate so you can focus on the important part – networking (about that, in a minute).
Important note though: when I say outsource, I don’t mean you should spend money on questionable tactics like 1000 shares on Facebook for 5 bucks – and you will get a lot of those invitations, I promise. It is a quick way to con the Indiegogo algorithms for a while, that’s for sure – but I wouldn’t recommend it as a tactic.
It is like link building for SEO – it may or may not work and whatever effect it has, it will be short term and quite possibly might be damaging in the long run if you have values, ethics and reputation to manage.
Also, when I say “outsource”, I don’t mean hiring an expensive marketing agency either. I had a few of those, too! It amazed me how many marketing agencies sent me their proposals to help me reach my financial goal – and yet, none of them were willing to commit to achieving that goal; none of them said “ok, here’s what we will do, you will pay us percent of the money we help you raise” or something. They wanted their money, now, and regardless what they deliver.
If I had hundreds of dollars to give to a marketing agency without any commitment for results, I wouldn’t be running a fundraising campaign, don’t you think?
So, do yourself a favor and find a virtual assistant with some marketing background to outsource and delegate some of the work.
Give yourself enough time to find that virtual assistant and train him or her to work with you. Chances are you will be able to use this person later on for other projects and work, too. But for the Indiegogo campaign, it’s important you train them to think and speak like you do – so that they can address questions, post updates and comments on your campaign page, reply to emails, add supporters to the company website or the campaign data base where needed, and so on.
Those are little tasks which can take a whole lot of time. And this is time which you could be spending networking and attracting more supporters to your campaign.
And finally, the most important lesson learned from my first Indiegogo campaign – networking pays off big time!
Both Jordan and I were surprised and thrilled how much of the support and raised funds came from personal friends, family and… yes, bloggers and readers of my 2 blogs with whom I have networked online at some point about something.
Remember, I never networked in the right industry with the people who would be interested in our product per se. All the networking I have done was with fellow freelancers, bloggers and clients – because I like spending time with them; not because I have a product they might like or buy or promote.
So networking does help a lot when running an Indiegogo campaign (and not only – but that’s another topic ;-))
These circles back to one of my earlier points: make time to network with the right crowd before you start your Indiegogo campaign; this is of crucial importance to your Indiegogo campaign success.
I promised a news item in the end of the post – so here it is 😀
The reason why I waited for so long to publish the lessons learned from my first Indiegogo campaign is…. wait for it… (no, it’s not legendary :D) – I wanted to share the lessons and announce the beta test of the Meliway Travel Movie Maker!
That’s right – we are ready 😀
Apparently I have a talent for finding bugs and breaking stuff. But earlier this week I managed to complete not one, not two, but three travel movies without finding any new bugs. So very soon we will launch the beta test.
Dear Pioneers, look for our “official announcement” email shortly!
And if you are not a Pioneer but want to keep tabs on the travel movie maker, subscribe to our list – you’ll get notified when we make it available to the general public 😉