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3 Lessons from a 209% Successful Kickstarter Project

3 Lessons from a 209% Successful Kickstarter Project

Kickstarter is Awesome, But Not Miraculous

If you have a product you want to sell, Kickstarter is a great place to start. Maybe you need funds for the initial production run, or maybe you just want to test your concept – either way it’s a great platform. There are lots of posts and books about how to run a successful Kickstarter project, but after doubling our targeted goal for SnapLaces we did a few things a bit different than what others have recommended. Obviously every project is unique, but some of the principals we used should still be valuable.

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3 Simple Lessons for A Successful Kickstarter Project

  1. First and foremost, we worked our asses off. Running a campaign is more than a full time job, and even with people splitting the work there was still a lot to get done.
  2. We didn’t discount our product. Kickstarter is the one time in a products lifecycle where people might be willing to pay more just to help you out. Don’t make the mistake of discounting just to get backers. Most people underestimate what it will take to get a product to market, and even if you don’t, unexpected things can crop up.
  3. We contacted everyone that backed us. Literally everyone. Their responses to our questions ultimately led to valuable insights and shaped both the tone of our campaign and the direction of our company.

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A Successful Kickstarter Project is A LOT of Work

The amount of work a successful Kickstarter project requires is probably the biggest reason for failure. Having successfully managed a campaign and backed several others that were not successful, I can confidently state that there is a high correlation between the effort and result. The ones that didn’t interact with backers or actively engage, didn’t meet their funding goals.

We Didn’t Discount Our Product

Many Kickstarter projects offer discounts on the product being funded. We felt like that was a bad idea, especially at the under $50 price point we were in. We knew that we’d need over 1000 backers to be successful and lowering an already small price point would add to that number. More importantly the purpose of the campaign was to raise funds to pay for a new plastic injection mold, so we reasoned that backers would be preordering our product and helping us bootstrap the effort.

One thing we did do was offer a significant discount to a limit number of early backers to gain momentum. Your first week on Kickstarter is crucial because new projects are featured and people are much more likely to discover them. The “early adopter” reward allowed us to get the required momentum to become one on the top  projects on Kickstarter which led to additional backers, but the limit made sure that we weren’t sacrificing our overall funding objectives.

Communication is Key

Prior to launching we studied other successful projects and one data point stuck out. Successful projects updated an average of 1.8 times PER DAY! This is where the bulk of the work came in. In addition to sending messages to every backer and responding to their questions, we tried to post 2-3 times every day on Kickstarter, as well as maintaining an active social media presence (active as in cultivating relationships, not just carpet bombing posts) on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Communication is the key to success on Kickstarter.

Engage and communicate relevant information to people who have helped you (or would likely help you if only they knew you existed) is the most reliable way to have a successful Kickstarter project.

What Now?

The next project will definitely be better run and more organized, but if we can save you some time and misery by sharing than it will have been worth the time invested in reading.

As always, if you have a question or comment – just ask!

Ask Me Something

 

Three Essential Elements of Websites for Mutual Funds

Three Essential Elements of Websites for Mutual Funds

Three Essential Elements of Websites for Mutual Funds

If you are one of the asset managers who are still wondering if a quality website is worth the investment, consider this: the internet is often the first place advisers and investors will learn about your firm. Given this new reality, and the value of just one adviser relationship, it’s critical to not overlook the value of a website as an asset gathering tool.

Do More

It’s not enough to just be a great asset manager anymore; your website and social media presence have to be as well thought out and executed as your investment strategy. To be effective, websites for mutual funds must excel in three crucial areas: communication, compliance, and design. If any element is missing, the site likely won’t convert your visitors into clients.

Communication

First and foremost a great website needs to communicate with advisers in a way that moves them closer making an allocation in your fund. The images, words, and videos used should be consistent with the experience one would get from meeting in person.

Compliance

Staying compliant in a dynamic regulatory environment is essential. Unfortunately, managers often assume it’s too difficult to communicate well AND stay within the regulations. This is especially true of social media. But, the compliance hurdle can also be a strategic advantage for the funds that are able to successfully communicate compliantly.
An Image of Three Essential Elements of Websites for Mutual Funds

Design

Compliantly communicating, even if done well, will fail if not presented with good design. Layout, colors, typography, and navigation are just a few of the design elements to be considered. A well built website will look good, function well, and convert visitors into future clients.

Does your website measure up?

You may not manage billions of dollars (yet), but that doesn’t mean your website should look like it was designed by lawyers. Not sure where to start?
Sign up for the Workshed Website Audit.
We’ll provide you with tips for improving your website.

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Workshed is uniquely positioned to build websites for mutual funds that integrate your firms online and offline brand while maintaining regulatory compliance in a way that successfully connects you with advisers and investors.

Have questions?

EMAIL JOE

 

50% off a Social Media Makeover

50% off a Social Media Makeover

Social Media Makeover

UPDATE: For the rest of March, we’re offering our social media makeover for 50% off!

Social media is one of the first places prospective clients are going to “meet” you and your company. What will their first impression be? Make sure your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube accounts (yes you should have an account on each) are sending the right message, by letting the Workshed team create a custom profile and background image for each.

Social Media Makeover

What’s it cost?

Typically we charge $500-$600 for this service, but through the end of March we’re “slashing our prices” (imagine the guy with the crazy radio voice) and offering it for $300. For those within the range of our photographer, that’s an epic deal, for the rest of you…you’ll have to settle for a great deal!

What about the free giveaway?

To enter the “Great Social Media Makeover Giveaway” is easy. Just tell us in the comments below how you currently use social media (if at all) to market your business and share this post to the social network of your choice.

Share the social media makeover

Facebook Share link for the social media makeoverShare the social media makeover on Google+Custom Share link for the social media makeoverLinkedIn Share link for the social media makeover

[clear]If you are selected we’ll contact you with the rest of the details.

For the forward thinking types who want to proceed with the social media makeover anyway (because it’s such a great deal, and you know how important it is) we’ll refund your payment if you are selected.

What’s Included?

Photography

If you are within 30 miles of our office, we’ll send Brady over with his fancy camera to take pictures! If you’ve ever had professional pictures taken, you know this is a screaming deal. If you are not within range of our visual arts master, we take what you have and work with it. If it’s rubbish, we’ll do something with graphics instead.

Facebook Page

Custom Profile Image Custom Cover Photo

Google Plus Page

Custom Profile Image Custom Cover Photo

YouTube Profile

Custom Profile Image Custom Channel Art

Twitter Profile

Custom Profile Image Custom Background Image Custom Header

LinkedIn Page

Custom Header Image Custom Standard Logo Custom Square Logo

Universal (for your other pages)

Custom Background Image Custom Profile Image

Share the social media makeover

Facebook Share link for the social media makeoverShare the social media makeover on Google+Custom Share link for the social media makeoverLinkedIn Share link for the social media makeover

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Social Media Makeover Form

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How to Pick Your Next Blog Post Topic for Financial Advisers (and other Businesses)

How to Pick Your Next Blog Post Topic for Financial Advisers (and other Businesses)

How to Pick Your Next Blog Post Topic for Financial Advisers

How to pick your next blog post topic for financial advisersWriting a blog post with any regularity is challenging.  Writing for your business needs to generate results in order to justify the investment in time and effort.  A few years ago one of the companies in my portfolio was in the news and I wrote a post about my thoughts on the potential consequences. Mainly I did it because I was sick of repeating myself to clients on the phone so I thought that writing a blog post about it would save me some time.  While it may have saved me a little time and prevented some boredom, it wasn’t until several months later that I discovered the real benefit.

The Long Tail

One afternoon while I was checking my blog stats instead of making calls, I noticed some search traffic related to the investment I had written about months before.  It wasn’t much, but it was the first time I’d noticed organic traffic for something so specific.  For months I’d get a hit or two every few days, nothing significant, but it was consistent.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but I’d stumbled on to what’s now commonly referred to as “long tail keywords.”

By this time I’d already read Chris Anderson’s book, “The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More,” but I didn’t connect the dots between selling things and search terms.  Essentially its the same thing. People are searching for something they want, be it products or information.  Similar to the way you can find almost any product on Amazon…Google does the same for information.

Why It Matters

Google has an army of brilliant engineers trying to make sure you get good information when using their search engine. If you write something that is relevant to a question someone asks in Google you stand a good chance of getting found…assuming the question they are asking is specific enough IE a long tail question.  In the example I used earlier, the particular investment I wrote about wasn’t well known, and when people started searching about it, there wasn’t much information available so my blog post was ranked high enough in the search results to get read.

Leveraging the Long Tail

I blogged sporadically over the next few years, but in 2013 I put what I learned about long tails to good use.  An investment in my portfolio was making plans to go public and the information they were providing was vague and confusing.  Recalling what I had observed a few years prior, I tried to identify questions people would be asking about the investment.  Whenever the company released new information, I’d write a blog post.  Eventually I created a special page on my website so people could easily read through all the information I’d collected.

Yreka!

At one point in my little experiment, I was ranked on the first page in the search results and I was getting over 500 page views a day.  I realize that this isn’t much traffic in the grand scheme of things, but these were people who had no idea who I was…and they were asking me for advice.  Some of my posts from that period had dozens of comments which led to multiple phone conversations with people who needed my help.

Your Turn

The next time you are trying to pick your next blog post topic, be sure to check your analytics to see if there are any search terms you can use as a starting point.  If you don’t have that kind of data (contact me), try to recall recent questions from clients.  Is there something there you can write about?

Let me know how it works for you, I’d love to hear your stories or answer any questions.

If writing blog posts isn’t your thing that’s cool too, we’d be happy to do it for you! Email us at adviser@workshed.com and we can set up a time to talk.

Latest Project: Mutual Fund Website Design for Bandon

Latest Project: Mutual Fund Website Design for Bandon

UPDATE:

Bandon Capital Management was acquired by Logan Circle Partners in late 2014. The beautiful website we spent months building was unceremoniously retired as part of the transaction.

Mutual Fund website design made easy

Mutual Fund Website Design for BandonPublicly communicating anything in the investment world is difficult to do (but we know how to do it, more here), and creating a website that is both informative  and visually stimulating the primary objective for our client.  Bandon Capital Management is a pioneer in the investment (absolute return long – short bonds if you are wondering) world and they’ve taken that same approach to their website design. Eschewing stock photos and cliche images of old men in suits, they opted for a design that was fresh, modern, and full of custom graphics and images.

A few details

In addition to good design, they had a few other requirements to make their website compliant with FINRA.  One of those was the ability to make certain content only accessible to financial professionals, but still be easy to use and maintain.  To accomplish this we customized a lightweight membership plugin to keep it simple, yet still do the job. The other was a separate section for BandonFunds.com that used the same data base, but didn’t run afoul of the regulators (how we accomplished that was a challenge!)

Another interesting add on was a quiz to test visitors knowledge of Long – Short debt.  It’s a fun and clever way to help educate people on what they do without being boring. A nice little add on is the ability to share results with your friends (or not if you didn’t do so well).  Take the Long – Short Challenge.

Great clients make great projects

All in all it was a great project to work on.  The team at Bandon is very knowledgeable, yet they allowed us to use our expertise to help communicate their message.   We look forward to continuing our relationship as we move into an ongoing marketing role where we’ll help create content and continue to broadcast their message with the goal of attracting more investors in the fund.  (If you are worried about the possibility of rising interest rates, give them a call or tell your broker to look at BANIX)

What do you think?