Raising Money with Crowdfunding Expert – @clayhebert

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Clay-Hebert-PinterestCrowdfunding is more than just  asking nicely for money to assist with financing your next project. There’s a certain finesse that you need to attribute to your campaign in order to be successful.

You need to learn how to successfully market your campaign, but instead, try thinking of how to do that from the bottom up. The most important part of any successful marketing campaign is to nail down exactly who your audience is, versus trying to connect with everyone. Once you figure out who your “tribe” is, you need to start a buzz that garners their interest months before you even launch your crowdfunding campaign.

As a crowdfunding expert, Clay Hebert helps people fund their dreams, having assisted over 100 entrepreneurs raise over $25 million for their projects. In this show, Clay shares some of his “hacks” and strategies for running not only a successful crowdsourcing campaign, but also setting up an effective “pre-campaign” to set you on the road to reaching your funding goal.

Rich: Hey everybody, I am here with Clay Hebert. Clay helps entrepreneurs fund their dreams, which is pretty awesome. One of the world’s leading crowdfunding experts, Clay has helped over 100 entrepreneurs and creatives raise over $25 million on crowdfunding platforms, such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

He’s a speaker, marketing advisor to corporations and startups, and he’s also the founder of Crowdfunding Hacks and the creator of Fund Your Dream. Clay is active on Twitter and he teaches crowdfunding at crowdfundinghacks.com and writes about marketing innnovation in the future of work at his own blog, clayhebert.com. Clay, welcome to the show.

Clay: Thanks, Rich, I’m super excited to be here.

Rich: Let’s just get right started. Crowdfunding is very interesting to me. How did you actually get started helping people with their crowdfunding?

Clay: That’s a good question. I was in Hawaii with my girlfriend and the phone rang – we were there for a little vacation for her birthday in January of 2012 – and it was the friend of a former marketing client and she said, “Please help, I have my Kickstarter project running live and it’s not going to get funded, and do you know the internet?” She was a dear friend and a great documentary filmmaker, but not that good with the internet. She still has an aol email address, which is a red flag.

Rich: It’s like a scarlet letter, the scarlet A…OL, if you will.

Clay: It is. Amateur Online it stands for, I think. So I was in Hawaii with my girlfriend and I didn’t want to take on this kind of small project. I was like, “I know and understand online marketing and traffic and conversion, but I’m not a Kickstarter expert.” So my knee jerk was I didn’t want to do this, it was going to be a tiny, little project and I as sort of on a “workcation.”

So my first response was, “No, no thanks.” And she said, “Ok, no problem. Just take a look at the trailer, if you will.” So she sent me the Kickstarter link online and I played the trailer. The trailer was for her film which was called Gold Star Children. And I didn’t know what the term meant, but a Gold Star Child is a child that lost a parent at war. And it turns out Mitty – who was now in her mid to late 40’s – lost her dad in Vietnam. Her film was to connect 2 generations, her generation with the kids who are losing parents in Iraq and Afghanistan. So it’s this unbelievable sort of tear jerker of a trailer and so I called her back and asked how I could help and I wanted to do this.

The first one was actually relatively simple. Basically, she had a pretty good campaign structured – it was already live – and that’s one of the big things I tell people is once it’s live, you can’t change it. So we couldn’t change anything, but she hadn’t really marketed it much at all. So what we did is we got it in front of the right tribes and subtribes – which in this case was military families – and took it from 20-30% funded with 10 days to go, to just over 112% funded. It was a small goal, I think it was only $30,000, and she was able to use that for postproduction to finish the documentary. It went on to be in some different film festivals and win some awards. And more importantly, achieve her real goal of connecting these two generations.

So that was the first project. And then I told a buddy from basketball that I had done that and he said, “Oh, my friend Slim is doing a book on Kickstarter..”, and then two projects became three and five and ten and twenty. Now it’s been, I think, 80-something projects.

Rich: Wow. And you were just smitten after that first one, huh?

Clay: It’s funny because good crowdfunding is good marketing, and that’s what I’m good at. That’s what I spent time learning over the last decade is marketing. Crowdfunding, if you look at a crowdfunding page, all the elements that great marketers like you use are storytelling, pricing, scarcity, urgency, headline writing, copywriting, all the tools in a good marketer’s toolbox are not just there on the page but they’re there structured in a way that the consumer knows how to use it.

So I always say that Proctor & Gamble and Kraft and these huge companies spend billions of dollars to try to get us to pay attention to a 30-second Super Bowl spot, but if you can get someone to click through to your crowdfunding campaign and you target them well, you’re going to get 2 minutes of their attention if your video is good. Good crowdfunding is just good marketing, it’s really that simple. So I didn’t know I was smitten at first, but when I realized that crowdfunding is a really interesting way to use what you know about marketing in a page that the consumer knows how to use the page, it really made a lot of sense.

Rich: I liked what you said about getting in front of the right tribes and subtribes. So would you just mind giving us a couple examples, like anchoring it for us, about what you did that she didn’t realize in terms of driving the right kind of traffic to this page?

Clay: Yeah, absolutely. I always tell people you want to think bottom up when it comes to crowdfunding and marketing, not top down. Kevin Kelly wrote the epic blog post called 1,000 True Fans, it’s an amazing post in general but even more for crowdfunding. Instead of thinking, “Gosh, I hope I can get in Mashable or the NY TImes or the Wall Street Journal.”

First of all, big press like that usually doesn’t drive many traffic or backers, so think bottom up. You want to make a list of your 10 friends who would back anything that I do and start with that. And then, who are the tribes and subtribes? So in Mitty’s case with the documentary, we had to find military families. First of all, Mitty had a Facebook page with a bunch of military families and from a one on one level, she hadn’t even really promoted it much to them. And I said, “Mitty, these are not just military families, but they are people who have said you do great work and they want more from you.” So we started there, and military families are a perfect example, it’s an easy tribe to find, and subtribes and little pockets – Wounded Warriors, etc. – where it’s easy to find the pockets and subtribes of military families.

The mistake that I see so many crowdfunding creators make – and many marketers make as well – is trying to reach everybody as opposed to thinking who are the hundred, 500,000 people who desperately care about my project and about what we’re doing.

So that worked for Mitty. Are you a cat person or a dog person, Rich?

Rich: I am a cat person.

Clay: Ok. I am personally not a cat person, I am more of a dog person, but Kittyo is a really fun project that I worked with, a guy named Lee Miller. And he put up a landing page – he reached out to me months before he wanted to launch his crowdfunding campaign – which is the right thing to do. Which is to start early and build the landing page. So we worked with Lee to build the landing page, showing the product, explaining exactly how it works and just collecting emails, and then he had something to market for 5 months before the launch. Kittyo is a little tower that allows you to see and play with your cat when you’re not home.

So there’s this site called HausPanther – this is a perfect example and will answer your question – a subtribe of people who love cats and people who appreciate good design and who have some level of disposable income – and what it is is design within reach for cat freaks. And so if you go there, there’s all these really cool Danish, high end cat scratching posts and things like that. So Lee did a partnership where he asked for emails in exchange for being entered to win a free Kittyo unit. And that alone allowed him to collect I think 1,000 or 2,000 emails. So over 6 months he collected over 13,000 emails of the right people who love their cats, and then we he launched he was funded within 36 minutes, he was 200% funded within the first day and raised of $270,000 total. So he did it the right way, which is: build a landing page, find your tribe or subtribe, and market that to them.

Rich: Just for point of clarification, when you say “the landing page”, are you talking about a landing page before you start the Kickstarter or other crowdfunding platform?

Clay: Yes, absolutely.

Rich: So this is just for lead generation, which I’ll then take that list and when the campaign is ready to go, I’m going to send them an email about that specific campaign

Clay: Yes, 100% correct. 1,000 is a nice round number, but when you launch your Kickstarter, if you’re not sending that launch link to 1,000 people that you’ve already collected their email through this landing page, you’re really throwing up a Hail Mary and hoping. Unless you have an amazing video that goes viral – which everyone thinks they do and almost nobody does – it’s just so much easier to build permission ahead of time.

I loved that show MacGyver as a kid. Now looking back you realized that every episode he found the bomb with 30 seconds to go and he had to cut the red wire or the blue wire while the bad guys were trying to get into the tent. I always say people who launch their crowdfunding campaign without marketing it ahead of time, without doing a landing page or collecting emails or anything like that, they’re putting themselves in this MacGyver-like situation. He had 30 seconds, you have 30 days to quickly market your campaign, otherwise the bomb explodes.

Unlike MacGyver, you have the choice to say you’re going to market this thing for 3,4,5 months leading up to it with that landing page. Another thing it allows you to do is test your different marketing things. So you can try a partnership with HausPanther or you could try a Facebook ad, or you could try all sorts of different marketing tactics. And instead of waiting until the clock is ticking on your campaign like MacGyver, send them to your landing page. If it works, you get their email and you let them know when it will launch, or even better, keep in contact with them between when you get their email and when you launch.

Rich: Alright, that’s some pretty cool stuff. So, just one question, I want to go down the rabbit hole on this one. When you’re approaching something like HausPanther, what was the exact relationship there? How did you get in front of the people on HausPanther to say, “Look, I’ve got this thing you can be entered to win”? Did you go to the owners of HausPanther, how does that all work?

Clay: Well first of all, Lee gets all the credit. He did the hustle with HausPanther, I helped him design the landing page, and we tweaked it. There is a blog post on my site that’s sort of a step by step of how we built his landing page and what to include and how to build the ultimate crowdfunding page. But he sort of negotiated with HausPanther and because the product was so unique and interesting, and when you see the Kittyo unit the light bulb instantly goes on for any cat lover. And then we worked to make the headline really, really simple, “Play with your cat, even when you’re not home.” When he showed the Kittyo unit to the people at HausPanther, it’s a perfect example of it was so targeted. It was cats and design and disposable income. It was the exact right people.

The sites need content, those sites need something to publish everyday. You need guests for your podcast, you need great things that are and right for your audience, and HausPanther needs more content. So when he approached them and told then what he was doing and asked what they thought, they thought it looked like an amazing thing. Then it was just a matter of hammering out the details and figure out the right way to do it, and sometimes a contest is the right thing and sometimes a guest blog post is the right thing, you could do a webinar and all sorts of stuff.

Rich: Alright, good stuff. Now you mentioned a couple of different products, we talked a little about movies, and I know that a lot of CD’s get funded by crowdfunding, Cards Against Humanity – one of my favorite crowdfunding products of all time. But if I’m an entrepreneur, I just wonder if a lot of people out there think it all sounds good for these cool, hipster products, but I’ve just got a boring, old business, crowdfunding isn’t for me. What would you say to somebody like that, are they right?

Clay: If it is a boring, old business, if you’re an accountant that does people’s taxes, then I would say absolutely crowdfunding is not for you. If the spectrum is weird, quirky, hipster products on one end and super boring business on the other end, I would say there’s a lot in between that are really good crowdfunding projects that are things that you might not have heard of.

For instance, somebody used Kickstarter to build a project to help Kindergartners send cameras into space. So that is not a hipster product, but it’s also not a boring business, so it’s in between. One of the links I would check out that we can put in the show notes is Kickstarter’s Year In Review 2014, that always highlights some of the more interesting projects.

But I would say, if you are a B2B selling hydraulic parts and things like that, then Kickstarter and Indiegogo are probably not for you. But it doesn’t have to be this quirky thing that seems like it would only have to exist in Brooklyn either. There’s lots of room for documentaries or one-off products. I just helped one called Toasty Tote, it as simply a blanket that you can roll out but it had a lot of bells and whistles with 6 or 7 different uses. So that guy was just trying to raise $10,000-15,000 to scratch his own itch and made more. It wasn’t a huge, massive business that was going to get picked up by Bed, Bath & Beyond, it was just a guy who wanted to create a product.

So I would say if it’s a huge, boring business, probably not. But I would challenge that there’s lots of interesting things that might not be your typical idea of what you think of when you think of crowdfunding.

Rich: And one of the things I’m also noticing is that some people think it’s a way to start a business, but actually sometimes a CD or a card game or something like that, so this might be something where you’ve got an established business as an entrepreneur and you’re looking to roll out something new. And then you could use some sort of crowdfunding site, correct?

Clay: Absolutely. One of the ones we did was Nomadic Matt. He’s a blogger and a traveler and written a book called How To Travel The World On $50 A Day. Everyone was asking him for a travel app with a calculator because they knew he had that kind of knowledge, so he started with a really modest goal of $8.000 and raised enough to build the iPhone and Android version of this tripsaver/travel calculator app. So that’s to your point, Rich, a perfect example of somebody who had an existing business and the customers were clamoring for a new thing.

That’s a really great way to use crowdfunding, because if the customers are asking for an app, it would have been a lot of out of pocket money for Matt to fund that development and then hope that people want it. That’s a perfect example of what Kickstarter is for, which is saying, “Hey, you people said you wanted this, if you pre-buy it, we’ll make it.

Rich: Put your money where your mouth is. So a lot of people use Kickstarter and crowdfunding interchangeably, it’s almost become the Kleenex of crowdfunding, if you will. But there’s Kickstarter, there’s Indiegogo, the other week we spoke with Emily Best of Seed and Spark which is specifically crowdfunding for filmmakers. Should we just default to Kickstarter, or how should we approach these different platforms where we can do our crowdfunding?

Clay: That’s a really great question. I want to back up one step and say before you think about platforms, first decide and confirm which type of crowdfunding you’re doing.

Rich: Oh, ok, can you walk us through some of those?

Clay: Yeah. There’s 4 different types of crowdfunding, so we’ll talk about that. And then just from a terminology perspective, I’ll back up one more step which is – and you’ve been perfect every time and said “crowdfunding – but what you’ll hear often, even from really smart people, is they misuse the terms “crowdfunding” and “crowdsourcing”. So first I want to clear that up.

Crowdsourcing, which we all know from sites like Wikipedia, is the sourcing of anything from a crowd. It could be information, data, graphic design. Crowdfunding is a subset of that which is the sourcing of funds from a crowd. Just to clear that up, because people often misuse those terms and I want your listeners to use them correctly.

Now there are 4 different types of crowdfunding. We’ve been talking about rewards based crowdfunding which is the Kickstarters and the Indiegogos and the Seed and Sparks of the world. In that world, it’s what it sounds like. It’s exchanging dollars for a reward or a perk of some kind. So, a t-shirt or a film or a wallet or headphones, that’s the reward in rewards based crowdfunding.

The 3 other types are donation based crowdfunding, equity based crowdfunding and debt crowdfunding.

Donation based crowdfunding you can do on Indiegogo, you’ll see some of that, but you’ll see it more often on platforms like Crowdrise and GoFundMe and things like that. So let’s say you have medical bills or someone has cancer or you’re trying to raise money for a water project in Africa, if there‘s not really a tangible reward coming back, then it’s more donation based crowdfunding, or some people would think of it as fundraising.

Equity based crowdfunding is completely different and that’s more like for tech startups if you’re really trying to do a business where it’s almost more of the “shark tank” model. Platforms like Angel List where if you need to raise $100,000 to start your tech company you might raise $10,000 each from 10 different Angel investors and now you have your $100,000 round. They don’t get a t-shirt or a reward, they get maybe 1% of the company, so that’s equity based.

And then the last one, which doesn’t really get much press or the least known form of crowdfunding is debt based crowdfunding. So it’s debt just like a bank loan, so sites like Prosper or Lending Club. So let’s say somebody had $30,000 worth of high interest credit card debt and they couldn’t get a loan from the bank to pay that down. You can go on there and you could lend me $5,000. If I get $5,000 from 6 different people, I give you a percentage interest rate and you get to see my credit score and things like that. That’s sort of peer to peer lending or debt based crowdfunding. Then I could take the $30,000 adn pay down the high interest credit card debt and then pay back the 5 or 6 people.

Rich: That is interesting. Completely off topic in terms of what we wanted to talk about today, but good to know if I ever get into credit card debt problems.

Clay: In regards to crowdsourcing platforms, I’m writing a blog post because the information that’s out there about which one to choose is relatively lacking. Basically, Indiegogo doesn’t publish their stats, whereas Kickstarter does publish their stats. If you go to Kickstarter.com you can see everything, they kind of slice and dice the data by type of project and everything else.

Indiegogo is not as public. You can use tools like Alexa and things like that to get a feel for traffic, but traffic is not the reason to choose one platform over another. It’s kind of like a party. So Rich, if I was throwing you a birthday party I could throw it at the coolest club in town with vodka and pink neon and dancing and club music till 4am. Or I could throw it at an Irish pub with leather and sawdust and Irish tunes and Guinness and Jameson. Which one is right?

Well, it depends on you and what you like better and who you invite to the party. When you choose a crowdfunding platform based only on total traffic or projects funded is kind of like choosing your wedding venue based on how many drinks that venue has sold in the history of the venue. It doesn’t really apply to your thing. Success in crowdfunding is about bringing that tribe. Now with that said, there is a bit of a brand recognition. So when you bring the people there are they going to feel comfortable backing that Kickstarter, because they’ve heard of it so there’s often more brand recognition with platforms like Kickstarter.

That said, if you’re an internet marketer and you understand analytics and you can do contests, then Indiegogo’s analytics offer a lot more of those things. It’s a pretty nuanced question. Usually what I tell people is if it’s a toss up and your project can be approved by Kickstarter and you don’t need some sort of additional things that Indiegogo provides like deeper analytics and sometimes better integration with your existing website and things like that, then Kickstarter might be the right choice.

Rich: Alright, awesome. That was helpful, but i just want to make sure I understand. So one of the things that you’re saying here is success is based on us bringing that tribe to the table. So it doesn’t make any difference where we’re hosting our party – on some level – there is some trust that goes along with Kickstarter to a certain degree compared to an unknown brand, which makes a lot of sense.

I guess what I’m also hearing is that even though sometimes people may discover your product because they just happen to be browsing the mall of Kickstarters, so to speak, that you shouldn’t be relying on that kind of drive by traffic to actually fund your product.

Clay: That’s 100% correct. What I tell people is, you can probably safely count on 10-15% from the platform itself. If you do that, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised. Maybe you’ll get 20%, maybe you’ll get 25%. I’ve seen it as high as 60%, but that’s counting on luck and counting on a lot of other things. If you count on 10-15% from the platform and you plan it and structure it so that you drive 80-85% of the traffic in backers, then that’s about the right percentage to assume that the platform is going to bring. Most people flip that and they say they’re going to bring 50-100 people, but then Kickstarter’s going to help me get it funded, and those are the people that usually end up failing.

Rich: This is the rewards based one that we’re really focusing on today, what are the rewards that are going to make our tribes get excited to get behind us?

Clay: It really depends on the tribe, but for some strategies across any type of project I’ll give you some tips there. One is the reward that you should throw out the window that everybody does – and people copy it like lemmings off a cliff – but it never works is people ask for $5 or $10 or a digital high-five, thank you so much, undying gratitude,we’ll put your name on our website. That only is interesting to your mom or your grandma. If it’s your friends and family, hopefully they’re donating at a higher level anyway.

Rich: I was going to say, if my mom isn’t funding my project by herself, then I feel like there’s something wrong with our relationship.

Clay: Exactly, exactly. Nobody wakes up in the morning and says, “You know what, I really hope I stumble across a Kickstarter project where I’m able to give them $10 for nothing in return.” So scratch the $5 and $10, and here’s what you replace it with. Figure out what is the most value you can give a backer for only $1. Because especially if you’re building a business that’s going to live longer than the campaign – which most people are – if you think about it, they’re paying you to take their email address.

Most of us in the marketing world we figure out how cheaply we can acquire leads and emails and things like that, that in this case, they’re actually paying you. And if your project gets funded, you get their email address. So think of that value exchange and think that this person is paying you $1 to take their email address, how much value can I give them in return.

So if your product has any sort of instructional component to it. What if you made a 5 video YouTube series and offered that for $1, or a private video course or things like that? Back to the Trip Saver example with Matt, he had some existing internet products, pdf’s, where it was “how to be a travel blogger” and “how to make money from your blog”, and so he slashed the prices on those and offered those in addition to the app.

Brainstorm digital rewards that are relevant to your project or relevant to you as a person, that are interesting to your tribe and that you can create once and then offer for $1. Because it makes fulfillment really easy, you just send them a dropbox link or an amazon web services link and what it does is it changes the conversation they have in their mind from, “I don’t know if I’m going to back this.” to “I want what you’re offering for $1, what else you got?”

Rich: Alright, that makes a lot of sense. And I think by getting rid of some of those lower tier stuff, it’s forcing people to get behind the product in a meaningful way, too.

Clay: Yeah, absolutely, You don’t want to confuse people with too many rewards. Most people don’t back until they’ve read all of the rewards and they skim down the right hand side. So if you have too many rewards and too much copy over on that side, they’re never going to get to the end without risking the phone ringing or the doorbell ringing, you want to keep it simple, straightforward, compelling copy.

Rich: What’s also interesting, of course, because the psychology of portfolios is not that we put everything in our portfolio to show our work, but just the best of our work. And also maybe a selection or a variety of different things, but not so much that we overwhelm people. And then of course it also gets back to the “jam study” where they showed that when you show too many choices or flavors of jam, people tend to buy less jam.

Clay: Yes, the paradox of choices is definitely in play for Kickstarter. You want straightforward, simple. People think that if they don’t offer the smorgasbord of different awards, but I can point to lots of different projects where they only have , let’s say, 4 rewards or the main product. If they’re selling a watch, they have maybe 4 different types of watch as the reward. Keep it simple, you can offer other things. The low dollar digital rewards or some other things, but if it takes you 10 minutes to read through your your rewards, you probably have too many.

Rich: Yeah, that’s definitely a good break even point. So what are some of the mistakes you see people making when they’re putting together their campaigns? What can we do that would doom us to failure?

Clay: One of them we touched on briefly which is thinking that the platform is going to market your campaign for you. It’s simple and most marketers probably don’t have this problem, but creators that are doing this for the first time think if they just slap it up on Kickstarter. The press sort of taints that because they only talk about the big, multimillion dollar campaigns or the interesting ones that crush their goal. And so people go, “Oh, if they raised $500,000, I’m not even shooting for that, I’m just going to put it up and raise 100,000.” So that’s number one.

Number two is not offering valuable enough rewards. So I would say there’s only 2 reasons why a crowdfunding project fails or succeeds, and that’s traffic and conversion. Because nobody ever funded a Kickstarter project without getting to the page, usually they play the video. So that’s kind of the traffic or the “play” part. And they the “pay” part, the conversion, once they watch your video – assuming they make it through – and they scan how much time is left and how many backers you have an how much you’re trying to raise. And then their eyes go down the right hand side and see what you have to offer.

Usually people have plenty of traffic and they don’t have a good enough conversion. Meaning, they say $10 for a digital high five or something like that, so what you want to do is use a concept I call “below MSRP”. MSPR being Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. The price is sorta what we’ve been trained to pay for various items, or what’s the mental price anchor for various items. People get crowdfunding confused with fundraising, so they double the price. They say, “If a Kindle ebook is $9.99, I’m going to charge $20 for mine Kindle ebook.” When in reality you should charge $5 because, 1) You’re not Malcolm Gladwell and I can get his for $9.99, and 2) there’s this thing called fulfillment risk. There’s a chance when you back a crowdfunding project that it’s not going to come at all, there’s a chance it’s going to come late, and there’s a chance it’s going to come not as described.

When you and I order anything from Amazon or Zappo’s, it comes immediately, 24 hours as described, and that’s why we do it over and over, there’s basically zero fulfillment risk. But on Kickstarter you’re taking a chance on this creator being able to fulfill what he or she said they were going to do, so that’s why you need to – as the creator – offer your backers a discount. The biggest mistake I see is almost being too greedy with the pricing and not thinking cleverly about how do I offer so much value at a low price point because these people are taking a chance.

Rich: I had not thought that through, that makes a lot of sense. Because you know once the product comes through the market, of course then you can charge the general public whatever you feel the market will bear. But for this group that’s gotten behind you, part if it is that you want them to feel like they own a part of it and you want to be good to them.

Clay: Right, absolutely.

Rich: So what happens when we have successfully fulfilled our requirements? Somebody puts on a crowdfunding campaign, we make our money back and hit our goals – or maybe we go over? Ok, I guess that’s a 2-part question. What do we do next, and, is there ever a problem with making too much money from a crowdfunding campaign?

Clay: That’s a great question, I’ll take the 2nd part first. If you think about it ahead of time and structure it ahead of time, you really reduce the problem of too much. Probably the most famous example was at the time, the largest crowdfunding campaign ever on Kickstarter was the Pebble Watch,and they actually did run into that problem. It’s a really interesting story. They were out of money, the company was about to fold and the VC’s all in Silicon Valley – the gatekeepers told Eric Migicovsky that nobody wanted a smart watch – so he went on Kickstarter and made a really great video and explained this new kind of smart watch, and it went crazy and viral. It was interesting and they raised over $10 million, way more units than they ever expected to do. So they ended up with production issues in China, and what happened was because of those production issues there were delays with shipping – back to the fulfillment risk – and there will all these posts on Facebook when people finally got them saying, “My Pebble Watch finally came in the mail, does anyone want it?” Because when A smart watch arrives a year later than it’s supposed to, it’s not as smart or as cool anymore or as cutting edge.

So it’s possible, but I would say for 99% of projects, too much success is not key. Unless you have your production thing in line. That’s why I’m a big fan of digital rewards, as well. Because if you buy a reward level that’s $15 for an e-course or a book or a .pdf, there’s no production issues with that.

Rich: Is there a way to cap it? Could they have said they were going to cap it at $5 million rather than let it go until it hit $13 million and drives them out of business?

Clay: That’s a really good point. What you can do is you can take the campaign down before it ends. You can always just hit the brakes and say you’re done, and retain the existing money and backers. But you can sort of turn off the light switch before the campaign ends.

Rich: But you can’t say, “We’re only going to raise $5 million”, and then anyone who comes in after that just won’t have to opportunity?

Clay: Jot really, no. You can’t structure it that way on Kickstarter, you can only sort of pull the kill switch when you get to $5 million. Now you can communicate that in your video to your point, especially if it’s maybe a marketing perspective. You can say, “When we reach $5 million, that’s it, we’re done.”

The other way to cap that, which is kind of interesting, is you can cap each one of the reward levels. So back to crowdfunding being a mixing board for smart marketers, you could say the $500 level has only 10 available, and the $50 level there’s 100 available. So you can cap each individual one and that would be another way to cap the funds.

Rich: You said earlier on that everything’s in cement, you can’t change things so you can’t add new rewards after you capped out of something?

Clay: That’s a really good question. Some things can’t change, and some things you can still edit once you’re live. Any one, given reward level that you get a backer at – so let’s say $25 for digital downloads and .pdfs and videos – if someone backs at that level, the cement dries on that level. If someone has not backed a level, you can change it, edit it, delete it, whatever. And then to answer your question, you can always insert new reward levels. And for a really smart marketer, you can offer something and only limit it to 25, and when that level sells out you add something – a widget, a new color, etc – and release a new reward level that wasn’t there. So you can always add new reward levels as long as you’re live.

Rich: So I guess basically after I’ve made all the coolers I want to make at that point, maybe then I’d just start selling those high fives that you hate so much.

Clay: Exactly, exactly.

Rich: Ok, so that was the 2nd part of the question you answered, what was part 1 again? Oh, it was what do we do when we actually finish. Ok, so we made our money and we’re not going to sneak off to Aruba, what do we do next?

Clay: It’s really about good communication and fulfillment. One thing on Kickstarter crowdfunding, it does say, “estimated delivery date”. I saw some today where the delivery date was May, so it’s still 4 r 5 months away, they probably need to produce the thing. So your goal is to deliver by the delivery date, and a chance to surprise is to do it early.

It’s one thing to be late, and people will give you a pass if you’re a little bit late, as long as you’re in communication. Kickstarter and Indiegogo give you ways to do updates via the platform to people at each different reward level. So what I would do is look at it like a project and decide which rewards you need to deliver first, knock out that level, and you can message those specific people through the app. And then knock out the next reward level and the next reward level and just really try to deliver all your rewards by your date.

But you almost can’t give too many updates. People think, “Oh, these people are going to get sick of hearing from me.” They’re excited and they want to know that you’re excited. You want to do the celebratory, “Thank you so much, you helped us hit our goal”, and these are great updates to do during the campaign. If you happened to get 100% funded in a week, show a picture of your team throwing a party in the office. It’s really a thank you to your backers to be able to communicate with them throughout the whole process.

Rich: Clay, this has been awesome. You have given us so much information that I’m totally excited to start my Kickstarter campaign. I’m sure people are going to want to dig a little bit deeper, I’m sure they want to know more about you and also maybe contact you and learn more, so where can we point them online?

Clay: Let’s do this, I’m going to give them a bunch of additional bonuses and free resources, I can give them a keynote video of a talk I gave at Yanik Silver’s Underground in New Orleans and an audio interview I did, so I will put that at crowdfundinghacks.com/tmap. They can grab all those resources there, otherwise if they just want to browse the blog at crowdfundinghacks.com or if they want to learn more about me at clayhebert.com.

Rich: Thank you very much, I appreciate you putting together that package for us, and of course we’re going to have that link and all the others that Clay mentioned in the show notes, so be sure to check those out.

Clay, thanks a lot for your time today.

Clay: Thanks, Rich, had a blast.

Juicy Links:

Interesting links that were specifically recommended by Clay in reference to this show:

Show notes, links and transcription for this show provided by Jennifer Scholz Transcription Services. Clay-Hebert-Facebook

  • Thanks so much, Rich! I had a blast chatting with you. If anyone has specific questions on crowdfunding, marketing or business, reply to this comment and I’ll try to answer. Thanks!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Clay! I was re-relistening to the interview today in my car!