Khierstyn Ross started off as a biochemistry major and fell into business during college when she had a chance to run a franchise for a few years. After becoming one of the top revenue producers of the franchise, she was asked to be a startup advisor to help onboard new franchises. Within 6 months, startup franchises she oversaw would earn over $60,000 in revenue. She was inspired to go into online business because of Tim Ferriss and his residual income techniques. She became more involved in digital marketing and started advising companies online. She fell into the role of crowdfunding consultant after getting hooked on fast paced product launches.
A Quick Preview of the Podcast:
- How to effectively setup a crowdfunding page
- How to drive traffic to a crowdfunding campaign without wasting money
- The exact tactic Khierstyn used to discover her client’s customer base
To See The Transcript:
Tim: It’s easy enough to think of crowd funding sites like Kickstarter and Indigogo as just waste of fund, hobby side projects or bands looking to record new albums. Yeah, I’ve been there.
But smart marketers and entrepreneurs have been tapping into the huge reach and smart psychology behind the early supporter and reward systems of crowd funding. Khierstyn Ross is a crowd funding consultant who makes her living helping companies launch new products using those sites. The results she helps get are just a bit larger than a hobby.
Today, she’s sharing exactly how she was able to take failed campaign which generated $16,000 of its $50,000 goal and ended up relaunching it to generate almost $600,000. That’s a huge result and anyone looking to launch a product should be paying close attention to what she has to say.
I’m Tim Paige, the senior conversion educator here at LeadPages and this is ConversionCast.
Hey Khierstyn, welcome to ConversionCast. Thanks for coming on the show.
Khierstyn: Yeah thanks so much for having me
Tim: Absolutely. So I’m excited. We’re going to be talking about a cool tactic that folks can give a shot. So tell us the results from this particular tactic.
Khierstyn: Yes. So I’m a crowd funding consultant so the results we got was my first crowd funding campaign that I was involved with was an Indigogo campaign that actually failed. We ended up raising about $16,7000 of a $50,000 goal. After we went back to the drawing board, we ended up relaunching that same project on Indigogo a month later and ended up raising just under $600,000.
Khierstyn: So we had about a 35 time increase on our campaigns between first and second go.
Tim: That’s unbelievable. It’s’ amazing. I love it and this is where it goes beyond the point of like you know, we’re trying to fund like our local band’s next album. This is a big deal. This is raising big money and that’s kind of why I wanted to bring this to folks because you know, I know a lot of peel aren’t looking, aren’t necessarily thinking of Indigogo or Kickstarter as a marketing platform. But the way that you used smart marketing knowledge along with this platform has allowed this product to really come to market. So I’m excited about that.
Before we got into it though, tell us a little bit about kind of who you are and what you do and a little bit of your background.
Khierstyn: yeah. Well my background is being a biochemistry major I kind of fell into business in university where I had a chance to run a franchise for a few years. Once I graduated because I was one of the top revenue producers I guess, they asked me to come on board as a startup advisor where I helped onboard new franchises. Within a six-month period, some of the people on my staff would be driving in $60+ a year from nothing.
I’ve always been enamored by Tim Ferris and his whole laptop lifestyle residual income and so I really a few years ago just wanted to branch out into the online space and be able to work virtually and be my own boss. So that forced me to learn digital marketing and start advising companies on that space and about a year ago is where I fell into crowd funding when a client said hey I have this product, have you ever tried this thing called Kickstarter before?
So one failure caused me to actually the failure and then the success caused me to completely niche into crowd funding because I realized how much I loved the fast paced product launches.
Tim: I love it. It allows you to really do something that I think not a lot of people are doing really effectively. So that’s exciting. I love it. Let’s talk about what changed from that first failed campaign to the one that was so darn successful. What changed?
Khierstyn: Yeah. Well do you want me to focus on the one thing we changed? Because there were couple of things.
Tim: Yeah. I mean we had one particular tactic that I think was powerful and then maybe we can just mention a couple of the others but let’s start with the first or that main tactic that I wanted to bring up.
Khierstyn: Yeah. SO the thing about crowd funding is that generally the people launching do not have an audience. SO because they don’t have an audience, they don’t really know who their customer profile is or be able to give a really good idea of who’s going to buy their product.
One thing that we did differently is the first time around, we really had to guess with who was going to buy our product. We didn’t get into the right forums, we didn’t figure out who the right customer profile was. So the second time around what we ended up doing when we launched on Indigogo was we actually surveyed our audience that were actual buyers of our product as soon as they bought a perk or booth one of our products.
Indigogo allows you to do this not Kickstarter but you can export your backer email addresses. So you can actually communicate with them offline. So what we did as soon as they would buy a product, we would send them an ice thank you note and say hey it would mean the world to us if you could fill out this quick survey. The survey would include we had an excuse for them to fill to the survey. For us it was getting a color preference or a size preference.
So they filled out the survey and then there was an optional part that we said we asked them to fill out five demographic questions if they were male or female, what their age was and why they were going to use the product. When we did that, we actually got real time data of who is buying our product and then what we could do at that point is take that a step further and figure out okay if it’s 70% male, between the ages of 25 and 34 that are buying this we have a much clearer idea of who is our customer and where those people are going to hang out. So then we can tailor the online advertising and then tailor the forums and tailor the bloggers and the publications that would have that exact audience.
Tim: Interesting. So you applied again this kind of popular marketing tactic of finding out who your target audience was trough surveying and that kind of thing. But you really applied it to this crowd funding platform you know, using the information that they do give you to inform your marketing going forward?
Khierstyn: yeah exactly because the problem with crowd funding is you have very limited information beforehand of who your customer is because you literally launched and you don’t have customer buying data until after someone buys. But nobody buys stuff before you launch.
Khierstyn: So you really –tree’s now way unless if you are driving paid ads to a three-page website and figuring out who is interested in clicking that buy button before you launch. You really are just making assumptions.
Tim: Right. That makes sense.
Tim: I would love to hear a little bit about if somebody is thinking about launching their new product and they want to use crowd funding whether it’s Indigogo or whatever, I would love to hear kind of some of the things that you recommend folks do to have success? We don’t have to share the entire strategy but what are some things that some people should focus on to have kind of results for that kind of campaign?
Khierstyn: yeah. Well keep in mind that crowd funding is very much like any online product launch where you can drive a bunch of people to your campaign page but if you don’t set it up to convert properly, then you’re going to get a whole bunch of eyes on the page that leave and never come back and then your campaign will fail. So with crowd funding you have a very, very small window to grab somebody’s attention and get them to make a buying decision. And so things that you ca do to make sure that your page converts first off I would take the conversation as far with surveys I would still survey an audience but if you could even a nice little hack that I found out by speaking to other project creators is they would sometimes set up a three-page website. what they would do is they would drive paid ads to that site and it’s a sales page. They would figure out how many people it took and how much it would cost to get somebody to click the buy button and then with that they can even route them into a survey to see who this person is based on interest and stuff through like Facebook ads.
So if you have a bit of a budget, I would assume that you could do something like that. And then the second thing is just when you set up your Indigogo or your Kickstarter page, you have to really pay attention to the real estate on the page. What I mean by that is your video really needs to get to the point of how you’re different within the first 30 seconds. That top space underneath the video really needs to drive home how you’re going to make a difference in somebody’s life and why your product is worth funding.
Tim: Can you iterate on that page as you go as you learn more information about your audience through the survey?
Khierstyn: Yes, you can which is great and so the other thing I would recommend is that when you launch –there’s a dashboard on the backend of Kickstarter and Indigogo which will give you stats for your traffic to sales so that’s your conversion rate.
Your conversion rate needs to be roughly 1.5% for it to be healthy. What you should be doing and as a crowd funding advisor what I do is I monitor campaigns over the first three days and change and tweak everything to make sure we’re increasing our conversion rates as we get more traffic.
Tim: Got it and I think the only other thing I wanted to ask too was in terms of traffic for the page, are you relying mostly on paid ads or are there other – I know you mentioned forums as well. Are those kind of the two big traffic sources?
Khierstyn: Well it depends on which stage in the campaign you are. The campaign is usually broken into three parts. If you’re doing a 30 or a 60-day campaign the first week or two is going to be organic traffic that you’ve sent. So those are your friends, your family, your coworkers or anyone that has a direct connection to you. Those are going to be your early supporters. And then the next wave of traffic really depends on your budget and what sort of marketing tactics you’ve employed.
So the next wave of traffic can be anything from press that you’ve received, it could be through publications, it could be bloggers. It could be [indiscernible [0:10:56]] And then once you move out, you will have ideally a Facebook ads or a retargeting ads campaign going for the rest of the campaign.
Tim: Awesome. I love it. Well I think this is a great kind of crash course for folks looking to maybe a launch a new product and use crowd funding to do it. So I really appreciate you sharing some of these tactics with us. Thanks for coming on the show and really appreciate it.
Khierstyn: Yeah, thanks so much for having me.