You could have the best product in the world, but if no one knows about it, no one’s going to buy it. It’s up to you and your team to build hype, create super fans, get media interested, and host the explosive crowdfunding launch your idea deserves. However, getting customers to virtually line-up for your launch is a feat that requires careful planning, months of preparation (we recommend at least 4-6) and a fair allocation of resources.
Regardless of whether a launch takes place on a traditional platform versus your own website, the same amount of marketing and promotional legwork is required for success. A common misconception is that being apart of a crowdfunding marketplace like Kickstarter and Indiegogo will automatically attract customers and boost sales. In all circumstances, whether launching independently or on a platform, the same degree of marketing efforts are required to reach your funding goal.
In this step-by-step marketing playbook, we'll detail how to generate maximum buzz for your DIY crowdfund.
Part 1: How to Get Your Website and Landing Pages Optimized
Got a Working Website? Good.
First and foremost, you need a working, well-designed, website that both reflects your brand and does your product justice. For self-launchers, having a strong home-base (your site) is of the utmost importance. If your website looks like it was built in 1999 with size 14 arial font and animated GIFS (not ironically), it will reflect poorly on your product.
We won’t dive into the actual building your website, but if you’re starting at ground-zero with t-minus less than six months to your launch, we suggest getting something up ASAP. Simple website builders that are flexible with customizations and design include: Weebly, Homestead, and Squarespace. Here is a comprehensive review of the best website creation software.
Get Analytics and Begin Tracking.
Set-up analytics, tracking and retargeting scripts right away. When it comes to collecting data with the aim of better understanding your traffic, visitors, and conversions, you can never start measuring too early. When the time comes to solve the paid acquisition riddle (which we’ll get to in a little bit), you’ll thank yourself for the data you’ve collected.
In all likelihood Google Analytics (GA) will become your go-to spot for tracking just about all things marketing-related. There’s tons to learn, but it’s endlessly powerful when it comes to tracking events, measuring growth, media spikes, as well as retargeting and remarketing to your future customers.
Here’s what to pay attention to in Google Analytics:
- Traffic Sources/Referrals—Where are your site visitors coming from? Are they direct, referral, or search visitors? In other words, are they arriving at your website via Google or from a mention in a blog post? You’ll want to map which sources are performing best and bulk up these efforts.
- Unique Visitor/Return Visitor Conversion—Do first-time visitors behave differently from returning visitors? Typically, when are visitors following through on your call-to-action by signing up? If most visitors require a second visit before handing over their email address, you’ve got something to look into.
- Interactions Per Visit—If your visitors aren’t signing up, what are they doing? Where are they getting stuck? Which pages have the most and least views? Understanding visitor behaviour will give you insight into which pages are performing well, what’s turning off potential customers, and what kind of information you need to provide in order to turn visitors into buyers come launch-time.
- Cost Per Conversion—How much does it cost to get a visitor to your site? How much does it cost to get them to sign-up? Zeroing in on these metrics are key, and is something you’ll pay close attention to when pumping dollars through your paid acquisition funnel.
Build Landing Pages That Convert.
According to Unbounce, a platform for A/B testing landing pages, a landing page is “a standalone web page distinct from your main website that has been designed for a single focused objective.” In other words, landing pages look and feel different from your website as a whole. Rather than detail everything about you, your cat, and your product, a good landing page will be designed to promote a single action. Pre-launch, this action should be collecting email sign-ups to reach out to as your campaign goes live. During your crowdfund and continued pre-order campaign, this action will be getting visitors to become customers.
Here are the basics elements that landing page should have going for it:
- A narrow focus. A single purpose page, with a single message. Sell one thing and one thing only. This should be easy enough for launchers--in all likelihood, you don’t have an entire product line!
- A clear call-to-action (CTA). The CTA is always positioned above the fold so that zero scrolling is required (on mobile and desktop).
- A second (even third) CTA. The secondary CTA’s should be located towards the bottom of the page, after you’ve offered up more details about your product/launch.
- A simple layout. Ensure that the page design and navigation makes the above-the-fold CTA obvious.
- A video. Here’s the place to plug-in a campaign-style or instructional video. According to Unbounce, videos can increase conversions by 80%.
- Be conversion rate optimized. Your landing pages need to make visitors want to interact with you. This means sharp copy, a strong headline, and all other landing page elements in place. Read more about Growing Conversions Through Landing Pages in this post by Groove (‘A’ students should read the sourced articles as well).
Initially, you just want to build a landing page or two that will promote your “coming soon” teaser before your crowdfunding launch. When you first build-out your landing pages, you may only have a couple alternative pages to stream inbound traffic and test messaging. This is where google analytics, as well as the below services will come in handy. Once you’ve tested and began gathering data about traffic sources and customer types, it’s time to invest in paid acquisition. This is something we will explore in the last section of the post.
For example, Prynt who launched on Kickstarter in January of 2015 raising $1,576,011, set-up their landing page four months prior to launching in September of 2014.
Here’s what Prynt’s landing page looked like (note the simplicity):
Here are some great resources to begin building, testing, and learning more about landing pages:
- Unbounce—Easily build, A/B test, and publish different landing pages.
- Crazy Egg—Find out why people are leaving your website.
- Optimizely—Optimize, analyze, test and tweak your pages on both mobile and desktop.
- Instapage—Simple, templated landing page builder that you can easily test with.
- PageWiz—Landing page builder with solid customer service.
- Wishpond—Another landing page builder that is highly recommended.
In Part 2, of our Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your DIY Crowdfund, we will uncover how to best build an online presence through social media, content strategy and SEO.
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