Remember that feeling when you graduated from College? Or that feeling when you got unexpectedly fired? It’s that distinct stomach-dropping “holy shit!”, paired with a hard-hitting wave of “what now?”. It’s also the feeling described by countless founders as their successful crowdfunding campaign comes to a close.
At Celery, we’ve worked in tandem with hundreds of top crowdfunders as they transition into pre-orders and finally shipping. After 2 years, here are the top 5 questions we get asked as campaigns wind-down and sellers enter new, unchartered territory.
1. What Should I Do With My Campaign Page?
As your campaign closes, you need to redirect attention onto your own website. Because the highest ranked search result for your product will be your Kickstarter or Indiegogo page, take advantage of its SEO. Place a powerful call-to-action on your expired campaign page to direct potential buyers to your website, so that you can continue selling your product. Boost your brand and don’t let that residual demand go to waste!
Pro-tip: For your url, use a modifiable link that you can edit in case you need to change domain names (or want to link to a future campaign).
2. How Do I Collect and Handle Missing Backer Info?
In case you didn’t notice, crowdfunding platforms are not designed around shipping physical products. Since the majority of backed projects fall into the art and digital realm, they don’t require shipping or additional information from backers. This means that when backers forget to add shipping costs, or input incorrect addresses, pledge multiple times, change rewards—even write in Chinese—you’re the one left to figure it out.
This is when shit tends to get real…complicated.
Filling in missing information, or even after-the-fact stretch goal selections will likely mean sending out a survey through apps like Google Forms, Survey Monkey, or Typeform. In these surveys, backers can help you fill in the blanks. Otherwise, a developer can build a custom solution, like coupons, that when redeemed in your online store will prompt for the missing info.
Once the data is collected, it will need to be transferred and stored in a serious Excel spreadsheet. Only a real Excel wizard has the data management skills for this one. If you or someone on your team isn’t savvy, you may need to hire someone who is.
Alternatively, BackerKit is a simple, all-encompassing solution. The downside: Using Backerkit means coughing up a small percentage of your total campaign funds plus up to 20% of pre-orders taken through their platform. Although their margin is a tough pill to swallow, they really do a killer job managing backer information, organizing shipping, and will prevent a grey hair (or eight).
3. I'm Scared. How Do I Keep My Backers Happy?
Your backers gave you the gift of bringing your amazing product to life, and they’ll destroy you if you don’t deliver. Just kidding. But they are watching your every move.
While all eyes are on you, it’s beyond important that you communicate with these backers often — weekly — without fail.
When backers hand over their cash, they expect to be answered promptly, told the tales of your production, and updated on just about everything. If you don't they'll send pissed-off emails and demand refunds. In fact, it’s not uncommon for backers to threaten to report sellers to Kickstarter, the Better Business Bureau, and even the FBI!
In short, keeping the lines of communication open is the only way to ensure angry mobs of backers won’t barge down your front door, carrying with them pitchforks and fury.
Beyond sending weekly emails to your backers and updating your website and campaign pages regularly, you need to stay on top of individual emails. To remain ahead of the curve, auto-responding to common questions will prove to be a huge time— and life— saver. By setting up intelligent auto-responder emails, and including FAQs in your emails, you’ll not only unclog your inbox, but will keep your backers confident and at bay.
Common FAQs to include in your emails:
When will I receive my product?
I moved. Can I update my address?
Can I change my selection?
4. What Should Be My Benchmark for Pre-Order Sales?
Based on past data from hundreds of crowdfunding alumni, you should expect to generate at least 10% of funds raised in pre-orders within 3 months. This 10% represents those who do not advertise, optimize their checkout, retarget, remarket, nor do virtually anything but set-up a checkout and run-off to Tahiti. Use this metric as a benchmark to judge the effectiveness of your marketing efforts going forward.
Furthermore, paying attention to your conversion funnel, closing leads, tracking metrics, and generating a buzz through advertising, you can capture continued pre-sales that far exceed 10% of your campaign total. Examples of companies who killed their continued pre-orders are ThingCHARGER, OneWheel, Carbide3D, and SCiO.
5. How Can I Boost My Post-Campaign Sales?
Without a doubt, this is the top question on everyone’s mind. However, there’s no silver bullet to boosting continued pre-order sales — sorry! But, there are undeniable ingredients for success. It’s just up to you to concoct the recipe that works for your product and buyers.
Here’s what we suggest you play around with:
Referrals — Referral Candy and Talkable.
If it sticks with your buyers, an incentivized referral program can boost sales by about 20%.
Abandoned Cart Recovery—Klaviyo.
Reach out to the 70% of customers who will abandon cart without purchasing.
Retargeting — Perfect Audience, Adroll, and ReTargeter.
Retargeting can be hit or miss, but Perfect Audience is an interesting one to check out. It allows you to share audiences with relevant companies. For example, you could target BackerKit’s audience which is likely to be interested in crowdfunded hardware.
Content Discovery — Taboola and Outbrain.
Many projects redistribute PR earned during their campaign to drive sales. No need to reinvent the wheel. Get more people engaging with the content that sells your product best.
Paid Acquisition — Facebook Ads and Adwords.
If you can crack the paid acquisition code and get the economics right, cost-per-click, cost-per-impression, cost-per-mille, cost-per-action, and cost-per-xyz can be a customer acquisition goldmine.
Also, if you’ve got a budget to work with, it’s never a bad idea to get a marketing agency on board or to bring a talented marketer in-house.
The entire crowdfunding journey is a wild one. And although the land beyond the Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign remains largely uncharted, it’s where a lot of the discovery, learning, and behind-the-scenes accomplishment takes place. Join us as we uncover the best tips and practises learned — post-campaign.