In my last update I recapped on what I’d done to get this far and shared just some of the response so far.
In this update though I wanted to focus on marketing, the physicology I’ve used so far and the reasons why I did something.
Firstly the only way to run my test was to create a unique niche product. It had to be controlled so that any marketing was not skewed by individuals looking specifically for this product already. This was highly unlikely in the case of The Pen Rest.
The experiment to promote links only to Kickstarter rather than to Indiego, neither of which I had ever promoted on, was to create two similar platforms to test the marketing efforts and to show any skewed results as a result of being in front of a crowd funding audience.
My theory here was that a new unknown product needed to be promoted and that the audience of Indiego were not likely to support the product on its own with no marketing.
I proved this absolutely as the campaigns ran for the same period at the same time. During this period there was not one backer on Indiego compared with Kickstarter proving that the marketing was driving interest to the Kickstarter project.
During the marketing period I promoted the existence of The Pen Rest through the following methods… and in all cases only used links to Kickstarter.
1. Word of mouth – this is very local, minimal exposure and certainly in a niche field too small an audience. It was never likely to attract backers on its own. In fact when speaking to friends and family I was fascinated by the looks of incredulity of some who thought I clearly lost the plot. Some laughed at me and even made fun of the idea.
None of this was a surprise but this is marketing in the most basic and rawest form. By speaking about the product I was interested to hear and see the feedback. It serves as market research, but equally helps you understand what needs to be said to attract any interest.
2. Facebook – I created my own Pen Rest page and posted images and text about the campaign on Kickstarter.
I was never convinced that this would have the biggest pulling power from a marketing point of view. It was however interesting that some would share almost of loyalty but not one of those that did share … and no criticism here … but it went to show that sharing alone would not convince someone to back the project.
During the campaign I kept posting how much was raised .. how many backers and what percentage over funded I got to.
Facebook from a social media point of view is a great platform, but when you are not topical and too niche you just can’t expect to get any support.
3. Facebook Advertising – you can target very specifically your audience. I set a campaign going focused on people that loved pens, fountain pens, brands of pens and typically over 25 years of age. The adverts were to drive interest to the Kickstarter campaign, but again I was not absolutely convinced that promoting a brand new niche product even to a specific audience would drive enough sales to the campaign to warrant the expense of the adverts. I ran 5 different advert tests to see the click through rates and look at conversions.
The conclusion of this was that the audience were being educated about a new method of displaying pens, something they were not likely to ever consider and whilst traffic did end up at Kickstarter, they had nothing to measure this new product by. It did not exist before so they had no reference point to judge it. Traffic from this source was very small and resulted in only a couple of backers.
4. Email Marketing – This was easy to do as I have a lot of mailing lists that over the years I have built up. However these audiences despite knowing me certainly were not aware of the product or could reasonably expected to associate this new creation with me.
I explained about the idea and showed off images and this was sent to thousands of individuals. The result was a very small number of backers, one or two that I actually know from the past. Supportive purchases, inquisitive and purchases of curiosity in my opinion, but grateful nevertheless.
5. I engaged an international PR consultancy, one which helped write up a press release with their expertise.
They promised that they would send out a Press Release globally and their Ultimate product would get it seen by the likes of the New York Times, The Independent, Global news channels, etc and that their stats would show exactly what was seen.
Frankly this was the biggest flop of all .. the Press release looked good, but it ended up only on USA Television and Radio websites for brief moments.
677 view were by search engine crawlers… robots.
Not a single backer came from this source and no traffic was seen from this source.
But then when you consider the PR here was a non story … a UK guy invented somewhere to put your pen… sounds like an April Fool story!
PR works best where the news is incredulous, massive success, terrible disasters etc. This really did not surprise me but the test proved that this means of marketing produced nothing despite an international audience of journalists.
6. Twitter – I kept up regular tweets during the campaign … but I was always thinking that when I see tweets they are there and gone so quickly that despite encouraging a following of almost 1000 and many retweets I really expected very little. I focused on pen collectors and writers predominately.
The result was as expected a lot of followers, retweets and a little increase in traffic to see what the campaign was about.
7. I contacted hundreds of Creators on Kickstarter and offered to do cross promotions with their backers .. I got a very warm reception from many of them .. in almost all cases they helped promote to existing backers The Pen Rest… but incredibly I received only a couple of backers from this source.
My conclusion of this audience was that they would look but backing was a different issue.. I had a theory but something that I was yet to prove.
8. I joined the Backers Club – This is a site that allows only people who have backed multiple Kickstarter projects to join. The catch is though that you have to offer them something as an incentive to back your project.
From Backers Club perspective this is self promoting … you have to include Backers Club in the project .. members then see rather than backing the Kickstarter direct they go to Backers Club and get a better deal.
I did get about a dozen backers from this source, but this was in part because they got a better deal than going direct… overall it was aimed at individuals that back a lot of projects .. and trust me when I say a lot… these are Kickstarter addicts. You can check out the backers profile buying history. They appear to enjoy the excitement of being part of the momentum behind a campaign and possible success story.
9. Google Adwords – granted this was a limited campaign but focused on driving traffic to Kickstarter. The results though were not impressive at all … I had a steady stream of visitors to the Kickstarter campaign but no backers.
10. Ebay – I created a load of listings free on eBay showing the Pen Rest for different makes of pens and telling people to visit the Kickstarter campaign.
In fact I had around 50 views .. but sadly not one backer from eBay referrals.
So you might ask “David how on earth then did you succeed in raising 74 backers, raising over £4000 and achieving backing for almost 250 Pen Rests … a feat where so many campaigns fail…?”
Well I had always had a theory… and what you read above was to prove that the traffic and source to buyers is not always from these obvious media sources.
Watch out for Part 14 – From Sketch to International Distribution … in 5 Months! where you’ll see what happens with the distributors, if the Chinese keep their promise to send me the missing stock and the black tops and see more feedback as more people receive the Pen Rest.
You’ll have to stay with me if you want to find out what my theory was and how I proved it … you might be surprised.