We launched our Kickstarter campaign at 6am on Thursday, July 7, then spent the next few hours obsessively hitting the refresh button. The numbers just kept going up and up and up. With a $10,000 goal and a mailing list of almost 5,000 people we expected to do well, but we couldn’t believe it when we hit the $10k goal at 4pm – just 10 hours after launching! Fast forward a few weeks and we had raised over $62,000 with a total of 1,387 backers.
So – how did we do it?
By leveraging the power of Facebook ads.
WHAT WE WERE PROMOTING:
I grew up in a competitive games family. Monopoly, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit – you name it, we played it. So I wasn’t surprised when my brother Mike approached me about a year ago with a hilarious new game in its early stages, and an idea to launch it on Kickstarter.
Bad People is an adult card game with the tagline “The Party Game You Probably Shouldn’t Play.” Ideal for pre-drinking or games nights, Bad People is a brutal but hilarious game where you vote for your friends with question cards like “Most likely to join a cult?“ and “Who would charge the most as a hitman?”
As a Facebook ads consultant with experience in almost all areas of online marketing, I was stoked to get involved and jumped right in by designing a marketing strategy. Looking back, here’s what I found were the 5 key components that led to the success of this campaign:
5 Key Components of a Successful Kickstarter/Facebook Ads Campaign:
- Build a mailing list before launching by offering something for free related to your product.
- Nurture your mailing list before launching with a relationship building email sequence, and fun social media competitions and/or posts.
- Create an audience strategy and test different interests and demographics.
- Create compelling images and ad copy and test different variations.
- Retarget your potential backers with a “last chance” sequence.
#1 – BUILD A MAILING LIST
Our marketing campaign started weeks before we launched on Kickstarter. I knew we had to be armed with a solid number of leads before launching, so I created a free “print and play” PDF version of Bad People that came with 40 free questions. This gave our potential backers the chance to experience the game, and to join our email/social media community before launching.
We ran list building ads for 3 weeks, right up until launch day. Not only was this a great way to bring in leads, it was a great way to find out more about our target audience. I tested factors like gender, age, and interests in order to discover Bad People’s “audience sweet spot.” I quickly discovered that showcasing question cards in the ad image was yielding higher click-through-rates (by far!), and that men and women reacted differently to each question card, so we needed to target them separately. At the end of the 3 weeks this was our best performing ad:
As you can see – a ton of shares. For every 10 leads coming through via Facebook ads we were getting at least 2 “organic” leads from shares. For this particular ad we averaged a Cost Per Lead of $0.82 (phenomenal considering industry standing is around $2 – $4), and a Conversion Rate of 44.58% on the landing page.
#2 – NURTURE YOUR MAILING LIST
Every time I start working with a new client I tell them the same thing – Facebook ads are great at attracting new leads and retargeting them, but if you want to achieve stellar results you NEED a post opt-in email sequence and social media strategy.
In today’s noisy world there’s only one way to rise above your competition and get noticed by your potential customers – be real. Be authentic. Treat your leads like actual people, and try to form a real relationship with them. Don’t try to swindle them or manipulate them. Provide them with value, prove your trust, and you’ll have a customer for life.
This is important in every business venture, but it’s especially important when it comes to running a crowdfunding campaign. Think about it – you’re trying to get a stranger to give you their money for a product that they won’t receive for months after they purchase. It’s a tough feat. That’s why creating a relationship with them from Day #1 is so important. They need to feel like they’re part of your community and that they’re instrumental in bringing your project to life (because they are!).
On top of our automated email sequence, we also ran fun social media competitions including a “create your own question card” competition which resulted in a TON of engagement from our fans. This also helped build buzz as the launch date was closing in.
#3 – CREATE AN AUDIENCE STRATEGY
We had the luxury of running quite a few playtests before launching ads, so we had a pretty good idea of who our target audience was. We were looking to target 18 – 35 year olds who:
- love adult party games like Cards Against Humanity.
- aren’t easily offended.
- are social and have their fair share of hilarious drinking stories.
We ran into a slight problem here in that we wouldn’t be able to target people under 21 because we were labelling ourselves as an adult drinking game. Even though we knew college students would love the game we were also cognizant of their lack of disposable income, so it made sense to just focus on the 21 – 35 year olds.
Who We Targeted:
- Fans of Cards Against Humanity.
- Fans of Exploding Kittens (a funny card game that did really well on Kickstarter).
- Fans of Kickstarter, Crowdfunding, and Indiegogo.
- Fans of Card Games.
I layered quite a few demographics so we could dial in some ideal audiences for this campaign.
For example, according to Facebook there are almost 4.3 million people in the US between the ages of 21 and 35 who have expressed an interest in Kickstarter. And about 8 million who have expressed an interest in Card Games. It wouldn’t have made sense to target these groups separately, so instead I layered them to find a crossover audience of 1.8 million.
I also had a lot of success running ads to lookalike audiences based off of our mailing list, which is another great reason to run list-building ads pre-launch.
Pro Tip: If you want to figure out what interests and demographics to target on Facebook, and learn more about your target audience, check out their free Audience Insights tool here.
#4 – TEST CREATIVE
As you can imagine, I had a lot of fun coming up with the creative for this campaign. We wanted ads that really “popped” in Facebook’s newsfeed, so it was an easy decision to create images that showcased the hilarious/brutal nature of the game.
I tested quite a few variations of ad copy and question card images throughout the campaign to figure out which image/copy combination performed best. Here was our best performer:
As big fans of Cards Against Humanity, we knew their audience was perfectly aligned with ours. And even though Bad People is a totally different game, it was a no-brainer to use this kind of ad copy when targeting Cards Against Humanity fans. Interestingly enough, we found this language worked best when targeting other groups too.
I also wanted to make sure the ad content generated a lot of engagement. Even though our primary goal was to send people to the Kickstarter page, we also wanted to encourage people to engage with the ad itself and tag their friends so we could generate even more web traffic. By using a question card in the image that posed the question “Who would be the most successful serial killer?” we were encouraging people to comment and tag their friends.
And they did! As you can see we had 82 comments on this ad alone, and because we were getting so much engagement Facebook lowered the CPM so we were able to reach even more people at a lower cost. The average cost per click here was $0.39 with 3,003 total clicks.
#5 – RETARGET YOUR POTENTIAL BACKERS
Here’s the thing – if we’re not faced with some sort of sense of urgency it’s really tough to get anybody to do anything. People are easily distracted. They might see something they like, then get a text, or a phone call, or an email and completely forget about it.
That’s where a last chance sequence comes in. It’s CRUCIAL you retarget your Kickstarter page visitors with an ad letting them know there’s only a few days left. Before launching I set up a custom audience in Facebook using a program called EasyRetarget, and with 4 days left we it had grown to 13,000 people.
At this stage we had raised over $45,000 on Kickstarter, and by the end of the campaign we were at $62,887 (i.e. $17,000 from the retargeting sequence).
- Total Spent: $16,000
- Total Earned: $62,887
- # of Backers: 1,387
- # of Leads: 5,752
- Average Cost Per Lead: $1.33
- ROI: 293.04%
We were stoked with these results, as you can imagine. Kickstarter is an amazing platform on so many levels. Entrepreneurs are able to tap into a huge marketplace, build buzz around a new product, generate more revenue with less risk, and validate a new product.
I’m really excited about what the future holds for Bad People. When it’s ready for immediate order in early 2017 it’ll be interesting to see how we can leverage the success of the Kickstarter campaign. The fact we delivered a successful crowdfunding campaign not only validates the product – it gives reviewers/bloggers, etc., an angle to write about us, and opens us up to close a larger volume of direct deals with retailers.
ARE YOU LAUNCHING A KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN SOON?
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