Eskil Nordhaug, CEO of StayblGear
How Eskil Nordhaug Crowdfunded $123,000 to Make Mobile Video Look Amazing
The problem Eskil Nordhaug wanted to solve for people was simple. Videos taken with smartphones or small cameras are notoriously shaky.
So he simply looked at the needs. He asked himself what it would take to build a company selling a mechanical video stabilizer that exceeded expectations—the kind of product consumers needed, the amount of money he would need, the coverage help press outlets needed, the info his project page would need.
The result was StayblCam, and it was precisely this needs-focused approach that led to a smash-hit Kickstarter campaign and the successful company that followed.
Nordhaug says that the same principle can guide the way for any great crowdfunding campaign. “The most successful ones, generally speaking, are the ones that, there’s a need for it,” he says. “It solves a problem. It’s not just some fancy, weird thing that’s made for the sake of being made.”
Crowdfunding appeals to ordinary people with limited funds, so they can’t back every project that breezes by. When people see your product, you don’t want them to shrug and think it’s neat. You want them to whip out their credit card and ask, “When can I get one?” If your product solves a problem that’s long-pestered people, they’re likely to do that.
Don’t make something that people will want in on—make something that people need in on. Nordhaug shared with Foundr this golden piece of advice, and so many more related to running a successful fundraising campaign.
“It’s about creating value for users,” Nordhaug says.
- Why you need to start working on your campaign months before you even launch
- The correct way to figure out what funding goal you should aim for
- The best way to contact press outlets and start getting media mentions
- Paids ads. How and why you should use them
- What a great Kickstarter landing page looks like
Full Transcript of the Podcast with Eskil Nordhaug
Nathan: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the “Foundr Podcast.” My name is Nathan Chan. And I am your host coming to you live from Melbourne, Australia. So I hope the Foundr family and all of our fellow community members are having an awesome week. We’ve got some really, really exciting things planned.
So first of all, there’s gonna be a bit of a mixup in the kind of content that we’re going to be producing for you guys over the next six to seven weeks. And the reason why we’re doing this is if you didn’t know yet, we’re working on this amazing designed, beautifully crafted, the best content from the past three and a half years, the best interviews, the best gold that we’ve extracted from Richard Branson, Ariana Huffington, Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John, Tim Ferriss, you name it, into this amazing coffee table book. Now, it’s not like your usual coffee table book. It’s going to be one that’s jam-packed with amazing content, and I know you guys are going to love it. If you enjoy this podcast, you would absolutely love this book.
So we’re going to mix things up. And what we’re actually going to do for the next six to seven weeks is to produce a crowdfunding-based series of episodes. So what that means is over the next few weeks, you will start to hear from super-successful people or startup founders that have, you know, raised a lot of money and made a significant impact on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, and well achieved their funding goal or target from a crowdfunding campaign. And you can see, you know, how I’m interviewing them, the answers that we’re trying to look for to make sure our campaign is super successful. Because the thing is, with this book that we’re creating, we’re crowdfunding it. And we’re gonna launch a Kickstarter campaign. And I know nothing about this. Me and the guys on the Foundr team, none of us know anything about crowdfunding. So we’ve gone out and interviewed some of the best in the world to find out what it takes, and you guys can follow along.
So that’s what we’re doing. I hope that you’re going to enjoy this little six-part series over the coming weeks. And please pencil in November 15th. Why should you pencil in November 15th? That is when our Kickstarter campaign is going live for Foundr Version 1.0. And it’s the ultimate guide. It’s gonna be the best startup advice packed into this beautifully designed book you’ve ever read, you’ve ever seen. So I’m really, really pumped about it. If you want to know more, if you want to find out when this campaign goes live, if you want to get the early-bird discounts and be the first in line, make sure you sign up at foundrmag, F-O-U-N-D-R-M-A-G.com/book.
All right, so now, let’s talk about today’s guest. His name is Eskil Nordhaug. And he created a company called StayblCam, and he raised over $123,000 and yeah, he quadrupled…you know, he was only looking to raise around $30,000, $40,000, and he absolutely smashed his campaign. He shares a ton of gold, a ton of stuff that you’ll see that we’re gonna be implementing in our campaign. So guys, when you’re listening to this episode, it will be two weeks from the Foundr Version 1.0 Kickstarter campaign. So please do make sure you sign up. And I hope you enjoy this episode. Now, let’s jump into the show.
So can you just give the audience a little bit of a run-through about StayblCam, and how it works, and what it is?
Eskil: All right, so the product is called StayblCam. It’s S-T-A-Y-B-L-C-A-M. And it’s basically a video stabilizer for smartphones like iPhone or Android phones. And it actually also works with the GoPro cameras and other action cameras as well. It’s not an electronic device based on the mechanical stabilizer that you can hold in your hand and capture really steady video, basically, with your phone, or action camera. It kind of is a product for the consumer market; it’s not like a, you know, professional-grade stabilizer that often cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, sometimes. It’s a $75 product that’s meant for, you know, the average guy who just wants to make some nice-looking video. So that’s basically what the product is.
And I came with the idea a couple of years ago, and I decided to try to make a, you know, prototype in my garage, and I started testing versions of it. And it actually worked quite well, and I decided to, you know, see if I can take it to production with, you know…use it in a crowdfunding campaign to see if people wanted this thing.
Nathan: I see. And what are the key attributes for a product or service that you think allow someone to successfully fund a crowdfunding project?
Eskil: Yeah, so I think…I mean, there’s a lot of products that are going on on these crowdfunding sites. And I think the most successful ones, generally speaking, are the ones…you know, there’s a need for it. There’s something that people can see that it actually solves a problem. You know, it’s not just some fancy, weird thing that’s just made for the sake of being made. It’s actually…the products are…you know, they solve a problem, they have a function. People can see right away that this is, you know, something that they could use or could, you know, make their daily life better or could improve some part of their life somehow. And also, you know, something that people want to share with their friends and, you know, something that’e easy to share on social media, people want to talk about it, people want to share it.
Those types of products, I think, generally, will do better than, you know, just your random…you know, weird product that’s just made for the sake of, you know, making money. Because it’s not just about making money. It’s about, you know, creating value for users out there. I think those are really key components.
Of course, it helps to have a, you know, stylish, nice design of course, too, and have something that looks good. And also, you know…something that’s not too expensive to produce or overly complex. Although there are some Kickstarter campaigns that have done really well that are very complex products.
But I think in general, yeah. If it’s not too complicated and it’s pretty functional and meets a need, solves a problem, and it’s worth for people to share and talk about, then I think you have a great chance of succeeding.
Nathan: Yeah. That was a great answer. And when it comes to choosing a platform, which…how did you decide between…out of Kickstarter and Indiegogo?
Eskil: Yeah, so I was actually considering that. Actually, before I even considered those two, I was looking at doing it myself because there are some self-serve platforms as well that you can set up on your own server and stuff like that. Yeah, there are some out there. And you know, there’s pros and cons to everything.
And the reason I just decided against that and decided, you know, to go with Kickstarter was mainly because of the exposure you get. Because…I mean, let’s face it, Kickstarter is the most well-known crowdfunding platform these days. Indiegogo is pretty big also, but you know, we can’t deny the fact that Kickstarter really has, you know, is the most well-known. And people say “Kickstarter,” they know immediately what you’re talking about. I mean, Indiegogo is great. It’s just that they may not have that same, you know, level of exposure in the media, perhaps, or media recognition to some extent. At least that was my impression. And when I did some research on that, it just seemed like the better choice.
Now, of course, the benefit of Indiegogo is that you don’t have to meet your goal. I mean, you can set a goal for your funding. And if you don’t meet that goal with Indiegogo, you can actually still…you’ll still get whatever people have pledged fo your campaign. Whereas on Kickstarter, that’s not the case. You actually have to meet your goal there on Kickstarter to get the funds. So that’s one thing to consider also when you’re thinking about a platform.
Nathan: And how long did it take for you to plan your project? Like, how long did it take to prepare for the campaign, I guess?
Eskil: Yeah, it took me probably a couple months from start to finish. I would say maybe roughly two months, two and a half months or so, from when I actually started planning the campaign, and, you know, started writing out the listing or the project text and everything, and preparing the video and all that. And of course, getting the press and the media. I recommend to anyone who is doing this to start early and start a couple months ahead because it’s gonna take time. Don’t try to rush things and get things done in a week or two or think you’re gonna have success, because it really takes some time to get things set up properly, looking just right, and you know, have a good video, get some good press and attention beforehand. It really, really pays off in the end to do the preparation. It takes some extra time. It’s better to spend that extra month, if you have to, than trying to rush it out, you know?
Nathan: I see. And when you launched, what were the strategies? What were the strategies to…can you give us some strategies and tactics around getting press?
Eskil: Okay, so what I did…like I said, I started a couple months ahead. And the reason I did that was because I wanted to build some buzz around it at the time, and to build a mailing list.
Nathan: Oh, I see.
Eskil: So I knew that when the day came for me, to you know, push the launch button, I would already have, you know, interest from people in my mailing list who…you know, people who are actually interested in this thing and wanted to hear more about it. And to do that, I sent out a press release. I worked pretty hard on building a list of blogs and, you know, YouTubers, and news sites and tech sites, and I tried to contact all these sites to see if they would, you know, match the product or at least look at it, you know, ask them for their opinion, ask if they would maybe, you know, mention it on their site or on their YouTube channel or whatever. And through all those sites, I found, of course, most of them don’t answer you. You can’t expect them all to answer you because there’s a lot of sites out there, they get a ton of requests every day, and you don’t want to be too pushy with them.
But you do get some people who respond. You know, you get a response here and there, and slowly but surely, you can build up a list of people who have seen your video, attend your little…you build a little teaser video, and you acn say, “Hey, you know, do you want to learn more about this product? Go here and sign up for our e-mail list.” And eventually, you’ll have, you know, a good-sized list that you can actually e-mail out, you know, a day or two before your campaign starts. You can say, “Hey, you know, we’re launching on Tuesday. Get ready to back us on Kickstarter,” or whatever. That way, you can get a much better launch for, you know, when you go. If you don’t do that, I mean, it’s gonna be much tougher if you don’t have anything built up ahead of time. I mean, you’re gonna…I mean, there’s ways to do that, probably. You can probably try to build some quick traffic with, you know, paid advertising or something like that. But I would think it’s a bit harder to do that, and it requires much more money, too, to get a good start that way.
So yeah. I hope that answered your question.
Nathan: Yeah, yeah. No, that’s a great one. I’m curious, are you able to share how big of a list that you built beforehand?
Eskil: It was…you know, several hundred subscribers. Less than 1,000, but it was a good few. Yeah, I had a good chunk of subscribers on there. And of course, they started sharing with their friends, and I encouraged them as well to share any links and videos we had through their social media. So people started posting it on their Facebook and their Twitter, and stuff like that.
So you know, once you have people who are genuinely interested in your product, they’ll be…you know, they’re eager to share with their friends, too. You know, “Check this out. Have you seen this StayblCam thing?” And they’ll post it on their Facebook, and it kind of snowballs from there. And you start getting more signups and more signups.
Same thing with…once you get mentioned on a few blogs or news sites, or after a press release, you’ll start…you get picked up for more channels here and there, and you get more attention. So that really, really helps a lot.
Nathan: I’m curious. So let’s just rewind for a second. You started planning two months…
Nathan: …before you went live.
Nathan: And how long did you…so you created a teaser video…
Eskil: Yes, I did.
Nathan: …and then that teaser video, you used to pitch and speak to influential bloggers, journalists…
Nathan: …tech websites, all the relevant blogs…
Nathan: …and tried to get PR. And then you were driving them to a signup form? Did you use, like, LaunchRock or…
Eskil: No, I actually built my own page because I have a background in that. I’ve been doing that for many years. I’ve been doing internet marketing and designing all kinds of stuff. And so, I built my own landing page for that purpose. But just had the teaser video on it and said, “Hey, do you want to learn more? Sign up here and we’ll send you more information, and you can be one of the first to pre-order.”
And also, I should mention, too, one thing I did was that I had, you know, a few dozen units built of my product…basically, I call them “promo units,” the promotional units that I had made for the single purpose of sending out to the most influential bloggers that I could find so that…you know, so let’s say that you find a really, really good blogger, or a site that can be really good for you to create some buzz. I’d contact the owner or a journalist there to say, “Hey, I’ll actually send you a unit if you want to check it out, and maybe you’ll want to write about it or mention it,” or something. And that really paid off, too, because, yeah, some of these guys would actually…you know, they’ll get one from me, and they’ll talk about it, and mention it. So that really helps, too.
If your product is one that you can send out, or maybe make a few prototypes, or make a few…they don’t have to be perfect. You can just say, “Well, hey, this is a prototype. It’s not, you know, the full production model or whatever, but you know, keep that in mind, but here it is and check it out.” That can really, really, you know, be great because they can get their hands on it and see and feel what you’ve got going, and they can talk about it.
So that’s what I did. I had a few units sent out to some of these sites, and yeah.
Nathan: Wow. Okay, this is really interesting. So you had your massive list of influencers and people that had an audience that could potentially spread the word or had influence. And you, at what point in the two months, did you pitch them and start pitching them?
Eskil: Early on, I would say. I started early with that. Because I started building that list, you know, of all these sites I could find. I’d try to find…okay, let’s say you start up with, like, five sites that come to mind, and then you take each of those sites, and you say, “Well, what other sites are similar to these?” And you find similar sites, and then you get a bigger list. Let’s say you have now 20 or 30 sites. Then you go over the list again and you can find even more that are similar. And eventually have, like a list of…you know, 150, 200 sites that can be relevant. And you start going through them and you find all their contact information. You find the names of the writers or journalists or contributors who are on those sites. And one by one, you contact them. It’s a bit tedious, but it’ll pay off in the end to do that. You know, it takes time, it takes patience, it takes persistence to contact them. But you know, you only need so many. You don’t have to have all those 200 sites to even respond to you. Even if you can only get, let’s say, 10 or 15 of those sites to respond back to you, and maybe, you know, five or six or seven of them, you can send a product to, whatever, that can be enough. Because I mean, one of those sites can be so big that it really, you know, creates a lot of attention. So yeah.
Nathan: So I’m curious, how many…because I want to get specific. I hope that’s cool with you. How many sites do you think you pitched?
Eskil: I’ll have to think for a minute. I think we had about…I want to say close to over…maybe around 200 sites, I guess, that was one the list that we had to contact. And then we went through them. We probably got a response back from around…oh, maybe 60 or 70 of them responded? And out of them, again, we sent out 15 or 20, I think, units to them. Because, of course, some of them are…some of them were too…since I only had so many units, I wanted to make sure the units that I had could be sent out to the most influential ones, if you know what I mean?
Eskil: I didn’t want to “waste” a unit to maybe a smaller site that didn’t have that same reach. So I want to make sure that each unit would get as much reach as possible. So I’d kind of hand-pick them one by one and say…and see what their reach was and all that.
Yeah, if a startup with, say, 200…approximately. That’s what I had; I can’t remember exactly. But if it was 200 and I sent up maybe, let’s say, 20 units, then, you know, that’s about 10% of the original list. But yeah.
Nathan: Look, it’s like a sales game, right? It’s a numbers game.
Eskil: It is a numbers game. Actually, it is. You know, persistence and just stick to it. And of course, it helps if you have people to help you doing this. I did most of this myself; I had some people help me. But if you have a team or if you have some people who can help you, and you can grow an even larger list than that, I’m sure you could do…you know, you could probably have a list of 1,000 sites, and you can have a lot of bigger reach than what I did. But yeah.
Nathan: Yeah, no, that’s interesting you say that if you have a lot of people helping you. You said you had a few people. For these two months, were you doing it pretty much five days, you know, 9 to 5, 40 hours, 50 hours a week for those two months or…
Eskil: Not totally like that, because I did have other projects going at the same time that I was trying to phase out. So I wouldn’t say I was full-time on it. But yeah, I did spend a lot of time every day on it, every single day of the week for several hours. So even though I wasn’t full 9 to 5 maybe every day, it was close to that, maybe.
Nathan: And did you have, like, virtual assistants help you with the e-mails? Or what sort of help did you enlist?
Eskil: Yeah. I would recommend that, get at least one, maybe more than one virtual assistant. So you can find them on fiverr.com or odesk.com. You can get…you know, the reasonably priced virtual assistants that can help you with this sort of thing. You can help them collect e-mails for you, you know, collect contact forms, and even Twitter handles and whatever you need to get in touch with all these influencers. It really helps a lot to get that help, you know, to do that. Because you only do so much on your own. And especially if you have…I mean, I know some people have a full day job and other things to do, and it’s a real time saver to have help, obviously.
Nathan: Yeah, okay. Yeah, this is great. You’re giving us a lot of good information, Eskil. So you were generating buzz beforehand…
Nathan: …you built a list, like a pre-launch list…
Nathan: …and at what period did you know you were ready to go live?
Eskil: I just kind of felt…as I was building this, I had all those…I got all this feedback and got all this press…I started building the press. And then I also had…in the meantime, I was also preparing the Kickstarter page itself, you know, the project page and the video, because the video’s really, really important to do as well.
So when I had the video ready and all the editing was done, the voice-over was done, the page was ready. And of course, the rewards…because you have to set up the rewards as well, you know, to get all the pledge levels ready for the launch. When I had all those things done, I just kind of felt it was time, you know, to find a day and just hit launch. So it was just kind of a gut feeling thing to know when I ready.
You know, I got feedback from friends and family on the page to make sure everything looked okay and make sure the video looked good. All that was in place. And when I felt ready, I was ready.
Nathan: Okay. And I’m curious, you mentioned you hit that list of influencers quite early on in the piece before you even launched.
Nathan: Did you send them follow-up e-mails and all sorts of things like that once you were launched, and that’s when they were starting to cover you and talk about, and do blog posts, and get you to gain significant press? Or did you feel you gained significant press beforehand?
Eskil: I gained significant press, I would say, kind of early on. I started early on because one of the first things I did was to send out a press release. And I would recommend doing that, too. I mean, a lot of people knock press releases these days and say, “Well, press releases are worthless and blah, blah, blah,” but I don’t really think so. At least…they do serve a purpose in my case, and I’ve heard other people say, too, that for a crowd-funding campaign, if you just do a press release…and it doesn’t have to cost much. I mean, we can get them as cheap as, like, $75.
Eskil: There’s a site called onlineprnews.com is one. There’s prweb.com; I’m not sure what their prices are at the moment. They range from anywhere from $75 to $100, to $200 and up, but it depends on, you know, how serious you want to get.
But you know, it’s not too bad. I mean, for a little investment, you can get a lot of attention that way from some fairly big sites. You know, like, they pick you up if your press release is well-written. So if you’re not comfortable writing a press release, you can obviously have someone help you with that, too. You can get someone, again, on these freelance sites to write out, you know, good wording and a press release that sounds good, and will be tempting for a news site to pick up. So I would recommend doing that fairly early on.
And as far as your question about my mailing list, I actively sent out follow-ups and updates throughout this two-month period before the launch. I sent out, you know, a couple more videos here and there, sent out, you know, some more pictures we’ve taken, and some more interesting facts and stuff you can do with the product. And we even had a little survey going, you know, a price survey where people thought they would pay for the product. Stuff like that just to keep people interested along the way and, you know, to build up the momentum to the final launch so that people are…they stay interested and they don’t drop out. You know, that’s real important.
Nathan: Yeah. So you were nurturing your audience and letting them know…
Nathan: …giving them updates and keeping them in the loop since you started on this…
Nathan: …yeah, okay. And when you said you sent the press release, did you send it before your campaign went live, or afterwards?
Eskil: It was before. It was way before. Yeah.
Nathan: Wow. See, this is really interesting. Because generally, people usually do this stuff just before they go live, or during.
Eskil: Yeah. I could have done that, too, and I thought about it. But I just did it my own way, obviously. I just did way early on. And I think it was a month and a half or two months before I launched, that’s when I sent my press release out. And that’s actually how I got picked up by a lot of these sites, because they found out…they saw the product, they saw the video, they saw the pictures, and they started spreading from there because of my press release and also because I, of course, took the initiative to contact many of these sites myself.
But yeah, again, just start early with this stuff. And of course, I mean, it wouldn’t hurt to do another press release the day of your launching or even during…like you said, I’m sure that could even help you more. But I didn’t do that. But yeah. A lot of things you can do, I’m sure.
Nathan: Interesting. And at what stage during the campaign did you hit your goal? Because you’ve almost…yeah, you’ve almost tripled it.
Eskil: It was…I think…
Nathan: Quadrupled it, sorry.
Eskil: It was less than a week, I think. Because we had a goal of $35,000. And the final funding was $123,200. So I think we reached full funding within…I want to say it was four or five days, I can’t remember exactly, but it was just a few days.
Nathan: So all the hard work had already been done by the time you launched?
Eskil: Yes, it was really quick. It happened real quick once we launched. Because…and again, that comes back to the mailing list. To have that list of people who are genuinely interested in your product. And the day you launch, they’re ready to go, they’re ready to order.
Eskil: So once you hit that “Send” button, you send that e-mail the morning of your launch, then, boom, there you go. It’s a big rush of orders and a rush of interest right there. So that really boosts your campaign. And what it also does is when you get a rush of visits to your project like that, it also makes you more visible on Kickstarter’s website, the kickstarter.com website. Because those features, they’ll feature your project in certain categories. It could be like, you know, the most popular of the day or the top-picked project or whatever for the day or whatever. So that helps, too, to get kind of a rush of the traffic like that.
Nathan: I see. So you were actually featured by Kickstarter?
Eskil: Yeah. Not on the front page, though, because I know some projects get on the front page, and that’s really, really good if you can get there. I don’t think we were on the front page, but I think we were in the…I forget, but I think they had, like, a category for technology or…I forget what it’s called; I can look it up. But basically, they have different subcategories, obviously. And we were featured there for a short time, I believe. And after that, we were also in…I forget what they call it, I’m sorry. But it’s like “Top Performing” or “Top…” you know, “Most Interesting” or something like that that they have. So yeah, that’ll help you, too.
Nathan: Okay. So waht I’m really hearing is you’ve developed a really powerful, highly-targeted list before you went live, and then you’ve used that list to really give it a good kick?
Eskil: Yes. Correct. Yeah.
Nathan: I see. This is really interesting. And I’m curious, what other advice would you give? Are you able to give two to three general tips that you would recommend to those looking to run a successful campaign? Because we’ve covered a lot, but I was wondering if there was anything else.
Eskil: Yeah, I think we talked a lot about the preparation and all that. That’s, generally, the tip I tell people, to prepare ahead of time, and we already talked about that. So the other tip I would say is to really make sure that you have a really good looking project page, and a really good looking video that captures people’s attention. And it’s interesting because you’d be surprised how many people will drop out of a video if it’s not interesting within, you know, the first 30 seconds or a minute. So if you have a three or four-minute video, you want to make sure that the first…I would say, 30, 40 seconds of your video should really have all…your most important selling points. All the benefits of your product should be in the first 30 seconds of your video right up front. Don’t spend too much time, you know, dwelling on details at the beginning of the video. Don’t put a too fancy, long intro in there. Just get to the point quickly. You can always elaborate on the points later in the video, but make sure it captures their attention really quickly, so people will want to keep watching for another two or three minutes. Because the video is, really, what’s gonna sell your project.
And of course, the page itself. I mean, you have to have good photos and pictures. You have to have a good sales copy. I say “sales copy,” but that’s basically what it is if you’re familiar with sales and marketing, it’s…what’s referred to as “sales copy” is essentially however your pitch is written. What kind of language are you using? What kind of text and words and bullet points are you using? Are you using paragraphs? Are you spacing your pargraphs correctly? Are you using good headlines? Stuff like that.
So me coming from a background…I have a background in online marketing, so that was pretty beneficial for me. Now, some people might not have that background, but I would suggest reading up on a few books on, you know, the basics of marketing. One book is called “Ca$hvertising.” It’s really…
Nathan: What was that? Sorry?
Eskil: It’s called “Ca$hvertising.”
Eskil: C-A-S…”S” is a dollar sign ($). H-V-E-R-T-I-S-I-N-G. “Ca$hvertising.” It’s a really good book on, you know, basic stuff on sales and marketing that can help you write your headline and your text and your crowdfunding page. So it’s really important to have a good page to tell people what the product is, what are its benefits, how is it gonna help them, and why do you need their help. You know, why do you need the funding in the first place? Are you looking for funding to manufacture? Are you looking for it just to see if this is a valuable product? Just be honest and tell people what you’re after.
And let’s not forget, too, the rewards, you have to have some good incentives for people to even, you know, pledge. Because in my case, I had a product that people could basically pre-order. So that was a good incentive for people to back the project because they wanted the product itself. So at a certain level, when they pledged a certain level, they would actually get the product. If they go to the higher levels, they would get the product and, you know, some accessory that was useful to them that still had to do with, you know, camera or photography somehow.
I would suggest doing some research on good rewards. Not just your random, you know, T-shirt or whatever…I mean, that could be good, too. But if you have good rewards that are actually some things that people want, then that can help you drive more pledges or make people even more likely to get the higher-level pledge rewards, too, you know?
Nathan: Okay. And when…you mentioned that there was another book that you would recommend?
Eskil: Well, there’s a few books. There’s many books on advertising and marketing. I could probably send you a few links…I can’t think of the authors’ names and the actual exact titles at the moment.
Nathan: Yeah, that’s okay. Yeah, if you could, that would be great.
Eskil: Yeah, yeah, I can send you that in an e-mail. So sure.
Nathan: Awesome. And were there any other recommendations you have around driving exposure to the crowdfunding page? Or do you think we’ve covered it all?
Eskil: Yeah, there are some other ways. I mean, there’s a few things I did try, too, during the campaign, was to drive some traffic to it with pay-per-click. So I did some brief campaigns on Reddit, reddit.com.
Nathan: Yes, yes, yes.
Eskil: It can be fairly cheap and can be really targeted, too, if you do it correctly. Reddit is a really interesting platform. They have their own pay-per-click platform. It’s a little different than you know, like, Google AdWords or Facebook ads. But they have a lot of interesting, you know, sub-Reddits or subcategories that you can target. So you could say…let’s say you have a technology product. You can go target technology, the category, or sub-Reddit, for example, or you can target movies, or you can target movies depending on your product. And that way, you can get a lot of…not just, you know, traffic, but you can also get a lot of inputs from people. Because people will comment on your ad and say, “Hey, your product is weird,” or something looks…”Can I do this for the product? Does it work with my camera?” or whatever. So you’ll get a lot of feedback that way, too.
But anyway, yeah, you can experiment with a lot of…if you can afford it…paid traffic obviously costs money. But if you can afford to spend some money on paid traffic, I mean, there’s Facebook ads, there’s Google AdWords, there’s Bing ads. There’s, you know, there’s no limit to how much traffic you can drive if you have the money to pay for it.
So yeah, I mean, other than that, there’s, of course, social media. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, all these platforms are out there that, again, if you have the time and the resources to do all that, then by all means, do that. Because everything helps, you know?
Nathan: Do you find that it was pretty effective via Reddit and it’s something you definitely would recommend or…
Eskil: Well, for me, I probably started a little late in the campaign, and I didn’t really have that much time to do that much testing on it, to see the results. And the other thing is that you can’t really measure results too well with Kickstarter.
Nathan: Yeah. That’s so true.
Eskil: Yeah. I don’t know too much about Indiegogo, if they have a better way of doing that. But it was a little hard to tell exactly how many…obviously, the traffic came in there, but you can’t tell for sure of how many people pledged or backed you in any way from that. So it’s kind of like a gamble to see any return on that, or how much return you’re getting on your dollar. But again, if you can afford it, if you want to just send a rush of traffic to your project, I’d say go for it. If you’re on a budget and want to save money, I mean, there’s other ways to do it instead of that. Just be a little careful what you spend if you don’t want to risk losing too much on it, because it can get spendy if you, you know, have a pay-per-click campaign set to run for many days or weeks, obviously.
Nathan: Yeah, that’s right. Like, it could be quite counterintuitive because you’re trying to raise money to fund a project…
Nathan: …but then, you’re putting a lot of money into getting people to raise it.
Eskil: Exactly, yeah.
Nathan: So yeah. Any advice on what you think you should cap the budget at when it comes to a project? Like, any Kickstarter/Indiegogo crowdfunding project?
Eskil: You mean as far as the funding goal?
Eskil: That’s really hard to say. It really depends on, I think, the product and the market you’re after, too. I mean, it can be anything from a big number to a small number. But I think a good place to start is just to kind of see how much you…sit down with a pen and paper and calculator and see how much you really actually would need to start manufacturing your product. And of course, you have to factor in also, you know, how much it’s gonna cost you to get all the rewards you’ve set up, and how much it’s gonna cost you to ship them all out. Let’s say, you know, you get hundreds or even thousands of pre-orders and they’re from all over the world. I mean, it’s gonna cost you quite a bit to ship them out, too, you know?
And yeah, what’s it gonna cost as a total? And of course, Kickstarter takes their percentage out, too. And if you have a spreadsheet or something like that, that’s what I did. I took a spreadsheet and I set up a little…kind of like a budget, basically, you know, so I could see the total number I would need as a minimum. And I kind of reached a…for me, it was like $35,000 that I would need for at least small production, a number to be run. For someone else, that can be $100,000 or even $500,000 depending on the product. Some products are expensive to make and they can be happy to ship, and all that. So it really, really depends on what you’re doing, you know?
Nathan: Yeah, no, that’s a good point. That’s actually something I haven’t touched on with people before around the budget and making sure the numbers match up. But I’m sure that’s pretty basic stuff, right?
Eskil: Yeah. Just set up a spreadsheet. It doesn’t take too long. Set up a basic spreadsheet, look at what your cost is gonna be, what your reward is gonna cost, and shipping and all that. And just deduct what Kickstarter is gonna take out. And Amazon Payments, of course…with Kickstarter…they have a partnership with Amazon Payments so that Amazon Payments take out roughly…approximately 5% also. So about 10% of the money you get will go away to them.
Nathan: Oh, wow.
Eskil: So you have to figure it out in your calculation when you figure out the total number of dollars that you will end up.
Nathan: Yeah, jeez. Yeah, that definitely adds up.
Nathan: Okay. Look, we have to work towards wrapping things up, Eskil, but this has been fantastic. One last question, what has been your biggest struggle with this campaign?
Eskil: Yeah. I didn’t have too many struggles, I would say, but a couple things that were a little frustrating…I guess one thing was a little frustrating was that near the end of the campaign, I had an opportunity to get a TV interview with the local ABC affiliate in the state I lived in at the time was Washington state. And so, I was really wanting to get on the newscast to, of course, talk about my campaign while it was still going. Sadly, we couldn’t get that arranged in time before the campaign ended. And so, I kind of missed out on the opportunity there to get the bigger exposure.
But if there’s anything to learn from that, I would just say, you know, try to stay on top of things at all times, stay persistent. If you have to lose sleep at times to skip a night’s sleep, do that.
Nathan: Oh, wow.
Eskil: I mean, I slept most nights, but you know, you’ll have 30 days to work hard and, you know, to do whatever you can to get press and build the momentum. Of course, you’ll have to stay in touch with the backers, too, because they’ll ask you questions during that campaign that you have to, you know, answer them and send out updates during the campaign, and how things are going. So prepare to work a lot. But it’ll pay off, too.
Nathan: Yeah, that was great advice. Look, I just wanted to say, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me, Eskil. You’ve been really, really instrumental. It’s funny, you know, I’ve spoken to at least eight or nine successful crowdfunding campaigns, and yeah, every single person gives us something a little bit different. And…
Eskil: Oh, yeah?
Nathan: Yeah. No one mentioned around the pre-launch and really loading up the e-mail list. I think that’s just…
Eskil: Oh, yeah?
Nathan: …yeah. It just makes so much sense now that you say it.
Eskil: Yeah, it’s interesting that no one’s mentioned that before. Maybe to me as a marketer…I come from a background of marketers. To me, that was kind of a natural thing to do. I just didn’t think much of it. To me, I felt like I had to do that.
Nathan: Yeah. No, that’s brilliant, and it makes so much sense because, yeah, you’re building up a really highly targeted list of potential customers. And then, yeah, you’ve got the scarcity around it because you’ve got the countdown timer with the page, the campaign page. And it just makes so much sense. So yeah, thank you. Thank you so much.
Eskil: My pleasure. It was fun.