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“It’s a dead giveaway when you receive an email that looks like it could be directed to you, your 85-year-old neighbor or your dog. To keep your readers away from the unsubscribe-because-it’s-spam link, you need to…” read on
Crowdfunding is an interesting creature. Let’s see; you have the ability to take an idea, create a brand, develop and market the brand internationally, get major publicity, take on huge numbers of pre-orders, and build an entire business, all before you even have a product made or service to sell. Doesn’t even make sense, right?
I can tell you that, having executed all of the above with BottleKeeper, this is not a myth or legend…it is fact. If you have a new idea for a business, you now have the necessary tools to execute all of the crazy items mentioned above in order to prove that you even have a business worth pursuing. Probably not a bad thing to know that there’s an actual business before you go out and spend gobs of money. Think ‘lean startup’.
Let me validate some of these points from my own experience; with BottleKeeper we partnered with Fundable as a crowdfunding source due to the fact they have an incredible public relations division and are considerably more “small business” friendly. This was an integral part of our success with the campaign because it pushed us passed what I call ‘the family fund’. With crowdfunding, or I really any new venture, your immediate family and friends will be the first to tell you that you’re the smartest person in the world and that you’re going to revolutionize whatever market you’re entering. This is called goodwill and is, if you pay too much attention to it, really bad for your startup mentality. This group is the first to buy your product or service, or in this case, first to rush and back your crowdfunding project.
The difficulty is, what do you do once your family fund is dried up? You have to determine, as quickly as possible, whether total strangers see enough value in your idea to fork out some cash and actually buy in. Enter Fundable. We had articles being written in both small and large publications that created a major push for outside backers. One article in particular, which neither we nor Fundable even knew was going to happen, went live on Gizmodo (it was sourced from Thrillist, now called Supercomressor). Huge! Our site traffic increased by over 8000% overnight, we more than doubled our raise and sold into both the United Kingdom and Australia due to Gizmodo running the same article in their UK and AU editions. We are selling a product at about $16 and are currently at 268% of our goal with 6 days remaining.
Another incredible benefit that this attention provided was it pointed out a major problem with our brand…the product name was misleading. Originally the product was called BottleCamo, with the clever tagline, “Camouflage Your Beer…From The Sun”. The purpose of the device is to keep a beer bottle ridiculously cold, while protecting it from the ground. But the Gizmodo article pointed out a fatal flaw in our thinking; if the name of the product is BottleCamo, which literally translates to “Hide your beer”, people are going to perceive the product as a “this is how you illegally drink in public”. Have a look at the article and you’ll understand. Definitely not the brand we wanted to create.
So let’s do a quick review; because we had launched a Fundable crowdfunding campaign, took advantage of the PR, developed a brand and a following, and pre-sold over a thousand units in multiple countries (well outside of our ‘family fund’), we were in the position to make what would typically be a business-altering decision and change the name of both the product and the brand before we even had units hit the market. Wow.
If you’re interested in learning more about Fundable and/or the benefits and pitfalls of crowdfunding, please have a look at any one of my previous articles comparing Fundable vs Kickstarter and feel free to shoot me a message on Twitter @Adam_Callinan.
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