Category Archives: Marketing

Use Your Intuition Every Day for Business Success

When I work on a client’s materials, I am both consciously and unconsciously melding a lot of data… Consciously, I remember the things the client has told me, how I perceive their personality and energy in relationship to what they want to create. I know what goals they are trying to achieve and/or what the various impressions are that they can make on their target market and how that might relate to their ideal work/clients/ROI. I may just be making a logo, but living in the back of my mind are many pathways for all their other materials, whether or not I ever get to design them, because no element exists in a vacuum.

Unconsciously I am also reading the energy of the business and the bond between the person and their business. There are probably also personality cues I pick up on that I don’t even register.

All this blends in my process, and it’s so fun to see it play out so differently from client to client as I intuitively narrow down and hone in on options, rule out directions, and juggle my working process to fit the person I am working with. Sometimes I just know a color is wrong for the person… I feel energy on letters and their unique combinations in various fonts and can see them almost like a new outfit on a person, and can “see” how it is right or wrong for the business and its aims.  In the back of my mind I am also registering design trends to some degree, and ruling things out just for the mere fact that they “feel” dated.

These are things that designers do all the time, and it amazes me how much of an influence time has on our process and instinctive skills. I can concentrate several hours of work into one or two simply by trusting my gut, and leaning into all the study I’ve done over the years. Following my intuition has been the best business skill I’ve learned for keeping myself and clients happy. I think it especially takes my client satisfaction up several notches, because my work is focused — not on maintaining my own ego — but on really paying attention and finding the ingredients that really fit the client.

Delivering something beautiful doesn’t matter if it doesn’t actually fit the purpose, need, or doesn’t “wear well” on the client.

I pride myself on being an intuitive designer, but I won’t deny a goodly amount of it is just part of the artistic/creative experience… The other half is being good with people and learning how to adjust your methods for the sake of collaboration, something essential in a service-based business.

How have your own processes, internal monologue, and methods evolved in your work? Do you ever stop and notice just how much you have to internalize and then refine to do your work? Can you see your years of experience or intuition at play? Do you trust in it, and when you do, do you find that it carries you further than you could have imagined? How does it help you in making your customers happy, and keeping them knocking on your door?

Business Buddy Days: A new way to work with me and get **it done!

Have you ever just wished you could get a web guru/marketing whiz/biz strategist/tech junkie to sit down with you for a day and help you figure some things out? Not just send you away with advice, but to actually SIT with you and help you do it?

Solopreneurs these days have to wear a lot of hats, and sometimes there are things that just stump you, steal away your days with confusion, and leave you feeling drained and frustrated.  Wouldn’t it be nice to get some solid answers and real traction, without having to figure it all out on your own? That’s what I love to do!

Here are some common stumpers new clients come to my doorstep with, maybe some of them describe you?:

  • Not sure what approach for a mailing list is right for you, or how to get started?
  • Unsure how to update or change some aspect of your WordPress site?
  • In need of a re-brand, or at least some strategic thinking about your evolving niche?
  • Need someone to plot and plan your overall marketing strategy, but not sure how technology fits into the picture?
  • Looking for new ways to make money off your business online?
  • Something is broken on your site, but you don’t know how to fix it?
  • Have questions about how to buff up your SEO (search engine optimization)?
  • Someone said you should do “X” with your business, but will it work for you?
  • Wanting to get into blogging and newsletters, but not sure how to make it easier?

All of these questions, and more, I can help you answer on a Business Buddy day!

Give me a call, and I can help you get **it together! We will focus on whatever questions are pressing you the hardest. From getting your newsletter strategy plotted, to revamping your home page approach, to sussing out how you should build your site to support your big money-making plans, I have your back. Something you need help with but don’t see mentioned here? Try to stump me. If I can’t do it (which is rare), I can probably refer you to someone who can.

What You Get in a Business Buddy Day

Right now I am offering 6-hour-long focused in-person sessions for $397 and 3-hour-long sessions for $199. The gist is this: I meet you at a coffee shop for our session (6 or 3 hours total), and we talk about all your pressing questions, prioritizing our work in terms of whatever we mutually decide is most important to tackle during our time. Then we get to work together, rockin’ and sockin’ your biz with a one-two punch that would make even Rocky jealous. It’s guaranteed that you will leave our session feeling jazzed about all those nagging to dos you knocked off the list, not to mention more excited about the possibilities for your business!

And if you just want an hour here and there, my usual hourly rate is still available.

These sessions are designed to give you practical goals to work on, as well as concrete assistance with those little things that feel too overwhelming to do on your own. I’ve helped people revamp their marketing strategy, plan the materials for their next promotional event, AND set up their phone to transmit wi-fi, all in one meeting!

With one six hour session with me, you can get the full gamut of nerdy goodness, strategic masterminding, and artistic aplomb, all in one juicy day. I’ve been doing this stuff a long time, and I just LOVE putting my hard-won knowledge to use by helping people solve their business problems in these one-on-one sessions.

Ready to get started? Email me at theresa@ecstaticmaking.com today! Feel free to drop me a line to chat about what you need done, and we can figure out what package is right for you, and what we can get done during your time with me.

(If you need a sense of the kinds of project work I do, feel free to check out my portfolio at www.cogflower.com.)

I’m thrilled to offer this service, and look forward to being your new business buddy!

Feedback About Working with Theresa

While you may just need some pitch hitting support for your marketing materials, rest assured I will bring the same level of collaboration, creativity, problem solving, and budget consciousness to your Business Buddy day as I did for Ollie of Green Leaf Movement Education, while working with her on her web site:

What I appreciated most when working with Theresa was how well she absorbed the information I gave her… When I wasn’t clear on what I wanted, she designed options that helped me hone in on what I really liked. It was a great process – collaborative, fun, and creative. Theresa is also very approachable. This was my first time designing a website, and I appreciated working with someone who was knowledgeable, friendly, and willing to provide some basic education.

I appreciated that Theresa is able to be budget-minded. She produced a very detailed estimate to begin with that included not only her work but also other services associated with building a web site (web hosting, etc.) so that I had a very clear idea of what the project would cost.  I would absolutely work with Theresa in the future and have already recommended her to others.

- Ollie

Here’s one more testimonial from a business coaching client, an Oregon photographer who had both branding questions to tackle, as well as some technical considerations related to her industry to sort out…

Theresa was such a joy to work with! Her excitement for my work and affirmation of my creative spirit inspired and motivated me. As we talked through my dreams, plans and various challenges I felt very understood. Her comments and advice were so insightful and energizing. I will be drawing on what I learned during our sessions for a long time to come!

- Erin

Not only can I help you on a practical level, but I bring an immense amount of intuition and heart to big picture strategizing. This is what Christine, an intuitive counselor in California, said about working with me on her site…

I found that working with you brought together in a beautiful synthesis the things I wanted to say and the feeling of my business and then you aligned the look/feel of my site with my business’ true heart.

- Christine

Working with your marketing materials and strategy doesn’t have to be frustrating! Bring in the big gun (it’s like an air gun, but filled with business smarts and lots of heart, and it goes by the name of Theresa).

Drop me a line at theresa@ecstaticmaking.com or give me a ring at 503-998-6421, and let’s see what we can make happen for you!

meet-the-cards-blog-ecstatic

The Portland Tarot: A Special Project and Kickstarter

I’m taking a break from my usual web development and marketing posts to share my passion project with you: The Portland Tarot.

8 Cards from The Portland Tarot by Theresa Pridemore

This is a project that has incredible mojo and has taken me by storm… What started as one illustration for a Tarot art show has turned into a passion project. I’m illustrating all 78 cards from the Tarot using my own unique blend of photography and digital collage. I have completed 10 cards to date and have had the immense pleasure of incorporating incredible Portland landscapes and people within the deck so far. Every image has a touch of the person I photograph within it.

The Chariot from The Portland Tarot by Theresa Pridemore

 

There’s so much I could say about the project, and how it has been a culmination of all my Kickstarter and marketing learning to date (which I very much look forward to sharing when all is said and done). But I won’t say much more… The Kickstarter page says it best, and I hope you will take a look and consider making a contribution and/or sharing with your own posse.

 

Using Print Promotions for a Kickstarter Campaign

This post was initiated a couple of months back when I wrote an ad about marketing for Kickstarter campaigns… I promised to go a bit more deeply into the subject of using print materials to support promoting a project.

Who Are You Presenting Your Materials To?

Before you even decide what materials you’ll need and when to start prepping your print promotions, you might need to do a bit of brainstorming and research to think of places and events where you can promote your Kickstarter campaign. Are there networking events that your audience would be at, where you could pitch your project to interested parties? Maybe there are some watering holes where you could leave postcards or business cards? Perhaps there is a public event related to your project where you could talk to people and gather support.

If you have any connections, consider talking to them about your project to see if they can give you a public endorsement, and if they wouldn’t mind if you gave them materials to hand out. Having someone else pitch your project is always more effective, as it shows that others have your support.

We had some opportunities for our roller derby documentary Kickstarter campaign to hand out postcards at local roller derby events. Think about your project and maybe do some Google searching to get inspiration on places you might go or drop off print materials at.

Overall Project Marketing Plan

You should have a tagline or elevator speech prepared for your project that you can use on various materials. You need to be able to get across in a small number of words what your project is about.

Professional imagery and design is also a bonus. You may not be able to afford a graphic designer, but if you can (or have a designer friend you can take out to a nice dinner in return for their help), then it will help sell your audience on how serious you are about your task. If you treat your Kickstarter like a real business endeavor, it will help you stand out.

When Should You Prepare Materials?

I would prepare your print promotions as far in advance as possible, but how soon you can print and put your materials out may be dependent on when your Kickstarter page link is assigned to you. You can also do some trickery to make this a moot point, if you are web clever. (More info about that later.)

Even if you don’t do any trickery, I would make sure you have your materials print-ready with everything but the final details as far in advance of the Kickstarter as you can. Or you can follow some tricks that I’ll mention later on.

Suggested Promotional Materials and Uses

Business Cards

You could do a double-sided card with the primary site for your business/endeavor, and advertise your Kickstarter on the other side. Or you could use the cards strictly for advertising your Kickstarter. Hand these out at networking events or whenever you are chatting with someone who is showing interest in your project. Next to flyers, these are probably the cheapest form of marketing you can put together, and there are generally a number of public businesses willing to allow the display of business cards. 48hourprint.com has a few good deals on business cards, and their quality is good.

If you have a team on your Kickstarter project, then make sure everyone has a stack of these to hand out. They don’t have to be customized for each individual, they just need to get you through the Kickstarter period.

Flyers

Don’t skimp on the layout for your flyers… If you look like you are advertising lawn mowing services, you won’t get anyone’s attention. You have a little more space on a flyer to go into detail, but refrain from getting overly wordy. Keep it short and sweet. And if you want people to remember you, include tear-offs at the bottom with the web address to your project.

Flyers are a great option, as you can more easily print these out at home or find a friend with a laser printer who can help you produce these at a low cost.

Postcards

I would save postcards for handing out at events or leaving at stores or businesses that are truly a part of your target demographic.  Postcards are costlier, but they give you a bit more real estate to talk about your Kickstarter closing date, display relevant imagery, and give a longer elevator pitch. Again, keep it short and sweet.

Phoenix Media is a local Portland print shop that is my favorite for printing postcards.

Things You Should Include in All Print Promotions

Shortlinks

No one is going to want to type out that ridiculously long Kickstarter link. You can use the shortlink that Kickstarter provides, but I recommend using a service like Bitly.com to create your own. This way you can directly track how many clicks you are getting from your ads, as opposed to other methods. Bitly will keep track of how many total clicks the link is getting, and how many are coming from the shortlink directly. Just be sure you only use these Bitly shortlinks in your print materials, because if you start using them elsewhere, it will severely muddy your tracking results.

QR Codes

Flat Track Example QR CodeYou’ve probably seen those blocks on advertising materials that you can scan with a smartphone to go directly to a link… On flyers and postcards it is even more important to include them, to make it easier for users to get to your page while on the go. Incidentally, Bitly also provides a QR code that you can use in your materials. Make sure however you generate the QR code (there are a number of free generators available if you search for them), that it is going to your Bitly link, because that’s how you’re going to track the success of your materials.

The Obvious Stuff

You also should have:

[unordered_list style="tick"]

  • The name of your project
  • What your project is/the elevator pitch
  • The goal of your Kickstarter
  • The end date of your Kickstarter campaign
  • Any important rewards (if you have room), or at least mention rewards
  • Relevant imagery
  • The web site to your main site (less prominently-displayed than your Kickstarter… in case people get the promo after the Kickstarter campaign is over)

[/unordered_list]

Examples

Check out our Flat Track Around the World Kickstarter flyer and postcard to see what we did for our project. (I realized too late that I did not include tear-offs on the flyer, but we were using the flyer so little that it didn’t end up mattering in the end.)

Postcard

Flat Track Postcard for Kickstarter, Front

Flat Track Postcard for Kickstarter, Back

Flyer

Flat Track Kickstarter Flyer

 

If You Want to Get Ahead on Print Materials Before Your Kickstarter Launches…

Remember how I said you could get all clever and start promoting things before you get your Kickstarter page? Well, I haven’t done this myself, but it would be possible for you to create a page on your own site that is geared toward promoting the upcoming Kickstarter, with all the details and info you can provide, and an opportunity for people to sign up for newsletter updates prior to the date… Then when the Kickstarter launches, you notify all of the signed up users that they can follow the project, and use that as an avenue to keep up with them. Once the Kickstarter begins, you would no longer really need the newsletter sign up, and you could turn that landing page on your site into a redirect to your Kickstarter page. That way you maintain your Bitly shortlink, but make sure your audience is going to the Kickstarter.

You can do this by manually coding a redirect page that points to the Kickstarter, or if you have a WordPress page you could use a plugin like “Quick Page/Post Redirect Plugin” to help you out.

I’d still create a Bitly link from the get-go and do some testing before prepping your print materials, in case something doesn’t work as planned.

You could also alternatively create materials for a traditional web site in advance of the project, to get more traffic and likes on your site or Facebook page, then make new materials at the time of the Kickstarter to promote the campaign itself. However, that would be a lot of extra work and likely wasted money.

Planning Your Print Budget

You will probably want to calculate your printing budget as a part of your overall Kickstarter budget. Though you will need to be prepared to pay out of pocket in case your Kickstarter doesn’t get funded. Be cautious… One print material done well will do you far better than having a bunch of poorly-executed varieties of materials. Make sure you’ll also have time to distribute all the materials you’ve gathered. Kickstarter is time-consuming as it is. You might need to ask some friends to help you leave some things around.

If in doubt about whether it is worth it or your budget will allow it, just create some nice enough flyers to leave at coffee shops or other relevant locations, and call it good.

Staying on People’s Good Side

Whenever you can, it’s always polite to ask if it’s okay to promote your project at events where it’s not obvious that promotion is an acceptable practice. And be sure, if you leave cards or flyers, that it’s okay for you to leave them and that you are following that business’ policy. You don’t want to make enemies by not following the rules, and you definitely don’t want to waste your money posting something improperly and having it thrown away.

Are Print Promotions Right for Your Kickstarter?

There is no guarantee that you will get funders from your print promotion efforts. However, if you have a gut feeling that it would be the perfect thing for your particular project, and you have the budget and a plan, then go for it.  Every little bit helps.

I’ve also got some ideas for how to use social media and facebook ads to promote your Kickstarter.

CHECK OUT MY CURRENT KICKSTARTER: THE PORTLAND TAROT

 

Questions? Thoughts? Personal experiences to share? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

The Magic and Alchemy of a Successful Facebook Ad

Running a Facebook ad campaign feels a bit like alchemy… There are certain things you can keep in mind while you run it, but most of it is a bit wild wild west and shooting from the hip.

To run a more successful campaign, you have to be prepared to try different methods, carefully watch the results of your campaign, and tweak accordingly. You can’t just set it and let it run. Your ad will perform more and more poorly over time, as the users who see it become blind to it and begin to ignore it. Only new content and visuals will break through the barrier of ad blindness.

Eventually, other advertisers will get more prominence and it won’t matter how much you bid per ad, you will begin to see your impressions drop. I don’t fully understand the magic in the Facebook ad machine, but this was something I observed in running my own ads. Most of them I had to alter after awhile, and some simply stopped performing altogether, despite really positive starting results.

Your Facebook Ad Material

There are a number of things you can experiment with to improve your Facebook ad results, though these feature most prominently:

[unordered_list style="green-dot"]

  • Ad Image (Highly Important)
  • Ad Copy
  • User demographics
    • Age groups
    • Sex
    • Geographic location
    • User Interests
  • Bid Price

[/unordered_list]

[box type="note"]Note: Facebook seems to be in the process of making refinements on their ad creation features, so there may be some differences in your experience by the time you put your ad together. Don’t be afraid to dive in and experiment with different settings by creating multiple Facebook ads… You can always turns ads off that aren’t working.[/box]

Overall Strategy for Your Facebook Ad Campaign

You want to start out by planning a strategy for your ad campaign. Think about groups of people that are most inclined to be interested in your product. As an example, these are some groupings that I came up with when trying to find people who might be interested in our film and Kickstarter campaign (which was getting funding for a trip to Mexico to begin our filming):

[unordered_list style="green-dot"]

  • Women 18-44, interested in roller derby
  • All sexes, 18-44 from Mexico, interested in roller derby
  • All sexes,13-64, interested in roller derby and documentaries

[/unordered_list]

This wasn’t the absolute data-set I used throughout the campaign… I experimented all throughout with tweaks and changes.

If you need help figuring out some basic demographic info for your audience to start building from, then think of similar sites that you believe your audience would visit and try to get demographic info for those sites from Google’s DoubleClick Ad Planner. Some sites are not in their database, but just having a few to look at can give you a good starting point. Then suss out the specific qualities of your audience from there.

Think about practical things, like the types of people who are most inclined to shell out money for your product or endeavor. We targeted some younger age groups for our Facebook page, but some ads specifically targeted the age groups that would be more likely to contribute to our Kickstarter campaign.

[box type="note"]Tip: Check out Kickstarter.com on the Ad Planner tool and see where the crossover is for your audience, if you are trying to promote a Kickstarter project with your ad.[/box]

A/B Testing

You want to do multiple variations on an ad to test different images and ad copy. If you’re running a Kickstarter, you are probably on a tight timeline, so a day should be enough time to see how well one is performing and can it if it isn’t as strong as another ad.

As a note, you can simply pause a low-functioning ad. If you delete it, then it will make it difficult to refer to it later if you need to compare what you wrote to a new ad you are working on.

Ad Image

Don’t just plop any old image in there and be done with it. Come up with something compelling. Human faces are going to attract the most attention, since Facebook images are primarily geared towards users, and we are so wired to be interested in faces. Think about bright colors, visually compelling graphics, clever imagery, or anything that might create a sense of delightful surprise. You have a very small size to work with, so be careful that what you include isn’t difficult to understand at a small size.

Ad Copy

Keep this short and sweet. Again, try to think of something that will engage a user’s curiosity. Ask an intriguing question that can only be answered by clicking the ad. Facebook ads with shorter copy perform better than ads with longer copy. Don’t try to say too much with the copy… Just get to the core of your offering. Remember, this is marketing, and your product or service needs to solve a problem for a potential customer. Make sure you get your solution across in this short snippet.

If you’re advertising a Kickstarter, you need to think of it like a product and make sure it’s grabbing your audience in a solution-based way. If you’re offering a groundbreaking product in your rewards, then don’t be shy about presenting it as a product promotion. Think like a marketer. Your chances of getting support will be less if you focus on the money/support ask, as a random stranger who isn’t hunting your project down on Kickstarter already isn’t going to be as likely to even consider a contribution. Whatever you are promoting, find some way to “sell” it by making the person on the other end realize that it’s something they need. If you target your demographics well, you are more likely to catch someone who truly does want what you’re offering.

User Demographics

You should have already put together some target audiences before you started, so you can use that info to generate things like appropriate age groups, interests, locations, and the like.

Some things I learned while running our Kickstarter ad is that including multiple interests simply enlarges the pool of people receiving the ad, which seems to be the opposite of what is needed to create successful results. Keep your interest lists trim and focused and it will do better.

For us, having an ad that targeted a specific country worked really well for getting clicks, and also helped us to get a ton of likes through our Facebook ad that was page-focused. It seemed like there was less competition in a non-US area for our subject matter, and more of a hunger for content on our topic in other geographic areas. I would recommend really considering which geographic areas would be most interested in your topic and coming up with ad copy that targets them in some way.

I can’t tell you what the perfect number of people will be as an audience for your ad. As you play with the various settings, you will see it will decrease or increase the number of people viewing your ad. Too small, and you barely get seen. Too large, and you’re competing against too many other advertisers. Experimentation is your friend.

Bid Price

As to ad payment, I recommend choosing Pay Per Click over Pay Per Impression. Facebook will recommend an average bid price for your ad, once you have entered all of your details. You will likely pay much less for clicks on an ad that links to your Facebook page than one that links to an outside site. For us, getting a bunch of new people in our Facebook page audience was a big achievement and has really helped us to reach a lot more people about our project. Over the long term, fan engagement will be a huge boost to all of our goals, so it was worth it to focus on that at the expense of putting all of our eggs into the Kickstarter basket.

I would say, don’t be shy about being willing to spend a goodly sum on getting clicks, especially for the ads that target your key audience. You want to make sure your price is competitive enough to get prominence over other ads. After a little while you will get a sense of how often your ad is getting clicked and if you need to drop down the price to keep being able to afford it. Besides, a bid price is not actually the amount you will have to pay, in many cases you will end up paying lower than a high-target bid price. You are basically just setting the maximum you are willing to spend.

If you’re not doing a Kickstarter ad or a Facebook page ad, where do you send your audience?

If you are selling a product on your site, I highly recommend creating an alternate version of the page with a unique url to send your ad folks to. If you can target the copy on that page to your audience, even better. As long as you have Google Analytics on your site (a must have if you are going to run ads), then you can get a sense of what your ROI (return on investment) is for your ad.

Compare number of ad clicks to number of sales generated from that page, and you can see just how successful your campaign was. Compare your profit to the amount you spent and see if Facebook ads are a winning marketing medium for you or not. If they aren’t, you can try a bit more ad experimentation. Sometimes the trick is just finding the right combo of ad content and demographic info, and switching things out regularly to keep people from falling prey to ad blindness.

And sometimes it just doesn’t pay. Don’t be afraid to cut your losses if you can’t seem to get it to work for you. People seem to get mixed results on Facebook ads, and it’s a difficult medium to master. You might find that your product does better on Google AdSense.

Experimentation is Key

Facebook ads are time-intensive and you’ll want to make sure you have the time in your schedule to keep an eye on how well your campaign is performing so you can improve it. Things can change drastically within a matter of days, so regular check-ins are important. While you don’t want to change things too often, you still want to be ready to try something new when one ad no longer seems to be performing.

Just be sure to select an ad approach that makes the most sense for your project.

If you want to read more about our own strategic thinking around our ads and get a more bird’s eye view of how we used ads, check out my previous article.

You might also be interested in reading my other articles about how we used social media to market our Kickstarter campaign:

Using Storify to Market a Kickstarter Campaign
Considering Kickstarter for Funding (and Using Social Media for Promotion)
Successful Kickstarter Campaigns and Marketing Strategy

 

Please feel free to share your questions or experiences in the comments below.

Using Facebook Ads (for Marketing a Kickstarter Campaign)

Now that the Kickstarter dust has settled, I wanted to get back around to discussing the remaining topics I had slated for marketing a Kickstarter project, specifically Facebook ads.

Just for the record, we did indeed succeed in funding our Kickstarter, with 108% funding. For my own part, after it was all done I had a heck of a time relaxing and getting out of Kickstarter mode. It’s quite a rush!

Today I wanted to talk a bit about our use of Facebook Ads. Facebook ads have definitely gotten a bad rap lately, and I can’t yet fully speak to their effectiveness in promoting a product. Honestly, I am not able to speak with absolute authority on their effectiveness in helping get Kickstarter money, as there is no way to really track where exactly the Kickstarter funders are coming from. But I can tell you the methods we did try, and the discernable results we did receive in marketing a kickstarter campaign. And they were significant, so hold tight! Maybe if you play your cards right, using Facebook can bring you some success, as well.

In short, I believe using Facebook ads to create an audience before a Kickstarter and to have one to speak to after the fact is the best use of it, and you can get a fairly large return for little investment. (Though I will note, recent and continuing changes in the way Facebook handles pages may make my own not so long past positive experiences on using ads obsolete. Take my input with a grain of salt and watch the horizon for additional changes in the Facebook landscape. I’ll chronicle my own experience, while also discussing the nature of the recent changes and how it could affect your choice to follow in my footsteps.)

There are a number of types of Facebook ads you can run, but I’m going to focus on three types: traditional ads to a third party site, ads for your Facebook page, and sponsored stories.

Overview of Ad Styles
(and My Experience on our Kickstarter Campaign)

Traditional third-party site ad

Facebook Ad to Kickstarter as Third PartyThe user clicks the ad and is taken to a third party, non-Facebook site. In our case, we were linking to our Kickstarter campaign, though you might be linking to your own site. (If you are linking to your own site but promoting Kickstarter from there, I wouldn’t recommend it, as a user will be less likely from there to go to your Kickstarter page.)

There is no way to track the return on a link from Facebook to Kickstarter, but if you have another type of product you are selling on Facebook, you can create a custom landing page that viewers of this ad land on. This way you can track your return on investment directly through Google Analytics. However, for Kickstarter there’s not much you can do to track your return. For us, the only correlation I could make was between the targeted audience location for the ad and the countries that donors came from. (In our case there wasn’t a lot of return from this angle, as the country we were targeting did not result in many contributions… However, I think this is mostly explained by cultural differences, and I think in some cases that one could track in this way and find a decent, traceable return.)

Facebook Page Ad

Facebook Ad to Facebook PageIn this model, the ad links to the Facebook page you connect it to. The prominent feature of this type of ad is that, if anyone in the user’s network has already clicked the ad and liked the page, the user will see their friend’s name associated with the ad. Also, the user can easily like the page through the ad itself without ever having to visit the page. The byproduct of this is that, now, the user will automatically see updates from the Facebook page in question in their feed (unless they are deliberately only viewing a feed with their own selected friends).

Wait, back up. So, the above good result is what we achieved, but some users are complaining that this is not the same as of some recent changes made by Facebook. Let me relay their experiences.

Facebook Changes How Page Posts Appear in Feeds

In recent weeks Facebook has made a major change in how Facebook pages show up in user feeds. Facebook page owners are noticing a dramatic drop in engagement and receiving reports that their posts are no longer showing up in feeds. Apparently, now a user who follows a page has to explicitly indicate that they want a page’s updates to show up in their feed, or the page owner has to pay for a sponsored story to ensure their posts are seen by all members of their audience.

This has resulted in a massive outcry from businesses, artists, musicians, and other users who make use of the Facebook page feature, as it results in making Facebook nigh on useless for this form of business connecting, and has forced many to return to the traditional personal page as a means of promoting their endeavors (which is impractical from a business standpoint due to the limits on friends you are allowed to have, and also from a standpoint of not being able to separate personal and business communications).

I am not sure what will happen in the future, but it seems inevitable to me that Facebook will have to alter this behavior in some way, unless there is a larger plan relating to forcing these users to pay out more money to promote their content. (Edit: There is… Check out this post on Danielle Ellwood’s site to find out more.) However, as a business decision it seems to me that the backlash they have received as a result of this policy change will inevitably lead to other changes to put a damper on the number of business users who are jumping ship because of the sudden seeming uselessness of their pages. And seeing the low return many businesses receive on Facebook ads, I can’t see many users shelling out the dough to pay for a sponsored story. We’ll see how it goes.

I will say, I have been watching our Facebook page and plenty of people seem to still be seeing our own stories and responding to them, and we haven’t been doing anything different than anyone else. I don’t know if our large audience of 800+ people gives us a greater edge. It’s possible that only a fraction of our audience is seeing stories versus what they saw before, but it’s hard to tell. Since we started getting the new and improved Facebook Insights, our posts seem to be showing up for between 15% and 35% of our audience, which seems like a pretty good number to me. But there’s no telling why we have those numbers… It could be that Facebook made all likes past a certain date automatically show up on feeds, and all likes after a certain date have to be manually added to the feed. It’s a mystery.

In my book, I’ll be sticking around on the Facebook pages and continuing to recommend them as reasonable options for any sort of business promotion for the time being. If you can get a lot of new likes, it seems like the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. But I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes peeled to try to figure out what the real story is, and if Facebok is no longer the affordable social media business solution it once was.

Okay, back to the post-mortem.

Sponsored Stories

We didn’t use sponsored stories at the time, but in retrospect I wish we had. It is similar to advertising a page, in that you will see if any of your friends liked the story. We could have thrown in a couple of sponsored stories into the mix, featuring particular, prominent posts within our Kickstarter journey, or just to get attention for the film itself.

Google Ads

Just to note, we did not try Google Ads, and the reason for this is that I did not feel that Google Ads would be a strategic match to a Kickstarter campaign. Google Ads are notoriously higher on return, and if we had just been trying to promote the film, that might have been a good one to experiment with. When the film starts to garner a bit more money, we might consider a more dedicated marketing budget, and it wouldn’t have hurt us to have worked on building our site’s audience in advance of our Kickstarter campaign. However, Google Ads do tend to cost more, and with our shoestring budget and our more grassroots, collaborative, and connection-oriented approach, Facebook seemed like the better choice.

What We Spent

I gave our campaign a total budget of $120, since I was paying out of my own pocket and very curious to test the Facebook ad waters. In the beginning I primarily posted a regular Facebook ad linking to our Kickstarter, but over time I gave more and more funding to our Facebook page ad, primarily to our Mexico-centric ad, as it got the most results. With Facebook ads you pick a bid amount, as you are competing in a pool of similar ads for space. Because I was paying per click instead of per impression, the cost on the bid was higher, but the clicks were minimal enough that it was fine for me to bid higher.

Overall, I think we spent about $93 of that on our Facebook page promotion. I think growing our audience by 600 people was totally worth it, especially since some of the returns we get from that endeavor are tangible to the success of our project as a whole.

Advertising Your Overall Endeavor vs. Advertising Your Kickstarter

You may think you’re just advertising your Kickstarter campaign, but what you’re really doing is building engagement for your project. And the sooner you can do this, the better. Building fan engagement before a Kickstarter is ideal, because then you have a ready-made audience to promote your Kickstarter to. Sadly I came to bat on the Facebook ads later than would have been ideal. Our Kickstarter launched right about the same time we had begun the process of creating our promotional materials… We had a relatively small budget to land with our Kickstarter endeavor, and the need for the team to travel soon was at the forefront of things, so there was no opportunity for us to prep. It ultimately worked out for us just fine, but I wouldn’t recommend anyone follow in our footsteps.

If I was to advise one thing, it would be to start sooner with your marketing. Once upon a time an easy way to do this would be to create a page for your project on Facebook, then create a Facebook Ad where people could easily “like” the page. That might be an approach still worth trying, if our example is anything to go on. If you are successful in getting enough likes you might still be able to break through the feed barrier.

Immediate vs. Long-Term Gains on Facebook Ads

We got 600-650 new fans from the “like ad” method, and we paid about $90 for the month for these ads. Not too shabby! Even with the recent FB changes in approach, having that many fans on a page looks good. We can show this to investors. And it’s the kind of thing that, the more you have, the more momentum you have. In a couple of months we are up to 800. If someone does catch one of our stories and shares it, then it is more likely to show up in feeds. In the world of Facebook, popularity counts. And, if you play your cards right, you can make more people aware of you, and increase your chances of catching the eye of someone in your tribe.

Note: If you want to increase your likes, make sure your cover image on your page is professional and compelling. Changing our image resulted in a dramatic increase in likes. Also, make sure your page looks active. If it’s only got a handful of posts, people are going to be less likely to be enthusiastic about it.

Our ad that went directly to the Kickstarter page got fewer clicks, but it was still pretty respectable. I think we had something like an overall 0.13% click through rate, which, from my reading, is okay (though you can imagine such a low number does contribute to the impression that for many Facebook is not a pragmatic choice for advertising). We were closer to 0.18% on our Mexico-centric ad, which is a much healthier total.

The Return on Investment

What was our return? Well, as you can guess, we can’t really answer that. We can surmise that a few people who found us from our ads and saw our Kickstarter promoted on our page did indeed contribute. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess. What did we get out of it? Lots of connections. I created an ad targeted entirely to a Mexico audience, and this was the biggest success we had. Since our team’s fundraising was targeted on taking their first filming trip to Mexico, this was a logical choice. The audience in Mexico was hungry to learn more and many people made comments on the page, reached out to the team to offer tangible support, even if it wasn’t monetary. The team now has many more opportunities to connect with local derby teams on their upcoming trip, and lots of friends waiting to help them on the journey. There’s no scoffing the power of enthusiasm. How these initial efforts will pay off in other opportunities is anyone’s guess, but I am betting it will lead to something good. We have a healthy audience, now, and it will only grow more quickly with such a large fan base to seed it.

Ultimately, the gist is that advertising your project is of ultimate importance, and you shouldn’t neglect this before and during your Kickstarter. Especially before. Build momentum and make those connections. Give people something to get excited about. Then hit them up for support. You’ll probably have an even greater success than we did.

Next… I’ll talk a bit about how to put your Facebook ad together and some simple ways you can use Facebook’s demographic information to target your ad and refine it over your campaign.

 

CHECK OUT MY CURRENT KICKSTARTER: THE PORTLAND TAROT!

Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions, or want to share your own experiences.

Kickstarter Logo

Social Media Marketing for a Kickstarter Campaign – Pt. 3

So, you’ve decided that Kickstarter is right for you, and you’ve expanded your horizons for ways to broadcast the message for your Kickstarter. Now you might be thinking:

What makes a successful Kickstarter campaign?

From what I can see, Kickstarters generally succeed for one of four reasons (though the list is certainly not exhaustive):

  1. The campaign focuses on a small, achievable funding target that outlines an easy-to-comprehend need and doesn’t require much capital to succeed
  2. The people behind the campaign have an idea that is revolutionary… or they have a highly-coveted product that they offer as a reward for a pledge that is drastically under-priced compared to what the retail price will be in the future (creating the sense that there is a high return for investing in this product at an early stage)
  3. The campaign or project is centered around a well-known person who can easily rally social support through their existing social media networks
  4. The campaign team spends a lot of time and energy expanding awareness of their project across multiple channels, leveraging personal connections, social media, traditional marketing, press releases, and press opportunities both before and throughout the life of the campaign

Most of us probably don’t have a huge audience yet (though it pays to try to build one up before you do a Kickstarter). And unless you are a well-known musician or in product/fashion design and have an audience ready and waiting for what you’ve got to offer, you might find yourself needing to be scrappy to get your funding targets met.  Sure, scenario #4 probably applies to people who fall under #1-#3, but if you don’t have #1-#3 going for you, then you really have to lean into using all your marketing resources to achieve your aims.

My team is promoting a documentary. Naturally, the impact of the story we are trying to tell, the quality of the team that we have assembled, and the beautiful way that Cynthia and Juvie illustrated the film’s concept are all keys toward communicating that this is a project worth contributing to. But let’s face it—we are competing against hundreds of other quality documentaries who are also seeking funds through Kickstarter, and a film is not something that affords any obviously radical awards that can attract people on their own flash and dazzle.

We had to get creative to come up with some unique rewards, and use those awards to create a personal connection with our contributors. However, persistence has been the biggest key to date, and I imagine that this is true for most projects. Creativity, consistency, and dedication are absolute necessities for anyone to succeed in Kickstarter funding. Good thing we have the wonderful tools of social media and on-line networking to help spread the word and make our jobs easier!

Dedication to the campaign

I have heard a number of stories about people who took the month off to focus on funding their Kickstarter, or at least had to put aside all of their free time toward the effort of keeping the buzz going. You have to be dedicated and ready to release regular updates, or you’ll lose the interest of your audience. People pay attention to things like number of updates over the life of the Kickstarter when contributing, and regular conversation around your project helps people to maintain awareness of your campaign (also, lower numbers of updates could communicate a lack of commitment to the project, and you want to make sure to get across the passion you have for achieving your target).

You also can’t be afraid to keep promoting your campaign in your personal channels, to ask friends to help, or to contact people who can spread your message more widely. You can do it in friendly ways, by offering special rewards to people who contribute by a certain time, are the 25th or 100th contributor, or periods of time where you give higher-level rewards to lower-level contributions. We did a few of these on our Kickstarter, offering $30 level rewards to people who contributed $20 on a certain day.

Consistency in social engagement

One thing I consistently hear is that people worry so much about annoying the people in their social circles through regular updates, and this can cause them to hold back at a time when they really need to keep reminding people about their efforts. During our Kickstarter, I asked friends, “Are my posts annoying you? Be honest.” I was happy when they replied, “Absolutely not!” Most everyone was excited to see my progress and feel a part of the journey. And they universally agreed that it was necessary in order to get to the goal.

So don’t be afraid to talk about your project… If you are sincerely excited and treat it as an opportunity to share your enthusiasm about your vision, people will be glad to tag along for the ride. And as the finish line draws closer, you might be amazed to see friends and colleagues rally around your project to spread the word… Especially if you are bold enough to keep asking.

Creative content and outreach

Keep coming up with content related to your Kickstarter to keep people engaged without simply spamming them with money requests. We had lots of goodies to share over the life of our project, like logo designs, interviews, project news, and video samples. The more goodies like this that you can build up before you start, the better. (And the less exhausted you will be during the campaign itself.) Also, don’t be afraid to add new rewards to different contribution levels as you go, especially if ideas organically come up over the life of the project. There are no people better than your Kickstarter tribe to reveal the things your audience is really jonesing to receive for their pledge.

Contact web sites with related subject matter to your project. The leaders of our project contacted a few derby-related sites with information about the project and landed an article as well as a podcast. Derby-related Facebook groups and pages followed us, and some of their owners promoted the project in their social media venues.

Facebook pages, likes, and ads

Don’t forget to create a Facebook page for your project. This helps you develop a community of people who will follow your journey toward funding. You can use Facebook ads in a number of ways to expand awareness of your project… Try creating an ad to promote the Kickstarter and another to promote your Facebook page, and don’t be afraid to experiment with titles, descriptions, imagery, and demographics. (We got around 500 likes on our page from the ad by targeting derby fans and derby aficionados in Mexico, and if we had done it before the campaign we would have had more people on board and ready to support us from day one. Whenever someone likes the page through our ad, we get a double bonus: they can easily follow the project, and if their friends see that they liked the ad, then they will be more likely to follow along, as well.)

Unless you purchase subscriptions with sites designed to help track return on investment between FB ads and Kickstarter, you won’t know exactly what gains you get from the Kickstarter-focused ad… I think we got at least a couple of people supporting through this effort, and it definitely paid for itself. I will talk more about what I learned about Facebook ads in a later post, but in summary, you should definitely consider making Facebook ads a part of your arsenal.

Print promotions (and connecting them to your social media efforts)

It doesn’t hurt to create print materials to promote your Kickstarter and leave them around town right at the start of the campaign. Make sure you leave your materials in places relevant to your topic. I didn’t get many returns on our postcard endeavor (we handed out couple hundred of them at a derby bout), but I imagine that the results you get will be heavily dependent on the type of project you are running. Try fliers and postcards, and be sure to include a QR code so that people can quickly go to your page if they see it on the go.

Another suggestion for which print assets would be helpful is if you set up a table at any relevant events where you can discuss your project with people 1-on-1 and make an in-person connection. (If you have a laptop handy you can let them contribute right then or there, or you can take cash contributions and work with a friend to turn this into Kickstarter cash.) I’ll share some tips later about ways to optimize your print materials for your campaign.

When generating promo materials and rewards for supporters, make sure you consider the return on each investment. Don’t set yourself up to owe more in rewards or marketing than you make on your Kickstarter campaign. And try dipping your toe in the water of any new materials you put out. If you aren’t sure if a postcard will work for your promotion, start out by trying a few fliers from your color printer first, and track the results of those before expanding.

Tap the tribes of thought leaders

The most results you will get are by finding connections with notable people in your area of interest and getting their help to promote your project. If you aren’t widely known, getting the assistance of better-known people and tapping into their circle of followers is the best way to push your effort forward. Consider offering a favor or special reward in return for their help. Just make sure your ask is relevant to their focus, and that you quickly get to the point on your ask. Anything that makes them feel like they’ve just been spammed is going to hurt your effort more than help it. And they are likely very busy people, so make sure you don’t waste their time.

Go get’m!

In short, be bold and experimental! Get ready to work your toosh off and make new friends! And if you don’t make it on the first try, don’t worry… There is an art to creating a successful Kickstarter campaign, and there are lots of stories out there from successful campaigns about the many false starts that preceded amazing victories.

Stay tuned for my upcoming posts on Facebook ads and optimizing print promotions to integrate seamlessly with your web marketing.

CHECK OUT MY CURRENT KICKSTARTER: THE PORTLAND TAROT!

Kickstarter Logo

Social Media Marketing for a Kickstarter Campaign – Pt. 2

Kickstarter LogoMy last post in this series was about how I utilized Storify.com as a part of my marketing strategy for the Kickstarter campaign I am helping out on. Let me take a moment to explain a bit about Kickstarter, as some of you may not be sure what the big fuss is.

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is, in a nutshell, one of the most popular fundraising sites out there in a new trend of crowd-funding. It’s a sort of marketplace where capital is collected from interested parties, in support of creative projects and business endeavors. A user can search for projects that interest them and support a project financially at any level. Unlike traditional investing, you don’t get any ownership over the project, but part of the model of Kickstarter is that different levels of contributions can qualify for different levels of awards, which are defined by the project owners. Each Kickstarter campaign must set a target amount and a target time at which to acquire this full amount from supporting members… If the target amount is not received by the deadline, then the Kickstarter isn’t funded. That is, no one who contributed will end up paying. This assures that people only get funded as long as they will actually have the full amount they need to achieve their goals.

This model is responsible for much of Kickstarter’s popularity. The competition aspect keeps followers engaged, and the more the campaign team embraces this notion of “racing towards the finish line” in a spirit of fun, the more enthusiastic supporters feel about joining along to help the project race against the clock for their fundraising. Because of the inclusive nature of running a Kickstarter campaign, it is perfectly suited for social media marketing.

Is Kickstarter something you should consider for funding your own project?

Something to keep in mind when asking yourself this question is that it is actually a lot of work to get money on Kickstarter. Not only do you have to spend the length of the campaign promoting the heck out of it on social media and other venues, but you also have to be ready to deliver the goods on any awards you offer at the end of it. Most people find Kickstarter campaigns exhausting. But, if you are ready to tackle the work and feel like your project is well-aligned with this method of fundraising, it may just be worth a try. After all, some people have tremendous success on Kickstarter and end up raising the funds they need to make a dream come true (and then there are those lucky souls who get way more than they ever dreamed possible).

Just make sure you’re asking for something appropriate to this method of fundraising… Set very specific targets for things you will spend your money on, like materials, services, production processes, travel, equipment, or easy-to-define project phases (and don’t expect to get people to pay your groceries and rent just so you can have time to make something). The more easily people can understand where your money is going, the more likely they are to trust you to be responsible with their gift.

And if you don’t feel equipped to make regular social media updates, you might find Kickstarter is not the venue for you… Either consider other methods for fundraising, or add people to your team who are enthusiastic and consistent communicators on social media channels.

In my next post I will talk about the elements that I think make a Kickstarter campaign successful.

kickstarter-flat-track-blog-header

Social Media Marketing for a Kickstarter Campaign – Pt. 1

I wanted to share an exciting documentary project on which I am acting as art director and creating various types of marketing, including social media. “Flat Track Around the World” is a movie about the globally transformative power of women’s roller derby, and is very different from other derby films in that it really looks into the soul of derby and asks the question, “Does derby have the power to transform the lives of women, and the communities they live in, worldwide?”

It’s a powerful concept that I really believe in, not to mention the enthusiasm I feel for its producer, my very talented colleague, Cynthia Lopez. This isn’t her first international documentary (or rodeo for that matter—or should I say roller derby?), and she has lots of experience that makes her the perfect person to help the lead—Juvie Hall, co-captain of the Guns-n-Rollers—go on this grand adventure around the world and capture it on film. Cynthia is a fantastic visual storyteller and has a knack for capturing people’s stories in a compelling way. (She’s great at promoting the soul of businesses, too, which is why I’m putting her in charge of the video production wing of my new business.)

Helping to promote this documentary has been an interesting process. I have learned a lot about how to successfully use social media for a Kickstarter over the last couple of weeks. I’ve had great fun creating the logo and other materials, and it’s been exciting to see how tying together social media marketing, branding, and more traditional marketing can help the success of a project, and contribute to more successfully funding a month-long Kickstarter campaign. Once I have all the cards on the table, I’ll be excited to share my findings with you.

There are lots of new tools out there that can really help promote any project, including a Kickstarter documentary, in compelling ways that can potentially bring an interested audience to your doorstep. Included below you will see my first attempt at an article using an awesome site called Storify, where you can collect elements from several social media and web channels in order to bring together details of any story you want to share, and connect the dots between the various forms of communication we have available on today’s web. (This tool was shared with me by another fabulous cohort, Saundra Sorenson, who is a social media maven and fabulous writer.)

Embedded below you will find one of my many experiments of late with new advertising and PR channels using this fabulous, free tool. While I didn’t use it in this capacity on my own story, it would be very easy to connect with taste-makers in your topic of interest by using this tool to build a story that connects cultural happenings and conversations directly to your own project or personal story. Storify will then notify the connected content creators through things like trackbacks (site-to-site contact that lets the original content owner know that someone has re-posted their content). This is a compelling way to make connections, and does it in a truly informative way that puts the content front and center, yet leaves the door open for relevant people to connect with you.

CHECK OUT MY CURRENT KICKSTARTER: THE PORTLAND TAROT!

New Year, New Marketing

It’s a trend I’ve noticed… New year, new marketing. Right around the holidays, or at the jump start of January, the clients come a-callin’. They are ready to start that new website or are finally ready to build that product that’s been lurking in the back of their minds since last summer. With the Christmas gifts paid off and an enthusiastic eye toward the new year, they are ready to embark upon that next step project that will elevate them further in their business.

But maybe you aren’t feeling so certain about where to go with your marketing in 2012.

What do you do when you’re frozen, and you don’t know what to tackle next? Maybe you feel overwhelmed by the number of materials you think you need to get properly started with your business, to have a professional image. Or finances might just be feeling a little too tight after that big Christmas splurge.

Here are a few things to consider when you are asking yourself, “What’s next for my marketing?”

  • Think of marketing materials as profitability tools. What items would help increase your bottom line in an obvious or even unusual way? Can you answer more questions on your web site to save you or your assistants some bandwidth in phone calls? Have you considered adding affiliate marketing for products you love to your quarterly newsletter? Perhaps a pile of business cards in the hands of just the right referring client can get you some incredible results?
  • Go with the biggest bang for your buck. Maybe for you having a kickass illustrated logo isn’t as important as having a baseline website out there so people can start finding you. Or perhaps your industry is better served by placing a few strategic listings on websites like Citysearch and Yelp than starting right away with a full-blown web site. Be strategic in how you use your cash, especially if it’s tight. Get some outside advice from various sources on where you should start first, and work your way outward. Sometimes it’s okay to take it one step at a time.
  • Make do with something simple, if money is tight. Often we want to put out the best image we can for our business, and there are times when getting a slick image together from the get go is extremely important. But maybe you can start out with less than you think. You might want the perfect web site pronto, but while you’re gathering the cash and seeing the project through, you might be missing some important opportunities because no one can find you yet. If you are building a blog, for instance, getting your content out there and building traffic is more important than having the most beautiful blog site west of the Mississippi. Building a blog audience takes time and committed content generation, and the longer you are out there, the more friends you will find.
  • Do it yourself. There are lots of resources out there that can get you started. And who knows, maybe the rudimentary site you build on SquareSpace.com will be the baseline structure and content for YourSite 2.0. At least what you create will make the next revision that much easier. You can hire a designer or web developer and give them a running start with the site you’ve built yourself. And you will feel empowered by knowing a bit more about what they are going to need from you over the course of a project.

Don’t get me wrong… There’s no replacement for sound advice from colleagues or consultants, and there is nothing like having the right designer or developer there to build you the masterpiece you need to stand out. But trust your gut when it nudges you in the direction of your next step. If you are just starting out, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need an identity system, web site, and business cards first and foremost, “Because that’s what you are supposed to do.” The internet marketing landscape is more complex than that, and you have a business with unique needs. Either start with small, bite-sized tasks or build outward from a relevant and strong need. After all, your business is also evolving in its needs, vision, and voice and taking a more subtle approach to building your marketing will support you organically and help you save money and frustration over the long term.

Make your new year’s resolution for your business be to take your marketing further… One manageable step at a time.