On this episode of CrowdFund Genius ZacBob interviews Dan from The Podcast Movement on how he was able to crowdfund an entire podcasting conference by utilizing stretch goals to a T. This episode goes over our thirty minute time a little bit because Dan has so much to offer and share from his stretch goals, to how he used star power to reach and exceed his crowdfunding goals.
009 Podcast Movement (KS)
ZacBob: Welcome back Crowdfunders to another learning opportunity with CrowdFund Genius. On todays episode I have Dan from the Podcast Movement , and he’s going to tell us how he raised enough money on Kickstarter to launch a Podcasting conference taking place this weekend August 15th in Dallas. Dan was not only able to hit his goal but he surpassed it through use of stretch goals with Kickstarter. Were going over a time a limit a little this episode because Dan has so many insights and great information to share.
But before we start on his campaign I want to encourage anybody out there who has a favorite Kickstarter, or Indiegogo campaign, or maybe a crowdfunding campaign that you backed and would like to learn from and hear on the show. Let that campaign know via twitter or Facebook or email. Send them a message and you can CC me on it as well. ZacBob@CrowdFundGenius.com. Or you can send myself a tweet and the campaign you would like to see me interview. @CrowdFundGenius is our twitter handle. Send the campaign you wish to be seen on the show a tweet and include me in that tweet and we will see about getting them on the show.
Now lets start with the interview. Dan tell our audience a little about yourself.
Dan from Podcast Movement: So I’m Dan and right now I’m probably best known for one of the organizers of Podcast Movement podcasting conference coming up in August. Depending on when this episode airs it might have already happened but what it is, is a conference for podcasters by podcasters. And it’s the first of its kind at least in the past 5-6 years. And really what were trying to do is bring a bunch of podcasters on into one central location to really work together and become better podcasters. Beyond that I have a couple different online programs that relate to podcasting. Specifically one of them is called PodMov University. Which is a membership site is a way to describe it. Where people can come regardless of where they live or what time zone there on or anything like that. They can come and there is this ever-growing library of tutorials about all things podcasting. As well as a community of all the members of the university where they can all mastermind with one another and trade ideas and interact and really just grow online much like were trying to do with the offline conference. My full-time job is I’m a full-time CPA. I do tax consulting and tax compliance work, mainly for small business owners and entrepreneurs. I really enjoy working with the entrepreneur and the small business owner. And then also since I do all this podcasting thing I have two podcasts that I host as well. One is called the Entrepreneur Showdown, were we interview successful online entrepreneurs and talk to them about specific topics opposed to just generic interviews like you would hear on a lot of these other podcasts. And then I have a just for fun podcast called Men Seeking Tomahawks. And its kind of like a variety show were we talk about sports and science and technology. That’s an every week one as well, it’s a little newer but right now it’s gaining quite a bit of traction. So I’m having fun with that and that’s a little bit about me.
Dan from Podcast Movement: Kind of taking a step back from how we got to the Kickstarter campaign is how we really came up with the idea for the conference itself. Really where it started was about a year ago now there was a podcast conference called Podcamp Dallas right here in my neck of the woods. It was run by a gentleman named Gary and he was the organizer of Podcamp Dallas for the last few years. It was like a one-day conference of about 20-30 podcasters. Almost like a little mastermind but there were presentations from some of those podcasters. It was a daylong event and it was really cool. It was fun to get to visit and learn from some of the other podcasters that were from the local Dallas area. Then fast-forward to January 2014, was the New Media Expo in Las Vegas, which if anyone is not familiar with New Media Expo. What it is, is a giant international level conference for bloggers, and podcasters, and web TV people. Really just a giant gathering place for all these people, anyone related to new media or content creation in this new media space. And kind of the same concept only three days long and its giant and there’s people presenting about all different things. As we were there Gary who ran that Podcamp Dallas, he was there with me as was another person Jared whose a good friend of ours. The three of us started talking and we somehow came to the conclusion of why is there nothing like this that’s a big national level thing that’s just for podcasting. Because there’s all kinds of different blogging conferences, other types of content creation conferences but nothing that related just to podcasting. Since Gary and successfully ran Podcamp Dallas the last few years, which was a small scale podcast conference we thought why not between the three of us try to blend these ideas together and create this national level podcast conference. But obviously when you come up with any new idea you really have to come up with a way to vet that idea and try to figure out it its not something that you just think will work but other people really want to participate in and of course spend money on to make it viable. Or to prove that is viable. And after thinking over it for a couple of weeks we thought maybe the best way to do this was through a crowdfunding campaign. And throw a Kickstarter up there and see if we could raise a certain amount of money that would kind of prove this concept to us enough that we would then take it to the next level and really go full throttle in creating this conference. So what we did was we tried to determine, well what amount we need at a bare minimum to run this conference. In other words if we were to raise this amount through Kickstarter and not make another dime; we would be able to run a bare bones conference and at least take the next step in running this national level conference. So we scouted some different venues in the area here in Dallas and we found one that we liked and would work for this type of thing that were going for, and it was 10 thousand dollars for two days, and we wanted a two day conference. So we said if we can get this 10 thousand dollars and pay for the building, we could get two days worth of volunteer speakers in the worse case scenario and we will have this conference. So what we did is we went to Kickstarter and we put up a campaign. We set it at 11 thousand dollars so after Kickstarter and Amazon fees we would still have the 10 thousand dollars net to pay for the building. So we decided that our ticket pre-sales would be through Kickstarter. That was our way to sell tickets before there was an actual event. If for some reason we didn’t hit our 10 thousand or 11 thousand dollar goal than nobody was out the money and the conference wouldn’t happen and then everyone would wash their hands of it. And what ended up happening was pretty crazy, we ended up breaking that ten thousand dollars in 24 hours. From there it just sky rocketed.
ZacBob: One more time, you said your original amount was 11 thousand correct?
Dan from Podcast Movement: Yea so after the fees we would net about ten thousand dollars.
ZacBob: I hope everyone listening is paying attention because this is a prime example of something that is strongly overlooked when running a campaign. You have to plan and plan and plan. A lot of times people will overlook the Amazon fees, and the Kickstarter fees. For those of you not familiar Kickstarter takes 5%, and the credit card transaction fees from Amazon payments are around 3-5%. So what Dan did here was assure he would still get his principle 10 thousand so he could reserve the space for the conference. You always need to shoot a little high to plan for that 10% that’s taken from your goal. Genius. Now what was your total amount raised when the smoke cleared and your campaign had ended.
Dan from Podcast Movement: The exact number I don’t have in front of me, but it was just over 33 thousand I believe. So we more than tripled what we had originally asked for over a 30 day campaign.
ZacBob: And you were able to raise that amount by utilizing a very underutilized tool. Stretch goals. Did you have these stretch goals planned from the very beginning, or did you throw them in there after your campaign had already reached its original goal of 11 thousand?
Dan from Podcast Movement: Originally when we launched the Kickstarter campaign and we were planning it out. Out of the three of us and our fourth partner who I haven’t mentioned yet Mitch Todd. The four of us kind of got together, and well I was a little more familiar with Kickstarter and the techniques you could use. And I had done more research than the other three. I had initially on the front end said maybe we should set these stretch goals on the front end so that we will give people a reason to keep giving or go beyond that amount. If for some reason we were to break that ten thousand dollars early on we could have additional hurdles that people would want to contribute to get too. But they wanted to keep it very simple and see how this first just plane Jane 11 thousand dollar goal goes. And if we beat that we can start talking about different things. We did not plan anything out at the beginning. But as we started going along that’s when we decided maybe we do need these stretch goals to kind of keep the chatter going on social media and give people a reason to share. And really I think the biggest thing with Kickstarter goals that I learned was to get people who already bought tickets or already contributed to your crowdfunding campaign; gives them a reason to continue to share. Because ultimately in a lot of Kickstarter campaigns when you contribute to them; once the goals met and the project has been funded, you as someone that’s already contributed don’t have an incentive to try and get your friends and family to contribute because your going to get whatever the reward is for what you contributed and that’s it. But stretch goals, there’s these new prizes or accomplishments or whatever the stretch goals are that you will come into. What you didn’t originally expect. Now I contributed twenty days ago and were on the last week of the campaign and whoa, if I can get some more people to contribute to this then I’m going to get something out of it. So I think that’s the big thing I learned about stretch goals were you really keep the people going the entire time. You got fans that are wanting you to get better and better because those original people are kind of lifting you up.
ZacBob: What I liked about your stretch goals the most was it wasn’t an upsell. There weren’t any additions, you used them perfectly. If you reached another limit everyone received a free item, which is how stretch goals were meant to be used. Can you go into further detail with what your stretch goals were exactly?
Dan from Podcast Movement: Well I have to look at that, I don’t have it in front of me.
ZacBob: No problem I actually have them right here in my notes; you had 3 stretch goals, 1 at $22,500, another at $25,000, and a third at $30,000. You said you had them planned but didn’t release them at the beginning of the campaign correct?
Dan from Podcast Movement: No so we released them as the campaign went along. Like I said we did not have, well it was our first campaign to run. A lot of the people were even less familiar with Kickstarter or crowdfunding campaigns than me. So they weren’t even familiar with what these stretch goals were. They were a little hesitant to kind of commit to anything on the front end. They just kind of wanted to see what would happen if we just through the Kickstarter campaign out there and kind of grow from within. Or kind of grow the campaign after we get that initial push and see how things were going. So it was about halfway through the campaign when we decided to do the stretch goals. To really keep that attention going.
ZacBob: and you see that a lot with every crowdfunding campaign, you plan and prepare and start off as a hot commodity, but as soon as that newness wears off your momentum dies. Which is why stretch goals should be a plan and part of every campaign. When you released your stretch goals halfway through your campaign did you release them all at once or separately?
Dan from Podcast Movement: We released them one at time, because that was just a strategy that we took so I’m not sure if that’s the right way or the wrong way. But as we went along we decided to keep adding things, adding things, and adding things. Our first one we had was for the virtual tickets to be HD video shoots and two camera shoots. So what it was, was one of the options for buying a ticket through Kickstarter was just a virtual ticket, so for people that cant go to the conference. Were recording every session, and making those available for download and online viewing for anyone who buys this virtual ticket. But obviously when you bring in the more expensive cameras and you bring in multiple cameras for some of the shoots the price goes up. So we knew we wanted to tape record and video record all the sessions, but we made one of the stretch goals if we reach $22,500 we will spend a little more money on the video to make sure its top quality or the best quality. So that was our first stretch goal. And we meet that one pretty quick, so we set one at $25,000, and we created some bonus content, an exclusive audio and video and electronic products from some of our additional speakers. So if we got to $25,000 then those products would go to all the contributors. Then the third level we had which was a $30,000 dollar stretch goal, this is the one that was most popular. From looking at other Kickstarter campaigns most people agree that getting something physically in the mail, something like that is one of the coolest things to put out there. And it was the T-shirt, an exclusive Kickstarter I funded Podcast Movement 2014 t-shirts if we got over $30,000. So that was kind of the big stretch goal that we ended up surpassing and we didn’t do any stretch goals after that. Because a lot of people we talked to said that’s kind of the ultimate goal, that’s what they wanted. When we threw the t-shirt up there that was that big last push we had in the last few days. But there really cool t-shirts, there top quality t-shirts and I’m looking at a box of about 200 of them right now in my office and will be distributed at the conference to the people that funded it. But its really cool we added a little exclusivity to it. These t-shirts are really cool and if you funded on Kickstarter you can get these t-shirts otherwise you can buy Podcast Movement T-shirts at the conference but your not going to get these ones, because there for people that funded. And I think the whole idea that this is something you can have only as a Kickstarter funder. You know an original “Godfather” of the conference if you will. That was something that really enticed people to share the campaign and get their friends and family to contribute they would indeed get one of these shirts.
ZacBob: I’m pretty jealous I didn’t get a chance to get one of these shirts myself. I’m staring at it right now on my MacBook and its quite nice. Has a little Rage against the machine thing going on.
Dan from Podcast Movement: Yeah, yeah exactly.
ZacBob: With your stretch goals, since you released them over time, as you were hitting your goals did you notice a significant spike with each release?
Dan from Podcast Movement: We did and the biggest thing that we noticed was that people that contributed started sharing what we were doing. Maybe somebody was going to be nice after they funded, their contribution that they made, some people might share on Twitter or Facebook and say hey I contributed to this. But then when they realized if they share more and get more people interested in this they will get something out of it. So that was the real spike we noticed because of other people were sharing. That’s where they came from I can pinpoint the people that shared the most. Kickstarters really good the analytics behind the scenes are really good, you can see where a lot of the traffic is coming from and things like that. So we were able to see that whenever we release a stretch goal, all the sudden we started getting a lot more people from twitter. And then we could go search twitter for our hashtag and check out who was talking about us the most and things like that. So its kind of cool to see the behind the scenes as well.
ZacBob: Well your certainly putting on a clinic for how to use stretch goals right now. I hope our audience is paying attention because this is definitely a way to keep momentum going throughout the entire campaign. So why did you decide to use Kickstarters instead of the other platforms out there?
Dan from Podcast Movement: We had explored some different opportunities and options. Really some of them we ruled out because we didn’t think they had the credibility that Kickstarters did. The main reason we did Kickstarter as opposed to any of the other ones was just because it had the name recognition. So a lot of people, especially people that we got contributions from, we realized that we were their first Kickstarter to ever contribute too. So I think that if your appealing to some type of target audience like a board gaming audience, or some of these niches that are very familiar with a Kickstarter campaign and things that are done through Kickstarter. Then maybe you can venture out into these ones that might be more favorable for the person running the campaign or might be a little bit more flexible. I think those are the type of target audiences that your able to venture away from Kickstarter. But for us, I would say that 75%-85% of the people that funded our campaign. It was their first time to ever fund any type of crowdfunding specifically Kickstarter. I felt like we kind of needed to go with the biggest fish, the name that everyone would recognize and that everyone would have the trust in. And they were familiar with the idea at least enough to know that “well if this doesn’t get funded I know that my money is safe. Because some of these other websites I haven’t heard of, maybe it isn’t.” So that was the biggest thing.
ZacBob: It seems a lot of people go with Kickstarter because of the popularity, I’ve heard this same type of answer a lot. So let me know on twitter. Dan, lets move onto your pleges. What were you best performing pledge amounts?
Dan from Podcast Movement: By far our best pledge amount was our VIP ticket package. Which sold out in I think just 24 hours. Either way it was very quickly. It was $249 and what it included was, tickets to the two day conference, a copy of the virtual ticket the recorded session that you receive after the conference is over. But the big thing was were having a VIP dinner with all the key-note speakers and a few select speakers from the presentations. And there was only 30 of these tickets were available. And basically if you bought one of these thirty tickets, then when you come to the conference the Friday before your going to have dinner with the all star speakers. Some of the best speakers of the conference in this small intimate setting. Like I said that was huge, people valued that and saw the huge value in that. You know we wanted to do some of these special ticket type things that your used to seeing on Kickstarter. There’s not a ton of events on Kickstarter but almost every campaign; the name of the game is to put something out there that people know that there’s going to be a product that I can buy at the back end if I don’t contribute to Kickstarter or threes going to be tickets I can buy after Kickstarters over. But they knew with this type of ticket and these special exclusive offers were only available through Kickstarter. So I think that kind of thing really built that sense of urgency and like I said those thirty tickets went in a matter of 24 hours or so. So that VIP ticket package was far the best performing pledge amount. Then the other two that were best performing were our early bird packages. What that was, is we put a 50 limit of each of these two types of tickets to people who got in early. I think the huge thing that we did there, and again we set a number we set a limit that exclusivity came in. And people found out that if I want this cheapest price ticket, that I have to get in now, I have to get in through Kickstarter otherwise tickets are going to go up. Between those two that’s 100 tickets, we had a $79 level for just the regular conference. Then a $99 level for the conference and an added bonus event Saturday night. But between those two, both of those 50 ticket allotments had sold out. Beyond that with the normal ticket prices that came out we sold another 60-70 of those as well. So I think the top three performers were the pledges that we put limits on and got cut off. Whenever your looking at a Kickstarter campaign that has something that’s limited it specifically says 49 of 50 are available after the first ones sold. All the way down to there’s only one of these available so you need to get it now because it’s going away. So I think that’s one of the big things I took away from this, the more opportunities you can present to people where they know it’s a limited time opportunity and if they come back tomorrow this option might not be available really gets people to pull the trigger. Because you know a lot of times we all do it were we are browsing a website and we see something that maybe we want to come back to, where we say oh ill buy that tomorrow or ill come back to this website in a few days. You just never go back to it again. So anything you can really do to get people to pull the trigger an take action on it that day is a great thing. And I think limiting these, the different rewards is the best way to do that.
ZacBob: It sounds like you’ve thought of everything all the way from the stretch goals, down to the pledges themselves. You had all the angles covered, so tell me, how did you cover the angle of your crowdfunding video? It came in at about 1 minute and 20 seconds long which is a little below average, all though there’s no doubting now that your video was more than enough to get the job done. So give our audience a little behind the scenes look at the making of the Podcast Movement crowdfunding video.
Dan from Podcast Movement: Yea so this is one of the things were most proud of. And if you haven’t seen the video I invite you to search us on Kickstarter and I’m sure Zac will have a link in your show notes to our Kickstarter page.
ZacBob: Of course, if they don’t know by now, they should, everything were talking about here today can be found on our website in the show notes, CrowdFundGenius.com. So go ahead Dan and tell us about your crowdfunding video. Were excited to hear about it.
Dan from Podcast Movement: What it is, is a stop motion video. Its funny, it looks like maybe something a little kid would make or something like that, but what it is, is little hand drawn pictures, cut out. And different in-adamant objects all put together so its like stop motion. So if you seen like Claymation or something like that, its like that just with hand drawn pictures. You know they move around on the page almost like a rudimentary cartoon. And it was just really unique, we got so much feedback on this video from people saying I never seen anything like this. A lot of people wanted to know who made it for us, and where did we get it made, where did we get the idea for this. The truth is I didn’t know what we wanted our video to look like, but I knew that since we were on a very shoestring budget, we couldn’t put together some professional HD video shoot. The four of us partners were spread between Dallas and Florida so we couldn’t all get together and so some kind of talking thing where we were all in the same room. So we had to figure out A. what can we do at a very cheap price? And B. all though we got to do it a cheap price, what can we do that’s unique and still get peoples attention. So what that was, was some kind of animated, or white board, or some kind of video like that. So I went somewhere I often go when I hit a roadblock or I need to decide which to go. I went to Elance. For anyone that doesn’t know that’s were you can go to post any kind of online job that maybe you cant do so your looking for a freelancer to do it for you. Someone that’s an expert at something, or something you don’t have the time to do. So I went to Elance and posted a job and basically said “I have a crowdfunding video I need to make, I know what the message will be, what needs to be given, I pretty much have a script ready for what needs to be communicated, I just don’t know what the video needs to look like.” And I said “I know its not going to be in person, so It needs to be some type of animation like I just described. Give me your ideas.” And that was it. So I basically left the door open for the artistic people to be artists, and they came to me. I don’t know how many responses I got but basically thirty or forty freelancers responded to me. And I had all kinds of ideas, a lot of people wanted to do whiteboard videos or there was different kinds of animation that people had. But this one freelancer contacted me and was like “hey I do stop motion animation,” like drawing stop motion animation, “Here’s my portfolio check it out.” So I went to her Vimeo page and noticed she had done 5 or 6 videos like she was describing. As soon as I saw it I said you know what, that’s perfect, its going to be so unique, I haven’t seen anything like it. She’s really good at doing this, this is what we need. So you know for $300 or $400 dollars we got this really cool video made. And like you said it came in at about a minute and a half and to me that was kind of important because a lot of people contributing to our campaign aren’t really familiar with crowdfunding they aren’t really familiar with Kickstarter. So I didn’t know what they’re attention span was going to be. You know you and I as crowdfunding fans, were used to these videos and when were looking around we know that maybe some of these videos are going to be a little bit longer? But there going to be worth us sticking through them because there going to talk about the reward levels, or the different stretch goals or something like that. So we know what were looking for and the people coming to my crowdfunding campaign they didn’t know what they were looking for. So I wanted to make sure to present a video that could not just communicate the full message, but also do it as concisely as possible so that they would stick around and watch the whole video and want to contribute on the back in. So that’s the story on the video.
ZacBob: Lets move onto your blogger and media attention. I noticed you had a ton of podcasters already signed on to speak, and those podcasters have a ton of members in their individual crowds. How much do you think that played into your campaigns success?
Dan from Podcast Movement: That was huge, and one of our tactics on the front end. You heard the story of how we came up with the idea for the conference. It was an idea, that’s all it was. An idea by four dudes who have never run a conference before, definitely never run a national level podcasting conference before. So we didn’t have any credibility in terms of that, so we had to make up for that bye getting people that were behind us, that people did trust, that people did know that if they get or see these names involved then they know its something they can trust. So that was the first thing, we were all pretty heavy in the podcast community so we knew a lot of the big name podcasters and if we could get those people that we already have relationships with to throw their name in the hat and back us up. Then that would give us the credibility we needed to at least get some people interested in what we were doing. So that’s what we did, we went out and tried to secure as many speakers as possible on the front end. So off that idea alone we contacted everybody in our network, were doing this conference, we’d like you to be involved, is this something your interested in? And we had a great response because a lot of people go to that New Media Expo and realize that this is great but not really for us podcasters. And when we said we want to do something for you as a podcaster, they were willing to back it up. And they understood why we were doing it as well; one of the people that got on early was John Lee Dumas who has one of the most downloaded daily podcasts on iTunes. And we knew if he came onboard and let us use his name in the campaign and the promotion that would give us instant credibility. And he realized that too, and he was gracious enough to be one of those people to let us use his name off this idea alone. And to be perfectly honest some of these people that let us use their name and likeness on the front end, there running a little bit of a risk because if they were somehow associated with this conference and it didn’t work well. Then they would be the ones with egg on their face as well, because they’re the big names, were not the big names. So a lot of respect for those individuals who helped out on the front end. And the real publicity came through just plane social media. We didn’t get a lot of blogs other than a few small blogs; we didn’t get any of the big tech blogs or things like that talking about us. We didn’t get any of the mainstream press or newspapers or even any kind of local newspapers or columnists or anything like that talking about us. It really was just us as the four organizers on Twitter and Facebook pushing the message and the select few speakers we got on the front end doing the same thing. As a unit we were all able to get the word out and spread the campaign and get enough people onboard the Kickstarter campaign to make it a success.
ZacBob: Now when you contacted all these podcasters with star power, did you send one giant email to everyone in your network? Did you contact them individually? Also when you contacted them was it in the form of a press release? Can you elaborate a little more on that for our audience?
Dan from Podcast Movement: We started by only contacting people we wanted to speak. So people that we knew and had a good enough relationship with that if we told them about this idea and that we wanted to feature them on the stage at the conference, that was kind of our first round. To only contact the people that were going to be involved. So that is what we did and we knew that if they agreed to it they were putting their name out there and were somewhat at risk for putting their name out there. So they’re going to want to see it (crowdfunding campaign) succeed so they were going to share it on social media and they were going to get behind it. So that was the first round and we emailed them all individually, and I would be lying if I said there wasn’t somewhat of a form email that we sent to these people. Because it was the same message being communicated to all of them. It was “Hey we know that your one of the top podcasters. You know that everything we done in the past we worked together and its gone really well. So here’s something bigger than anything we done together before. But we really want you to be a part of this because we know how good of a podcaster you are, what your network and what your reach is like and we think you would be the perfect person and kind of a flag bearer for this project that were doing. We think it would be a mutually beneficial relationship if we kind of get together and do something. Would you be willing to speak at this conference and in exchange for that help spread the word about the conference since were doing it through Kickstarter.” And like I said we had a formed email and that was the basic message. We didn’t promise anything else on the front end other than we need your help, we would like for you to help, and we think that you being a part of this it will help you, it will help us and everybody wins. So that was the first thing we did. And from their other people started sharing it and other podcasters seen and that’s kind of where the grass roots uprising started was when some of these big names started talking about something they were involved in. Well then some of the fans and other podcasters that admired these people started sharing and then really took off from there almost like a wildfire spreading and really hasn’t stopped since then.
ZacBob: Social Media, I know you used it, you were talking about it earlier, how big of a role did social media play in your campaigns success?
Dan from Podcast Movement: Well like I said it was huge. That was were all of our press came from. There weren’t any formal press releases being sent out, well we sent out a few. But nothing really gained traction other than all the people involved by purchasing a ticket through Kickstarter and wanting to see those stretch goals get met. Or just the speakers obviously wanting more people to buy tickets to were they’re going to be on stage at. That’s really were it came from, from Twitter, we ran a few Facebook ads just to keep the word going, especially during the end of the campaign. Most of it was just Twitter, us tweeting about it, other people re-tweeting and tweeting it to themselves. That’s were it really came from, so social media with out it, we couldn’t have done this.
ZacBob: So would you say twitter was your primary platform in which you used for your crowdfunding campaign?
Dan from Podcast Movement: Twitter was our primary platform in terms of spreading the word about it and people really finding out. And you know still to this day a lot of our new ticket sales are coming from. People are tweeting about hey I just bought my ticket and then one of their followers will say “Whoa, I’m a podcaster and I haven’t heard about this.” And then they will go find out about it or tweet at their friends, “Hey I just bought this ticket to this conference,” or “Hey I just found out about this conference. Are you going? Have you heard of this?” So we see this going on quite often actually because were tagged in these tweets. So we see this still spreading, spreading and spreading. And we feel like were still just reached a small amount of the podcaster population because its such a large community that a lot of them don’t run in the same circles. So we think even this year and next years event and as it grows the word will keep spreading we will gain more credibility once we get a larger reach. But yea Twitter is definitely where that grass roots ground swell came from. And like I said with Facebook we ran some pretty successful Facebook ads and promoted posts. Thinks like that got the people that we knew and the Facebook people that we knew interested in it. We were able to target more specifically who were seeing these ads. And maybe get these ads in front of people that we figured maybe hadn’t heard of us yet but maybe super interested. So that’s a little more targeted than Twitter and obviously takes a little more money than Twitter. But those two places were really where it all came from.
Dan from Podcast Movement: Yea I did. I have run ads in the past for different things I’m working on and some of my other podcasts. I was completely new to Facebook ads but I am by no means an expert. But I kept it simple, I just put ads there that I would want to see. I didn’t try to use any cheesy gimmicks or cheesy sells tactics because I felt like from the response we gotten that the idea kind of sales itself. Once you put this out there a lot of people did have that reaction of, “Yeah wow, I don’t know why anyone else isn’t doing this. This is an awesome idea, I definitely want in on this.” So it was just a matter of getting the message in front of people. It wasn’t the matter of trying to trick anyone to go to our sales page or anything like that. It was just trying to spread the word about what we were doing.
Dan from Podcast Movement: I used the ads manager and the boost post. I used Power Editor just a little bit in terms of you can download your email list into there and specifically target ads to people on your email list. Or you can create look alike lists based off the people who are on your email list. It creates like a million people who are similar interest, and similar age to the people that are on your email list. So I used the Power Editor feature to create those lists, but then ran everything in the basic ad manager. I’m not a Facebook marketing expert and I really don’t want to be and at the same time we were on shoestring budget. So we didn’t have the cash to bring on an expert. But like I said the ads I ran there and the boosted post, both of those had a really good conversion rate. Like I said on Kickstarter it has really good analytics were you can see where the traffics coming from, and we knew a lot of traffic was coming from Facebook and Facebook has its own analytics so you can kind of see the conversion rate and the click through rate on those ads. So those ads we made sure they were very targeted so it didn’t have a huge reach but as I mentioned they were targeted towards people that if they saw this ad they would probably be interested in reading it if not clicking on it. So because of that targeting we were able to receive a pretty good conversion rate and make those ads worth it.
ZacBob: I know a lot of people that launch there Facebook and Twitter channels the same exact time as the launch of their crowdfunding campaign. What about you Dan? When did you launch your social media channels for Podcast Movement?
Dan from Podcast Movement: You know I think we only had a two week take off period, or runway where we started spreading the word about what we were doing before we actually did it. All we did was throw a one page-landing page on PodcastMovement.com. And what it was, was a quick overview of what the Podcast Movement was. It had names and features of the key speakers and it had a little email box that said be the first to find out when the campaign goes live. And there was a countdown for our campaign that started at two weeks and went all the way down to the last minute. What we really wanted to do was, just build that anticipation. Get the date, the launch date of the Kickstarter campaign in people’s heads. Build that anticipation so that people would want at 8 AM or 9 AM or whatever time it launched that day people would want to log in. Once we got those emails and we were getting closer to the launch date we would send out emails, update emails if we had any new speakers commit. We would send out updates on what the exclusive Kickstarter deals were so that people would want to go to the Kickstarter as soon as it launches so that people would be one of those first thirty to get say the VIP tickets or those early bird tickets. So we were doing that, but in terms of setting up the Twitter and Facebook we just did it about two weeks in advance and ran a few campaigns to get some likes on the Facebook page. But then on that landing page we had links to our Twitter and Facebook, so people could go and like it from there. The real Twitter and Facebook following didn’t start until after the campaign launched. Because that’s when people started sharing it and started coming to us instead of us going to them.
ZacBob: This is all great information, especially the landing page. You can do this not only two weeks in advance, but you can do it months in advance. I always stress to my audience email list building. If you go into your campaign with an established email list it only heightens the odds of success. Is there anyway Kickstarter could have made your experience better on their platform.
Dan from Podcast Movement: No it was pretty good, we got a couple front-page features or whatever you call it. We were never like the feature of the day but a couple of times I would go on the incognito tab in chrome and make sure I was viewing Kickstarter.com as a stranger and not myself so I wasn’t getting any of my local settings. And I noticed we were pretty high up on the front-page scroll bar. We got some good exposure there. I don’t mind the Kickstarter, but we wont be doing one next year because we got what we wanted out of the crowdfunding campaign which was the notoriety and the credibility on the front end. And people feeling safe and willing to contribute money on the front end knowing that if we didn’t reach our goal we wouldn’t, or they wouldn’t be out any money. So if there wasn’t a conference they wouldn’t pay for it or anything. Kickstarter did exactly what we wanted it to do, it was perfect for that, they could take out less fees (laughter). That’s just something on the side, I knew what we would pay going into it, so no complaints from me.
ZacBob: When you say the front page, I think you mean Popular projects portion right?
Dan from Podcast Movement: You know we might have been on popular because know that I’m looking at what its called, I think the page looks a little different from when we were on there. But yea when you scroll to the right a couple of times on popular we were on there. Definitely if you look at the local or the Dallas, Texas or anywhere in the area. We were definitely top four which was the front page for the local settings. But we definitely weren’t on staff picks or anything like that.
ZacBob: So your not running a crowdfunding campaign in 2015 to fund the conference a second time?
Dan from Podcast Movement: Were definitely having a conference, that’s already in the works, were locking up some keynote speakers now. The conference is definitely happening in 2015, however we feel like, the idea of Kickstarter was to give us credibility when really we might not have deserved any. Because it was nothing more than an idea. And it was for us to vet the idea without losing any money or without selling tickets to an event we maybe wont be able to do because we didn’t sell enough tickets. Because you never know, that’s one of the things with Kickstarter you never know what’s going to be a good idea, what you think is a good idea that no-one else will unless you vet that idea. And Kickstarter is a great way to do that because Kickstarter really forces people to put that money where there mouth is. A lot of times if you come up with an invention or some kind of product that like often times you see on Kickstarter. You might go to your family or your friends and tell them about it maybe even show them a prototype. You will get a lot of pats on the back like “yea buddy, that looks real cool, I like that. I will definitely buy one from you when you have it.” Its good to have that encouragement, but at the end of the day that’s just talk. Talk doesn’t turn into anything unless someone’s willing to pay for it. And Kickstarter, or any crowdfunding campaign for that matter really does ask people if you think its such a good idea then… Help me pay for it. So we wont need to do Kickstarter again now that we have our email list built, our fans built and our tickets sold. We are well on our way to not need crowdfunding for that anymore. With that being said, I would absolutely do a Kickstarter campaign or some type of crowdfunding campaign in the future for something unrelated.
ZacBob: Now were down to our final two questions. What is the one thing you wish you knew going into your crowdfunding campaign?
Dan from Podcast Movement: Hmm. That’s a good one. I don’t really know if there is anything I wish I knew. Like I said when I was going over our Kickstarter expense, was the only negative that they took out fees but I knew that going in. You know I have no complaints, there is nothing really that I wish I knew and quite honestly there’s not a whole lot that I would do differently. You know we got some good feedback on our campaign page, a lot of people liked the graphics that kind of went along with the video and the different reward levels. I think everything that we did was satisfactory, or more than satisfactory for what we wanted. So in terms of the Kickstarter campaign itself, there’s nothing I would do differently.
ZacBob: What is one tip, or a tool, or just advice that you could give to anyone in our audience listening and hoping to accomplish their very own crowdfunding goals?
Dan from Podcast Movement: You know you mentioned that not a lot of people use stretch goals and I don’t know if that’s true or not, and if that is true I would say utilize those stretch goals. Like I said we got to a point were a lot of our tickets had been sold, our original 11,000-dollar goal had been met. This started to plateau and flatten out a little bit in terms of sales. They weren’t happening that often and your biggest fans are the ones who got in early. Because they came in and signed up for the email list, and based on the countdown to when the campaign launched. So they are your biggest fans and going to be your biggest advocates. So you need to figure out the best way to get those people to not only fund your campaign but to also advocate for you and go out on social networks, and tell their friends and families about what’s going on. To me the best way to do that is to incentives it. So if you tell them okay you already contributed $79 dollars, you already know your getting that reward for that $79 dollars, however if you can get enough of your friends to contribute or your network to contribute for the overall goal of say $25,000 then you will get something in addition to that with absolutely no more money from you. And everyone wants to get more for less right? So if you can use those stretch goals to incentives your current contributors to bring you more contributors then there going to be the best sales people for you. That will save you money and save you time in other kinds of advertising campaigns to bring people to your Kickstarter. So that’s the biggest thing I would say is utilize those stretch goals, they can be anything. If you look around at successful Kickstarter campaigns you will see all different types of stretch goals. You might get a phone call from somebody famous, or a t-shirt like we did. Some bonus added on to the backside of your reward so they can be anything. Be creative do something specific for your conference or your product or whatever it is because the people have already contributed to you because there interested in what your doing. So don’t come up with something completely unrelated that they wont be interested in but really try to figure out what they were interested in that brought them to the campaign to begin with and what you can kind of continue that into a stretch goal and then go from there. But I really think that stretch goals are needed, you almost have to have them in order to get the most out of your campaign.
ZacBob: Awesome answer and its kind of been on the theme of this episode with your excellence performance and utilization of stretch goals for Podcast Movement. Where can people go to find out more about The Podcast Movement conference?
Dan from Podcast Movement: You can go to PodcastMovement.com and check out what were doing. The speakers list has been updated multiple, multiple times with some really huge names since Kickstarter ended. So those names you wont see on the Kickstarter page. But you can go to PodcastMovement.com and check out everything there, and check out what our campaign has been turned into. Its been a huge success so far and I’m super excited about what its going to turn into years and years from now. And any listeners that want to find out more about it just go to PodcastMovement.com
Dan from Podcast Movement: You can find me at my personal website which is DanFranks.me There it will talk about all the different projects I’m working on, how to get in touch with me. I would love to chat with anyone about any of my personal projects so hit me up and yea, lets talk.
ZacBob: Hopefully somebody listening learned a thing or two about stretch goals from a crowdfunding genius like yourself Dan. Thank you for coming on the show and sharing all the incredible crowdfunding insights.
Dan from Podcast Movement: Thanks Zac I had a blast.
ZacBob: I want to share a special thanks to our audience, this was our longest episode yet, I try to keep them around 30 minutes but sometimes like today, our guest just has to much useful information to share. Be sure to check out the show notes and leave me a review. All five star reviews will be eligible for our skullcandy earbuds drawing every week. Unfortunately I couldn’t make Podcast Movement this year so for any podcasters listening, I will see you at Podcast Movement 2015! Thanks for sticking around and happy crowdfunding. ZacBob out
Podcast Movement Links
Podcast Movement University
Podcast Movement Kickstarter
Podcast Movement Website
Podcast Movement Facebook
Podcast Movement Twitter
Crowdfunding Video – Elance.com
Dans Podcast Entrepreneur Showdown
Dans Podcast Men Seeking Tomahawks
Dans website DanFranks.me