About six months ago we discussed a crowdfunding pre-launch of our second generation water filter TAPP 2. We had no prior experience and we knew that the majority of crowdfunding projects fail.
— What if you fail?
— Then at least we learn…
After much debate we decided that it would be worth the risk and that we would make it our top priority for 2017 to make the crowdfunding campaign a success. Subsequently we evaluated partners and crowdfunding platform. We ended up choosing Indiegogo on the basis of one of our advisors who had previously worked there and we felt it would be a good fit.
Now the hard work started. Landing pages, videos, photo sessions, pre-launch campaigns, e-mail marketing, PR and creating the actual campaigns. We went all in! For our little team of 7 people it took up 50% of all our time for about 3 months, time that otherwise would have been spent on the existing business.
But it was not just us. We also involved
- a video production agency
- a crowdfunding consultant with experience of 100+ campaigns
- PR people in US, UK, Spain and Germany
- the Indiegogo team supporting us in reviewing the campaign
The preparation work
The first advise we got is that it’s all about the preparations.
To achieve a 30,000 USD target with an average backing of $100 you need approx 6000 people signed up as interested in the campaign prior to launch. The alternative is pure luck of course with PR taking off, celebrity endorsements or a video going viral. But that’s the exception and not the rule.
We did the hard prep work spending about $10,000 on advertising across Facebook and Google to get e-mail sign-ups. In the beginning cost was over $10 per sign-up but this slowly went down over time to about $3–5. All in all we spent at least $20,000 on the campaign with a target of raising a minimum of $30,000. Success does not come cheap.
During the campaign we also found out that many crowdfunding creators put in significant money themselves in the first couple of days or offer extremely steep discounts early on. The goal is to achieve the targets fast and then get a big upside through positive PR and social media support as the campaign is a success. In retrospect we probably should have set a lower initial target of e.g. $10,000.
The difficult journey to success
The TAPP water campaign hit about $10,000 in the first day, then approximately $1500 per day for the next 3 days, slowed down to $1000 per day for another 10 days and then down to $500 per day. Once every person on the email lists, social media and friends and family have been targeted 5 times or more and journalists have been contacted a couple of times there’s not much campaigners can do. Referral programs, Backersclub, Backerland, other campaigns and communities can help a bit but it’s not guaranteed at all. It gets really tough when the campaign slows down and all the tools and contacts have been used. This is how most crowdfunding projects die.
But we did it!
Despite a challenging last couple of weeks I’m happy to say that we finally made it! With about 300 backers supporting TAPP 2 including some super backers through our retail partners ours is one of the less than 10% that succeeded in generating more than $30,000.
And now it feels like it was worth all the hard work. Maybe even more because it was an enormous challenge.
More importantly the first 500 total filters sold will result in 250,000 eliminates bottles of water in 2018. That’s a our biggest win!
What can we learn from the experience?
Crowdfunding is not easy. A couple of our lessons learned are
- Even with the best advisors there’s no magic, it’s all about hard work.
- The prelaunch sign-ups are everything to ensure success. Without, it’s pure luck and most likely a failure.
- Beyond the prelaunch work some luck with timing and media is required to raise a lot of money trough crowdfunding
In our case it was definitely worth the effort even if the money upside is small. The early customer insights, content feedback and pressure to deliver the product has been great.
We want to thank all the people involved in this effort including
- The Indiegogo team including Joel Hughes, Adeeti Goswami and John Vaskis
- Our crowdfunding advisor Anastasia Emmanuel
- PR teams in Spain (Canela), Germany and US (Courtney)
- Advisory board including Rasmus, Neil and Patrick
- Video producers
- Thomas and Nicole for the photo shoot location
- Facebook and our amazing Facebook consultant Christian Erthel
- Retail partners including Green Spa for believing in us
- Our crowdfunding partners including Minut
- MoS Design for support
- The amazing team at TAPP
- And last but not least our 300 backers!
With your help we did it! THANK YOU!
Interested in learning more about our crowdfunding campaign or partnering with TAPP in the future. Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
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