Last week, I wrote about the XY team, who had the unfortunate luck of being a victim in fraud. Their project had been copied by an impostor who tried to raise funds on Indiegogo. In the process of getting down to the bottom of this fraudulent scammer on Indiegogo, I decided to let lead developer, Nick Trouw, tell me how they managed to raise $173,660 from 3,502 backers with 6 days to go.
Their project, the XY – Secure iOS/Android Bluetooth Tracking Tag is nothing new. There have been wildly successful projects (Chipolo and Tile) in crowdfunding that focused on many of the same features XY offers. However, the XY team focused their efforts to differentiate themselves from similar competitors and fund a very successful project. Enjoy the interview!
How much research did you do on successful campaigns prior to your launches?
Nick Trouw: We broke our research into 2 groupings. One was successful campaigns overall, looking into campaigns like Oculus, Pebble, and Ouya. The other was looking into projects like ours which included the Tile and Chipolo. We wanted to break down all of the successful things they had done, and unsuccessful things to better execute on our project.
Were you worried about starting your project since Chipolo and Tile had already been successful?
NT: Yes and No. For Chipolo and other like Stick-N-Find, they had been made but across the board did not seem like a solid product. Anybody can make a BLE tracking device. It’s a battery and a chip. What is really important is it’s design and usability of the app to go along with the device. From our research and compared to what we’re building, no one has done it yet.
What was your main marketing weapon?
NT: We had a press release that went out when our Kickstarter went live. We also had really great feedback from Kickstarter itself. We were really blown away by their help. Once we launched at 9pm PST, we had backers with in minutes funneling from Kickstarter. We tried using traditional banner advertising but found that did not work very well.
Would you recommend doing a press release again?
NT: Its hard to say. When we started with the release we focused our product messaging on the hardware that was involved in the project which did not seem to resonate well. Once we focused our product messaging on the things we were excited about, like great design and user experience, we began to see more backers. Had we launched with the correct messaging to begin with, a press release might have been more valuable.
When you focused on social media, were you more focused on Facebook, Twitter, or others?
NT: Everyone on our team focused on social network they were most familiar with. We one person focused on Facebook, one person handling the twitter feed, and i’ve been focused on handling anything via Reddit. As long as you have an authentic message, Reddit has been a great resource for us. [Nick and I met via Reddit, and I’ve written about how to maximize Reddit success].
Tell me how important your inner social circles were at launch time. Did you rely on them for the first 5% of your goal?
NT: I don’t it was quite 5% but we basically had alerted everybody that we know that we were embarking on a Kickstarter so they knew when launch date was. I think we could account for the first $1500 of the campaign to be from people in our social circles. Their is nothing more sad than a Kickstarter with no backers. We wanted to be on the recently launched list with some backers. Even if your social circle can’t financially support your project, sharing on social media always helps.
You guys did a great video. How long did it take to complete?
NT: The video was done from concept to final cut in 10 days, which you can imagine was stressful. When you factor in all the work we have to be doing every day, and then completing these shoots, retakes, and voice overs, it’s a lot to do. After shooting, it’s making sure everything flows as we planned in the script, and we’re sending the right product message.
How much experience did you have in manufacturing prior to this project?
NT: We don’t have any in this specific device. Our parent company, Webble, has a COO who has a great deal experience and connections in China. He has been handling that side of this project. It’s great to have someone who has the experience in what could be a very tricky part of a Kickstarter project.
Tell me about the process of choosing the right manufacturer?
NT: Prior to the project, our COO had used his connections in finding the right manufacturer to deliver the XY. Interestingly, once we hit our Kickstarter goal ($45K) we began being contacted by manufacturers and distributors overseas who wanted to produce our product or be the exclusive seller in those areas. We still decided on the manufacturer that our COO had chosen, however we’re still working with potential distributors after we’ve delivered the XY to our backers.
Every project wants to be super funded, how could you better prepare for this?
NT: Its tough to say because it’s a hindsight situation but for us it was the product messaging. Once we had really shifted our messaging to features our backers cared about, like better design and an easy user interface, we succeeded a lot more. We received a lot of feedback that depicted us as being the same as the Tile. While we might be in theory, our product really separates itself on design and user experience. It was important our potential backers knew that.
How often do you send updates to backers?
NT: We focus on only telling our backers important stuff. until this point we have sent an update to our backers once a week. We have also benefitted from backers answering other backers in our comment section. It really helps to have that positive community behind your project.
Did you ask your backers to share your project once they had backed the project?
NT: Yes. We sent a personalized message to every backer thanking them for their contribution and welcoming them to our family. In the message we provided links to share our campaign.
Any other advice for a future project creator that I may have missed?
NT: Don’t be afraid to change your messaging. If your story isn’t resonating with with your potential backers, be willing to tell another side of your product that might interest in them. It’s tough to say what part of your product will excite a backer into supporting your product.
You can view the XY – Secure Bluetooth Tracking Tag on Kickstarter.
Anything I missed? Please let me know in the comments below what you would like to know from other successful project creators in the future.