I started MBWW with the goal of helping others kick start their watch designs into reality, so naturally I’m often approached by people looking for advice on how to go about their campaigns. I provide a lot of advice from my own experience and I was curious as to how that advice lined up with the experiences of other crowd funders. So I’m pleased to introduce Jack Zhang of Valachio Watches who has kindly offered to share what he’s learned campaigning.

valachio watches forest

A quick introduction.  My name is Jack and I’m an 18 year old entrepreneur looking to start his own watch brand.  As you can imagine with my inexperience with starting a business, the watch industry, and life in general, I made a fair share of mistakes.  Even though I am by no means an expert at Kickstarter, I hope some of the things I write about here will be useful for your campaign albeit they might give you the thought of “well duh… that’s obvious!”

5 things I learned after running 2 Kickstarter campaigns

  1. Organic social media content was not very helpful. We have over 1000 followers on Instagram and just under 200 likes on Facebook.  From the backer report, I don’t think we got a single backer from any of our social media pages.  The amount of likes on your Facebook page or the amount of followers on your Instagram page are not a good representation of the popularity of your brand; especially since you can buy 1000 Instagram followers for $10…

  2. Do not excessively check your campaign page to see if the total pledge amount is going up. I’m still guilty of doing this.  It is rather depressing to see your pledge amount remain stagnant (especially in the mid to late stages of the campaign) and you will lose motivation if you fall into this trap.  Instead of checking your campaign page every 20 seconds, find something else to do that is more productive to do like finding new journalists who might be interested in covering your work.

  3. Don’t expect online ads to be magical backer-generating tools. I went into my relaunch with a hefty marketing budget and expectations of great conversion rates.  We used Reddit Ads, Facebook Ads, Google Adwords and Kicktraq’s banner ads.  So far, we have dumped about $450 USD in total for marketing and I think we got anywhere from 3-10 backers; meaning we’re losing money on our marketing.  You might fare better if you’re experienced with using online marketing tools but just remember, don’t expect magic to happen the moment you start using them if you never used them before.

  4. Just like everyone says; your campaign will stagnate in the middle to late parts. Our first unsuccessful campaign hit 45% in 7 days, 70% in 15 days, and 74% in 30 days.  As you can imagine, we were fully expecting a 150% successful campaign at the 15 day mark but it was merely a fond mirage.  Do understand that if you do not continue marketing your campaign and find creative ways to keep up the momentum, people will simply not be exposed to your campaign and you will not find backers.

  5. Having really good marketing is more important than having a really good product. Unfortunately, the most successful watch Kickstarter campaigns are not necessarily the most innovative, but the best marketed.  If you design and produce a truly unique watch, but nobody hears about it, then what’s the point?  You can’t sell a product if nobody knows about it.  However, if you have a nice looking watch that is nothing too special but you get half a million people’s attention with it, then obviously at least a small fraction of the half a million will be interested in buying your watches.  Now if you can produce an alluring watch with strong marketing to back it up, then you might just have a recipe for delicious success.

Thanks Jack! I think you hit on some key points here. Campaigners often make the mistake of seeing social media followers as sales prospects rather than leads. They also don’t have a strategy for creating a sales funnel and integrating their ad campaigns to channel leads into customers. This is a key consideration for any online focused business.

sales funnel

Social followers sit at the top of the funnel as leads at best, you still need to work to turn them into prospects and then customers. Ads should be pulling people into the top of the funnel as well as converting them into prospects and customers. 

Jack’s latest campaign for Valachio Watches is in it’s final week and has had a positive reception from several watch blogs. Take a look and help him cross the finish line

If you would like to share your own crowdfunding experiences, as a backer or creator, please get in touch! nickw@microbrandwatchworld.com