So this weekend I am working on a few thing:
1. The email blast for next week - based on the state that our users live in
The thing that I have learned about this campaign is NOT to make it seem as though we are asking for money. It is necessary to appeal to people on the basis that they have the chance to participate in something important - something big that is being built.
2. Email outreach to bloggers that we have worked with in the past. In return for spreading the news about our campaign we will offer them some of the cool giveaways that we have built into the campaign.
3. An article on women in tech who are currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo
So - this is exciting. Today I read an article by @usertesting - Steven MacDonald on UserTesting.com
And in it he mentions www.ScreenPopper.com so I’ve built a pop up to direct our traffic to the Indiegogo Campaign that we are running. We get a lot of traffic on our site and I being able to send any of it to the Indiegogo site would be a good win for us and might boost our GOGO Rating which would mean Indiegogo would feature our campaign - which would be a huge bonus and help drive our eventual success.
I’m really excited about seeing how the ScreenPopper might affect our campaign. The site has a free trial so I have tried that out. If it works well - it might make perfect sense for us to use it in other ways on our site as well. They have a very cool option that lets you put a tab on the side of the screen and I think we might use that to push out coupon codes for affiliates on our site. We’re an affiliate for Diapers.com which is a great site for our users, and being able to send them there with a coupon code could be a really good thing. My mind is already swimming with things that we might do with it.
What else have I done in the past few days? We got an answer from our local Westfield Patch.com editor and she asked us some questions about our fundraising campaign. Hopefully they will carry and article on our campaign and that might help too.
So - we’ve still got high hopes for this - as we close in on 35 days.
What did I do today?
Alright - well - I can see how people say that once you launch a crowdfunding campaign your whole life revolves around it.
So today (after I did my first full time job, my second part time job - welcome to the life of a single mom entrepreneur!) I spent time doing the following:
1. Adding advertisements to our site for the campaign. I swapped out all of our affiliate ads for ads pointing to our Indiegogo campaign - highlighting everything from our giveaways to just making small $dollar donations.
2. Tweaked two major email pushes we are making.
One to Investors
One to bloggers
We’ll be sending these out on Monday and Tuesday. We use Mailchimp (which I love), and then we’ll include personal messages on the emails as well.
3. Sent out a Facebook post (on my personal page). I’ll also use one of the ads as a photo on a Facebook update to our Hatchedit.com users
4. I also have a good plan using the Networking tool that is part of Twitter app Embedle. I’ve been wanting to try this feature out for some time and THIS is the perfect opportunity!
What i would love to know is if anyone has used any of the firms that specialize in Indiegogo and Kickstarter marketing - trying to get eyeballs on campaigns.
CONFESSION: Yesterday was New Year’s Eve and I didn’t really do much of anything to promote the campaign.
BUT - today - I worked on an update letter to send to all of the people we reached out to over the past year regarding funding and investing in Hatchedit.com.
We have met with a few people and pitched at quite a few venture capital events. We have also made use of investor sites such as AngelList.com. The thought is that we will send those people a 2013 Year End Review of our Accomplishments along with the information on our New Project and the Indiegogo Fundraising Campaign.
Alrighty! Well, I know this is a quiet time of year for crowdfunding. That was a risk that we took. But it is also a big time of year for calendaring and organizing which is the basis of our tools so we hoped that might give us some interest as well. We will see.
Because I pushed out a press release the first night we launched (though did not forsee to somehow add a link to the campaign in the press release DOH!) I took some recently released social media information (PEW RESEARCH) that has been in the news and emailed a few people that might be of interest in covering what we are doing (social media platform targeting women - who are the biggest users of almost every social media platform)….and a crowdfunding campaign. Its hard to know what to focus in on as the important STORY that a journalist/blogger/etc might want to tell.
I emailed a few tech/entrepreneurship places - but I also emailed a few people whom I really like and admire and read often. I tweeted a few also when I could. I tried not to come off as SPAMMY or stalkerish. Really I am just hoping that someone sees as much that is interesting in what we want to do as I do. Its a gamble.
The local Patch writer returned my Tweet - which is great. I will follow up with her again early next week if I don’t hear back from my emailed response. But I wanted to try and do as much with our press release as I could.
Next step? I will be emailing all of the bloggers that we have met - we created a lot of our donation enticements around bloggers and the prospective ability to have a secured place on our platform to advertise for events - so I will let them know about that and ask them to share it with their readers as well. We’ve had two years of blogging and attending blogging conferences and reaching out to bloggers so I’m hoping those relationships will be a boost to our campaign.
So late last night we launched an INDIEGOGO campaign.
I’ve decided that it is the perfect thing to write about - because as there are many articles and how tos on what to do when running a crowdfunding campaign - I really did not see too many that followed someone running a campaign as they did it (and as they learned on the fly). I figure that if I am going to be religious about doing one thing every day in order to promote or market our INDIEGOGO campaign - then I should hold myself to also writing about what each of those efforts are in the spirit of keeping my focus, and helping anyone else who happens to stumble upon this series of posts.
How I Created My IndieGOGO Campaign
Our IndieGOGO campaign can be found HERE
Truth be told, I originally started out creating this on Kickstarter. I am loathe to admit that I somehow overlooked the fact that any sort of Social Network is not allowed to raise funding on Kickstarter. That was really dumb on my part - because I jumped through a million hoops to get our Amazon Payments Account up and running. That “We have declined your Kickstarter Campaign” email was a real kick in the teeth. BUT after so much work - there was no way I was going to slow down.
Plus - John Biggs, a Tech a Tech Crunch reporter had just posted his own crowdfunding campaign on IndieGOGO and had success with that - so I was feeling like maybe these were all signs that IND#mce_temp_url#IEGOGO was a better platform for us anyway (or trying to convince myself of that fact).
These are the things that I did to prepare (my campaign took a good 3-4 weeks to really perfect).
1. Multiple drafts of our sales pitch. I had a few people read through it to make sure that it made sense. I tried to make it fun and simple to understand and I included a mock up drawing of how we envision our Local Events and Activities Calendar to work.
2. A good video. I used a few tools to make our video. I’m a huge fan of Camtasia - so that is what I used to put the whole thing together. Its well worth the (pretty cheap) expense of buying the software to use it - and you can always try it out for FREE - I’ve DEFINITELY gotten my money’s worth out of it between short videos we’ve done for conferences, and instructional videos we have made for the site.
I also used VideoScribe in order to change things up - and spent a few dollars on a Getty Video snippet to try and give the video a more professional look. I had to re-do my voiceover (which was very easy thanks to Camtasia) to try and sound less soothing and more ENERGETIC (lol) and to shorten it because I was running long. Everyone says keep your video to a minute and a half or less.
3. REWARDS!! I admit this was the most difficult part for me. We don’t have an ITEM to sell - which makes it a lot tougher. I did decide to offer a few tangible items - and then it occurred to me that we DO have a great deal of power in our existing site. I figured I would make advertising offers, offers for free link exchanging, anything I could give away in terms of reaching the thousands of people that already use our site in return for a donation for our big dream/Phase Two. I don’t know if I would have thought of all those freebies if I hadn’t taken so long to develop the campaign and then had to switch everything over to Indiegogo from Kickstarter - so that was another blessing in disguise.
I would urge anyone trying to come up with rewards to try and think about offering something special. What also seems to go over well is early access to things.
What I see as our biggest challenges are:
Our target audience is women/moms - and I don’t know how active that audience is or how experienced they are at Crowdfunding. They are also notoriously difficult to reach online - they will do anything for their kids, but rarely just spend money on something like investing in crowdfunding.
Getting press for our campaign. I think that most tech journalists are flooded with people pitching startups and crowdfunding campaigns. I think at this point it takes something really original combined with being in the right place at the right time to get written about.
Indiegogo’s blog has a lot of good resources on it for getting the word out and I intend to mine that for ideas. I have a list of about 20 things that I intend to do over the next few weeks - and I will keep you updated with how those things do or do not affect our campaign.
Fingers crossed - because I really do believe in the project that we are trying to fund. We have also completely bootstrapped our entire site so far - as well as the iphone and android apps that we developed. So this next step is something that we hopes results in our efforts meeting with our users enthusiasm.
I LOVE customer service interactions.
Tonight I got to speak on the phone with one of our users. That is always a BLAST for me.
It still blows my mind anytime I speak with an actual Hatchedit.com user.
How amazing to have built a product that people find a use for in their life.
Nothing more potent and addicting than knowing that you are providing a service that people need.
Thanks Hatchedit.com users!!!
Stephanie Azzarone (@ChildsPlayComm) wrote an interesting post 2013: The End Of The Mommy Blogger? (Hat tip to intrepid tech reporter Esther Surden over at NJTechWeekly for drawing my attention to that article – we had JUST been speaking about it!) After I read it I posted a comment on Twitter. That conversation (thanks to Embedle!) engaged @packfutur who asked me a question that has inspired me to write this post.
I love social media (how else could three of us engage in a conversation about a topic that interests us all without ever having met before that moment!). Okay – so those shout outs out of the way – here are my thoughts on the question:
“Think we’ll ever get one—“influence tracking tool,” I mean? Right now it’s a shifting landscape as people try out everything.”
First of all – I think that its something that any entrepreneur worth their salt should be working on figuring out. Heck, even if you just figured out how to gauge the influence of specifically mom bloggers – you are talking about a $5 trillion reach!
KLOUT has started tracking social media influence. BIT.ly also shows people the influence that they have on the links they share on social media. But for me – as both a business owner and a blogger, neither one helps me figure out my reach. After all, KLOUT tracks my social media outreach, but cannot tell me about the influence of my FORBES blog posts. It doesn’t analyze the comments section of my blog. And it doesn’t track the comments I make on other blogs or other sites. The comments section of blogs (especially of mommy blogs – where some easily rack up to a hundred or more comments per post) are really important on analyzying the influence of certain people online.
New tool Embedle offers people a way to bring those comments into the social world, and maybe as they take off in popularity KLOUT will also include them in their influence analysis algorithm.
The solution? I don’t know. But there are ways that hopefully these analytic tools are discussing implementing.
Wouldn’t it be great if KLOUT offered me a toolbar button that allowed me to leave a trackable “signature” every time I offered a comment or posted somewhere that they didn’t track. I could leave a comment on DIGG and leave my KLOUT signature on the comment and that would track all the comments that respond to mine! Of course, we’d also need it to work when we post from our phones, but one step at a time J
The interesting idea would be giving everyone a single online identity by which they could track and analyze the reach of their personal brand.
This is really what Facebook had in mind – by creating the Facebook Citizen – whereby we all have one real online identity. It’s why Google suddenly realized they needed to get into that game and created Google+ - which I believe has been built from conception to someday achieve this sort of analytics.
It’s a really cool thing to think about. And whoever can create the tool that allows brands (big and individual) to track their influence, will not only do the web a great service, but all of us who work so hard to create original content, engage our users and the people we interact with online and need a way to show that value to the people who want to pay for that influence!
Thanks @packfutur (The Twitter handle for Future of Packaging)
I was watching Project Runway All Stars last week (on DVR - not sure when it aired) - and yes - I am admitting that sometimes I DVR Project Runways - look - there’s not a TON to choose from on tv…
Anyway - this one episode claimed that the show was going to have DIGITAL INTERACTION with the audience. Well that perked my ears up. Sounds cool.
I wonder what they are going to do?
What would the Jetsons be doing to interact with Project Runway?? (because please if you are going to tout yourselves as having a digital interaction with your audience - you really better Jetson the hell out of me).
- Would they be live streaming a hologram fashion show into homes across the nation?
- Would I be able to face the same challenge as the crew from my home and whip up my own creation and let the judges see it via a skype teleconference?
- Would votes be tallied by measuring the heart rates of the global audience through their FDA approved iPhone cases? (that’s a good one, huh?)
They would pick pictures sent in by viewers. The interactive part is that the pictures would be sent in through Twitter (which wouldn’t even let you send in an artsy Instagram filtered photo now anyway). SIGH.
They may as well have told us to mail the pictures in. So much for digital interaction.
Splurging $34 on new Jersey sheets at Target and feeling guilty as hell that the money didn’t go towards advertising.
Its been a long day.
Its been a lot of long days.
Entreprenuriship is definitely glamorous.
It was a typical day.
Wake up - shower, dress, get kid to school
Remember to give her lots of cash. For lunch money. For afterschool snack. For taxi service to tennis lesson. For dinner at tennis club.
Make taxi reservation.
Drop her tennis stuff off at my sister’s house so she has it afterschool.
Go to starbucks. Order Venti Mocha.
Kill 30 minutes reviewing emails and site stats.
Try to order breakfast sandwich - learn deli is not serving breakfast.
Go to work (and by work I mean the temp job I do 40 hours a week to keep food on the table!)
Eat sleeve of ritz crackers for lunch.
Drive through bumper to bumper traffic to Hoboken.
Attend NJ Tech Meetup group.
Smile and chat with people during networking session.
Tweet brilliant angel investor’s talk.
Hoof it back to car and drive 30 minutes home.
Spend 5 minutes of quality time with kid.
Eat leftover quesadilla that kid didn’t finish for dinner. (silently berate myself for not yet going to supermarket to replenish food lost to Hurricane Sandy 12 day power outage).
Work on site stuff.
Put together info for pitch to brands.
Procrastinate working on white paper.
Decide to write Tumblr post.
Take picture for post. Spend 5 minutes lamenting how my fat knees look. (How does one get fat knees when all one has eaten all day is a coffee, a sleeve of ritz, and two pieces of leftover chicken quesadilla????)
Procrastinate on going to bed because I’m just going to lay there thinking of the million and one things I should be working on.
Hope to get 6 hours of sleep before I do it again.
You know why I will do it again? Because I love it.
You know how I can do it again? Because I helped build www.hatchedit.com the very site that as a mom - lets me stay organized and coordinated with my support network.
I consider myself very lucky. I was able to flee to my parents house last Wednesday after the Hurricane hit and have been warm and comfortable in their house waiting for electricity and heat to be restored to my apartment in Springfield.
However, having 5 days with nothing to do and not much planned is not ideal when you are an entrepreneur and are chomping at the bit to get USERS USERS USERS!!!
So - I sat here, made a list and tackled everything I could in the downtime - rather than be tempted by all of the soap operas my mom has had running on the television. Hopefully this may give someone else some ideas of things that can be done in downtime.
1. Create a new video.
I used Powerpoint and Camtasia to create the below video which we will swap out with our old one and use on our landing page. I think it looks pretty sleek! I bought the music online pretty cheap, and bought all of the images on iPhoto (I’m paranoid about copyright infringements - and I’m also an artist that likes to play by the book when it comes to other artists’ work). The music site I found was pretty damned cool - melodyloops.
Pretty cool right?
I’m also working on some step-by-step videos for some areas on the site that need better “how to” prompting. Videos are hard because they really require a person to sit down and think it out and create and edit at a few hours a clip. You can’t really just do it for a few minutes at a time - so this hurricane refugee thing really worked well on forcing me to sit still and get this all worked out.
Also - FYI - it took quite a few tries to get “right”. At first I had a lot of wordy voiceover talking. But then - I thought about my filmmaking roots (NYU TISCH Grad here!) and everyone knows you only use voiceover when your story or imagery is weak. So I rethought all of the imagery and found we didnt’ really need the voiceover at all for this video. (Although I will do voiceovers for the briefer “How To” videos) And isn’t that music great?
2. SEO your YouTube Account - I went back in to our videos on our YouTube channel and tried to really make them more search engine friendly. Re-tagged them and put in our new lingo.
3. Brush up on your social media skills. This weekend I learned all about buying youtube views as well. We’re experimenting with that - we’ll see what happens. I find all of this very interesting. And heck - its cheap - so we’ll see. I will take it with a grain of salt now if anyone ever tells me a video of theirs has gotten 100k views. Because you can get that for about $100!!
I am also taking the time to try and be more vigilant about interacting with our Facebook followers - and using Embedle.com to upload interesting stories to my Twitter feed.
4. Check your Brand. How are your branding efforts doing? Thinking about tweaking some things? Take some time to sit down and really think about what should define you to your users. Then go back and see if your wording on the site and in social media - matches what you want your brand perception to be.
5. Press - go through and organize press contacts and your press outreach plan. I’m also working on the release of a big white paper later this week (although I’m procrastinating like a mofo on actually writing the damned thing!). But I can procrastinate through organizing the press outreach and then its not so bad. :)
Sometimes it feels like when you create a product for women that anyone can compare (even distantly) to another product then everyone dismisses you. Yet products for men can copy each other and never face the same - “we’ve already seen that” comments.