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6 Key Reasons of Maker UNO Success In Kickstarter
In fact, this is not our first attempt to do crowdfunding for our product. The first was our Reconfigurable Robot (rero) in 2014 at Indiegogo which we fail miserably achieving the $45,000 funding goal. It was a painful experience for me and my team because initial thought was that Kickstarter and Indiegogo are magic platforms for us to raise million of dollars overnight.
However, it was a great learning experience which in turn leads to the latest success of Maker UNO’s campaign in Kickstarter. We launched Maker Uno at Kickstarter on 23rd Of March and managed to raised USD$63K from 1878 individuals populated from 64 countries around the world within a month’s campaign.
In this article, I would like to share 6 tips that we have learnt from both projects and deemed are the key factors to a successful crowdfunding project.
One of the key difference between rero campaign and Maker UNO was the minimum pledge amount. The lowest pledge amount we offered at rero campaign was $239 compare to $4 during the Maker UNO campaign. Although it is not definite but we found out that people would be more willing to give it a try if you could offer something below $10. They may increase their pledge amount later if you managed to gain their trust through your interactions with the community along the campaign.
By the end of our campaign, the most popular pledge was $25 although we started from $4.
If you are familiar with kickstarter campaign, you would noticed that most of the very successful campaigns achieved their funding goal in the first few hours after the campaign goes live. This is actually a “predesigned” funding goal meaning they set the goal which they think can be hit in the first few hours. Most of the time, it doesn’t really reflect the actual fund they need to complete the project. There are 2 reasons for doing this: i. People are more likely to browsethrough the projects that are fully funded; ii. It will motivate those that are still consider to back the project.
For Maker UNO case, we set a relatively low funding goal ($3500) which we targeted to achieve on the first day of the campaign. Totally out of our expectation, we did it in less than 24 minutes!
The supports that help us to hit the funding goal are usually our own family members, friends and supporters. They help us to create the first momentum that lasts for the first 24 hours. In order to go further, we need to keep the momentum going by convincing the people outside your circle of influence. These people do not know you, never heard of you and do not have trust in you. We need help from third party who are influential in your targeted audience group. They could be the online blogger, youtuber or the online media that related to your industry.
We contacted the bloggers in both Malaysia and overseas 1-2 months before the campaign, asked them if they could review the product and publish it during the campaign. They are happy to do that for you most of the time if your product is unique and solving critical problems for their followers.
Fortunately enough, we also won the heart of the online media from overseas including the German Make Magazine, fabcross from Japan and engineering.com from Canada. These quality posts contributed almost 10% of our total fund raised and most important is the exposure to the countless of potential buyers that do not know us before this.
Before we launch, we understand that it is crucial to be selected as “Project We Love” by Kickstarter and featured in their weekly newsletter. We studied quite a lot from the Kickstarter’s alumni on how to be featured by Kickstarter and finally we concluded that there is no shortcut for that. “Project We Love” is selected by a group of staff in Kickstarter where they review manually to identify which project is unique, and the entire story telling of the project including the video, images, as well as the rewards.
You can read more from Kickstarter on how to get featured. Indeed it is a great honor for us to be featured by Kickstarter and at the same time it brought a very good result as more than 60% of the pledges were coming from the Kickstarter community.
Kickstarter is a community built up by people who care about idea, innovation and faith. They wish to interact with the project owner and the team behind it, not the third party marketeers. So don’t be worried if you don’t have professional knowledge in marketing or possess any contact with the media. You don’t have to. You just have to be yourself and tell the community why you created the project. Most of the time, the paid marketeers do not understand your product as much as you do and they don’t really care about your customers as much as you do.
The most important thing is being genuine and transparent. I believe we are still able to win the customers’ heart without assigning the third party marketing company to run the campaign.
More than 85% of the backers came from oversea. 30% from United States, followed by Germany 22%, Australia 12% and the rest stretches across 60 other countries where we do not have any friends or contacts there. This is the sign of ‘product-market-fit’ where the product is able to take off with minimum marketing spending.
There is no concrete method or guide on how to build a product with ‘product-market-fit’. We just have to put it into the market to see whether people like it or not. A product with ‘product-market-fit’ is able to speak for itself and it is the most important factor for a successful Kickstarter campaign.
We were thrilled looking at the number of support as well as the positive feedback from the global market on a homegrown educational product. Once again, it proves that Malaysia have the talents and ecosystem to build a quality educational product that can export to the global market. When you are admiring at an imported product, you do not know that our overseas customers are at the same time admiring the product we developed and built in Malaysia.
Besides our own team in Cytron, I wish to thanks for the help and blessing from our partners, Arus Academy and MDEC. Without their contribution and collaboration, Maker UNO project could not have come this far. We hope we are able to launch more local product to the community not only for Malaysia but for the world.