Our Kickstarter experience #1
In 30 days with no marketing we raised $92,073. I don't claim to have the secret. But I am happy to share my story. We even launched a 2nd campaign and raised more. I will talk about that one in another post. For now, let me focus on our first Kickstarter campaign and what exactly happened.
April 1, 2015 - The worst day to launch.
We had no plans to launch on Kickstarter on April 1st. As struggling americans my brother and I needed money like anyone and wanted to launch 6-8 weeks earlier. But we ran into a few stumbling blocks and we decided to take our time. April 1st was 4 weeks away and we decided that would be perfect. April Fools was the best day to launch and the worst day to launch.
Our first day of sales were pretty bad. Keep in mind, we launched with zero fanfare and zero marketing plan. Not because we were naive but because we had no idea anyone would actually care. We felt confident that we could sell enough cards to purchase a new PS4 (our real goal). But I think we made $100-$200 in our first day and our goal was $7,500 and 29 days left. It wasn't looking good. Most comments believed our product to be fake given our launch date. That's why I say it was the worst day to launch. And any blog or site we asked didn't seem to believe us either. Luckily the day ended.
Our Joker Birthday Kickstarter launch video
A believer - DudeIWantThat.com
By day 2 we started to see sales pickup and people believed our product was real. I think we made $1,000. It was super exciting! How did this happen? A site we had never known about found us! They basically look at Kickstarter for great products and they found us. This was the beginning of the snowball. And while $1,000 was amazing we knew it couldn't last and $7,500 was far away. Was this a fluke day? Maybe. We still weren't very sure. On to day 3.
Day 3 - Viral Expansion, like a rocket ship with the windows down
I've read a lot about being "viral." I knew about the idea but only now did I actually experience it. It is exhilarating and it's like riding a rocket ship with the window down. It feels great! But at no point did I kid myself and believe it wouldn't end...but with each new high I wondered where exactly it would stop.
I woke up in the morning to $500 by 730 am. And if you have the kickstarter app you receive a notification for every new backer. Every minute or so a new notification and another $15-$30. We started to show up on affiliate websites and Kickstarter Magic was helping us and our ranking was building.
By the end of Day 3 we made $3,000+. We knew we were going to hit our goal. But the biggest news was about to arrive. In the afternoon we received two inquires from CNET and ABC News. They wanted permission to share our and we quickly agreed. And while we the CNET article arrived on Easter weekend traffic didn't slow down and we had a $5k day and a $7k day. Kickstarter purchase notifications were hitting every 1-3 seconds and I couldn't even text my friends w/out a new notifications blocking me. It was insane! My brother and I were hanging out at our dads house and I did my best to reply to backers, bloggers and the rest. Happy Easter!
The second week was more viral expansion. Radio shows. Bloggers. Podcasts. We had 5 am calls and would be busy all day if not back-to-back phone calls. All for a greeting card! We knew it was a great idea but this was above and beyond what we assumed. 9 days in and BuzzFeed picked us up and we trended on BuzzFeed at top 13! We made $13,000 in a single day with BuzzFeed. By this time we were around $50k raised and super happy. But we had no brand, no corporation, no website! We had a lot to do. I'll write about this later. By day 30 we earned $92,073. This was no April Fools, this was real.
So we made a logo and purchased www.jokergreting.com. Oh, and we incorporated.
"What if it never stopped?"
The #1 was question was "How did you come up with this idea?" A greeting card that never stops playing music. The truth is, my brother and I were just playing with a musical greeting card, laughing at it and wondering why anyone would buy them. We didn't see the novelty. Nick, my brother, and I tend to make fun of each other and everything and Nick just asked a question, "what if it never stopped?". We laughed a bunch and then quickly realized the potential. Then we asked it more seriously "Yeah, what if it never stopped?" That was it. We were poking at the universe and and the universe poked back.
Within the hour we knew we would launch this on Kickstarter. We just didn't know it would take us 2 years to get around to it. But the idea lingered and that proved useful. Finally I decided to just make the investment and build the product.
This was a basic overview of the exciting stuff. The dreams that many have when they launch. No marketing plan. No fancy ads. Just a great product and a great video. And it does work. It won't work for everyone. But it worked for us.
Next time I want to talk more about longevity and how we have sustained profitability. How did we deliver those 3,000 orders and 9,000 cards? And the many bumps and bruises after Kickstarter. If you have any questions please email me.
co-founder of www.jokergreeting.com