I come from the great nation of Slovenia 🇸🇮 (population: 2 million), and we rock at launching Kickstarter campaigns. Yearly we launch 75-100 crowdfunding campaigns with an approx. 25% success rate. Naturally, I had to take part in this national sport. In February and March 2016, we launched Bluejay on Kickstarter. Whereas the Kickstarter campaign itself is well-documented in my LinkedIn posts $30,000 raised in 48 hours: How did we do it? and Reaching $100,000 on Kickstarter: Analytics, challenges, and lessons learned, I want to explain the problem-solution fit research for the product, which was done in August and September 2015. What I love the most about this gig was its pure focus on the unit economics. Our growth hacking experimentation process was focused on CAC/LTV ratio from the first day on. The other important learning for me was a lean startup lesson on how to test the audience and value propositions. I have discussed this in my Eazl interview Maja Voje on Growth Hacking for Audience Identification, Lead Generation, and Fundraising. In retrospective, I would do some things differently today, but I was learning the growth hacking process on the job and therefore, I am very passionate to present the most interesting aspects of this project.
Problem-Solution Fit, Product-Market Fit (and everything in between 😂)
Hardware is hard by definition. Before the CEO decided to invest in launching a Kickstarter campaign, our job was to find an ultimate target market for the gadget by testing a problem-solution fit and later on product-market fit. Whereas the lean methodologies we always in our minds, we were cherry-picking the🍒 research methodology framework for the project. The backbone of the project was a Market map- Problem model (credits: Hekovnik startup school), which was our framework to develop growth hacking hypothesis and experiments. The following sequence was used to unlock the customer, market and value proposition learnings:
- Market Map (Problem)
- Personas: Learn how to create them on Hubspot.
- Interviews: You can find amazing ideas and interview scripts on CustomerDevLabs
- Community hacking on Reddit: I love how David explains growth hacking and piggie bagging on the existing online communities
- Audience-value Proposition test with multivariate testing (different ads, landing pages and Facebook ads audiences) – this topic is so broad that I plan to publish a dedicated post to it.
Based on this framework, we could reach a decision on our optimal target market and gain an understanding what problems can we solve. We developed all the Kickstarter campaign materials in respect to these findings.
Lessons Learned from Growth Hacking on Kickstarter
In my view the Bluejay Kickstarter campaign was moderately successful in terms of funds raised (137K), however, it was a game changer in my development as a prospector growth hacker. I was applying both, the lean startup methodology and the growth hacking process for the first time in my career. Moreover, this project was an important milestone in my understanding of the analytical framework for the project. We used the event tracking in Google Analytics for the first time, heat maps in Piwik and Facebook conversion tracking setup. This analytical framework was a fountain of our experimentation process. Today, I would also use Hotjar, a powerful tool to understand the website users better.
All the amazing learnings from this projects could be summarized in the guidelines bellow:
[HACKING FAST] In an early-stage project, where a prospector growth hacker is involved, the work will inevitably include a lot of lean startup methodology experimentation and UX research. The first metric that the prospector growth hacker should follow in my view is the number of insights per week. Normally a team could execute 2-4 experiments per week. However, the one should deal with a fact that the majority of these experiments will never have the statistical validity. But C’Est La Vie 😉
[VALIDATE THROUGH LAUNCHING MVP] You can never do to much prep work for your Kickstarter campaign. However, having achieved the solid unit economics by executing experiments with paid channels, you are definitely on to something. I like to imagine paid channels as such: The worse case scenario is that we will have to pay for every customer. Do we still have a business if we have to pay for every single customer? If so, your life can only get better, since some free channels will inevitably work out for you. If you launch an MVP, get desired traction (of better: a solid unit economics for the product), then you are on the safe side.
[🦄 ABOUT UNICORNS] Let’s face it, you would probably never pursue a project if you did not believe that it has a fighting chance, right? Right. But you really need to remain humble, because crowdfunding (and launching a product, and growing a product) is increasingly hard. There is a better chance that you will win a lottery than that people will not just come because you built it. Work hard, play hard. Do your homework, prepare an experimentation backlog, execute at a steady pace and build a great growth team to help you achieve the goals faster.
In conclusion, I feel I could reach better results if the growth process would be more structured and I understood the power of continuous usability testing at that point. Having written that, this project was definitely an important milestone of shifting my thinking from being a marketer to becoming a growth hacker. Bellow is a list of all the core Kickstarter campaign learnings from this project.
Explore growth hacking on Kickstarter further
If you want to learn more about this case, you are welcome to explore the following links
[📹 VIDEO] Eazl Interview: Maja Voje on Growth Hacking for Audience Identification, Lead Generation, and Fundraising
💸 LinkedIn post: $30,000 raised in 48 hours: How did we do it?
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