An Oldie But a Goodie
During my time working at Pozible, Australia’s biggest crowdfunding platform, we experimented with many new marketing channels. Regularly experimenting and always pursuing the next big thing is good, but at the end of the day, you need marketing that works. Your job as a marketer is to start conversations around your brand, and convert those conversations into actions with business value. If something isn’t scalable it doesn’t necessarily make it not worth doing.
For as long as I can remember we ran events at Pozible. A huge part of our edge over large international competitors was that we were local and approachable. We had regular free workshops that budding campaigners could attend. We also had a dedication to delivering valuable advice. We gave people lots of ways to reach us, whether through booking a phone chat via calendly, attending a workshop, face to face meetings or email. For this reason our success rate was much higher than our competitors. On average our success rate was around 57%, that is to say that 57% of the crowdfunding campaign's launched on Pozible reached their funding target. In comparison to Kickstarter, with a success rate of 22% (at the time of my last analysis anyway).
Our Regular crowdfunding workshops were a Pozible marketing artefact. It was one of our oldest and most valuable channels, yet we treated it like it was operational. This is when I brought the team together to discuss what we could do to ramp up the quality of our workshop events. We hosted them regularly in our home city Melbourne, and on a more sporadic basis in Sydney, but what about all those other locations?
“Workshops Roadshow” was born. We realised we had good relationships with Australia’s top universities. We also had a huge database of previous crowdfunding campaigners. With this we could bring in university level prestige and first hand crowdfunding experience.
So we went ahead mapping out an Australia wide roadshow with one goal. Turn as many people into crowdfunding legends as possible. With this we knew we would build trust, win hearts and become a part of people's success.
We wanted to pay for as little as possible (naturally). So we aimed to get sponsorship to cover as much as posisble.
Over the years we collected loads of great feedback from our previous workshops, which we collected via surveys from event follow up emails. This feedback would be the selling point that we brought forward to potential sponsors.
So we started with the organisations we thought would be most likely to sponsor us. We started mostly with the universities we had a relationship with already. Getting these bigger names early was key to forging relationships with new organisations. The fact we had signed universities was huge social proof for what we were doing. [Read my blog post on tips for getting big cash sponsors]
Without too much effort we’d onboarded Queensland University of Technology, JMC academy & University of Canberra. All we asked was that they cover flights, accomodation and provided a venue. This was easy for them to agree on. As educational institutions they want to fill their calendar with training events! So we highlighted the fact the events were free and anyone could attend.
We had venues and some travel expenses covered, so next we needed drinks and snacks. It was much easier to land these sponsors when they saw universities had already signed up. So after some research we reached out to booze brands that love supporting creatives. After not long we’d confirmed nation-wide sponsors! Young Henrys beer and VinoMofo would provide booze to keep our patrons chatting.
For all the other locations we didn’t have university partners at, we found co-working spaces that agreed to lending us their venue for free. By this stage it was easy to bring them over the line. They just had to unlock their venue and provide us with a projector and PA, we did the rest.
In the end the entire thing cost under $4,000
We tried our best to focus on new leads. It was easy to bring existing leads in. Although it was still valuable, the main goal of the campaign was to bring in new business and this is what our metrics focused on.
We looked to Facebook for most of our paid advertising. Particularly the Lookalike Audience function. This function I’ve had great success with in the past. Essentially what I did was uploaded an aggregated .csv file containing all the email addresses of all the event attendendees from the last year. Facebook then matches the email addresses to any users it has on file and creates an "Audience" of people I could market to. But I wanted new people, not past attendees, so next I created a lookalike audience based off these people. Essentially what this means is that Facebook profiled all the past event attendees, decided what things they had in common, then found other similar people. These audiences are very targeted.
Next I created both an eventbrite, and Facebook event for each event. Linking the advertisements to the Facebook event and only sending users to register on eventbrite via the ‘get tickets’ on the Facebook event. This kept users on Facebook as long as possible and ensured a smooth and comfortable transition for users. Which is good for conversions.
The formula I mostly use is running a series of ads with a smaller separate group of the audience. Then I'd slowly turn off the ads that weren’t performing. Once I thought I had one or two winners, I'd dump the whole budget on the rest of the segment with the ads that performed best. This is how you do it cheap.
I've noticed over the years that people’s eyes are automatically drawn to faces. The below picture has a few faces (including my hairy face) and a good insight into the Pozible office.
For whatever It was by far the best performing;
These tricks combined resulted in a cost per registration that was as low as $2 each.. Early in the campaign we decided to turn off the ads once they cost more than $5 per registration. The trend is always that conversions are cheapest early (once you get the right combination of ads) then they slowly increase in price as you reach saturation with the audience.
Now people were registered it was time to invite them warmly down the conversion funnel. Most people say push down the funnel but well, this sounds too forceful.
There was many touch points, all the event collateral was beckoning people to create their project.
The most common journey customers took wasas follows
- Click through to the eventbrite from the Facebook event
- Register their email address for a ticket
- Click through to the ‘create a project’ page on Pozible from event collateral
- Create their draft project!
Next was making the events as awesome as possible. It was super important the campaigners got the most out of them and left with a good feeling (that wasn't just from being tipsy).
We encouraged all new staff members at Pozible to attend a workshop. Doesn’t matter if they’re a developer, support staff or executive. It’s a great way for new staff to get a customer facing viewpoint of the business. I brought the team together for a short brainstorm on how we could increase quality of our events. One of our newer developers who only attended our workshops a few weeks ago spoke up with brutal honesty - which was exactly what we needed. He said he got bored, particularily at towards the end of the event. It wasn’t interactive enough. We realised we needed end on a high note!
What we did was added a pitch session where the event attendees could pitch their idea to the room. They only had one minute to give the crowd a run down. But there was consequences for going over that one minute. We’d passed around a bucket full of ping pong balls. If they went over time, they’d get a flurry of ping pong balls thrown at them! This kept it short, fun and worked well with the tipsy crowd. It was a hit!
The Follow Ups
This was the most important part. We had a few tricks up our sleeve to bring people back to the feeling they had on the night. The follow up email would include more valuable assets. We event gave attendees recordings from the night, the slides, and a link where they could book a chat with whoever was presenting at the event they attended.
This was the beginning of a relationship with these creators. There was a lot more we did to nurture those new relationships.
The Follow Ups
I implemented a secret form on the campaign create page, the form simply pastes whatever get variables there are and dumps this in the Database. For example the following link would dump the term “workShopRoadshow” into the database into a campaign field.
This was super useful given the leads are so long between a campaigner creating a project and it being successful (average 3 months).
Although we generated a lot more awareness, good-will and projects from the initiative, we can statistically attribute the campaign directly to 51 successful campaigns that were brand new leads. The total these successful campaigns raised was $357,764. We collected a 5% service fee from these campaigns so our total revenue generated was $17,888. We spend $3,784 in total on the initiative.
That’s a 472% ROI… Not bad!