Introduction: Who is Eli Regalado and why should you listen to him?

Anton: Welcome to the interview. I have another cool Kickstarter all-star to interview today. His name is Eli Regalado. He runs a marketing agency in Denver CO., which specializes in launching Kickstarter funding campaigns.

To date he has launched several successful kickstarter funding campaigns. He has other Kickstarter projects that are on the cusp of launching very soon––so welcome Eli…

Eli: Thank you…glad to be here.

Anton: So tell me about your company? What do you do?

Eli: Videogogo is a full service marketing agency based in Denver Colorado. We do everything from SEO to video marketing, to website design. When we first started, we said we need to do something a little different because there’s a million ad agencies out there…

…So we decided to really start looking at the crowdfunding market and being the leading edge. We think that that’s where the future’s going to be for businesses so we’ve really positioned ourselves to be crowdfunding experts, and people hire us to run their crowdfunding campaigns.

Anton: Tell me about your successful project ATOMS Express Toys, how that worked out for you, and maybe even some of your other projects?

Eli: Yeah so ATOMS Express is a company based out of Bolver CO. The founder was the senior product manager on the team that launched the Ipod to the world several years ago…And he came to me through one of my mentors––a guy by the name of Mike Stemple, he’s a serial entrepreneur…and Mike said if you’re looking to get crowdfunding done, talk to my friend Eli, he has an ad agency, he also does video, there might be some synergy there…

So he had already done another campaign and said, “I’m looking to raise $100,000” I’m like, “Okay, what’s the product?” He’s like, “Well it’s a toy”…and I’m like, “Well it better be a pretty damn good toy if you’re trying to raise a hundred grand!”

So basically the essence of this: It’s a product that allows kids to make things that do things by assembling little motor bricks, sensors and Lego-type components…

We spend six weeks planning the campaign…and by the time we actually launched, it was just a fast and furious forty days to get that $183,000.

Anton: Wow!

[ADDITION: Here’s a video of ATOMS Express, the project that Eli helped raise $183k. We will be talking about it through this interview:]

Anton: You’ve done the Kickstarter funding thing a few times and you’ve had some notable successes

What would you say is the formula? Is there a formula?

Eli: Yeah there is…there’s a very strict formula…and so a Kickstarter campaign is probably about 95% science, 5% art…Most people want to try to flip that equation. Just to give you an example, the planning that goes into these things is very intensive…Unless you’re Bill Gates that has a network of people that will write you checks of $50,000 a pop, you really need mainstream PR. You really need to get the blogosphere excited about what it is that you’re doing…

Eli: Think about it like a professional boxer…

You see a boxer that gets into the ring and he starts throwing punches and everything looks very coordinated and they’re beating the shit out of each other, but what you don’t see is that they spent months preparing for this fight…and they studied tape and they trained…and that’s kind of what goes into a Kickstarter funding campaign…or any crowdfunding campaign.

You want to try to find like campaigns that are the closest to you…and you want to take those campaigns and find out what it is that they did to make those campaigns successful.

…And obviously you don’t want to look at campaigns that didn’t meet the raise…but the ones that did, you want to mimic those attributes.

You want to build a successful team to start…

So you want to have a project manager. That project manager isn’t necessarily going to be the CEO of the company or the shot-caller of the company––they’re going to be the whip cracker…

So it’s usually two different skill sets…

I excel at getting all these people going, but I still need someone behind me that runs the schedule…that says, “Eli I need you to do this, this and this by this date.” Because when this thing happens, there’s no time for error…it’s fast, it’s furious then you’re done…and you’re either going to raise it or you’re not.

So having that project manager…

Having someone to do the video…

Having someone to do the copy––like yourself…right?

Anton: Yeah…

Eli: And really having someone to reach out and do PR for you…Those roles can be shared…just make sure that you have an assigned to do each…Because if you don’t ahead of time, you’re going to have a big fat mess on the back.

Let’s talk about setup…

Basically, you want to have a realistic goal based on your network marketing strategy and your products and services.

You want to raise at least a quarter to a third of your goal in the first week.

With ATOMS, we raised 25% of our goal within the first 48 hours…

So that’s $25,000

You want to look at how many people you have in your network, and think about converting 1% of them with an average of $50 donations…So if you have 1000 people in your network…What’s 1% of 1000, 100?

Anton: 10.

Eli: Yeah so 10 people. At an average of $50 bucks, and that’s how many people you’re going to have to start if you just have 1000 people in your network. That’s just you. So if you have 4 or 5 people in your campaign, obviously that grows exponentially. That’s not to say that you can’t raise more if you don’t have a big network, but you’re gonna have to get a bit more creative.

If your campaign is slow to start, you can always add a new perk, send out more updates, or post a new video…

We did this with ATOMS.

We posted one video, we were seeing about a 1% conversion rate with the number of views that people saw…We re-shot the video and put it back out there, and that jumped up about 4.8%––so a drastic increase…

Whoever is project managering, they have to measure those metrics…

If you’re not measuring your metrics the whole way––it’s like marketing. People say, “Well how good is your marketing?”, “Well shit I don’t know…”

Anton: (laughs)

Eli: “How much money are you earning when you spend a million? What did it bring back for you?” They don’t know! So you have to know those numbers!

So to get started…

  • Make a list of 20-30 personal relationships you know. You want to email everybody ahead of time. Tell that you’re pouring your heart and soul into this campaign…It would really help you out if they pledged early…Tell them a little bit about it and keep brief––and you want to do 3 or 4 of these emails even before the campaign even launches.
  • You can create special perks for your social media channels. On thing that really works well is running an incentive program for the first week…So say everyone who pledges on the first week, at $50 you’ll get the $75 dollar perk level. So that’s going to get those early adopters to get on there…And if you think about this, most people are not early adopters…They sit by the wayside and wait until they think it has a high chance of success and then they’re going to jump on…right? So that’s why it’s critical that you get as many early adopters as possible, because that’s what’s going to provide those massive numbers on the back.
  • Have a good deadline. 43 days is the average successful campaign date. If you go more than that it’s usually too long…If you go less than that it’s fine. We’re gearing to do a campaign for 30 days, but I also have 6 people that are dedicated to me for four weeks.
  • Share your network identities. If you don’t, you’re kind of like a robot. People invest in pledged people. They don’t invest in your company or your product, they don’t give a shit about it. They want to see you Anton, you Eli, you Barbara succeed because of your story.

Let’s talk about the video…

With the video, you don’t want to make it too cinematic. We made that mistake with ATOMS. We’re a production company, so we’ve done short films, we’ve done documentaries, we’ve done movies…and so what we did is we created this really cinematic work of art–––and then we put it on the web and everyone hated it!

Anton: (laughs)

Eli: It’s just the wrong platform, if this was a film festival it would be one thing…but we re-shot it, dumbed it down, we took off all the lab mics and everything…we just used a boom mic so it sounded a little bit more amateurish…and people respond well to that because it’s more grass roots…They don’t want to see a commercial, they want to be involved with you…right?

Let’s talk about the copy…

The main focus is really just to reinforce the video…

You don’t want to go into a lot of detail in the video. You want to just give them just enough information so they want to read more…And then the copy when you go into detail, a lot of what you have in the script can be used as the skeleton. And then you build out those components with more detail. And you basically think of Kickstarter as a giant squeeze page. They watch the video. They read, they read, they read, they read––they pledge!

Having pictures about the product and team is extremely important.

Campaigns that use pictures on average raise 80% more money. The raise 40% more pictures if you have 4 or more, they raise 80% more pictures if you have 13 or more. So put some pictures in!

Eli: Umm…(thinking pensively) how much detail do you want me to go into?

Anton: You can go into as much detail as you like!

Eli: Okay…

When youre asking people to donate to your company, don’t just say, “Hey pledge?”

…or “Donate to my company”…because that doesn’t do anything for anybody. You need to be very personal, and you need to give a specific ask:

“Anton, it would really help me a lot, if you could help me by pledging $50. Can you help me out?”

Some people will respond to that and say, “Well I can’t pledge at $50 but I can pledge at $25” …or, “I can’t pledge at $100, but I’ll pledge at $50”

But if you’re not specific and you’re just sharing information, there’s no call to action. Right? Anytime in internet marketing you want to a have a very specific call to action, and you only want to have ONE call to action. So if you say, “Hey guys, here’s all these different levels, pick one…you’re just going to say, “Fuck, I don’t know which one to pick” and you’re just going to step back. But If I ask you personally to make a donation, all you can say is yes or no––or I’ll pledge something else. There’s only three responses, so keep it at that.

A good way to get the word out for free is create a Facebook event.

So create a Facebook event.

Put a link to the campaign in it.

Talk about what you’re doing…

Keep it brief––no more than 3 or 4 sentences.

And then invite all your friends.

There is a Google chrome extension called “autoselect all friends”.

Put that in your chrome browser. When you open your event it will say invite friends, and you just click “invite all friends”.

Now Facebook has changed it to where it will only invite 49 at a time. But what I would do is just pop that open and invite 49…Open it again and invite 49…And that’s a lot easier than going “click, click, click, click, click…”

Anton: Sure…

Eli: Keep the updates coming…

You want to have at least 6 updates shot ahead of time…and these can be milestones…these can be special thanks…these can be functionality of the product…these can be demonstrations, these can be testimonials…These can be just like, “Hey everybody, we’re going to do this quick up date…I’m sitting Anton, and we’re just talking about what we’re going to do to build this out…And so here are some of our thoughts…blah blah blah blah…but what do YOU think?”

Basically, what you’re doing is, you’re inviting people to co-create this product or service with you…

That’s what you’re providing is this access to the entrepreneur mindset…And treat it as such…

Referral Contests:

Indegogo has that function built in, it’s a real slick widget…Let’s talk about that real quick:

If you’re looking at crowdfunding, the two platforms you really want to focus on are Indiegogo or Kickstarter. Indiegogo has all of this functionality where you can run referral contests… They have less of a gate to get approved…because with Kickstarter you gotta get approved do all this shit…Indiegogo they’e like, “Hey you wanna create a campaign? Go do it!”

There’s no bottleneck…which is mostly good and bad…But mostly good. There’s more junk on Indiegogo, but at the same time, the majority of the people that are going to be pledging to you, they’re not just on Indiegogo all day going through your campaign…right?

You’re going to have some that do that…but 75% of your immediate network and the marketing that you do by yourself.

Anton: I have a question. (Getting on big media platforms…)

Eli: Sure…

Anton: So you just said 75% of your backing/funding will come from your immediate network and the marketing you’re doing online…So what do you think is the role of getting on big PR platforms? A lot of Kickstarter funding campaigns get picked up by Mashable and TechCruch and all of these places…so you’ll see a lot of these successful Kickstarter projects citing all of their media appearances… Does that make a difference? Is it worth it?

Eli: That was actually the next section I’m going into…it is IMPERATIVE, if you want to raise any significant amount…and  I’m going to you a little trick in doing that…

So just go to Kickstarter.com…Let’s look at this one…Armikrog…Do you see that one?

Anton: Yeah I see it…Should I just click on it?

Eli: Well don’t click on it. I just want you to drag that image and drop it on your desktop…If will let you…

Anton: I got it…

Eli: Now let’s go to Google images…

Anton: Alright I’m here…

Eli: Now you’ve got that image saved to your desktop right? Okay so now I want you to grab that image on your desktop, and drop it on that search box…

Anton: Sure…It’s all loaded up!

Eli: Mine is still loading… I’ve got a slow internet connection today…but what you should see, is all the blogs that have covered that campaign and associated that image in it…

Anton: Right…I see about 5 links…

Eli: Okay…this is one that hasn’t been funded all the way so that might be a bad example…

Anton: I have ATOMS Express if you want to do that one?

Eli: Okay…Just do ATOMS Express… this one doesn’t have enough…

Anton: Okay… I’ll be there in about…3 seconds…

Eli: So the thought process behind this as you’re doing this is:

You want to find the campaigns that have been successful…

Picture 8

Google image search results for ATOMS

And then you want to say, “Who has talked about those successful projects?”

And the quick and easy way to find this is just search by that image…And then you’re going to see all the blogs that have written posts about this project so now the objective is to go back to the PR and say, “Hey Anton, my name is Eli Regalato, I’m running this crowdfunding campaign for ATOMS Express, I know that you XYZ widget…we are like them except that we did blah blah blah blah blah…here’s a quick synopsis of the team…can we setup a quick interview?”

Usually 9 times out of 10 if you approach it that way, people will say, “Yeah absolutely!” They’re always looking for content, and they’re looking for content that’s going to be relevant to their readership…

So that’s just a cool little hack…

Other thing…

This campaign I’m launching on Monday, is a faith based non profit organization that works with christian NBA basketball players…I looked online on Kickstarter and there’s no other projects like that…(Chuckles) So I’m kind of limited…so what I can do…is just say “Top Christian Sports Blogs” or “Top Christian Blogs” just do those searches and you can usually find a list of those top influential blogs…and then over…and start making a spreadsheet of the people who run them…All that good stuff…

You can also use Technorati and Alexa to find those sites…

Target influencers on Twitter…

I use Tweet Adder…

You’re allowed to search someone’s bio information, you’re also allowed to upload tweets in bulk…So the idea with this is, you want to have everything ready, so by the time you start your campaign, you spend the next 4 weeks just pushing buttons…and executing…and making small tweaks as you go along…

You don’t want to be trying to plan midstream…

Hootesuite if you have multiple people on your team…That’s extremely effective…If you want to get vertical press, there’s another good feature and it’s called Help A Reporter Out…

Anton: HARO

Eli: Yup…and you can use that to really start pitching your idea to these different reporters…

And then it’s all going to come down to the 80/20 rule…

Relevance, Readership, Relationship and Reach…

So when you’re looking for different press, you want to ask, “Is my product relevant to their niche?” “What is the readership?”

And it doesn’t have to be the largest number…Let me give you an example. SOMA was a project on Kickstarter with a guy who used to run marketing in San Francisco for my buddy’s company called Branchout…

And they raise $100,000 in TEN days…

And what they found is they got more traffic off a Good.is post than a CNN.com post…because the readership was more focused… And that’s really what it comes down to…It’s not about…you know internet marketing, you have the majority of people that make the mistake of, “I’m just going to add a million Facebook likes…”

…Well who fucking cares? You have a million Facebook likes, what is that doing for you? Are they RELEVANT?

“Well I dunno…”

…So I would rather have 100 relevant, targeted Facebook likes, that are actually consuming my content, and interacting with it as opposed to a million people that are just there because they saw an ad…

So I think the same thing for your Kickstarter funding campaign…It’s not about NUMBERS…it’s about QUANTITY of quality. Right? So the more quality you can get and the bigger quantity you can get, the better. Don’t look at it from quantity and then barrel it down to quality…

There is A Chrome Extension called Kickstarter Status Board…

KICKSTARTER STATUS BOARD

snapshot of kickstarter status board

It’s a free Chrome extension, you can download it and put it on your browser…You basically plugin your Kickstarter url and you basically plugin all of you social components––your Twitter, your Facebook all that good stuff. And when you click on your dashboard you’ll see all of your funding sources…All of your Facebook likes…Who’s talking about it on Twitter…You’ll be able to see it all in one pane of glass, so rather than looking at 5 different places, you’re looking at one pane of glass…it’s a free extension…if you’re using Kickstarter get it…it’s a lifesaver…

The Suggested Plan… 

Step 1: Blast emails out to as many emails out to as many inner circle people as possible.

Step 2: Have them fund and forward…

Step 3: Be proactive with people on social media with updates and PR outreach…so reaching out to those bloggers…reaching out to those mainstream PR folks.

Step 4: Repeating steps one and two…

Anton: (laughs)

Eli: Just do that…as long as you follow that funnel…you’re going to be pretty successful…

Another component: 

With ATOMS, we had 1400 orders that came through. That’s 1400 people that we got to now send shit to…I don’t know if you’ve ever done any kind of order fulfillment before, but 1400 is a SHIT TON…

Anton: (Laughs)

Eli: That is INSANE…right? So you can use different services, we didn’t find out about this until afterwards…but Shipwire.com…They allow you to send your product to a warehouse, and they just tack on a little bit per order…but they do ALL the fulfillment for you…

They have all the systems in place… they have all the warehouse space…just put your stuff in a box, mail it, and then check off that they actually did do it…

Anton: Nobody wants to lick 1400 stamps! (Laughs)

Eli: Yeah man seriously! Trying to do it by yourself is just a nightmare! If it’s something small its usually like a buck to two per order…and when you’re figuring out your raise…just build that in…Just raise a few thousand bucks of a buffer to do it…If you’re raising a substantial amount… if you’re just raising $5000, don’t worry about it… but if you’re raising hundreds of thousands of dollars, and you think you’re going to get more than several hundred orders, build a system so you can work a business instead of letting your business work you.

Eli: Let me talk about press again really quick…

There’s a practice in the PR industry called an Embargo…Basically you’re going to work these reporters and say, “Hey, this is what’s happening, this is the story, here’s the pitch….I’m going to let you in on it now…as long as you shut your mouth until X date…”

So we did that with ATOMS…on the day that we launched we were on the front of Wired, Mashable, Techcrunch, Gizmodo… … there was one other one…So there was 5 major publications that the day we launched we were on those sites…

The worst site to get coverage on is Mashable. It’s good to drive a lot of views… but it’s bad as far as conversions…because it’s all social media traffic. It’s kind of like, “Oh here’s what’s cool…” it’s called internet marketing porn…But it doesn’t really do anything for you…

Anton: (Laughs)

Eli: You get all excited because you get all these views, but nothing every comes of it…

Eli: Umm yeah… what else do you want to know?

Anton: You talked about a lot of things today…promotion strategies…conversion elements on the page…PR, etc. But the one thing you didn’t talk about was the product itself. I was just talking with another guy who just had a successful Kickstarter funding campaign. It seems pretty 50/50––some people say they had a product that sold itself…some people say they did PR and got the word out…

…So what would you say are the characteristics of a product that actually sells itself?

Eli: Let’s think about that…What threshold would you consider “selling itself”?

Anton: Ummmm??

photo-main-1

Eli: Have you seen the tight wallet campaign?

Anton: Yes…vaguely…

Eli: So Tight Wallet…is a product that sold itself…So $20,000 [budget] and these guys raised $300,000 dollars. It’s one of those things where… if you think about innovation…so let’s think about it as a timeline…

Here’s the present…

Here’s the future…

Most companies, they focus on this incremental change…

The smaller solutions off of the larger platform…

Anton: Sure…

Eli: And then a lot of Angel investors like investing in this area [the present] because its safe…And you see these little base hits…

Over here [the future] is where you want to focus…and that’s where I’m trying to focus with crowdfunding…If you walk up to 10 people in the street…9.8 of them won’t know what crowdfunding is. But as soon everything switches in the US with the JOBS act and you can start crowdfunding for equity… You want to be poised when that happens… you’re in that position right?

So the tightwall here is: You have a wallet that has an insert and it’s better…You have a wallet that doesn’t drop your shit out right? Well this thing is like, well what are the problems of a wallet?

It’s fat.

It throws your fucking back.

It’s a pain in the ass.

Well what he did is he just showed all of these applications of how you can use a wallet: With your cellphone…You can put your cards in it…You can actually take this thing and put it IN your fat wallet…right?

…And that’s the type of innovation––instead of focusing on the wallet…he just focused on the problems associated with a wallet and he just jumped it…If you look at it, it’s not about a wallet…It’s a piece of leather with an elastic strap…but it’s a REPLACEMENT for it…He just showcased everything that people hated about it…and he said, “Here’s the solution.”

So he refrogged everybody!

So that’s kind of where I think, “something would sell itself”… is when you take yourself and you make the old model obsolete…

Or when you have something that’s extremely innovative and cool that’s never ever ever been seen before…

I forget the name of the campaign, but they raised $200,000, but it’s electric shoes? Have you seen that?

Anton: No…

glowing plant kickstarter

Eli: It’s going to blow your mind. It’s basically these shoes that you put on, and you control it with a remote, just zoom around! Like you’re wearing your regular shoes, and then you put on these things that clip on the bottom––kind of like you step into them almost like a snowboarding boot?

And you just hold this remote and it’s like: vroooooom!

Anton: That’s cool! The one that comes to mind for me is Glowing Plants. I’ve been talking about it for a month now…

Eli: Talk about some futuristic type shit right? We’re going to light our streets with plants that are genetically altered? That’s pretty cool!

If you’re looking for successful campaigns, go to Outgrow.me…

…And these are 100% successful campaigns… once you graduate from Kickstarter and Indiegogo, you can now sell your products on here…on this site.

…And if you look at SPN Kix you’ll be able to see those shoes…

kickstarter funding

Anton: cool…

Eli: What else can I help you with?

Anton: Well I’ve probably drank from the firehose at this point so I think I should probably just call it quits and thank you for the interview….

Eli: You bet… now there’s one other thing I’ll just leave you with…I am also on the committee to put on the worlds largest crowdfunding event…last year was our inaugural year…it’s covered by Forbes, CNBC, Reuters, Inc magazine…it’s in Vegas, it’s in October… If you want to include a link it’s crowdfundingroadmap.com/bootcamp, it’s three days in Vegas…it’s pretty awesome.

Anton: (laughs) Three days in Vegas is always a good thing…

Eli: It’s JUST enough, when you spend four days in Vegas, you start hating people…

Anton: (Big laughs!)

Eli: Awesome man…

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