In this episode of Art of the Kickstart, we spoke with Cid Carver, Marketing Director at Lumen, creators of the first device to hack your metabolism. Not only did Cid spearhead the success of this multi-million dollar crowdfunding campaign, but she also helped launch two other health and wellness products: Vi, an AI personal trainer who lives in biosensing earphones, and UPRIGHT GO, a tiny habit-forming wearable that corrects your posture. Listen in and learn about the marketing strategy, prepwork and tactics used to raise over $5 million in total for these crowdfunding campaigns.

Topics Discussed and Key Crowdfunding Takeaways

    • The key components needed in preparation for a crowdfunding campaign launch
    • Why capturing high-quality video content pays off in the end
    • How she incorporated influencer marketing into Lumen’s overall strategy
    • The biggest surprise Cid learned from all three campaigns
    • The importance of planning for after your crowdfunding campaign ends

Links

Sponsors

Art of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by The Gadget Flow, a product discovery platform that helps you discover, save, and buy awesome products. The Gadget Flow is the ultimate buyer’s guide for cool luxury gadgets and creative gifts. Click here to learn more and list your product – use coupon code ATOKK16 for 20% off!

Transcript

View this episode's transcript
Roy Morejon:
Welcome to Art of the Kickstart, your source for crowdfunding campaign success. I’m your host, Roy Morejon, President of Enventys Partners, the top full service turnkey product development and crowdfunding marketing agency in the world. We have helped startups raise over a hundred million dollars for our clients since 2010. Each week I’ll interview a crowdfunding success story, an inspirational entrepreneur, or a business expert in order to help you take your startup to the next level with crowdfunding. Art of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by Gadget Flow.
Roy Morejon:
The Gadget Flow is a product discovery platform that helps you discover, save, and buy awesome products. It is the ultimate buyer’s guide for cool luxury gadgets and creative gifts. Now, let’s get on with the show. Welcome to another edition of Art of the Kickstart. Today. I am super excited to be speaking with Cid Carver, the Marketing Director at Lumen. So, Cid is amazing. She has been the campaign manager on $3 million campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. So, really excited to learn about her progression on crowdfunding and helping multiple different startups raise lots and lots of money. So, Cid, thank you so much for joining us today on Art of the Kickstart.
Cid Carver:
Hey, thanks for having me and stoked to be here.
Roy Morejon:
Absolutely. So, your journey into crowdfunding is a unique one. So, really would love to tell the audience on what inspired you to begin working with startups and where it all began for you working with crowdfunding and your first campaign back in 2016.
Cid Carver:
Absolutely. So, I definitely have had a really unique opportunity of working with three amazing companies, all hardware, all in the digital health wellness realm. And in addition to that, working inside of the company as a team member, not from an agency on the outside source. So, I’ve been really lucky to be able to be part of these incredible teams and help guide each one. Again, with the startup journey, I loved being in startups with these amazing founders in these amazing companies and helping them bring their product to the market and share it.
Cid Carver:
So, I started in 2016, like you said, at LifeBEAM. They had already had a few products out and then they came up with another product called Vi. While I was there I really learned, and that’s where I jumped in head first and figured it all out. After I left LifeBEAM, I went to a company called Upright. Upright, also had a product already in the market. They wanted to do a V2 version. Again, really fortunate to work with just an incredible team and agencies, helping to support to make that happen. When I left Upright, I was fortunate enough to come to Lumen, where like you said, we did another million dollar campaign, over 1.7 million. I was the project manager there as well, and I’ve been there ever since. Actually, I’ve been at Lumen over two years now.
Roy Morejon:
So, in working with all of these different brands, is there a process that you like to go through in terms of either helping establish what that story is and how they’re presenting that to the early adopter community on Kickstarter? Then, how does that messaging then trickle down throughout after the campaign is over?
Cid Carver:
So, the brand messaging and identity is so critical, but if you talk about the process, I heard you say process, and that’s something that jumps out at me because there’s one kind of … I’m going to call it a training plan. So, I do triathlons, and marathons, and things like this, and you’ll hear a lot of times, 12 weeks to your race success, 12 weeks training plan. So, I really have noticed in the three campaigns and talking to other campaigners, and also speaking with people at Indiegogo, you really need 12 weeks for pre-campaign assuming that you already have a really awesome product that’s ready to start the process of getting to crowdfunding, 12 weeks to your crowdfunding campaign success. I have this sort of protocol that I generally follow and it’s proven well all three times. So, that’s my process
Roy Morejon:
It sounds like your new book title.
Cid Carver:
You laugh, but it might be happening.
Roy Morejon:
Excellent. Well, I look forward to it. So, and speaking of this foundation that these brands and companies, high tech companies and health companies, that you’ve worked with in the past, what have been some of those challenges that those startups have had to overcome throughout launching their brand initially, and then bringing their product to market using crowdfunding as a means to validate that idea?
Cid Carver:
The biggest challenge that all of them face is typically perfection. One thing that you’ll find with founders, and it’s the thing that I love the most as well, is their attention to detail and perfection, and making sure that the messaging is so spot on. But sometimes there comes a point, five minutes before turning the campaign on you’re sitting there and you’re still looking at this word in that sentence, and is this perfect. Sometimes you have to say, “All right, you know what? We have to go. We have to trust ourselves. We did the work. We put in the efforts.”
Cid Carver:
I think that’s one of the biggest challenges with working with these incredible founders, is that ability to say, “You know what? Let’s put it out there.” And not see what happens, but you have to, sometimes you have to open the doors and start, and know that you can make iterations and know that you can make changes later on. I definitely find that to be one of the biggest challenges. Then, the other challenge as well with the crowdfunding campaigns is thinking after. One of the hardest things is we always think about, “All right, what’s our goal for the campaign itself? I want to raise $40,000.
Cid Carver:
I want to raise half a million dollars. I want to raise a million dollars.” Whatever the goal is. Then, you get to the goal and now you have to deliver, and you’ve got 5,000, 10,000, however many people that you now need to keep happy, excited, and engaged until you deliver the product. You need to make sure that your factory is working and that the team is working, and all of these other things are in place. So, I think that a lot of times people will overlook the post-campaign as the biggest challenge. So, to plan in the pre-campaign for what will happen when you succeed, not if you succeed, but when you succeed.
Roy Morejon:
So, let’s talk a little bit about the 12-week preparation course. What are some of the keystone things that startups and entrepreneurs need to make sure that they’ve got down in terms of their brand, their messaging, their marketing approach, who their backer may look like, and making sure that they’re set up for success upon launch day?
Cid Carver:
Absolutely. So, again, the 12 weeks pre-campaign is taking a few factors into account, and that’s, first of all, assuming that you’ve already done your research on who your audience might be. Maybe you’ve done beta users, like you’ve done a few months with some beta users and you’ve received some feedback about the product and their experience as well, which you could use as user testimonials. That’s something that we did at lumen, and it was just fantastic, was using those beta reviews as well. Assuming that your product is ready to go, that it’s working, that it’s a fully functional prototype that you can show off.
Cid Carver:
So, once you’re there, you really have to focus in on a couple of factors. One, building your email list, day one, you’ve got to get the landing page up. You’ve got to start building your email list. You need to start thinking about the campaign messaging. In addition, I call it preparation for launch, that first 48 hours, everything that you’re going to do to make sure that you’re going to get as many backers in early and to reach … if you can reach a goal early on, that’s the best. Then, also preparing yourself for what happens in that second week to make sure that you continue the momentum.
Cid Carver:
So, you’re already reaching out to potential influencers. You’re preparing the PR. You’re preparing potentially YouTube reviewers. You’re preparing all of the other amazing sites that you can go on. So, I really call the pre-campaign actually preparing for the campaign. That’s what you’re organizing, that you’ve got as much in your arsenal as you possibly can think about. So that each day and each week you’re ready to just launch the next thing to keep the momentum going throughout the campaign, and also making sure that you have your shipping rates correct.
Cid Carver:
I cannot say that enough, the shipping rates, you have to make sure that’s spot on, because you can lose a lot of [crosstalk 00:09:00] in post-campaign.
Roy Morejon:
Absolutely. Yeah, and where you’re shipping to, right?
Cid Carver:
Oh, my gosh, yeah. Everyone thinks, “Oh, we’re going to ship everywhere.” Then, once the campaign ends and you start talking to your fulfillment center and logistics and also making sure that you tell your backers that if they’re in Europe or a country that might require them to pay VAT and customs, that that’s very clear, and that that’s known because you can end up with a lot of refunds as well.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah, absolutely. So, tell me back into the prelaunch side of things and getting the landing page, getting that funnel built. Is there a magic number that you look at for statistical relevance per se, in terms of the amount of engaged people in the page or email addresses that you acquire, that you’ve done in the past that you’re like, “Yes, this is enough for us.” Or, are you looking at it more of a cost per acquisition? How do you break that down in terms of the pre-campaign marketing success?
Cid Carver:
We’re looking more at cost per acquisition. You need to look at how much are you spending to get the emails. Typically, you should not be spending more than $2 max, your CPA to get the email should be between $1 and $2, ideally. Then, you need to think, “All right, how much does my product cost?” You’re looking at all those numbers, factoring that in and saying, “All right, how much do I need? How many emails do I need in order to reach X amount?” So, you also need to look at the list and assume that it’s going to be less than 5% that are converted. At Lumen, we were lucky to have 11% conversion on the emails, which was just phenomenal.
Cid Carver:
We also gathered emails in a few different ways. We actually used influencers to post about it pre-campaign, and then gather emails through influencers, which worked well in addition to having our beta users also help us. So, there’s a lot of not just paid ads, there’s a lot of ways that you can gather emails. Again, I look at the list. So, if you have 10,000 people and you expect, let’s say 2% conversion, how much money is that going to bring you? How much have you spent? So, you need to kind of run all those numbers. That’s how I look at it. But I would say 2% is a safe number, 2% to 3% for conversion for an email list.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah, definitely. So, in terms of segmentation then of those lists, what were you doing to keep those early campaign folks engaged with [inaudible 00:11:25] emails or private Facebook groups? What were you doing to bring those folks in and then keep them educated on what’s going on in the product that was about to come forward?
Cid Carver:
So, we started the email list gathering about six weeks before for Lumen, and I’d say about six, seven weeks for Upright, and it was eight weeks for LifeBEAM. It’s a short enough time that we didn’t have to do so many emails. So, they signed up, they received the immediate thank you email. Then, one week before they received an email letting them know, get excited, all of this, 24 hours before, and then the day of. Then, once the campaign started, there was a weekly email that went out, of course.
Roy Morejon:
Nice. So, you had mentioned that you had done some work with influencers. How did you go about, I guess finding those influencers first and then what was the engagement plan with them to make sure that they were driving traffic and awareness, and then that those folks actually converted? Was it more of a pay per post piece or was there a performance element to that? Because we’ve heard a few different methodologies of pre-campaign engagement with influencers for upcoming Kickstarter campaigns.
Cid Carver:
Absolutely. Yeah. So, we did pay per post and that worked out pretty well. The influencers we worked with, some of them did have a device. Most of them, they were all in the US, and so they were able to see the device and accurately speak about it as well, which was really important for us. Because the product, Lumen, everything we do is backed by science and well-validated. So, it was important that they saw it, and we did pay per posts. We worked with them on the messaging, and we helped them with the photograph or image that they used. Then, they had to link in the bio, and that was enough. That was enough to drive it, which was great.
Roy Morejon:
Did you use any other referral campaigns either before the campaign or during the active campaign with affiliates or anyone?
Cid Carver:
We use Kickbooster during the campaign, but we didn’t do anything before.
Roy Morejon:
Did that seem successful for you as well? Did that drive significant revenue during the campaign?
Cid Carver:
Kickbooster was phenomenal with PR, but it was not as successful with the backers as we anticipated, but we noticed that a lot of the PR that we did a lot of the articles and journalists were using it, which was very interesting.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah. We’ve noticed an uptick there in some of the more high profile journalists out there utilizing affiliate links and all of their content because it seems like they’re hurting for capital as well these days.
Cid Carver:
I know. So, it’s an interesting approach I have to admit. So, it’s something to think about, that’s for sure. But I also think with YouTube reviewers that they would be very open to that as well.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah. Did you guys do any cross promotions during the campaign?
Cid Carver:
We chose not to, Lumen chose not to do any of the cross promotions. We just did not feel that it fit with our brand and what we were trying to go for. But with Upright and LifeBEAM, we did and it was pretty good. Yeah, we did, we didn’t. I was thinking about it for a moment, but with Upright and LifeBEAM, we did do the cross promotions.
Roy Morejon:
Nice. So, in bundling all of these three campaigns together, were there any trends or outliers in terms of where the greatest marketing efforts went in and then had the largest ROI on them?
Cid Carver:
In terms of all three, it’s the paid media, and something that I have to say for sure is, and this is coming from me as working inside of the company, as representing the brand and then working with agencies. I think it’s so important to pick your team, as a company, or as a founder, or as a startup, you’re going to need help. You’re going to need to decide who are the key players and who are the most important people to bring on, whether it’d be in-house or an agency. At all three companies, we were very fortunate to work with phenomenal agencies that were really experienced in the crowdfunding space.
Cid Carver:
I think whatever you do, it’s so important to work with a strong digital marketing agency with that experience. So, I that’s my biggest tip from all three of them, without [crosstalk 00:15:54]. Then, obviously, to have a good movie, invest in the movie. A lot of people want to cheap out on the movie, put the money in. At Upright, they used that movie for over three years. They still use part of it. Lumen, were still using this movie over two years later. The movie is such a phenomenal asset and it can be such a game changer. You use it in your ad, you use it on your website, it represents your brand. That’s definitely something I have to say.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah. Oh, absolutely. We’ve seen it all too often where the campaign video itself is so crowdfunding focused and specific, where there’s not necessarily B-roll to use for after the campaign is over, when the rest of the world will potentially see this product. So, yeah, certainly I’m with you there on creating the best digital video assets, et cetera, for the campaign that can be used longterm for the success of the company itself.
Cid Carver:
Absolutely. Yeah, and that’s the thing, you have to remember the campaign is going to be 30 to 60 days, 60, I don’t know who does 60-day campaigns. I think I would have a heart attack, but 30 to 40 day campaigns, let’s say. Everything starts after, you put so much effort into the campaign itself and then once that campaign ends, then the next round of hard work begins, if you will. So, you have to think past when you succeed.
Roy Morejon:
Absolutely. Did you have any surprises throughout the three Kickstarter campaigns that you’ve worked on?
Cid Carver:
Wow. Nothing that’s jumping out at me. Yeah, you know what? I did have some surprises and I’ll say this. So, at Upright, we did a paid video on a Facebook channel, on two Facebook channels, on a Viral Thread and on UNILAD, and at Upright, it just performed phenomenally, phenomenally. It was just outstanding. So, when I went to Lumen, I said, “All right, we’re going to do the same thing. It’s going to be great, easy, easy.” I got the same price, talked to the same person and failed miserably, just absolutely failed. So, what works for one campaign isn’t going to necessarily work for the next.
Cid Carver:
There are some things that are going to work across the board and some things that you’re just going to be trial and error and, and just to accept the failures when they come, but don’t dwell on them, say, “Okay, learned now let’s move on and not do that again.” Kind of situation.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah. We’re big fans and friends with the team over there at Jungle Creations. So, they’ve got some amazing content.
Cid Carver:
They’re amazing.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah. What would be your top tip for raising a million dollars on crowdfunding?
Cid Carver:
Ooh, 12 weeks. I would just say, build a plan, stick to the plan, be strict with yourself, but also be agile. Be willing to be flexible when you need to be, but it’s really all about setting the budget, knowing what your max budget is, talking to the agencies and the outsource companies that you’re working with, getting the best rates that you absolutely can. I think doing your research into Kickstarter and Indiegogo, or making sure that you pick the platform accordingly, because each of them have their pros and cons, and knowing what you want to achieve and can you achieve it.
Cid Carver:
If you can reach out to either of them and find a contact inside Kickstarter or Indiegogo, it will be a game changer to have somebody on the inside, like an account rep help you. But making a plan and really sticking to the plan, getting everyone on board, and picking your team and your agencies accordingly to all meet your needs. So, I definitely would say that. I’m thinking post-campaign. I can’t speak enough about post-campaign, that’s definitely important.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah. That’s where all the fun begins, right?
Cid Carver:
That’s where all the fun begins, and you have to think about it before, because you charge your backer’s shipping during the campaign and you don’t get to update that later.
Roy Morejon:
Yup. So, I’m excited, where are you headed next or where is Lumen headed next?
Cid Carver:
Absolutely. So, we are preparing for our product’s launch. We finished shipping to all of our Indiegogo backers. We now have next round of shipment, and we’re now doing the official product launch, bigger storytelling of our founders, and the science, which is really incredible. Getting out in the world, getting the product out there even more so that’s where we’re heading now.
Roy Morejon:
Awesome. Well, this has been amazing. This is going to get us into our launch round, where I’m going to rapid fire a handful of questions at you. You’re good to go, Cid?
Cid Carver:
Oh, I’m good to go.
Roy Morejon:
So, what inspired you to work with startups and entrepreneurs?
Cid Carver:
I got started in 2011 when I graduated college and moved to a foreign country. I didn’t know the language in that foreign country and started in the startup scene since they are the only one hiring Americans and fell in love with it ever since, and I’m happy to be here.
Roy Morejon:
So, if you could meet any entrepreneur throughout history, who would it be?
Cid Carver:
Oh, that is a great question. Who would I meet? I don’t know. Oh, can I loop back around to it?
Roy Morejon:
Sure. What book would you recommend to a startup founder or entrepreneur?
Cid Carver:
Oh my God, you’re hitting me with such good questions. Oh, my gosh, I’m blanking on it. Oh, actually, you know what? I’m reading Spartan Race right now, and the founder of Spartan Race has a phenomenal story. I recommend reading his, because he is a entrepreneur.
Roy Morejon:
Well, that’s the first time we’ve heard that book on the show. I’m so excited to dive into that one. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Cid Carver:
I see myself moving up to VP Marketing either at Lumen or at another awesome startup.
Roy Morejon:
Nice. All right. Last question. What does the future of crowdfunding look like?
Cid Carver:
Awesome question. I think that the future of crowdfunding might move into what they’re saying is like more equity crowdfunding, where people actually maybe have a piece in the startup itself, or that we will see it maybe more as a marketplace, and that they will require products to already be producing in the factories. So, less on prototypes and more on products that are ready to actually be delivered more immediately for trust factors.
Roy Morejon:
Awesome. Well, Cid, this has been amazing. This is your opportunity to give our audience your pitch, tell people what you’re all about, where they should go and why they should check you out.
Cid Carver:
Awesome. So, really quick, my name’s Cid Carver. I’m the marketing director at Lumen. I have been at Lumen for over two years. Lumen is a device and app that measures your metabolism through the breath to tell you what fuel source your body is using in the moment, either carbs or fats. Then, we provide you with personalized daily meal plans. On a personal note, I am potentially working on a new book for helping campaigners and potential individuals who want to do a campaign, prepare for the project and looking more on the project side and strategy, and that’s it. Oh, and they can visit Lumen at lumen.me.
Roy Morejon:
Nice. So, there is a book in the future. I knew it.
Cid Carver:
Yeah. That came from an interview I did with Indiegogo last week.
Roy Morejon:
Awesome. Awesome. Well, this has been great audience. Thanks again for tuning in. Make sure to visit artofthekickstart.com for the notes, the transcript, links to everything we talked about today. Of course, thank you to our crowdfunding podcast sponsors, the Gadget Flow and product type. Cid, thank you so much for joining us today on Art of the Kickstart.
Cid Carver:
Thank you. Have an awesome day.
Roy Morejon:
Thanks for tuning in to another episode of Art of the Kickstart, the show about building a business, world, and life with crowdfunding. If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, awesome, make sure to visit artofthekickstart.com and tell us all about it. There you’ll find additional information about past episodes, our Kickstarter guide to crushing it, and of course, if you loved this episode a lot, leave us a review artofthekickstart.com/iTunes. It helps more inventors, entrepreneurs, and startups find this show and helps us get better guests to help you build a better business.
Roy Morejon:
If you need more hands on crowdfunding strategy advice, please feel free to request a quote on enventyspartners.com. Thanks again for tuning in, and we’ll see you again next week.