Note: This week’s guest on the podcast is the co-founder of Crowd Invest Summit, a conference our host, Roy Morejon, will be attending as a member of a panel September 6 and 7. If you’d like to attend this conference in LA, register here using code RoyMorejon30 for a 30% discount on regular tickets.

For this episode of Art of the Kickstart, we spoke with Josef Holm, founder and CEO of Krowdster and co-founder of Crowd Invest Summit. Tune in to learn more about how to make sure your Kickstarter or Indiegogo project hits its funding goal quickly.

Key Crowdfunding Takeaways

  • How to build an audience on social media before launching a Kickstarter campaign
  • How to use Facebook Ads to promote your Kickstarter campaign
  • Why it’s important to start marketing a crowdfunding project well before you launch
  • How to get results with Facebook Ads
  • How to use a landing page to collect email addresses before you launch your campaign
  • How to stick out amongst all the campaigns launched in Kickstarter and Indiegogo each day

Links

Connect with Josef Holm & Krowdster

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 25% off!

backerkitArt of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by BackerKit. BackerKit makes software that crowdfunding project creators use to survey backers, organize data, raise additional funds with add-ons and manage orders for fulfillment, saving creators hundreds of hours. To learn more and get started, click here.

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 start-ups raise over $100 million 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 start-up to the next level with crowdfunding.

Art of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by BackerKit and The Gadget Flow. BackerKit makes software that crowdfunding project creators use to survey backers, organize data, and manage orders for fulfillment by automating your operations and helping you print and ship faster. 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 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 honored to be joined with Josef Holm. Josef, thanks so much for being on the show today.

Josef Holm:

Thank you for having me, Roy. It’s my pleasure to be on.

Roy Morejon:

So Josef, you’ve been in the crowdfunding industry almost as long as I have. What’s the backstory? How did you get started in crowdfunding?

Josef Holm:

I got started in crowdfunding right after I got into YouTube, and we decided to launch our crowdfunding platform for YouTube creators called TubeStart, and that went really well for a while. The one thing I learned there, and that was like four and a half, almost five years ago, is that the bigger problem and bigger opportunity in this market is to help people to actually build an audience and reach an audience and do all the online marketing: the press releases, the media lists, the viral contests, to run a successful crowdfunding campaign. So about two and a half years ago, I have launched Krowdster, which is a crowdfunding marketing SaaS, for Kickstarter and Indiegogo crowd funders to run successful campaigns.

Roy Morejon:

So yeah, Krowdster, we’ve used it before. I know you’ve got a massive backer directory of over one million people. You guys have run like what, twenty-thousand campaigns through the system now?

Josef Holm:

Yeah man, we actually hit the twenty-thousand milestone a couple months ago, and I’m super excited about that. It just goes to show that there is a real need for tools to help people in that regard, so yeah, twenty-thousand and growing.

Roy Morejon:

Let’s talk about some of the tools that you guys have built over the years. I know when you initially launched it there was maybe three or four specialized tool sets, but now you guys have launched this thing out with viral contests, prelaunch pages, and courses. Talk about that to our audience.

Josef Holm:

Yeah sure. When we first started out, it was more of a data analytics platform. We had a lot of stats to allow you to compare different campaigns and different categories and how they reached your funding, but what was really needed, and you know this from firsthand experience, is people need tools that they can use that actually make a difference. There are a million blogs and a million people telling you that, “You know, for crowdfunding you need to have a social media audience.” But they don’t actually tell you how to build one and how to get there, so we built our Twitter marketing tool, which is a semi-automated tool that finds people who are interested in what you’re launching on Twitter, automatically connects you with them, injects you in the conversation, and builds a highly-targeted following … That gets on top of the backer directory that we launched about a year and a half ago. That’s something really exciting, so we gathered the information from all corners of the Internet.

If the backer directory has about 1.2 million backers in it right now, you can go in there and say, “Show me all backers on Kickstarter who have backed more than twenty, more than thirty, more than fifty campaigns in the fashion category or in the technology category,” and it’ll spit out a list for you. What this really does is it makes it super easy for you to find people who have previously backed similar campaigns, so when you’re starting from scratch … and we don’t all have friends and family who are gonna fund our campaigns, so you need to find people who are interested in what you’re doing, and there really isn’t an easier way than to having access to a list that shows you that 15,000 people have invested more than fifty times in fashion category. Then you want to connect with these people on social media and make sure they know about your campaign. All these tools, like the viral contests, the press release, the media lists, are all designed to make it super easy for anyone to start getting traction for their campaign and getting their word out there.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah, and that’s always key. How often are you seeing people coming to you now, well in advance of their campaign instead of it being more of a reactionary thing of, “Oh I need to find more people because I’ve already tapped out of my friends and family when we launched it?”

Josef Holm:

This is a really good question because we actually added a checkbox to our sign-up for a couple of months ago asking people at what stage they’re at in their crowdfunding campaign. “Are you live? Are you launching within the next thirty days? Are you launching within the next thirty to sixty days or more?” And the interesting part is as we increase the number of educational materials that we also offer, like we have a crowdfunding course. We have a Facebook ads course and stuff, so that number is growing. People are coming to us earlier now than they used to.

A year and a half ago, I’d say probably fifty or more percent came to us after their campaign has already launched, and as you know, once your campaign is live, it’s really hard to actually make any changes and improvements to it. So this also shows me that people are getting more and more educated, and they realize that they need to start sooner and that their prelaunch campaign really defines the success of their actual Kickstarter.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. What are some of the other trends that you’re seeing right now?

Josef Holm:

I think the biggest trend that I see right now is Facebook. We launched our Facebook ads course on popular demand because everybody knows there is no way you can really work without Facebook these days. If you want to run ads and you want to run targeted ads, there is no better place then to go than Facebook. That’s probably the biggest trend we’ve seen over the past year and a half.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah Facebook, you gotta recognize the beast and feed the beast, right?

Josef Holm:

Exactly.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah, I mean it’s unfortunate, but when you have smaller campaigns or campaigns with limited budgets … It’s great that you’ve built this software system to be able to help them and expedite that process of not only finding their community, but at least engaging with them and finding the right people to talk to, and hopefully, they’re doing it earlier and earlier.

Josef Holm:

Yeah, totally, and one of the biggest challenges on Facebook is you can literally burn money on Facebook and not have any results if you don’t know the single most important ingredient, which is targeting. We always talk about targeting and custom audience lists and what have you. So, what you can do with Krowdster and the backer directory, you can go in there and say, “Give me an export of everyone who’s backed more than twenty technology campaigns.” And you can export that list and import it into Facebook as a custom audience list and then target these people with ads, and then add a lookalike audience on top of it to expand your reach. That’s probably one of the most successful things that we’ve launched in the last couple of months.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah, and that’s obviously a great way to tap into an audience, engage an audience, and really grow that first connection to the community that you’re potentially tapping into with those lookalike audiences, and it’s great that you guys have built that resource center for people to be able to learn it and do it on their own and just test. It really only takes a small budget on Facebook to really see and move the needle if you have your analytics set up correctly, especially before your campaign launches.

Josef Holm:

Yeah, I know. That’s the cool thing, right? You set up a new audience. You spend $10 or $20 a day, and let it run for a few days, and you’ll get enough data to know what works and what doesn’t and really narrow it down and optimize it. So, that’s been super exciting. Generally, I think that people are getting more and more educated about crowdfunding, and they realize the importance of the prelaunch campaign, so one of the tools we’ve launched that is very popular is a free tool called Prelaunch Pages.

So basically, you can set up a landing page, if you will, that presents your product or your campaign. You can add your team and talk about all the details, but most importantly, there is an email collection form. We have seen great success for people who have been running this for a month or two, building up to their campaign, and collecting hundreds and sometimes thousands or tens of thousands of emails that they can then utilize once their campaign goes live.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah, that’s huge. So Josef, I know that you’ve seen a lot of campaigns, in fact probably tens of thousands of campaigns now. What’s a few good nuggets of advice for our audience that’s looking to start a crowdfunding campaign in the near future?

Josef Holm:

Apart from the fact that you need to give it time, I will recommend people: if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ve heard of Kickstarter and think this is the right way for your startup, for your product, then give it the time it takes to build the audience you’re gonna need to actually make it successful. There is no such thing as a crowdfunding supporter who goes on Kickstarter and goes like, “Oh jeez, who am I gonna back today?” You need to reach these people. You need the right messaging, and most importantly, if you’re starting from scratch, you need to give it at least thirty, sixty, or ninety days to really be in a position where your campaign can actually be successful.

On the positive thing that I’ve noticed is you gotta spend some money to make money, and this is also true in crowdfunding. Two years ago, when I first launched Krowdster, I would get emails from people going like, “Why would I pay money for your software? I’m crowdfunding. I obviously don’t have any money.” You have to think about it this way that over five hundred campaigns are launched every single day on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, so if you want to stick out and actually reach your audience, you have to invest a little bit of money in the right tools. We tried to make Krowdster so affordable that even if you’re amongst the 90% of people who raised $10,000 of less, it’s a very affordable solution.

Roy Morejon:

Alright Josef, this gets us into our launch round where I’m gonna rapid-fire questions at you. You good to go?

Josef Holm:

Let’s go.

Roy Morejon:

What inspired you to be an entrepreneur?

Josef Holm:

Oh my god dude. I’d rather work 80 hours for myself than 40 hours for someone else.

Roy Morejon:

Hear, hear!

If you could have a glass of wine with any entrepreneur throughout history, who would it be?

Josef Holm:

Richard Branson.

Roy Morejon:

Alright! What would be your first question for Sir Richard?

Josef Holm:

Do you want to be my dad? (Laughing)

Roy Morejon:

(Laughing) Nice.

Who did you look up to growing up?

Josef Holm:

My dad, because my dad is also an entrepreneur. He’s a musician, but I’ve learned from my parents early on that you just need to get up in the morning and work on whatever you’re working on and stick with it and be persistent, and success will follow.

Roy Morejon:

What book would you recommend to the crowdfunding audience?

Josef Holm:

Right now, I have just started to read Gary Vaynerchuk’s new book. I like him a lot. I think he has given a lot of really good advice. I follow him online, and I recommend him to anyone who wants to become an entrepreneur. Especially, I think he talks to the millennials and their unique skillsets and challenges. I appreciate that guy a lot.

Roy Morejon:

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Josef Holm:

Hopefully on a yacht in the Mediterranean (laughs). I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing, man. I’m a full-blood entrepreneur. I don’t know anything else … You know, keep working on the crowdfunding industry. Last year, we had the first Crowd Invest Summit, which is a big conference in the online investing space, so I like crowdfunding on the rewards presale side, but also, I’m very intrigued with all the new opportunities that came up with the recent changes in the law, the JOBS Act and such. I’ll be doing the same probably in five years from now.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah and now you’ve got the Crowd Invest Summit coming up with Marcus Lemonis being there with a fireside chat. What’s gonna be your first question for Marcus?

Josef Holm:

Man, I wish I could interview him, but I didn’t make the cut (laughs).

I like Marcus Lemonis. I like his show. He’s just a little bit older than we are. He’s very approachable, so I’m very much looking forward to it. It’s going down September 6th and 7th at the LA Convention Center. Last year, we had Robert Herjavec from Sharpton. That was very exciting. This is something that we’ve been doing to help shine a mainstream spotlight on the industry and really help the industry transcend to a more mainstream kind of state, where it really needs to be at.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. I’m excited to be out there speaking with you as well and Marcus. I’m a big fan of The Profit and the people of the process and the product: solid advice.

Alright Josef, last question in the launch round: what does the future of crowdfunding look like?

Josef Holm:

I think that crowdfunding will be just another way of raising capital. Some people say the word crowdfunding won’t even exist in five years, because it just be a part of raising capital. I’m not sure that’s true. I think there is a little bit of confusion between, “What’s crowd funding?” and “What’s crowd investing?” So, that’s interesting to see how that all plays out, but I do think that the future of crowdfunding lies in the equities space because … Just think about if you and I actually bought some shares in Oculus Rift, we wouldn’t be sitting here. We actually would be sitting on my yacht in the Mediterranean. I think that people will clue into this, that you can buy something that hasn’t been built yet, and that makes you a Kickstarter. But if you can actually buy shares and really participate in the success of the next unicorn, then that’s a lot more appealing than just getting a reward.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely, yeah. I think a $1000 investment into Oculus in stock would’ve translated into about $145,000 in stock.

Josef Holm:

[crosstalk 00:16:32] There you go, yeah (laughs).

Roy Morejon:

Not too bad of a return.

Well Josef, this has been awesome. Please give our audience your pitch. Tell them what you’re all about, where they should go, and why they should go get Krowdster.

Josef Holm:

Alright, sure, so check out Krowdster: www.krowdster.co. It’s a crowdfunding-marketing in pair solution software base. It’s very affordable. We’re targeting those who are raising $10,000, $15,000, up to $100,000 and who can’t afford an expensive marketing agency. The whole system is very self-explanatory. You can always reach me at josef@krowdster.co or on Twitter or Facebook, Linkedin. I’m pretty visible. (Laughs). I’m looking forward to working with everyone who needs crowdfunding marketing solutions.

Roy Morejon:

Awesome. Audience, thank you again for tuning in. Make sure to visit artofthekickstart.com for all the show notes, the whole transcript, links to everything we talked about today, and of course, thank you to our crowdfunding podcast sponsors: The Gadget Flow and BackerKit.

Josef, thank you so much for being on Art of the Kickstart.

Josef Holm:

Thank you so much, Roy. Thanks man.

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 at artofthekickstart.com/iTunes. It helps more inventors, entrepreneurs, and startups find this show helps us get better guests to help you build a better business. 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.