A Kickstarter How To…
Will Bag O Balloons Reach $1,000,000 in Kickstarter Support? I shared Ethan Mollick’s Dynamics of Crowdfunding Kickstarter study with Allison Phalen from the Charlotte based Command Partners tonight. Not much Mollick can teach Command Partners based on Bunch O Balloons.
Bunch O Balloons is an ingenious idea. Fill up 100 water balloons in less than a minute. Their Kickstarter project has 14,939 contributors and $590,980 on an ask of $10,000. Why such over-the-top success?
- Great marketing particularly the video (see comments below).
- Nostalgia – everyone can remember a favorite water balloon fight.
- Easy time savings benefit.
- Great ASKS / GIVES (Note the distribution ask at $480 is GONE).
- Great updates as media has come in to support the project they are right on it with “as seen on”.
- Great tribe (read some of the comments).
Fun product, great storytelling and PR media support. Kudos to all.
Now What? Curagami & Majestic SEO
The good news is your Kickstsarter campaign blew up. The bad news is your Kickstarter campaign blew up. Bad news because, as Ethan Mollick’s study shows, going way over an ask is a disaster for shipping on time. More than 80% of campaigns Mollick studied delivered late.
Since Bunch O Balloons is a fun product it has deadline leeway, but expectations are high and there is a commitment, in for shipment.
Bunch O Balloons needs to know their 1:9:90 Rule:
- 1% site visitors will contribute valuable content such as Russ’ comment.
- 9% site visitors will support content especially from the 1% Contributors.
- 90% read.
You might think the 1:9:90 rule is being changed by Bag O Balloons. Not when you think of Kickstater as the website in question not the Bag O Balloons page. We bet Kickstarter’s traffic lives by the 1:9:90 rule giving you some idea how much traffic is needed to fund the roughly $500,000,000 in projects last year (answer: lots and lots).
Kickstrter has some cool advantages. Advantages familiar to other portals such as Facebook, Twitter and GooglePlus:
- Kickstarter mines User Generated Content (UGC) so content creation costs are low.
- Most projects are funded by the entrepreneur’s network, only 25% of funding typically comes from Kickstarter so marketing costs are low (Bag O Balloons is an outlier breaking this “rule”).
- Kickstarter uses algorithms to understand what content to promote increasing pull and reach of winners like Bunch O Balloonss.
Outlier campaigns create press and momentum that builds on itself. As CBS talks about Bag O Balloons so too will ABC and so on. Outliers like the Bunch O Balloons project become exceptions that prove Mollick’s point – most crowdfunding projects come in right at or just over their ask. Why YOUR social network is more important in most crowdfunding than Kickstarter’s.
Powerful aspirational outliers like Bag O Ballo0ns or Pebble Watch ($10M on $100K ask) create perceptions that KICKSTARTER owns the engine that makes crowdfunding successful. Not according to Mollick’s detailed study. Sun, moon and stars align perfectly and an outlier project makes crowdfunding look easy.
Crowdfunding is NOT easy as the team at Command Partners shared with us at dinner.
Creating Online Community & Tribes
Creating online community is where the sustainable work begins. Bag O Balloons will need to create online community capable of sustaining and building on their Kickstarter win. They need to know their :
- 1% Contributors.
- 9% Supporters.
- 90% Readers.
They need to know how and who to ask for what kind of help.
Within their “magic 10%” Bunch O Balloons needs to know who is contextually relevant to ASK what. Dixon Jones and Majestic SEO have a cool tool that goes Klout at least one better. Majestic SEO’s tool can help Bag O Balloons know how to empower their growing tribe. Majestic shows who to ask for what kind of help. They show who is TRUSTWORTHY on a given topic.
Curagami, our Startup Factory funded startup, could help Bunch O Balloons mine conversations ON THEIR SITE. Majestic explains who has trust and on what. Curagami empowers those “leaders” or “hall monitors” to help Wiki-ize online community (i.e. created and monitored by a group of volunteers).
Curagami helps form the “Ambassador Layer” every website and brand needs these days. Ambassadors, people who’ve “bought in” to a brand’s mission and want to help, need to be given contextually appropriate “jobs”.
Jobs is in quotes because, much like Wikipedia editors, Ambassadors “work” for social status and to be a part of the tribe. Material or commercial payment may destroy the Ambassadors’ altruism as Daniel Pink explains so well in his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.
Why do all of this work building online community when Bunch O Balloons is off to such a great start?
There is a reason we don’t still buy Pet Rocks (heck I bet half the people at this conference were born well after Pet Rocks became an overnight sensation that everyone had to have in the 1970s and is now a distant memory). Entropy and decay are the web’s natural processes. Online community is the ONLY force capable of sustaining growth and denying the web’s entropy (i.e. removal of the GOOD stuff like traffic, awareness and money).
Here is an example of how Majestic helps find a site’s TRUST layer for Curatti.com.
Majestic’s next cool trick is to summarize top posts by TRUST. You can’t see the list here, but top Curatti posts such as Red Bull’s Branding Lessons were on the list. Dixon flipped to the bottom showing content that was hurting rather than helping Curatti. Content that could be pruned to increase the site’s trust score and lower the trust to citations disparity.
“Pruning” is where Curatti’s “Editors of Chaos” idea comes true.
Curatti’s “10” Trust Score is eclipsed by an almost 3x “citation score” (should be more equal). As Search Exchange’s creator Steve Plunkett shared with Phil and I today, we are in Charlotte so Phil can speak at the conference tomorrow, “disavowing” links daily preens spam from Steve’s sites.
Extend the logic to see Majestic’s value. If you know WHO is valuable and trustworthy and in what context you can “edit chaos” and align content, creator, trust and community. Next use a tool like Curagami to consistently improve the value of your User Generated Content and conversational interactions (ON YOUR SITE) and you create the one-two punch authority requires.
Bunch O Balloons is an outlier with momentum. Sustaining momentum into a solid business requires cool new tools to create online community and the ambassadors such tribes create, empower and multiply.