07: Crowdfunding Presentation: Page Design
In this episode, we’re taking a deeper dive into presentation. Ever wondered how to design the perfect page? Want to know the best way to structure your rewards for your campaign? Want to know the perfect number of rewards you should offer? If so, this master class is for you!
Subscribe to The Funded Today Podcast
1. It can help to imitate successful campaign presentations, but don’t presume that the most-funded campaigns must also have the most effective pitches, because such campaign media may be redesigned mid-campaign (and not always wisely), and also because total funds raised depends upon more factors than presentation alone.
2. Discussing your project with real people long before you launch your campaign can help you to develop a sense of how to most effectively pitch your product to potential backers.
3. Your campaign page’s sales pitch should load quickly to avoid losing viewers, start powerfully to persuade viewers that it’ll be worth their time to continue reading and/or skimming further, and then continue in a manner that’s easy for viewers (including non-native English speakers) to both navigate and understand, spurning needless complexity and/or marketing hype to embrace both short sentences and plain language.
4. You should customize your pitch to likely backers through persuasive copywriting (which is more vital than good visuals) that focuses primarily upon the benefits that you’re offering viewers, and secondarily upon other factors like costs and/or your team.
5. As a startup, focus on basics like both traffic and conversions, and on presenting your team as likable and competent and trustworthy, but don’t worry about your company’s branding until it’s much further developed.
6. After your campaign launches, test everything about your design (as best as you can) and alter it as needed in response to data rather than speculation.
7. Your campaign marketing exists to bring traffic to your campaign page, and your campaign media exists to convert traffic into backers, but neither is as important as your product-and-price.
[00:55] Zach introduces Funded Today’s Director of Page Design, Luke Morris, who has served 95 Kickstarter campaigns (and counting).
[01:27] Luke conveys a formula for unsuccessful page design.
[02:47] Zach notes the importance of actually offering an original product, and not relying entirely upon the imitation of success.
[03:19] Thomas adds that it’s fine to imitate success if you do it right, and mentions the importance of translating features into benefits.
[04:39] Luke explains how exaggerated hype repels potential support.
[05:12] Luke and Zach explain why higher funds raised don’t necessarily indicate a better product nor a better presentation, but might indicate more-intense marketing instead, whereas less-funded campaigns might actually enjoy higher EPVs due to better pitching—so, a million-dollar campaign’s page design won’t necessarily work for your campaign.
[10:07] Zach and Thomas criticize some crowdfunding campaigners for believing that they already have a brand, when they should be focusing on both traffic and conversions.
[11:49] Thomas remarks that glossy beautiful Facebook ads tend to get ignored, while simple Facebook ads that look more like something that a friend might post are the ones that get the most clicks.
[12:46] Zach stresses that it’s the job of ads to arouse sufficient curiosity to bring traffic to a campaign page, and that it’s the job of campaign media (videos, pages, etc.) to convert that traffic into backers.
[13:24] Thomas notes that your campaign media is less important than your value proposition.
[14:13] Luke observes that good design includes good text, which focuses on the product-and-price being offered, rather than drawing attention to itself.
[15:08] Luke says that he ceased providing branding for startups because they’re still forming an identity and haven’t developed an actual “brand” yet, which takes time, whereas they should focus their attention more on basics, such as developing credibility.
[17:06] Zach and Thomas present BASICS (which became NOMATIC) as an example of how startups don’t always know immediately what they’re going to become, anyway.
[18:13] Thomas states that persuasive copywriting is more important than good visuals in effective page design, and Zach cites LunoWear as an example of the power of storytelling in raising pledges.
[19:08] Luke explains how many creators will actively change their campaign media during the course of their campaign, perhaps rationally in response to data or perhaps recklessly in response to desperation.
[20:53] Luke urges that page designs should require no more than 3-5 seconds to load in America, which may involve minimizing GIFs despite their effectiveness.
[23:18] Luke observes that even the best campaigns make errors in their page designs, and Zach urges campaigners to test everything.
[24:03] Zach and Luke note that creators may design for themselves, and that they may assume that other backers will think exactly as they do, but that this isn’t always true—and that it’s good to solicit feedback from others long before launching to discover what actually “resonates” with others.
[26:18] Luke emphasizes that it’s important to render your page-design as easy as possible for your page-viewers to both navigate and understand, and to start its pitch strongly so that page-viewers will sense that it’s probably worth their time to keep reading/skimming.
[28:24] Zach and Thomas add that it’s important to customize your page to your audience, that many people haven’t yet heard of Kickstarter and don’t yet understand the crowdfunding process—and that only a few may risk pledging money for a product that doesn’t exist yet.
[30:10] Thomas notes that these design principles apply beyond crowdfunding to e-commerce, and then reviews some of those principles.
[32:35] Luke asserts that crowdfunding backers simply want to “get things done,” and that you need to focus on serving their interests rather than yours, and avoid complexity that repels people.
[33:22] Zach reminds that crowdfunding is a global marketplace, and that presentations need to be kept simple for those who don’t speak English as their primary language.
[33:32] Zach and Luke talk about how, although campaign videos are highly effective, 79% of people (on average) who view your Kickstarter page will scan all of it, looking specifically for how much your product will benefit them at what cost, ultimately reading about 22% (on average) of what they see—and that huge complex pages can daunt people, which is why it’s important to use both short sentences and plain language without any marketing hype.
[36:48] Thomas encourages campaigners that they may still enjoy success without following every one of these suggestions, and that they shouldn’t allow these tips to overwhelm and/or discourage them, while Zach reiterates the Pareto Principle that 20% of your efforts produce 80% of your results.
[38:19] Zach and Luke overview Funded Today’s paid page-design services.
[39:46] Zach and Thomas present this episode’s Projects of the Week.
Zach Smith: (00:00) Funded Today nation, welcome back to the Funded Today podcast. On today’s episode we’re taking a deeper dive into our Presentation “P” “have ever wondered how to design the perfect page, do you want to know the best way to structure your rewards for your campaign, want to know the perfect number of rewards you should offer?” If so, this master class is for you.
Announcer: (00:24) The Funded Today podcast is hosted by World- Renowned entrepreneurs and Business Experts Thomas Alvord and Zach Smith, to get help with your next big business idea or to take your business to the next level go to fundedtoday.com
Zach Smith: (00:38) Welcome back I am Zach Smith.
Thomas Alvord: (00:39) And I’m Thomas Alvord.
Zach Smith: (00:43) And in our last episode we talked about the “7-Ps” for Crowdfunding Success, that episode is a must listen to, if you want to check off all the elements necessary for a successful “Crowdfunidng Campaign” go check it out, go listen to you’re going to love it. In today’s episode we’re going to hit on our “Presentation P” a little bit harder. We’ve got a very special guest, our very own Director Page Design here at Funded Today Mr. Luke Morris. Luke, how are you doing today?
Luke Morris: (01:09) Fantastic Zach, thanks for asking, and hello Thomas.
Thomas Alvord: (01:13) Luke, how are you?
Zach Smith: (01:12) So glad to have you. A little bit of background on Luke, you’re going to see how much of a genius this guy is as we get talk in home, but Luke in just the last year has worked on 95 Kickstarter campaigns overseeing just over $1.4 million in funding and counting, a lot of those are still funding, so that number is rising every second. Luke, anything you’ve learned that you want to share with creators to help them be more successful?
Luke Morris: (01:36) Nope, but I’m positive I know the formula for an unsuccessful page.
Zach Smith: (01:39) Well let’s start there, I think that’s great. Talk to us a little bit about that.
Luke Morris: (01:44) Sure. So especially after designing dozens of watch pages, I think that you can pull up just about any watch page on Kickstarter right now who hasn’t met their funding and you’ll see this exact formula. First, you’ll start by claiming you’ve discovered a new lifestyle, please avoid discussing product specs or really any concrete information. Go on to continue and tell everybody what a visionary you are, and do this in a thousand words or less, load-up several 50 megabyte animated GIFs to capture their interest. Go ahead and take the structure from the top third of a million dollar campaign and just paste that on top of whatever you had up to this point, you’ll know what will convert now. Double-check to make your profile picture is really large. Make sure you post your profile picture several times throughout the page and write the Big Kahuna right under the photo they love that and it adds lots of credibility. Now you can mention the rewards, the pricing and your plan to deliver this to backers in a timely manner just make sure you skim over these points as quickly as possible and place it at the very end of the page, and then remind everybody that you’re going to change the world together.
Zach Smith: (02:46) You mentioned those eight points “how to be unsuccessful at the Kickstarter campaign”. You do see that a lot, because so many people have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars or millions of dollars on Kickstarter or Indiegogo and then you see people thinking they can make-up something that doesn’t have the right story, that doesn’t have the right motivation behind it and they’re trying to emulate success but their emulation is not real it’s not genuine and I think a lot of these points you touch on it on that quite a bit.
Thomas Alvord: (03:16) Going along with what you just said Zach, about campaigns that just copy another campaign imitating success is always good but a lot of times people I’ve noticed as well, they will just copy something and they think they’re imitating success but they have it all backwards, I remember a couple years ago there was a campaign it was a jacket and they were imitating the “BauBax Travel Jacket” they said look “each of the different features we have we show here’s the feature, and here’s why it’s awesome, and we kind of break it down” they literally thought they were copying the structure of BauBax, but once you looked at it it’s like well you actually - it look like you were copying it but the structure was still different because BauBax would always talk about the benefit.
You get this benefit with this feature and this benefit with this feature but this other campaign literally was saying “hey, here’s this feature and here’s this feature” and they didn’t understand the difference between a feature and a benefit, copying success can be good and can be useful but you have to know what you’re doing.
So what Luke said you know you can’t just go look at the million dollar campaigns and copy it because you still need to know the nuances of what they did to really imitate that success if that’s what you’re going to do.
Luke Morris: (04:43) People detest marketers, in a lot of studies time and time again we’ve seen the inflated language non-scannable structures just repel people like some sort of skunk as soon as you start typing in anything that looks like a marketing and you use acronyms and you say that “our thing is the greatest thing under the sun and everyone showered unite under us” especially the younger generation they turn away from that immediately. They look at it and they go, this is going to be a huge hassle to get any information that I want. Most of these really fantastic campaigns they drive a lot of traffic and sometimes they’re not making an amazing profit and they’re not converting as well as they like.
So we see these campaigns and we say “oh! they made $3 million and $5 million, they made so much money”, and then you start looking at the background you see these people are turning huge profit and they’re not as efficient as some of the campaigns that are making $100,000, $200,000 and their cost for conversion reflects that too. It’s sometimes really high so just looking at a campaign because it’s exploring kittens or because it’s “Filippo Loreti” that doesn’t guarantee your success frankly it’s going to hinder you in almost every circumstance.
Zach Smith: (05:59) It’s funny you mentioned that, we talked about that on a another podcast episode an example that came to mind recently was “Bluesmart” the huge Indiegogo smart luggage campaign they have actually declared bankruptcy now, even though they raised millions of dollars on the platform. Thomas and I talk about this all the time just because a campaign posts million dollars or $2 million or $10 million or $20 million I mean look at the “Coolest Cooler” for an example of somebody who raised a ton of money and still hasn’t been able to find a way to deliver to all of the backers and it’s in a lot of financial trouble. Well the big number you post, doesn’t mean as much as you might think it means.
Luke Morris: (06:33) Sure we all want to raise $5 million we get a lot of people you know sharing okay, well let’s do it like the “Coolest Cooler” are you aware of the repercussions of what happened there. So just scanning for the most funded campaigns is instinctively going to be a bad move in almost every scenario.
Zach Smith: (06:50) Yeah absolutely agree there I kind of want to transition now to another topic and kind of get right into the meat of what you do, let’s talk about some design miss on Kickstarter and again when we say Kickstarter we’re talking about any Crowdfunding Platform Kickstarter, Indiegogo perhaps even Non-Rewards Based Crowdfunding Platforms like “Go Fund Me” where you’re trying to raise money for a charitable cause or something that you believe in. But Kickstarter Design Miss, let’s talk about them, I know you got a couple that you wanted to hit on there, tell me a little bit about some of the design miss that you’ve seen as you’ve designed all of these pages and structured all of the stories and rewards?
Luke Morris: (07:26) Sure. So I’d like to talk about three today, that I see fairly consistently in my experience. One, we just went over this if it worked for a million dollar campaign it’ll work for you, that’s never the case. Their business agenda is different, the social conventions on Kickstarter are going to be different than yours, many million dollar campaigns have been launched by reputable brands and creators who target people, and then they already have a Kickstarter account and that they’ve probably already back these people, one that comes to mind is the “Nomatic Backpack” they really something once every three months, and I get a lot of clients saying “We want to look like Nomatic, we want to look like Nomatic” well they didn’t have the same exact design that’s almost been unchanging since they launched, you can see the price, either the amount that they’re giving is going up and down, they’re not doing this based on any sort of objective fact they’re just doing the first time they did it worked and they’re going to continue doing it, they’re not testing that design.
Zach Smith: (08:21) And I like that too Luke regarding social conventions I think there’s something to be said about that as it relates to let’s look at “Smart Luggage” if I have I have some really nice luggage, I have some “TUMI Luggage” and I love it and I take it with me everywhere, I don’t think I’m ever going to need luggage I mean maybe in 10 years, 20 years, and so if I’ve purchased let’s say I purchased TUMI Luggage on a Kickstarter campaign and if you go and say “Oh! Well I want to “TUMI Campaign” it raised $5million” you’re probably not going to raise $5 million because if you’re targeting me I’ve already got luggage and I think the same thing is the case for a wallet or what else is kind of a big on Kickstarter occasionally. I mean if I get the “Coolest Cooler”, I’m not going to need another cooler, so you’re not…
Luke Morris: (09:03) No.
Zach Smith: (09:04) …going to able to, there’s examples like that you have to consider as well if we have all of these people who we can target and then they purchase something think about the lifecycle purchase of that product. I mean maybe a watch you would want five or six watches if you’re a watch type guy, so that’s an example of something but if you have a wallet until it rips or wears out or you want to try something no you’re not going to need another wallet. And so a lot of people look at a campaign on Kickstarter that was very successfully and they say “Do this one for me and target the same people that backed that one” and I think the targeting part is what you have to be careful with because if you’re targeting those same people they might not actually be purchasing because they already purchased your competitor’s product.
Luke Morris: (09:40) That’s such a great point yes now that comes down to you know how presold are these customers before they even enter the site, are they interested in any luggage and then for TUMI when you bought the “TUMI Luggage” first of all you mentioned TUMI I’ve seen TUMI at the airport, just with the TUMI name I know I’m going to get some good luggage. So if TUMI were to make it a Kickstarter Campaign they wouldn’t have to start by building all this credibility and saying “Oh! We’ve been featured in Forbes and here” you know they’re TUMI, they can skip that higher part.
Zach Smith: (10:11) I want to talk about that so much we see this, I mean you’ve probably see this even more than I do now Luke but there are a lot of Funded Today clients that say “I don’t want to hurt my brand or I’ve got this brand, you do not have a brand”.
Luke Morris: (10:23) Exactly.
Zach Smith: (10:25) I don’t care who you are, like maybe the “BauBax Travel Jacket” is a brand now.
Luke Morris: (10:29) Maybe.
Zach Smith: (10:29) And he has raised $12 or $15 million and then another $10 $20 million on his website over the last four or five years maybe that’s a brand.
Luke Morris: (10:36) Maybe.
Zach Smith: (10:38) Like you don’t have a brand with your watch or your wallet or your new idea and don’t think we’re being mean here it’s just that – it’s just the fact of the matter.
Luke Morris: (10:47) Yes, the idea of brand I think is silly because I’ll share something from “Neil Patel” he had an article a little while ago that I was reading, he said “you know the most important factor for SEO, that’s going to drive traffic to your website” you know what it is? And he said “it’s not your keywords, it’s not this, it’s not your inbound links” he said “you know what it is?” And then he shared an example, he said “I asked my friend when you go buy shoes what brand you buy” he said “Nike” okay, and he asked a few other products, where do you go, what do you do and he listed to all those things. He said “that’s the power of branding and that’s why people go to Nike.com or Starbucks or wherever else because of the strong brand, people don’t have that and when somebody is trying to do a startup right here on Kickstarter or Indiegogo you’re not trying to – yes, I guess in a way you’re building your brand but that’s not the goal, the goal should drive traffic and to drive sales.
Here’s the Grand Irony of all of this, this isn’t so much about how do you design your crowdfunding page but it has a parallel which is this, often we’ll create ads for these clients of ours and they’ll be mad at us, they’ll say “this looks horrible, this isn’t my brand I gave you the images to use for my – for the ads this looks like crap and we say “okay, we’ll test it” and then we test it, it’s like well we told you it’s not going to get good engagement because guess what happens, when you run a polished image inside Facebook people have the glasses on so they just ignore ads and if they see something that’s glossy and beautiful they’ll just look right over it and they’ll ignore it. Right but something that looks homegrown, that looks organic, that looks natural, that looks like somebody took it from their iPhone that’s not super amazing that’s what’s actually going to do well.
Zach Smith: (12:46) Ready for a maxim here. It is the job of your ad to incite, evoke curiosity in the prospective backer somebody who’s going to click from Facebook to click on to your ad, they click on your ad then it is the job of the page design, the reward structure, the video, the ad copy, the story to convince that curious clicker to become part of your tribe to back your campaign. It is the job of the ad to create curiosity, it is the job of the page and video and story and reward structure to convert.
Thomas Alvord: (13:26) I’m not saying your campaign page where people will make a contribution or a pledge that it needs to look crummy, but just for kicks and giggles for those of you out there go look at “Pebble Watch” the very first “Pebble Watch Campaign” and you’ll see that his video was not good at all, like literally he shot it with his own camera it looks horrible but it didn’t matter because the value proposition and what he was doing was far more substantial than any design elements, which is kind of ironic for me to be saying here because we’re talking about how to design a good Kickstarter page you do still need to have a good design, the design can get in the way.
Luke Morris: (14:08) Let’s unpack that, you say that designing a good Kickstarter page doesn’t include value proposition I would argue that we often see that as the visual or the layout which I think you’re referring to, but remember that we all these designers design the visuals but we also design words. A lot of design people don’t really see that is really around the value proposition, bad design I would say is only around the visuals and a lot of designers get caught up on that.
Thomas Alvord: (14:43) And Luke I think that’s what makes you so unique and everybody at Funded Today is sometimes we think designer, its popping images on pages making them look pretty and glossy but at Funded Today our designers design pages that convert.
Luke Morris: (14:54) Absolutely.
Thomas Alvord: (14:55) Or sell a copy in addition to creating beautiful pages it will make your brand proud you know we’ll throw it out there if you want to call yourself a brand you are going to be proud of the pages that are designed.
Luke Morris: (15:08) I love what Thomas said, and I couldn’t agree more. As a brand identity designer of 10 years I think this is one of the biggest problems that I come across and this is lot of reasons that I stopped doing branding for start-ups, is because their brand doesn’t exist it’s not a real thing. Here’s the counterargument that they’ll present to you if you say “Oh! Your brand doesn’t matter” they are like you’re not thinking long-term right this is short-term for you to think. Okay, what they don’t realize is, for them to have a brand which means you own something in the customer’s head like, so “BauBax” they might own the idea of like a jacket that has a million features in it, they might own that. Right, it takes 20-30 years, tens maybe hundreds of millions of dollars to drill that little ting like “Nike Just Do It”.
Zach Smith: (15:54) I love that Luke owning space inside the customer said “Think about Geico, they can throw millions of dollars at every single TV Station in the world to say 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on your car insurance. Right, they’ve been doing that forever and they’re just throwing it out there and when you think of insurance Geico probably readily comes to mind in the top three to five choices, if you can’t do that you don’t have a brand.
Luke Morris: (16:16) Exactly. What we’ve shifted to say is that the people that are launching on Kickstarter by nature being on Kickstarter they’re not a brand so what they’re doing is they’re crafting an identity that’s true they do – they have an identity now their argument is do you – you know does your identity matter at this stage, does anybody care? And the answer is frankly, as long as you look credible, trustworthy and the information you’re providing is concise and scannable? No, it doesn’t matter at all it just seems to be legible and then don’t put yourself in a place where you’re saying no to all these options and you’ve already figured out the perception and your consumer’s head of what you are, this is silly. It’s like having a baby and then deciding everything that baby is going to be including its job and you know where it’s going to live, the minute you have it.
Zach Smith: (17:07) And I love that Luke, you mention NOMATIC earlier and NOMATIC actually is a great example of that it transitioned from a wallet company they started a company might not know about it called “Basics” B-A-S-I-C-S”, “Basics Wallet” and together with Funded Today they raised over $171,000 for their first campaign. For some reason along the way they decided they wanted to be more of a lifestyle brand and they transitioned to NOMATIC, they didn’t know what they were going to be.
Thomas Alvord: (17:34) Well what first they did a wallet, and then they did a watch, and then they did a planner, and then they did a bag, they actually before that also partnered with someone else they were doing some stuff with and did a standing desk and so they were kind of exploring trying to figure out what they were doing. A lot of start-ups what they eventually become they did not intend to start out doing that very often it changes. So I like what you’re saying Luke, you know how can you say here’s what our brand is, if you don’t even know where you’re going right because when you’re initially coming into a market you don’t know how the market is going to respond and you’re going to need to pivot and you’re going to need to change and that’s going to change who you are, what your identity is and eventually you know if you grow big enough what your brand is. I used to tell people at Funded Today when I worked more closely with the creative now I’m you know more in other areas but I used to tell our team “Look I would rather and what we need is good copy, good copywriting and then the visuals and the stuff that’s kind of just gravy, right? But you need the good copy you need to get into their emotions, you need to get to the value proposition that is what matters the most”.
Zach Smith: (18:44) Think about “Luno Wear”, one of my favorite example still I use it so much when I speak around the world, 71 year old watchmaker passes on legacy of watchmaking to grandchildren read all about it, right, that ad did not even feature the watch and it had some of the highest conversion rates and click-through that we’ve ever seen. Luke, we talked about timing can you get on that a little bit stronger now?
Luke Morris: (19:08) Yes, it’s a go back, so if it’s working for a million dollar campaign it’ll work for you that’s a myth and the biggest one that I see that people are just looking over is the time they look at these campaigns that have already been funded okay, so by nature of looking at a campaign that’s already been funded and then copying it, you’re looking at the campaign on its 30th day I can tell you for every single campaign that I’ve laid my hands on, we do not leave that campaign untouched after day one, we’re making lots of minor and lots of major edits. So you have no idea what their launch strategy was all you know is what their ending strategy was, and usually these campaigns are seeing some sort of pivot to our plateau towards the end and they’re trying to pivot and do something different. So they might have started with a five minute video and tried several different videos in the slot they might have not had any social proof at all in the beginning, and then they might have added it towards the end and you don’t know if that helped them or not you don’t know if this was the “A” or the “B”. And a lot of the best brands, the ones that you are copying of course they’re changing stuff and testing.
Zach Smith: (20:12) Actively manage page design and I know we do that but hearing you say that makes me so happy because I think a lot of people think I got my page, I got my video, I’m done let’s launch here we go 30 days, 60 days that’s not the case at all. Throughout the campaign you’re making pivots and tweaks and edits, I mean we didn’t originally intend talk about this but I know you are a Data Head kind of like me kind of like Thomas, tell me a little bit about a couple of the metrics you’re looking at and measuring and I know this is recent, but what are some of the points that you like to look at to determine conversion rates and to determine what’s making a campaign resonate with perspective backers Luke?
Luke Morris: (20:53) Sure, so one of my favorite ones is “Simply Page Load” without exception if the Page Load is over three to five seconds here in America and New York specifically that means you’re done after five seconds outside of America because you’re looking at a 20 second load in China, a 30 second load in Australia, a 40 second load over in Russia you’re leaving out most of China just with that five second page load, which by the way all that takes five seconds of page load that’s five to 10 megabytes on your page and that looks like three a normal sized page and then three GIFs that are five seconds long, and you’ve pretty much cutout half the population in terms of how long they’re willing to wait to look at your page.
Zach Smith: (21:41) That’s a very strong point to look at and when Luke talks about “page load” he’s talking about when somebody clicks a link to go to your Kickstarter page, how long is it taking for that page to appear in the browser window, what are one or two techniques you do to get the page load speed at the speed it needs to be that still resonate it makes sense right. Somebody is clicking on an ad and if they’ve clicked on that ad because they’re curious and suddenly its five seconds or longer well then they forgot why they were curious to click and they are gone.
Luke Morris: (22:16) Yes, they are gone. The biggest issue that I see with campaigns is that they think that they need to add GIFs to create interest and more GIFs equals more interest, that maybe true animations are really great for capturing interest to move around, I would limit it to through the whole page less than three seconds of GIFs to be completely safe you get three to five seconds of GIFs so maybe that’s five one second GIFs or one five second GIF. I wouldn’t recommend going anything over that or else you should be testing your page and optimizing those GIFs.
Zach Smith: (22:43) Any tool you are using for page load, speed testing, is there any free tool or something that you like to use or plug it into to test the page load speed?
Luke Morris: (22:51) Pingdom.com that’s the website speed test and we check in usually three different countries, we’ll check in New York, we’ll check in Stockholm, Sweden; Node1 Australia and usually San Jose California.
Zach Smith: (23:04) And that’s Pingdom?
Luke Morris: (23:05) Yes, Pingdom.com,
Zach Smith: (23:06) Pingdom.com, P-I-N-G-D-O-M.com, cool, very cool. Last Kickstarter design myth, they messed up explain that one to me.
Luke Morris: (23:15) If everything else you know is good and let’s say that somehow you’re looking at this page and you’re aware of which one is the “A” and which one is the “B” and the split testing, then you know you’re aware of their business agenda and that their traffic sources and their market there is still a chance that they simply messed up. Even Amazon messes up sometimes, there is an Ecommerce study done within the last year where Amazon’s mobile site was still suffering from things like unclear primary buttons and product pages they were hard to find and they’ve recently gone through a small redesign and even Amazon is improving things every day to go to you know Amazon or even Google or any of these top Kickstarter projects and just copy them directly realize these people are also messing up and they’re constantly learning from those mess-ups too. You’re likely going to be copying that mess up.
Zach Smith: (24:06) Test everything I mean that’s a takeaway there, I love them. I see there’s so much on Kickstarter with a lot of the clients that we work with at Funded Today some people think that because they feel that way everybody else is going to feel that way, they think they are the backer for their product and in some cases they might be but I’d say more often they are not, they’ve actually kind of got an identity crisis going on there, talk to me about that a little bit Luke, and lets run through some of your points there.
Luke Morris: (24:37) Sure, empathy is really hard for a lot of people I found it’s just difficult to imagine a world that’s not your own and especially you know when you’re in a position of power often people find themselves in the position where now they are designing something for a user or creating something for their customer and they continue that behavior and that’s one of the quickest ways to ruin your Kickstarter campaign is to – make a campaign for yourself. Now sometimes that can work if you’re dealing with a tiny niche, I worked with a guy who sold monster trucks or racing trucks and there was a group of like 14 people that drove racing trucks and he made the argument that he personally knows everyone in this category and they were all like him, because there is 14 other people I admit that’s trick. So if you’re going after a niche where you can pretty much talk to everybody and meet them, then I suppose you can assume everybody is somewhat like you. If you’re dealing with a market more than 100 people you’re going to have a strong bias that’s leads in an inefficient design..
Zach Smith: (25:42) Now Funded Today Nation here’s a takeaway on this point “Triple F”. Use your Friends, Family, Full network they can give you the answers you need before you launch as they review your page design, as they look at your rewards structure they’re going to give you the feedback that you’re not going to identify with yourself leverage that we have a whole episode on the “Triple F”, listen to it. That’ll help you get into the minds of people that are actually going to back your product and what resonates with them rather than what you think is going to resonate.
Luke Morris: (26:16) And now I really want to hammer down this point that you are not the user, first of all just let’s get away from the idea that you know you’re even in charge of a page by nature of you listening to this podcast and hearing what I’m saying and especially by nature putting something on Kickstarter user are in the top 3% of computer literacy in the United States. If you listen to this podcast you’re probably in the top 8% or you’re what we call a “Level Three” you have the highest computer literacy, we can measure. Only 8% of the people in the United States, we generally create page around a “Level One Literacy” that’s really interesting because some of the things that you know level one, people need to do which is going to be a huge section of your market is a fine, pretty much no navigation should be required to access the information.
Zach Smith: (27:04) It’s kind of like how most self-help books are written at the reading level of a fifth grader.
Luke Morris: (27:10) A metaphor that I’ve heard used for this and this might be slightly inappropriate but it’s incredibly apt, as they say “Pretend the users like drunk and like you’re walking them back from a bar” you have to say “you know, okay, we’re going to walk you out of the bar here a grab put your arm around my shoulder we’re going to take out you know these 10 steps very simple. Okay I’m going to open the door we’re going to take you home now” that’s kind of the mindset that you need to be in, and once people say “Okay, make this like you’re talking to your friend, make this like you’re talking to your friend that you’re taking home after a long night”.
Zach Smith: (27:42) We are talking about conversion, we’re talking about conversion and the job of the page is to convert, notice all these elements I mean listeners pay attention here, we’re talking about helping anybody who visit your page to convert, convert means to back your product, to get excited to become part of your tribe that’s the job of the page, and I love that analogy.
Luke Morris: (28:02) And not to prove that you’re smart or that you know a lot or that you’re in charge to convert, which means you generally to communicate what’s in it for me, you know how much hassles is this information going to get and so right away you have to tell them “This isn’t going to be a hassle, there’s a lot in it for you at the end” and then you tell them right away what’s in it for them or they’re going to leave.
Zach Smith: (28:25) And you know why this is important, Luke you and I have the same experience. I go to the bank, I go to the grocery store, I’m a talkative person, I maybe an introvert but when I’m out I’m kind of extroverted ask your lift driver, ask your Uber driver, ask your barber, ask your banker about Kickstarter have you ever heard a Kickstarter before?” What’s the response Luke?
Luke Morris: (28:46) Usually, a long pause and followed by something like, “Is that a website?” Once - yesterday actually this side a lift driver she said “Kickstart, isn’t that a soft drink named kind of like Mountain Dew?”
Thomas Alvord: (29:01) Yes, hey there the brand element again look at Mountain Dew, look at Mountain Dew reaching out with your brand.
Zach Smith: (29:05) It’s so true you are dealing with a group of people who are going to give you money with the hope that one day in three months, six months maybe a year or more that they will receive the product that they have given you a couple hundred bucks for.
Luke Morris: (29:21) I think that’s overly optimistic Zach, I think most people think they’re just making a purchase, they don’t even realize they’re backing.
Zach Smith: (29:28) Oh! Yeah I mean absolutely, so you’re in again putting yourself in the, you’re so right Thomas on your end putting yourself in the mind of the customer they think they’re getting this on Amazon Prime and two days later they are getting their product that you know that’s optimistic. But what’s really happening is they are backing a product that they may or may not ever receive that they’ve given up a couple of hundred bucks for it and more people are learning about that than ever before but they’re still like “Hey, when am I getting up my product, I bagged this, why hasn’t it shipped yet?” So that’s the type of person you’re designing this page for.
Luke Morris: (30:03) Yes.
Zach Smith: (30:04) How do you resonate with them, how do you communicate these nuances with that particular profile?
Thomas Alvord: (30:11) Let me share one other thing Zach, the stuff that Luke is sharing and we’ve been talking about also does not apply simply to Crowdfunding, it applies even if you have your own company website. I was working with a client recently they were upset that I kept suggesting they needed to modify their web page above the top fold they had a slider and it would literally have like one sentence it wasn’t even a sentence it was like a clause kind of saying what the product was and I was like this is really bad, you have to sit here for about 15 seconds to read the equivalent of two sentences to figure out what the product is. Right, like this substantially needs to changed and at first they were mad at me and they’re like hey we didn’t hire you to criticize our web page, we hired you to run marketing” and I said “Fine”.
Zach Smith: (31:04) They did what Luke talks about, they think that they know their customer, they think they are their customer, they’re talking about how cool and great they are instead of how to resonate with the person that actually wants to purchase their product.
Thomas Alvord: (31:17) Well it’s not only about the customer and their client but also about the process and so I had to explain, look the goal of the ad is to take somebody away from whatever webpage they’re currently reading or if they’re browsing on Facebook is to get them off of that page and then to get them to your website and then to let the website do the selling and the persuasion and the convincing to get them to open their wallet and to purchase or to back your product, right, because that’s the process when you’re doing direct response marketing right, we’re not doing branding here you’re a start-up, you’re trying to generate sales and so the goal is to generate those sales as effectively as possible and the goal is not to run so branding campaign where you have one user who sees your ad 10 times. Yes, if you’re a car manufacturer the sale cycle might be a year or two, so $50,000 purchase then yes you might do that but not if you’re selling $100 or $200 product in your startup, right, the approach is going to be substantially different. So you need to remember that whether you’re on Kickstarter or Indiegogo or on your own website, so
Luke Morris: (32:25) So by nature being on Kickstarter and putting a product out there, your goal is probably to make money but your users have different goals, they always just want to get things done you have to be constantly, it’s okay that your goal is to make money but you have to be aware that your users are just trying to get something done and you can’t let your goal of making money get in the way out of the information they’re trying to get, so they can get their tasks done. Usually if we enter in a lot of complexity there for a big picture conclusion what you need to realize is that if your page is too complex, you’re down to serving 31% of the population of the United States, 35% in Japan, 37% Canada and Singapore, 38% in Northern Europe and Australia this is according to Nielsen Norman Group I think in 2006, so you need to keep it extremely simple or two-thirds of the population cannot not use your design.
Zach Smith: (33:20) I’m ready for another insight or tip on that point. We’re in a global market now kind of common sense but on Kickstarter an Indiegogo more and more pledges are coming internationally than ever before and if you’re not resonating with that population and making it simple because English might not even be their first language you’re losing out on a lot of backers.
All right now I want to talk about our last topic for the day and I think this one is probably the most exciting and maybe a little bit counterintuitive everybody talks about video, video this, video that, mobile we got to have this, we got to have that, we got to have everything on video. Luke talk to us a little bit about the reading element the story, the copy about Kickstarter pages.
Luke Morris: (34:03) People are right for lot of reasons if you look at Facebook conversions you look at Facebook ads, video kills there’s almost no comparison between like a static image or a video they just consistently convert better then we take that information and we say “okay, now I’m going to put this video on my website”. That’s usually a gap in logic, we start finding the - that as peoples are forced to scan large lists of content, and we now have a behavior that is pretty much just we scan everything. So if we give them just a video like in the context of a Facebook ad they watch just the video those will do great you usually you’ll see 30% of people finish I mean in the half video. Now if we send them to a Kickstarter page, here’s what we know about 20% of those words are going to be read this is according to iTracking Studies just done within the last year, 79% of any user is going to scan the entire page that they come across does, that matter if it’s video content, written content or photo contest?
No, they’re scanning to find the information they’re going to gain something from. They’re looking, they’re doing what’s in it for me you know – what is the price of this product, what am I going to get you know for my $100 that’s so fantastic and specifically how much hassle are going to be for me to find that. They may make this decision in pretty much a second or two at a glance, so by loading up your page with 2,000, 3,000 words you’re decreasing your conversion because you’re telling them this is going to be a massive hassle to get this information. If you post 20 videos it’s going to be a massive hassle to get this information. If you have a page that’s 400, 500 images in it, it’s also going to be a massive hassle. So my advice to everybody almost every Kickstarter campaign can benefit from this and the ones that we’ve implemented this and like we’ve seen increasing conversions every time. You need to use plain spoken words, you need to use short sentences, you need to frontload that information so right at the top of the paragraph, right at the beginning of the sentence, it tells them exactly the information that you need no marketing fluff, and then make everything concise, scannable and objective and do that in less than 500 words then I promise you, you’ll see conversions go up on your Kickstarter page, “people do not read”.
Zach Smith: (36:25) Perfect. I think that sums it up beautifully, Thomas anything else you want to add about page design, reward structure, copy, conversion before we wrap this one up for the day?
Thomas Alvord: (36:41) The only thing I was going to add a little bit earlier was when Luke was talking about AB testing and changing a campaign page while it’s live, at the same time I don’t want people to feel “man look at all the stuff I have to do”. Luke is simply saying the big campaigns are often doing that”, you don’t have to do that to launch a Crowdfunding Campaign, a campaign can still be simple, I love the phrase “Less is More” don’t feel like you have to do this you might be doing this if you’re optimizing it because you have a goal you need to hit in terms of gross pledges because you’re looking for retail placements or maybe your campaign it doesn’t have traction and there’s not conversion so you’re looking at testing stuff. But don’t feel like it’s this huge thing like at a minimum you need a video, you need a good clean page design that illustrates your value proposition because you know these things now, don’t let that cause in action because you feel overwhelmed that’s all I would add.
Zach Smith: (37:43) I think that’s the principle of 80:20 in action what’s the 20% of effort that I can do that’s going to yield 80% of my results and I think Luke touched on that quite a bit in his summary, 500 words or less, two or three GIFs, story and copy that can be put into a sentence or two that conveys the entire message of what you’re trying to do. Those are the kind of things that matter, Luke thanks again so much for being here I learned a lot, it’s great to talk with you, I love the numbers, I love the data, I love the research in the studies that you came prepared with. If somebody wants a white-glove treatment, if they want all this done for them we got to let you do a plug, tell us a little bit about what that works I mean it’s not too expensive to have a page designed by Funded Today by any means anyway right?
Luke Morris: (38:32) No, not at all and we’re happy to help we’ve got a team of designers we’ve all worked on at least 30 or 40 campaigns this year a piece, I don’t think that we’ve put out a failing campaign in several months now. So we’re really excited about that we crank these out really fast happy to take you know pretty much any client we can, we love it.
Zach Smith: (38:53) So the process is apply on the Funded Today website you’ll get in touch with a client specialist they’ll walk through pricing things, how things will get set up, you might even jump on a call with Luke and then we’ll get started to make your page for you.
Luke Morris: (39:07) Exactly jump on a call with me I would be happy to talk more and I definitely look forward to anybody who wants to talk more specifically about their campaign. I think we shared a lot about what you can do to avoid a unsuccessful campaign and the reason that we didn’t talk too much about specifically what you should be doing to make a successful campaign is because as with any design, we have to know what sort of product you have I can’t suggest the same thing for a backpack that I would for a wallet so yes, if we can definitely help you more in a one-on-one scenario.
Zach Smith: (39:40) Awesome. Well this was so good thanks again Luke, love to having you. As we do every single week now and Luke we’re going to bring you in on this it is time for the “Funded Today Product of the Week” Every week we pick a new product that we have come across that we’re working with at Funded Today, and we talk about why we like it. For me this week I’m really excited in fact I’m going to go out on a limb here, I’m doing the “Triple F”, okay, this is me like practicing what I preach live, action, daily follow-up with this client his name is “Kyle Stringham” he’s got a product called “PurTrek” if you have ever backpacked, if you’ve ever gone for a couple of days where you can’t carry your water in this is the product for you, they are hiking poles with a built in filtration system. I don’t think I need to say anything more this is like the perfect minimalistic product that makes it so you don’t have to carry all that weight, all that water weight whilst having some great hiking poles to improve stability, balance and posture. While also making it a really awesome you can mention talk about combining innovative with techie and cool right you took the traditional hiking pole and he said “how can we integrate a water filtration element to this” that’s PurTrek they are launching soon he’s practicing everything that we teach and I’m really excited, I think this one’s going to do pretty well. PureTrek, P-U-R -T-R-E-K, that’s my product of the week Thomas?
Thomas Alvord: (41:12) Yes, my product of the week is called “Dore or Dorea” that spelled D-O-R-A-I and actually before I share what the product is, I have three young kids but my seven year old and four year old were taking a bath let’s see probably about five days ago and they filled it up slightly to the very top I’m not sure quite how that happen but they made a mess right water was everywhere and so our bathmat was soaking, soaking wet and took forever to dry. So “Dorai” is a bath mat and the material causes the water to rapidly dry and expel the moisture so it keeps your bath mat you know free of mould and bacteria, and this is something I’m going to look at getting for myself actually, so that Dorai bath math now you should check it out it’s pretty awesome.
Luke Morris: (42:10) The nostalgia is strong this week as we’re seeing the relaunch of “Gurgling Guts”. Fortunately I can’t say that any other way it just comes out Gurgling Guts any 90s babies will immediately recognize the pink squishy human organs that are emerged in a red fluid, enclosed in thin latex ball of film, you squish them with your hand has gurgling and bubbling noises when squished, it’s perfect for Halloween and kids absolutely loved it. Anybody in the 90s can remember going to like Toys“R”Us” and “Target” and seeing these keychains and we’re so excited to be partnering with the Lewis Brothers the original creators to relaunch this thing on Kickstarter.
Zach Smith: (42:53) Alright well we hope you enjoyed today’s Special Guest Mr. Luke Morris, the one and only Director of Page Design at Funded Today. We’re going to finalize our “Presentation P Series” on next week’s episode. We’re going to bring another guest on, this time the Executive Director of Funded Today, “Devan Butler” “Have you ever wondered how to make the perfect video that also converts, want to know the best way to tell the story of your product to build your own raving fans, what about the length of a video, what’s the ideal length, how long should somebody watch your video or does that even matter to know whether it’s good or not.” These are the questions we’re going to get the answers to directly from Devan himself, and you ain't going want to miss it, we hope to see you next week, and remember “Don’t Wait Until Tomorrow” get funded Today.
Announcer: (43:46) Funded Today is the worldwide leader in rewards-Based Crowdfunding on Kickstarter and Indiegogo combined to they have raised over $200 million and counting for thousands of new ideas and inventions worldwide, if you got an idea for a new product or invention visit fundedtoday.com to speak with one of their experts.
References and Resources
- Funded Today: Blog: “The 7 P’s For Crowdfunding Success”
- Funded Today: Blog: “How your Funding Goal and Rewards Structure Can Help You Win the Backer”
- Funded Today: Blog: “Products Sell Themselves Better with Help - The Power of Presentation”
- Funded Today: Podcast: “The 7 P’s for Crowdfunding Success”
- Funded Today: Podcast: “‘The Crowd Whisperer’ Evaluates Projects”
Thanks for Listening!
Thanks so much for joining us this week. Do you have some feedback you’d like to share with us? We'd love to hear it! Please just leave a note in the comment section below.
If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave an honest review for The Funded Today Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews keep us going, are super helpful, and helps provide this show to more people who need this information. Most importantly, we read each and every one of them and it helps us to come up with new ideas for new episodes to help you!