Top Insights from Soma’s “Hacking Kickstarter” Post

Soma Water
Tim Ferriss, the author of The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, and The 4-Hour Chef is a master marketer and promoter. In his capacity as an angel investor, he advises many companies. One of those companies is Soma, which sells a compostable water filter, a product designed to compete on aesthetics and eco-friendliness with the well-known Brita filter. In December, Soma launched its product through a Kickstarter campaign that raised its $100K goal in just 10 days. Soma’s co-founder Mike Del Ponte later posted an awesome blog post on Tim’s blog that describes in great detail the tactics that his team used to achieve their Kickstarter success. My “Cliffs Notes” are below.

  • Befriending bloggers is a huge success factor. They are much more likely to entertain your request if you are a personal friend or come through an introduction.
  • Virtual assistants are extremely helpful in performing the grunt work required to compile lists of relevant bloggers (like this one).
  • Anticipate doing 90% of the work for the Kickstarter campaign before the campaign even starts.
  • Kickstarter uses bit.ly link shortening. If you put a “+” symbol at the end of any bit.ly link, you can see a stats page. For example, here is SOMA’s stats page: http://kck.st/VjAFva+.
  • When making your media list, the four most important things to look for are (1) relevance, (2) readership, (3) relationships, and (4) reach.
  • It’s possible to search Google Images by dragging any image into its search field. By using this method, you (or your VA) can reverse-engineer which blogs covered the Kickstarter campaigns most similar to yours. Pretty slick hack. Pro tip: save the image to your desktop, and then drag it into the search field.
  • Use Facebook’s graph search as a way of finding out if you have any mutual friends with the bloggers in your media list. Then ask those friends to introduce you. You can also use LinkedIn or BranchOut for this purpose too.
  • Blog posts aren’t enough. You need your bloggers to use the full extent of their reach to promote their content about your Kickstarter campaign via Facebook, tweets, etc.
  • Prepare blogger and other outreach email templates in advance because you will need to send at many at one time. Boomerang is a Gmail plug-in that lets you schedule emails, thus saving a lot of time during your launch.
  • Use retargeting banner advertising to reach people who have seen the Kickstarter campaign and create the “surround sound” effect: your product is everywhere!
  • Give your friends a sense of ownership in your project, and they will help you immensely.
  • Use targeted, Kickstarter-specific landing pages with instructions to share, tweet, and fund the project.
  • Leverage a custom Kickstarter dashboard to help you keep track of your campaign. It is available as a free Google Chrome extension.

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