After his first taste of 100% grass fed beef, Mike Salguero was hooked. He preferred the taste and was thrilled to learn about the health advantages that came with it. “Why doesn’t EVERYONE eat this?” he wondered. The answer was that not everyone has access to grass fed beef, pork or poultry. Mike figured he could change this by partnering with ranches that had grass fed meat, and getting it to customers with a monthly subscription service. He called it “ButcherBox” and now, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, he’s up and running.
Kickstarter is one of many crowd-funding services on the internet. (Some others are Indiegogo, Barnraiser and GoFundMe.) Though each have different rules, in general they all allow people to describe a project, set a funding goal, and then ask “the crowd” to send funding to support the project. If folks support your idea, you get the funding and you can get going. If you don’t meet your goal, you’ve at least learned something. Your lack of funding could mean either people don’t want the product or service, OR perhaps you didn’t have a big enough network to get momentum going, OR maybe you slipped up in the planning stages.
I asked Mike to give us some tips about how we can be successful with crowd-funding. Here’s what I learned from Mike, and from Kickstarter itself about how to do it right.
Mike Says “Failures are due to not planning well.”
Mike started off by saying, “This is a time in Kickstarter’s history where, if you play by the rules, you can do well.” That means you should expect to spend time planning before you set up your project on your crowd-funding service. Mike’s Kickstarter campaign page, gives us a good idea of the kind of the 60 to 90 days he spent planning what he would say to potential backers. He demonstrates in words and in pictures:
Why his product is important:
How his service solves the problem:
And then answers all the questions a potential customer might have like…
What’s in the Box? How Do I Use It?
See how the picture shows how it will be shipped safely in a cooler with dry ice, that it comes in easy to use/eat portions, and even better, he sends recipes along so that every meal comes out perfectly.
Last, but not least, Mike demonstrates that he’s credible by showing who’s on the ButcherBox team, answers frequently asked questions. and tells you that you’ll get your first ButcherBox just a month after the campaign ends.
Crowd-funders give out rewards to backers which are only sent out if the project is funded. It’s good to include options for a wide range of support because every little bit helps AND you might have supporters out there who really want to back you in a big way. Kickstarter says that the most popular pledge is $25, and the average pledge is $70 and adds, “Make sure the affordable perks don’t run out too fast, or you risk losing potential backers who can’t afford steeper offerings.”
Mike offered rewards for pledges from $5 (an exclusive audio file of a happy mooing cow. “You can share it with as many people as you want, go nuts.”) to $25 (get a ButcherBox tshirt) to different levels of ButcherBox subscriptions from $119 for the first 200 ButcherBoxes ever to $1,399 for a full year subscription and $5,000 for the full ButcherBox experience.
Make the First Few Days of Your Campaign Successful
If you do well in the first few days of your campaign, it shows that you’re on to something, and you’re rewarded by your crowd-funding service with better placement on the overall site. That in turn drives more people to your campaign and then you get even more backers.
If you want to be successful, be like Mike. Two to three weeks before his crowd-funding campaign went live, Mike began contacting everyone in his network to let them know what he was working on and to ask them if they would support it, and if so, at what level. If you’re going to contact your network, don’t send everyone the exact same message. You don’t have to write personalized messages to each person, but by breaking your network into subgroups, you can tailor your message to that groups particular likes and dislikes and relationship to you. This kind of attention to detail can help you in the end.
After contacting his network, Mike was pretty sure that the campaign was going to be a success. Thanks to this up front leg work he knew he had $15,000 of his $25,000 goal before he even turned on the campaign. That kind of backing increased his visibility on Kickstarter, as did the updates he sent to all his backers, and the result? They met all three of their stretch goals (adding chicken and pork to the boxes at $100,000, FREE BACON at $150,000 and a surprise addition to every box at $200,000), and finished off their 30-day campaign with $210,204. Wow!
So – got an idea for a good product or service from you farm or ranch? Maybe Kickstarter is a good place to get it started. And if you’re not interested in Kickstarter, but you are interested in working with ButcherBox, stay tuned for an upcoming article about what they’re looking for in beef, pork and poultry.