**This article has been translated automatically and will be reviewed soon.**
Our goal was to introduce our idea (our super cool washable toilet paper sets) to the American market. We were talking about it here actually . To do this, we used the Kickstarter platform, a well-known crowdfunding site in the United States.
- Our campaign started on May 31, 2022 for VIPs.
- We raised our basic goal of $6,000 in 30 minutes (thanks to 182 contributors).
- Our campaign ended on July 5, 2022 at noon: it lasted 35 days.
- We raised $47,381.
- We received the support of 335 people: 227 Canadians, 83 Americans, 12 internationally and 13 who only contributed to planting a tree.
- By the end of the year, we will plant 335 trees via Carbone Boréal (47.74 tonnes of CO2 eq. will be compensated).
- Our funny video has been viewed more than 100,000 times across all media, including 3,585 times on Kickstarter.
This campaign will have taught us a lot of things: about this new market, about how to define ourselves, about ways to join a new market, about a host of marketing tips. Through all of this, we will have experienced ups and downs. In complete transparency, here they are if you're ever interested!
Our secret goal was to find ourselves in the bracket of hot projects at $100k+. Oops! Clearly, our expectations were too high, but hey, we will have (almost) achieved half of our objective which is still not too bad considering that we put in half the budget than expected!
Yeah, we had problems at this level because we had submitted an application to receive a grant to help us boost our marketing campaign in order to increase our reach and our Kickstarter sales. We worked for months on this, we were supported by PME-MTL to build our file properly. Everything was perfect! …to finally be told that we are not a manufacturer but a retailer (even though the government itself told us that we were considered a manufacturer) and that they just offer subsidies to retailers who make a turnover of $5M or more. 😰Moreover, at the same time (unrelated to the subsidy request), we completed a Statistics Canada form later where we indicated that we were a retailer and they contacted us again to tell us that they consider us more of a manufacturer. The survey had to be redone. In short, we are really in a gray area!
Confused Quebec customers
Our campaign was temporary, but it must be said that it was not easy to make everyone understand what was happening. Some customers were disappointed not to be able to find our products on our site (unfortunately we were not allowed to sell them at the same time as our Kickstarter). There were people who ended up on Kickstarter and didn't understand anything that was going on despite our note on the homepage. We accommodated many of our clients to make their lives easier during the campaign, but it was still an irritant for them initially. In short, now that our kits are back online, everyone must be relieved to finally be able to order “normally”.
We were a little disconcerted by the advertising efforts which weren't really bearing fruit halfway through the campaign. As much as things were going well in the pre-campaign, we noticed that Facebook ads have their limits at a given moment, so we had to rethink things. We tried to do other types of publications, to do a Reel, a TikTok. We also wrote a press release in English that we sent to a few media outlets for which we never received a response because we were probably too last minute (in the middle of the campaign). We tried to blow on the embers to relight them, but it was very difficult.
Some flames of hope in marketing
We tried extremely targeted advertising on Reddit, our little discovery of the month! The feedback was mostly positive on Reddit, so that was very cool. At the very end of the campaign, we tested our Facebook ad in other countries and there we saw slightly more positive results. Not necessarily more sales, but we could see that the ads were working (lots of clicks) so there was interest.
Boaty was born!
Our greatest achievement is the birth of Boaty. It must be said: Our real goal was not financial, it was above all to put Boaty on the map and so that our washable toilet paper product was not perceived as a JOKE.
And that was successful because first of all, Boaty didn't really exist before June 1, 2022 and there, he now has his “official” Kickstarter page set in stone which will remain on the site! It's a bit as if he had his birth certificate and authenticity, visible to all.
Two, 335 backers is not nothing! With this number and this amount, we can say that it demonstrates that our Boaty Kit is a real product that interests a good number of people. There is still a long way to go in this new market. We cannot be as well known in the USA as in Quebec with just one month of life, even with a Kickstarter (it still took us 4-5 years to build our community and reach this status in Quebec)! So in short, we have a little Boaty who we are very proud of and who is already on the right track!
A more thoughtful offer and packaging
As we were attacking a new market, it also gave us a hard time thinking about our branding, our offering and our packaging in the United States. Obviously, it will also improve everything for Quebec in the process! Our logo has been slightly modified to be cuter. We created the toiletry kit with deadline is... yesterday (!) so we're really focused on it! In the end, we will have something cool and pretty and that will last over time starting this summer.
To conclude (really not briefly), the Kickstarter will have taught us 3 big things:
1. If you want to achieve a big goal, you have to be well prepared (or known)
We learned a little too late that a successful campaign on Kickstarter must be prepared a year in advance and ideally, it takes an agency, press relations, an influence campaign, advertising and it requires a budget at least $50k to get to $100k+!
Advertising is launched months before the start of the campaign, to avoid this latency time where you are trying to find how to reach your target customers. So we were pretty last minute in preparing our campaign and frankly, we feel small when we think about all that! We learned everything on the job, day by day, by ourselves and we still achieved something big with little!
Otherwise, another way to make a Kickstarter a great success is to be known! As our objective in this case was to create our brand via Kickstarter, well that resulted in something good for a company starting from scratch.
2. The choice of agency is important and very difficult to make
We can learn and do everything ourselves when we launch a Kickstarter. With the right key specialist resources, it can be done. But it takes time to acquire this knowledge and it takes a good network to find specialists. We didn't have that time (and we didn't have the budget either) so we turned to Launchboom's consulting services instead of an agency that would do everything for us. It was much cheaper that way.
Launchboom helped us set up our campaign the right way. They had an interesting pre-campaign strategy, they helped us put our landing page online and present our product well on both the pre-campaign page and the Kickstarter page. We had access to an engaged community of people who are going through the same things as us (everyone from around the world launching a campaign), so we could ask questions and get candid answers from the community. But it's not all bad. During the campaign, when we found ourselves a little helpless in terms of our reach, we no longer had much help from Launchboom. In addition, they only know Facebook advertising so for the moment, they have no idea about other platforms and the organic work (TikTok, influencers, etc.) that can take place upstream or the strategies that can be used in parallel during the campaign. So we remain a little mixed about their role as advisors to achieve real success. Launchboom was good at the start, they saved us time to know the key stages of the campaign, but after that, shoo-shoot.
It certainly played a part in not having the perfect Kickstarter agency that could have made our x1000 campaign successful! But we learned that it was not necessarily better with other agencies. In the Launchboom community, we saw that many were disappointed with the results of their agency; recognized Kickstarter agencies though! So it's really not easy on that side, to find the right fit.
Otherwise, the number of emails and messages we received to sell us services to boost our campaign once launched! It was AMAZING! We even saw a scam, a fraudster!! Well, we detected him, I don't know about the others! You have to be ultra alert.
3. Who are our American customers really?
We learned a lot about Americans during the campaign. We even made a Reddit account to get into people's minds a little more. On Reddit, there is a frankness that you don't find on other social networks and it was interesting to do surveys and read the constructive comments under our ad.
Otherwise, in the end, our target clientele in the United States is not very different from our target clientele in Quebec. Because hey… that’s our target clientele! You just need to target it well. To succeed in joining her. Not easy! But at least we know we can talk to them the same way, so that makes things simpler. Like here, to talk about toilet paper, we absolutely have to talk about the bidet! Otherwise, it shocks everyone. So we're talking about bidets. That’s good because in recent years, the bidet has been gaining more and more fans in the United States! Even more than here, because there are 40 times more of them. So we will see to developing our partnerships or our publications in this direction when we talk about washable PQ.