22 Facebook Statistics that Every Crowdfunder Must Know in 2017

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These stats will cover everything you need to know before you launch your next campaign, from audience demographics to Relevance Score to ad engagement. Curious to see them all? Here they are:

  1. At the start of 2017, more than 65 million local businesses had a Facebook page.
  2. 79% of online adults use Facebook.
  3. 42% of consumers do not follow brands on social media.
  4. 42.2% of people like or follow a page so they can get an exclusive offer.
  5. Every Facebook user has more than 1,500 stories competing for a spot in their newsfeed at any given time.
  6. However, only about 300 of those stories are chosen to appear in the newsfeed.
  7. 40.5% of people say they prefer ads that are directly related to their interests.
  8. Ads with a Relevance Score of 3 cost about 73% more than those with a score of 8.
  9. They are 167% more expensive than ads with a score of 10.
  10. Ads with a score of 8 have a 77% higher CTR than those with a score of 3.
  11. Ads with a score of 10 have a 158% higher CTR than those with a score of 3
  12. 34.7% of people who unfollow a brand on Facebook do so because of low-personality or uninteresting posts.
  13. 57.5% of people who unfollow a brand do so because of an excessive amount of promotional posts.
  14. Shorter Facebook posts get 23% more interaction than longer posts.
  15. Posts with photos receive 179% more engagements than other posts.
  16. Videos are the most shared post type, with 89.5 average Facebook shares
  17. The average number of videos posted by a page was 24 per month.
  18. The average length of a Facebook video was 3 minutes and 48 seconds.
  19. The average person only watched a Facebook video for10 seconds.
  20. 85% of Facebook videos are watched with the sound turned off.
  21. People are 1.5x more likely to watch video on a smartphone instead of a desktop.
  22. Square video takes up 78% more space in a mobile newsfeed than landscape video does.

WOW! If you are feeling overwhelmed don't worry. The Woodshed Agency team is here to help work through all of your Facebook Ads needs for your campaigns.

4 Key Elements of a Perfect Product Video

1. Set your goals for your product video

Like any piece of content, you need to know what your goals are before you start. This not only helps you choose the right video format but also helps you brainstorm ideas.

There are many ways brands can use videos in different stages of the customer journey. Depending on what your business needs are, you may want a video for any of these purposes:

  • Building brand awareness: introduce a need for your product and make your brand look good
  • Generating leads or sales: convincing prospects to get in touch or buy
  • Explaining specific features: educating existing customers to improve adoption and retention

Your goals help you determine the kind of video you should produce. If you’re looking to build brand awareness – do a short ad. Want to improve customer retention? Create video tutorials for different features.

Once you have your goals set, it’ll be much easier to proceed with the next steps like writing the script, choosing the tone, etc.

2. Identify your target audience and value proposition

Setting your goals is the first step. Then you need to know who you’re addressing and the message you need to convey.

First, who is this video for? If your answer is “well, everyone?” you might need to spend a bit of time doing some serious research.

Knowing who your ideal customers are will help you choose the best tone and language to address them, increasing your video’s effectiveness.

Then you need to ask, what do we want to emphasize in the video? What is your biggest selling point? Why should people care?

These questions should help you narrow your focus on just the essence and highlights of your product in the video, and make them memorable for your viewers.

Here are some ways to identify your target audience and value proposition:

  1. Ask your sales team. They talk to customers all day long. They know the kind of people who’re most likely to buy, what they care and worry about, and how they speak.
  2. Talk to your customers. The best way to understand your customers is to talk to them. Ask them why they chose your product over a competitor’s, what they like most about your product, how they use it, etc.
  3. Monitor your brand discussions. Sometimes your customers might not want to speak to you. They might just want to share their opinions with their followers and friends. Or they may just want to leave a review online. Keeping a close eye on all your brand related conversations will help you understand them better – what they really think about your brand, as well as the language they use when communicating.
  4. Steal ideas from your competitors. Your competitors’ customers are your best prospects. Spy on your competitors to see what kind of people they are targeting, and how they’re targeting them.

3. Draft a script and storyboard based on your target audience

Once you decided on your target audience, tone, and value proposition, you can start drafting your script and storyboard.

Writing your script

The script is the foundation of your entire video. Like the script of a movie, basically. If you’ve attended any screenwriting class in college, you’ll know that a good story needs some sort of conflict, and then a resolution. Same goes for a good product video.

Setting up the challenge

You need to first set up the context and the challenges faced by your target audience. Then, you introduce your product as a solution to their challenge.

For our customers, their biggest challenge is keeping track of all brand discussions happening on different channels online. We thought it’s better to illustrate this challenge visually. So we decided to go for animations to create this overwhelming feeling of being drowned in different social media discussions in the beginning.

Use the right tone to reflect your brand

The tone of your video should represent your brand voice and what you’re selling. If you’re representing yourself as a smart solution, sound smart. If you’re a dating app, sound fun and flirty.

Since we want to highlight the fact that we’re easy to use, we chose a very conversational, straight-to-the-point tone, free of jargons and corporate terms.

You also need to speak your audience’s language. Are they tech geeks who like to use technical terms? Or are they teenagers who speak in emojis? To connect with and convince your audience, you have to use the same language as them.

Talk benefits, not features

Your customers don’t care about you. Or your product. They care about themselves, and their problems. The only way to get them to care about your product is to show them how you can solve their problems.

So if you’re selling a drill, talk about the hole that your prospect needs on her wall. The drill is the feature, the hole is the benefit. Your script needs to be all about the benefits. It’s okay to touch on features, but only when you show how it can help your customers.

Choose words that reinforce your central idea

In your video, you should have one theme or central idea.

Have a compelling call-to-action (CTA)

At the end of your video, your viewers should be prompted to take an action. This goes back to your goal. What is this video for?

Some common CTAs are:

  • Contact us
  • Download our thing
  • Buy our stuff
  • Subscribe to our mailing list
  • Visit our website

When you’ve decided what your CTA is, make sure to include it at the end of your script.

Drafting your storyboard

Once you’ve perfected your script, you’re ready to create the video’s storyboard. A storyboard lays out exactly what you want to show in the video, frame per frame.

So from the script, ask yourself, what am I showing on the screen as I’m saying this?

 

Be neurotic about it

When it comes to storyboarding, you need to be super detail-oriented.

From the second the music should come in, to the wording you’re using on the screenshot of your app, you need to have every single detail carefully thought and planned out.

If you’re working with an agency, don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions about every single scene and transition. Having a clear and detailed storyboard will save both sides a lot of time later in post-production.

5. Diffusing your video

Once your video is ready, you need to get it out there for the world to see.

Based on your goals, you have to decide where you want to share and host your video.

Here are a few common options:

  • A landing page
  • Your website homepage
  • Social media platforms
  • Nurturing emails

Test Your Start-Up With This 3-Step Process

Test Your Start-Up with this 3-Step Process Over a Weekend and for Under $1000

Most startups fail. Debates about why are nearly as old as Silicon Valley itself. Some argue it was the team and its inability to execute, while others point to the lack of a market for an idea.

Both are critical in achieving ‘product market fit’, but a CB Insights post-mortem study found that ‘no market need’ was the #1 reason for failure.

Entrepreneurs put their heart and soul into these ideas (not to mention their capital), and in many cases, the pain of a failed startup could have been avoided with some customer research up front.

In this post, I am going to share three relatively inexpensive tests I’ve used while working with in crowdfunding to quickly learn about the market demand for startup ideas.

1. Begin with Face-to-Face Conversations.

 

Why —

At this point, your idea is largely in your head. Prospective customers can’t get inside there, so it’s important to start sharing your idea to see what people think about it.

Understanding their level of enthusiasm is important as is learning about the best way to describe your idea so people can judge whether it’s something they can get behind.

How to do it —

Start by getting to know the person you’re speaking with and the kind of solutions they currently use in the space. It’s important to establish trust so they will be honest in their feedback on your idea.

Then describe how your idea would work, asking them if they understand it and whether it’s something they are interested in.

Pause often to allow them to react and ask probing follow-up questions. Try to understand pros and cons vs. alternatives they are using today and whether they volunteer other people they know who would be interested in using your idea.

Friends and others from your network can be a place to start, but seek out ways to extend your research to people you don’t know.

Even if your network is large, it is not nearly large enough to support a business so strangers will need to understand what you are doing and decide whether it’s something they can support.

The excellent book Sprint by Jake Knapp of GV offers some tips on how to recruit people using Craigslist. I especially like the screening process he describes and have used a similar approach.

 

What you can learn —

You will likely get a mix of reactions from people after describing your product.

Ratios are not the most important factor here — instead you should be looking for evidence that something about your idea creates excitement since people need that to abandon the status quo.

You should also note the types of people that respond in certain ways. 

The most critical piece of feedback you can learn here, though, is a concise and clear way of describing your product that gets some people excited. Do not proceed until you have this as it will be essential for making the most of the next two steps.

Cost =

< $200 for possible incentives; free if you can find people out in the wild

 

2. Next Put into Context with Quantitative Surveys.

 

Why

Here you are trying to understand a broader market response to your idea as well as the segments most excited about it. This builds upon what you’ve learned from step #1 and helps you understand how large the audience for your product could be.

How to do it —

Again I urge you to go beyond your immediate network to get unbiased feedback from strangers. I’ve run many quantitative concept tests using Survey Monkey’s Audience product.

It is easy to use and you can get up to 15 questions answered quickly for $1.50 each (prices go up as you add targeting). Survata and Google Consumer Surveys are a few other options.

No matter the platform, make sure you can download the individual responses as those will be important.

Demographic values are critical for understanding different segments and fortunately, you get age, gender, household income, and region for free with Survey Monkey. Be sure to ask for any other variables you think might lead to interested segments.

The most important section in a quant survey is when you describe the product or service and ask people how interested they are in using it.

Take what you’ve learned in step 1 and use words that you believe will catch people’s attention. I use a 5-point unipolar distribution for answer choices ranging from ‘extremely interested’ to ‘not at all interested’ and being consistent has allowed me to compare results across tests.

It’s also important to understand what customers do today for the problem your product solves. I like to ask about the status quo as well as how satisfied people are with it.

Customers not happy will be far easier to acquire than those who do not have a clearer need. Lastly, I always make at least one question open-ended where I ask if people have any feedback to share.

What you can learn —

Total Addressable Market (TAM) is a key question investors will ask about your idea and quantitative surveys are a good way to find that out.

If more than 40% of total respondents answer in the top two categories, then it looks like you may have a product appealing to a mainstream audience. If you’re below that, then try to find segments of people that cross that threshold.

How big are these segments and can a large business be built for them? 

Cost =

$300 for 200 untargeted responses. Goes up with a narrower audience or if looking for more people.

3. Lastly, see if People Act Through Targeted Ads.

 

Why —

A prospect telling you they are interested in a new product is quite different from buying it. Without a working a product you can’t get that far, but you can get close by serving ads to prospects and seeing if they are willing to take further action like signing up for a waiting list.

How to do it

It’s important to start market testing ads by considering the type of go-to-market your product is likely to use. If it’s something where people are already searching for solutions, then search is a great place to start and you can test demand on Google AdWords.

If it’s something where a market does not yet exist, then you’ll want to start on a place like Facebook that does better for new categories.

Facebook is the place I most often test new ideas and you can get started rather quickly by building a landing page where prospects can sign up to join a waiting list.

Given their unmatched targeting capabilities, you can also apply your learning from step 2 to get in front of the customer segment most interested in your product.

We did this with the camping idea and used Squarespace to build a simple landing page. Next, we brainstormed ad idea concepts and took photos so we could load them into Facebook.

I recommend at least 4 different ad creative concepts since you can rarely predict which will work best and more variety will increase the odds of a successful test.

The final step is the most fun and is where you select your target and see how the market reacts to your idea. It’s helpful to have some experience with Facebook as it’s a powerful platform with a steep learning curve.

Once you start receiving signups, be sure to contact people quickly to start a dialogue with them. They can be a great resource as your idea comes closer to reality and might even be your first set of customers!

What you can learn —

Ideally you will get a sense for customer acquisition costs and can do so by dividing your cost per signup by an assumption of the % that will become customers. You will also learn which type of creative works the best.

Relevancy scores of 7 or higher are ideal and I find it especially encouraging if people tag their friends in the comments or respond verbally with their excitement level as we sometimes see.
Word-of-mouth can be a great tailwind for consumer businesses and this type of activity is a good sign that might take place.

Cost =

$500. This should get you close to 50k impressions depending on the demand for the market to reach your audience. Shoot for a 1% click through rate and a 15% signup rate. Some ad platforms also offer credit to get started that would offset some of this cost.

 

Why Small Business Is Using Social Media Less!

Scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed this morning, a certain post caught my eye.

It was from a business page, Social Concepts Consulting, a social marketing, and communications agency based in Narre Warren.

This was the post…

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Facebook: @socialconceptsconsulting

The post was sharing a link to a Smart Company article talking about the drop in use of social media by small business.

The average social media spend for small businesses has fallen over the past year, from $3,595 to $2,839, according to the report. One quarter of small businesses allocate no budget at all to their social strategy, while only 23% say they actually measure their return on investment across social platforms.

I think from the feedback I am getting from SME’s, there is a timeinvestment and commitment required to ensure social media produces some ROI and businesses are struggling to find the time or hire staff to manage it internally.

The drop in use of social by SME’s, I believe, is because social has evolved to the point where if you don’t have a strategy in place and your executing against that to meet your business objectives, social will provide very little tangible short-term ROI.

Just posting randomly to Facebook doesn’t result in new customers or leads.

Therefore, the amount of businesses tackling their own social is dropping.

However!

Social media is one of the most effective platforms that businesses can use to drive new leads and sales!

43% of customers are saying they follow businesses on social to get access to content that is interesting and relevant to them. A quarter of customers report using social media for the purpose of following and keeping up to date with brands, which Sensis spokesperson Rob Tolliday suggests shows consumers actually want solid engagement with businesses, rather than shying away from messages from them.

So if your customers are looking to engage with your business and the brands they love, what needs to be done to help you and other SME’s leverage desire and current state of consumer behaviour?

It would appear that you just might need some extra help and knowledge from someone who can help develop a tailored social media strategy for your business and to then take on the more time consuming aspects of executing that strategy, which will end up providing you with the ROI that can set your social up to be a vital part of your day to day business activity and growth!

The key findings from a study like this one are that customers want to engage in a meaningful way with brands they like. For small businesses, this means looking at the big picture, thinking about what questions their users might need answered, and pulling out the calendar to plan some content around that.

So businesses like Social Concepts and my own, Woodshed Agency, are here to help you, develop and execute a social media marketing strategy that provides you the ROI you're looking for while putting that time back in your pocket to focus on what you do best!

Want to book a time to talk about your business? Click Here to book a 20 min call.

5 Quick Crowdfunding Tips

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Tip 1 - Start by researching campaigns similar to yours. List all the campaigns (both successful and not successful ones). Contact the manager and ask about activities that worked best/worst. Open Kicktraq.com, paste the URLs and watch out their funding curves. If most of the funding occured in the beginning, it means most came most from their own network. More stable curve means there are interested backers from the platform. When you see a sharp increase in funding, ask authors what was the cause of it.

Tip 2 - Define Your Target Audience Conduct a survey with wufoo.com and share it on social media. Ask about the problem you are trying to solve. You will gather invaluable info about your audience and ... their emails. Sign up in Reddit and dedicated forums and start participating in discussions. Try to engage with people and give as much value as you can. In couple of months you will have a strong community of targeted people who will help you get your early seeding.

Tip 3 - Start building your team

When you have 10 people who know 10 more, who then know 10 more, suddenly you have 1,000 hot prospects. If you start with just yourself or a friend, it can still be done, but you will struggle more. Organize a party and make a motivating pitch about your dream. Build your team. Assign their own responsibilities and include only the ones on whom you can rely!

Tip 4 - Estimate Your Costs Kickstarter, Gofundme and Indiegogo require a 5% fee. Plus you will be charged about 3% for payment processor fees. In addition, take into your calculation about 5-8% dropped backers (for Kickstarter), meaning backers whose credit cards are denied when the campaign ends. Before promising something to backers, calculate how much it costs to ship worldwide. Don't forget about your love to the Government. Your money is considered taxable income for the calendar year in which your project is funded, so contact a tax adviser.

Tip 5 - Crowdfunding Canvas Create a visual metrics of all the key elements you need for success:

  • What are the key problems your customers face?
  • How will you solve them?
  • What is your unique value proposition?
  • Who else delivers similar products?
  • What channels will you use to deliver products to customers?
  • What benefits will the backers have?
  • What is the cost structure?

12 Crowdfunding Facts

Let's go quick and dirty with this blog post.... 12 facts you should know about crowdfunding before you jump in. Here we go...

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  • Campaigns that are shared fewer than 2 times have a 97% chance of failure
  • Campaigns that can gain 30% of their goal within the first week are more likely to succeed
  • The most successful campaigns took an average 11 days preparing for their launch
  • Campaigns that run for less than 40 days are 6% more likely to reach their goals than campaigns that go longer than 40 days
  • Campaigns with videos under 5 minutes were 25% more likely to reach their goal than those with videos that were longer
  • Campaigns that offer perks raise 143% more than those which don’t (for reward/equity campaigns)
  • The $25 perk is the most frequently claimed. The $100 perk raises the most money and makes up nearly 30% of total funds raised
  • The average Facebook timeline post has a conversion rate of 3.8%, similar to other social networks, whereas email has an average conversion rate of 25%
  • Campaigns with teams of more than 4 people, raise almost double that of campaigns with only one person
  • On Kickstarter, the majority of successful campaigns fall within the $1k to $10k bracket
  • Campaign owners that update backers every 5 days or less raise around 3x more
  • Visitors stay on your page 35% longer and are 24% more likely to back once you’ve raised over 40%. Get your closest friends and family to contribute first

Are You Being a Sh*tty Client?

If someone at your marketing agency forwarded this blog post to you in a joking manner, chances are they’re actually serious, and you’ve been a shitty client. You probably aren’t aware that your behavior is sabotaging your agency’s ability to do great work; work that, in turn, could deliver valuable results for your business.

I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you. The folks at your agency are too nice to tell you the bad news themselves, so I’m here to take on that burden and lay it all on the table. It might be tough to hear, but in the long run, it’s for your benefit.

So before you get all outraged and pick up the phone to fire their asses, take a few minutes to read this post and consider their side of the client/agency relationship. I promise that in the end, it can only lead to a more productive, effective, and valuable partnership.

Now take a deep breath and read on.

So, you’ve hired an agency to help market your business, build your brand, and bring leads in the door. I’ve been on both sides of the fence; I owned recording studios for five years before I changed my focus to consulting project creators. I’ve also hired agencies and freelancers to help with our design and marketing activities.

I can tell you from firsthand experience that both clients and agencies have common complaints about working together. And let me be clear that agencies are not always perfect angels either - they need to take responsibility for their actions.

But clients often bring their own baggage, misunderstandings, and lack of experience into the agency relationship and it ends up being counterproductive.

In short, clients, even those with good intentions, can sometimes get in the way of great work and valuable results.

How do you know if you’re a shitty client? Read on and see if any of these practices sound familiar to you:

Hiring an agency the wrong way

Your process for hiring a new agency may start your client/agency relationship off on the wrong foot before you even make the final decision. You’re like the creepy guy at the bar whose behavior is so sketchy that it clears the room before you even get the chance to ask someone out. People are texting each other to warn their friends to stay away from you.

To make sure you don’t become the social pariah of the agency world, follow these few do’s and don'ts when choosing an agency to work with:

Don’t put out a public RFP and invite any and every agency to submit.

Most good agencies, the agencies you want to work with, won’t respond to random RFP’s. They know that the RFP process is usually being evaluated on price alone. They’re not going to waste all the time and effort that goes into responding to an RFP (and trust me, it’s A LOT of time and effort) when you’re only interested in a bargain basement price, and not the value that they can deliver your company.

Trust me on this: if the deal happens and you are the client paying the bargain basement price, you’re going to get bargain basement service and work.

Do research a handful of agencies, ask around for referrals, and then separately invite them to a private meeting or phone call to discuss your needs.

Good agencies, the kind you want to work with, know that a successful business relationship is based on a good fit right from the start. They want to make sure that they can provide the right solution to your challenge, deliver results, and provide good ROI. They also want to know that you’ll all get along in the process.

You should have the same criteria when choosing an agency, but you can’t determine any of those things by blindly emailing out a convoluted RFP document. You need to meet in person, or at the very least, have a phone call.

Depending on the size of the potential agency and the appeal of your brand, you might deal with a lower level associate to start with so just to tell them what services you’re looking for. Disclose your approximate monthly marketing spend or project budget, and let them know that you’re shopping around with a few other agencies.

Good agencies want good work, so they’ll get in touch for next steps and to set up a meeting with the right people.

Don’t hire the cheapest agency.

Yes, hire the agency you can afford, but don’t attempt a bidding war or try to get the best deal in town. Again, you’ll only end up filtering out the best agencies who don’t want to deal with that cheap-ass bullshit.

Don’t ask them to submit speculative work. EVER.

If you haven’t hired an agency, don’t ask them for mockups for campaigns, strategy documents, or early design comps. That’s what they get PAID to do. You wouldn’t ask ten carpenters to build you a deck before deciding which one you’re going to hire.

Good agencies won’t put tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of work into trying to win you over and appeal to your tastes, only to be turned down. It’s also not how good work is made.

If you want a sense of the quality of their work, ask for a portfolio, case studies, and references from other clients.

Do ask for a formal pitch and proposal process.

While RFP’s and speculative work are no-nos, it’s totally appropriate to ask for a proposal and pitch meeting. If the potential agency wants your business, they will happily prepare a proposal, and they’ll want to pitch it to you in person or via web conference.

Don’t just ask for the costs to be emailed to you; it doesn’t work like that. They want to wow you, so let them do that. It’s good for you to get a feel for the people you’ll be working with and be able to ask questions.

Do invite other team members to the pitch

Make sure that you invite key people on your team to the pitch; people who will either end up working with the agency once the project kicks off, or who will be affected by the results.

That way they can ask questions about the agency’s process and expertise, plus they’ll get a feel for what the working relationship might be like. Your co-workers may also be able to provide valuable information to the agency that will help with the project.

After the pitch, thank the agency and tell them when to expect a decision. Make sure you follow through with the date, or at least keep them posted on any delays.

If the agency is in high demand, they may tell YOU when they need to hear a yes or no. Don’t be offended by this; they want to be sure that they can schedule the time to do your work amongst the other client projects they have on the go. It may be they can do your project in the next 4-6 weeks, but they’re booked for three months after that.

Discuss the pitch and proposal with your team members to decide if the agency can deliver what you need and that there’s a cultural fit - you want to enjoy working together. Price is important but not the most important thing — just make sure they articulate your return on investment in a way that makes sense.

Ghosting your agency when they need you

If you expected that once you hired an agency, you could go off on vacation or lose yourself in another project and the work would magically get done without you, you’re sadly mistaken. You’re also going to frustrate the hell out of your agency.

Just like any relationship, both sides need to contribute. They need you, and you need them. You’re in this project together.

To complete the work successfully, your agency may need you to answer questions to shape the direction, give feedback at certain milestones, and provide information for deliverables like copy.

Make yourself available for meetings and phone calls. When your agency sends you work to review, approve it or request changes in a timely fashion.

When I ran an agency, 90% of the time projects were delayed because the clients were late providing feedback, approvals, or other resources, like copy or product information. 

You don’t want the project delayed now, do you? Neither does your agency. And you certainly don’t want to be the one responsible for delaying the project.

If you’re too busy to talk to your agency every week or two, or get them what they need to complete the project, then appoint someone in your company to be the main point of contact and give them the autonomy to make decisions.

A word of warning: if you do choose a co-worker to take the lead as the agency point of contact, don’t come in at the end of the project and change everything. Make sure you’re staying up to date on the progress of the project. Otherwise, you’ll quickly end up on the Top Ten Clients to Hate list. You’ll also incur more expenses for changing the scope or delaying the project.

You’re either in, or you’re out.

Having unrealistic expectations

Clients are so renowned for having unrealistic expectations when working with an agency that there’s an entire department whose main job is to manage those expectations. It’s politely called “account management”.

Sure, account managers are also tasked with bringing in new business and being your point of contact if you have questions or want to discuss strategy, but really, and they won’t tell you this, one of their biggest challenges is managing your crazy, delusions-of-grandeur expectations.

What kinds of expectations are unrealistic, you ask?

You aren’t their only client

Most agencies, the good ones, have multiple client projects on the go at once. They’re not sitting idly by the phone waiting to hear from you. You also haven’t paid them enough to be the ONLY project they’re working on.

Clients often want work turned around in no time at all - expecting months of work to be launched in a week. But agencies have other deadlines to meet, other work to do. They should meet the deadlines they’ve committed to you, but you can’t expect them to drop everything to work on your project alone. Also, there’s a reality to how long it takes to complete certain deliverables, and if you want quality results, that takes time.

The sad thing is, a lot of agencies bend to unreasonable client demands, and force their team to work late nights and weekends to make the client happy and meet their unrealistic expectations.

The people working on your account aren’t robots, they’re people. They need sleep and a healthy work/life balance, as we all do. Everybody in the agency business knows at least a couple of people who got divorced and lost their families because they lived at the office. You don’t want to be part of that problem. And you don’t want to be on the receiving end of work that’s done by a sleep-deprived, stressed out, unhappy creative director.

Don’t make your agency a scapegoat

Clients are notorious for blaming their agency when bad things happen, things beyond the agency’s control.

Your website got hacked? Sales are down after a market crash? Software the agency recommended had a bug or experienced some downtime? It’s not their fault. That’s like if an asteroid landed at your corporate event and you blamed the person who booked the venue.

Shit happens, and sometimes that shit is outside of your agency’s control. Stay calm, ask them to do whatever is in their power to fix it, but don’t blame them.

Thinking you can do their work for them

Having an agency is like having a dance partner. If you want to get the best work from them, you need to let them lead. Don’t step on their toes.

Remember why you hired them - you needed help. You need outside expertise and resources. If you know better, why did you hire an agency to start with?

That doesn’t mean you don’t have valuable ideas or opinions to contribute to the project, but you need to respect their expertise enough to let them do what they’re good at. Let them do their job. You wouldn’t tell a trial lawyer how to defend you in a murder case. So don’t tell a designer how to design a website, or there will be a murder.

I’ve talked to companies who were about to hire an agency to crowdfund their product, and they thought they were supposed to already have all the answers with everything sketched out exactly as they want.

Guess what? The manager at the agency is going to take your sketches, laugh at them, crumple them up, set them on fire, light a cigarette with them, and then butt that cigarette out in the rubble.

Crowdfunding is not just an end result. It’s a process that involves discussing problems, coming up with ideas for solutions, talking to end users and testing strategies. That’s how they get to the beautiful result, your project.

There’s nothing creative people hate more than being handed a paint-by-numbers worksheet. They want to find the solution, not have it handed to them. And frankly, that’s what you’re paying them for!

Accept that you aren’t going to have all the answers at the beginning, and that’s OK. Don’t come to your agency with solutions — come with challenges. Your agency won’t think you’re dumb. That’s what they’re here for. That’s their business.

The only other time you get to sit around and complain about your problems is with a therapist, so just enjoy this.

 

Having crappy taste and offering subjective feedback

Part of hiring a marketing agency usually involves a creative deliverable, and guess what? You’re not always going to like what you see.

That doesn't mean they suck. It doesn’t mean you hired the wrong agency and need to find a new one. It means you don’t like it.

Great design doesn’t happen in one shot - it usually takes feedback, testing, and iteration to really knock it out of the park. So don’t flip out if you don’t like the first version.

Here’s a mental process you should follow to review and critique creative. Ask yourself:

Does this align with the strategy you’ve already approved?

If the strategy was to highlight a particular feature of your product or facet of your brand and the creative does just that, then it’s on strategy. Remember that creative brief you signed off on?  

So if the work is true to creative brief you approved, but you now realize you screwed up and approved the wrong strategy, then say so. Your agency will have to redo the work, which means it’s going to cost more and take longer. But that’s your fault not having your shit together, not theirs.

Is your personal taste interfering with good work?

The fact you don’t like the color purple because you hated Marie on Breaking Bad doesn’t make the creative off strategy; it just means you don’t like purple. This isn’t a painting going on the wall in your living room; it’s a creative solution designed to get you business results. It’s targeted at your customers, not you.

Feel free to ask the designer why they made certain choices, but listen to their rationale as objectively as possible. If you don’t agree with their decisions on an objective level, tell them.

Does the work make you slightly uncomfortable?

If so, then it’s probably going in exactly the right direction. Do you know why the majority of ads suck and aren’t memorable? Because the agency gave the client what made them feel comfortable. Safe. Passive. Forgettable.

The market doesn’t care how you feel.

Work that stands out is raw, funny, authentic, transparent, and sometimes pushes the envelope. It takes a stand for something. It says something not everyone agrees with. It alienates some people.

So if you feel a tightness in your chest about the work, that’s you feeling something. And if YOU feel something, your target audience just might feel something too. When you can elicit a positive emotional response from your target audience, then it’s time to hand your agency a bottle of champagne because they did their fucking job.

I’m not saying this doesn’t backfire sometimes. When you make yourself stand out, you can offend certain people and this can cause a public relations issue. Use good judgment, but don’t let yourself become such a slave to pleasing everyone that in the end, you please no one, not even your own bottom line.

Being an unforgiving asshole

All of this makes me sound like I think agencies are infallible; they aren’t. Agencies are made up of humans and humans screw up.  

They miss deadlines. They make bad calls. Their work doesn’t evoke the right reaction with your target audience. It happens to the best of agencies.

If there is an occasion when your agency fucks up, call them out on it privately, either over the phone or in person. But remember that they’re people with feelings who likely had very good intentions. No one WANTS to be a fuck up. So treat them the way you’d treat a valued employee during these times, not like a faceless supplier.

If your agency isn’t living up to your expectations, look inward and make sure your expectations are realistic. If they are, then talk to your account manager and light a fire under them.

Before you go above your account person’s head to complain to the owners or decide to fire the agency altogether, give them time to correct the situation.

Agencies want to do good work, and you should expect good work. But you should also expect that shit happens sometimes. It’s not necessarily the end of the world, or the end of your project.

Not paying invoices on time

There’s almost nothing worse than a client who doesn’t pay their invoices on time.

Here’s what to do when your agency sends you an invoice:

  • Read it over to see what it’s for. If the number isn’t what you expected or you feel you were overcharged, call your account manager and get it straightened out right away. Don’t silently file it away until you’re nagged about it.
     

  • If the number is what you expected, give it to your account payables department and ask them to pay it. If the invoice says net 15, that doesn’t mean look at the invoice in 15 days; it means have it paid. It means that you should issue the cheque this week or next week to account for the mail delivery time.

Agencies run businesses with narrow margins, long sales cycles, and a lot of clients who wait until as long as possible to pay. Yes, that’s the nature of the business, but contributing to the problem won’t help you either. In lots of agencies, clients who are consistently slow to pay their invoices are dropped way down the priority line when it comes to completing work.

Just pay your fucking bills on time.

Conclusion

I’m really not trying to paint all clients with the same asshole paint brush. But if you ask 1,000 agencies about their biggest frustrations with clients, I guarantee all of these points will come up 99% of the time.

I don’t think you were born an asshole client. You just have no idea what you’re doing. And by not knowing what you’re doing, you’re ruining your chances of getting mind-blowingly awesome work that will deliver mind-blowingly awesome results.

That’s why I wrote this post. 

Now, shed your shittiness and be a client that agencies, and your bottom line, will love.

Crowdfunding Handbook (Part 7)

Crowdfunding Handbook (Part 6)

Fulfillment

Fulfillment: that means completing your project, getting rewards to backers, and communicating with them to make sure the process goes smoothly. Like every other step, this one requires planning and budgeting. But fulfillment can be fun, too, and we’ve got quite a few tools and suggestions to help.

The Backer Report & Surveys

Surveys let you collect information from backers — their shipping addresses, sizes, choices of colors or flavors, or anything else. You can start drafting backer surveys any time after you’ve launched a project, but they can only be sent out once your project is successfully funded. They can also only be sent once — so think through all the questions you’ll need to ask in order to provide rewards and prepare accordingly.

  • If you designated that a reward requires physical shipping, the survey will automatically ask backers for their mailing addresses.

  • Although you can only send surveys once, you can allow backers to make changes to their shipping addresses until you’re ready to actually ship rewards. Once you indicate that you’re ready to ship, backers will be notified that they have 48 hours to finalize their addresses.

  • Kickstarter runs the addresses that backers provide a validation check to make sure they exist and are properly formatted. If a backer hasn’t answered your survey, Kickstarter shows them a reminder the next time they visit.

  • You can’t mark a survey question as optional, so if the question doesn’t pertain to everyone, remind backers that they can respond with "n/a."

  • All survey responses end up neatly organized in your Backer Report, which you can export as CSV files and open in pretty much any spreadsheet program. Remember: you’re responsible for using backers’ information responsibly.

Fulfillment Partners

If managing all the logistics of your project starts to feel a little overwhelming, or you wind up with more backers than you were prepared for, don’t worry: you don’t need to do everything yourself. There are businesses that specialize in things like mass mailing, warehousing, packaging — you name it. If there’s a part of the process you feel comfortable outsourcing, and you can find a partner you trust, it can help lighten the load and create a better, more efficient experience for you and your backers. With the help of many Kickstarter creators, we’ve compiled this list of services that help with everything from packaging and shipping to manufacturing, games distribution, and vinyl pressing. Check them out and research which partners will work best for your project and your backers.

Crowdfunding Handbook (Part 5)

Communicating with backers

Throughout your project, you’ll be communicating with backers and keeping them informed of your progress. Project updates, your spotlight page, Kickstarter Live, and our messaging system will help you keep backers in the loop.

  • Updates.

    Think of these as your project’s blog. Keep backers engaged through interesting and shareable updates, and encourage them to spread the word about your progress, like this project did. Backers aren’t just looking for updates on when their rewards will show up — most of them love a look at the details of how work like yours is actually made. Show them!

  • Update options.

    You can post text-only updates, or you can include images, video, and even sound clips. (Check these out!) You can mark updates as public or for backers only. Updates can be emailed to all your backers, or just to specific reward tiers. And after an update is posted, you even have 30 minutes to edit it.

  • Messages.

    You can use messages to communicate with backers one-on-one. Remember to check your messages and comments regularly, and respond to any questions. If you find that you’re frequently getting questions about the same topic, consider making it the subject of your next update.

  • Spotlight.

    Once your project is successfully funded, use the Spotlight feature to customize your page, highlight images that show your plans coming together, and direct your audience to where they can see your current work. Looking for inspiration? Visit this page.

  • Kickstarter Live

    Use Kickstarter Live to share some special moments with your community. Pick a subject for your stream and plan to share something exclusive that people won’t get to see anywhere else. Whether you do a product demo, Q&A, or just stream some of your next rehearsal, remember to have fun with your viewers. Schedule a live stream, see how other creators are using this tool, or get some pointers here.

Backers appreciate regular, insightful, and honest updates. Don’t be hesitant to communicate delays or changes to your original plans — or to just check in. (If backers don’t hear from you for a while, they worry that you may be having trouble doing the work you promised.) Curious how other creators have approached updating their backers? Here are some of our favorites.