Guest Author Janine Saunders is a co-founder of Connected Sparks and led product development for the campaign team behind Lyka’s Adventure.
Lyka’s Adventure began 3 years ago when we set out to create an educational experience that students would remember for the rest of their lives. We tested our first prototype in two classrooms for students from underserved communities. Based on their response, we knew we wanted to bring Lyka to children across the globe.
Today, Lyka’s Adventure has raised 15% of its total goal on Indiegogo, and we’ve learned a ton from our attempt to bring a toy to market. Based on our own campaign experience, here are five pieces of advice we’d like to share:
1. Indiegogo is a great tool for iterating. Lyka’s Adventure is actually four distinct products in one package – a concept that’s difficult to present to the general public. Each package includes a book series, a plush toy, a free educational app, and the opportunity to meet with a traveling Lyka in schools across the globe. How do you explain all that quickly?! Indiegogo’s flexibility allowed us to test different messages, emphases, and campaign content and imagery to see what yielded the best response. In fact, we completely rebranded our page three weeks into the campaign after receiving valuable feedback from friends and family.
2. Ask for feedback. Hear what people think about the way you’re marketing your product: what’s confusing, working, or missing? Asking these questions helped us define the messaging that best fits Lyka’s Adventure. For example, we initially focused our messaging on Lyka, but over time started emphasizing the educational aspect of her story when we saw other toys promoting what they taught – “learn to code” or “get excited about engineering.” We became distracted from our core focus – Lyka, a traveling robot on a mission. After testing the market with kids, parents, and professionals again and again, it all came back to the character and her story. The feedback inspired us to produce this short, which opened up many doors:
3. Strategically set your campaign goal. Though we were advised to initially aim for half of our ultimate funding goal of $50,000 on our campaign page, we didn’t take the advice because we were convinced that financial transparency was more important. If we really needed $50,000, why not say so? In retrospect, we should have listened to Indiegogo’s advice. Lyka’s adventure currently sits at 15% funded. If we’d initially asked for $25,000 and then expanded with stretch goals, we’d be at the 30% mark by now and our campaign would look more legitimate to contributors.
4. Line up your investors ahead of time. We were advised to line up 100 people that would contribute on Day 1 – a task we thought we could complete in a week. In actuality, it took about a month to collect our first 100 funders. Each of these people is essential for a campaign’s success because you can leverage their social networks to attract other early contributors. The more networks you access and funds you raise early on, the better!
5. Have all hands on deck. Campaigning is a full-time commitment. We selected our start date to coincide with a 12-day tour for the release of Lyka’s Adventure in the Australian market. Two of our five team members would tour Australia with Lyka and document the journey for campaign and social media updates. At the time, the plan made sense. In hindsight, we made a mistake. As a startup of five people, we lost nearly half the manpower necessary for running our campaign when two of us went to Australia.
Don’t get discouraged if your campaign isn’t doing as well as you thought or hoped for. See it as an opportunity to improve, pivot, or even start over. Some of the best inventors tinkered and failed hundreds (if not thousands) of times before they met their success. Success is in the process – let that process be your guide!
To see what the team behind Lyka’s Adventure is up to now, check out their website!