This post is by online entrepreneur Ivelin Demirov. Ivelin has been selling full time on eBay and Amazon since 2008, and has successfully funded and delivered nine Kickstarter projects. He is also the founder of River Cleaner, a Chrome extension that enables sellers to automatically optimize Amazon product listings.
For most people who use Kickstarter, getting their idea funded is like reaching the mountaintop.
They hit their goal. Their idea can now become a reality. Life is good.
But the truth is, this is just the start.
Having had numerous Kickstarter projects, nine to be exact, I learned through trial and error how to grow them well beyond the confines of Kickstarter. I’ll cover exactly how to do that in this post.
Or if you create private label products to sell on Amazon, you’ll learn a different approach to product development that begins with Kickstarter instead, and is potentially much more profitable.
Then, I’ll show you how to bring your product to even more platforms and build an email list out of former customers that will make it easy to go back to them again and again for greater profits.
Let’s begin with one of the most important steps to creating a product: market research.
- Kickstarter is the future of market research
- Taking your Kickstarter idea to Amazon
- Marketing your product beyond Amazon
- Closing thoughts
Kickstarter is the future of market research
Market research is an absolute requirement before developing any product or service.
If you skip this crucial step, you run a very good chance of ending up with an idea that no one wants to pay for. This very avoidable mistake could easily cost you thousands of dollars.
The problem with traditional market research
Market research is generally a pretty expensive, involved process:
- You have to research your industry and find out what kinds of problems there are.
- Then you need to come up with a possible solution for one of these problems.
- Next, you’ll want to make sure this solution doesn’t already exist or, if it does, figure out how you can compete with this alternative.
- At some point, you also have to figure out whether or not it’s worth the cost to produce your idea, which means finding out how much people will pay for it.
This is just a general outline. Whole companies exist to help their clients with each of these steps, and countless others.
The good news is that now, before you even create a product, you can test the market and see if people would be willing to pay for it.
Using Kickstarter for market research
With this approach you should still spend some time researching your industry, but it greatly reduces the time between this research and testing your product’s viability with the market.
If you can’t sell your idea on Kickstarter, chances are you won’t be able to sell it anywhere else. Kickstarter backers are willing to pay higher prices, are patient and forgiving, and are generous enough to spend time helping you in the process of creating something special.
Furthermore, to be frank, you don’t need to do nearly as much research because it’s not costing you very much to test your idea. Just go to Kickstarter, launch a campaign, post the link in Google+ and Reddit groups, and see what people have to say.
The Kickstarter community will give you feedback on your idea, and it does this in two very important ways.
First, you can literally receive suggestions from your market. Potential buyers will say, “I like the idea, but I’d like it a lot more if you did x, y and z.” This is invaluable.
You can receive this kind of feedback through traditional market research strategies, but it will take a lot of work and a big budget.
The second type of feedback you get from Kickstarter addresses a very significant problem with traditional market research: people say they would buy something even though they have no intention to.
Maybe you’ve found this out the hard way.
Have you ever had a business idea that you told your family and friends about? Did they tell you that the idea was great, and they’d definitely pay for it? Then, after launching the business, did you find that their enthusiasm waned? All of a sudden, were they not so excited to hand over their money?
This isn’t completely their fault. They may have just been trying to be good friends. A lot of people were being completely honest with you, but when the time comes to actually spend money, their minds legitimately changed.
Herein lies a major challenge to traditional market research methods. When you don’t actually have to spend any money, it’s easy to claim you love an idea.
With Kickstarter, this huge problem is avoided completely. People have to put money in escrow in order to support it. As a result, you get to see exactly how much viability there is for your idea.
Taking your Kickstarter idea to Amazon
You now know that one of the biggest and least-known benefits of launching an idea through Kickstarter, is that your market research efforts can be extremely effective without spending much money.
But most people, if they are successful in getting their idea funded, immediately miss out on making even more sales through other channels.
Amazon is the world’s largest retailer by market value, and is visited by 102 million people every month in the United States alone. Amazon is international, and sells products from just about every category.
So it makes sense that if you have a product, you definitely want to get it on Amazon, right?
Obviously, your bottom line is going to benefit if your product is featured on their site. Even as popular as Kickstarter is, it can’t compete with those kinds of numbers.
The problem with Amazon private label
Here’s the problem, though: countless people are constantly competing for the top spots on Amazon.
With the private label model being promoted by so many courses over the internet, it seems like almost everyone is selling the same product on Amazon with a different logo.
Let’s use the favorite example of my friend and mentor Scott Voelker, “the garlic press”.
Type “garlic press” in the Amazon search bar. As I am writing this 12 of the products on page one are exactly the same. There might be different photos and packaging, but the products are identical. Sellers have no choice but to start a war on price, or on reviews.
Many sellers have been on Amazon for years. During that time, they’ve built a reputation. They have thousands of reviews and feedback, both of which tell Amazon they deserve a higher ranking. A brand new seller can only compete on price, and give up all of his profits trying to make his way to the top.
Creating a unique product that delivers real value to the customer, by using Kickstarter to research and fund your ideas, is the way to go.
Driving traffic to Amazon through Kickstarter
With the help of Kickstarter, you can greatly hack your Amazon rankings and speed up the time it takes before you start seeing results. Better still, it’s really easy to do this.
Step one is just to list your item on Amazon. That’s easy enough.
Then, once you have a presence on Kickstarter with a funded idea, you can point any future visitor directly to Amazon and, also tell backers to go buy your product again at a discount from Amazon.
This creates a funnel that your competition on Amazon won’t have. For one thing, there’s just way less competition on Kickstarter. When you combine that with a passionate following, you’re going to bring a lot of influence to Amazon.
That influence will play out on the world’s largest marketplace.
Here’s where things get really interesting.
Despite the unassailable popularity of Amazon, a lot of people don’t know about its subsidiary, Launchpad.
Amazon created this new business channel as a reaction to sites like Indiegogo, Kickstarter and others that were cashing in by helping startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs.
In fact, about a year after Amazon unveiled Launchpad, it announced a partnership with Kickstarter.
There is now a Kickstarter Collection which links the two sites together, making it even easier to double-down on your product’s popularity. Customers can search for products across a number of different categories. You can post a profile about your company, as well.
Let’s just take a moment, too, to think about what this means for the future of entrepreneurs and inventors like you.
One of the most popular companies on the entire planet – a company that sells products from other extremely successful corporations – recognizes that there is a real demand for unique items like the kind you can create.
There has never been a better time to be a creative person, and you’re now learning how to make even more of this opportunity.
Marketing your product beyond Amazon
If all you did was offer a product on Kickstarter and got it funded, you’d be pretty happy.
As we’ve covered, you can take that success to Amazon where you’ll be able to quickly multiply your sales. Launchpad has made it easier than ever to bridge the gap between Amazon and Kickstarter, too.
It gets even better.
An army of sites are waiting to sell your product
There are dozens of other idea-hunting sites on the internet, just waiting to learn about products like yours, and then sell them themselves.
This makes total sense, of course. They see a trend and want to cash in.
This is great news for you because it means even more sales without having to lift a finger.
Here are the results I got last Christmas from some high-traffic websites that regularly promote unique products, including:
- Odditymall – tons of traffic to my Canadian Amazon and eBay stores
- Food Envy – 11M Views, 102K Shares, 47K Likes, 18K Comments
- UncommonGoods – huge wholesale orders
- BuzzFeed – featured as the #4 smart gadget on one of the top websites in the world
- DudeIWantThat, Gadget Flow and others will rush to get you featured
I also got tons of constructive criticism so I can further improve my products. Priceless.
Can you imagine another situation where companies would go out of their way to sell your product to their customers?
We’re not talking about a small number, either. These sites are HUGELY popular all over the world.
In many cases, they’ll even order your product in bulk. You get an immediate paycheck for a sizable amount and they get to sell your product at the rate required to keep up with demand.
Using your Kickstarter landing page
If you know anything about launching a website, you know that the hardest part is generating traffic.
This is usually done through what is known as SEO (search engine optimization). People take years to get good at it and, typically, this only happens after they spend a sizable amount of money.
Even then, showing up on the first page of Google for highly-prized keywords is no cakewalk. It can easily take six months of constant work to rank for just one keyword, which may only bring a dozen people to your site every month.
Fortunately, by using Kickstarter, you’ll be given a huge leg-up.
That’s because of something called domain authority. In simple terms, this refers to how much Google trusts any given site. If they think your site is good, they’ll be more likely to automatically rank your site highly.
But building good domain authority takes a very, very long time to do.
The good news is that Kickstarter already has amazing domain authority. It’s been around for eight years and has an amazing reputation. People love finding it in their search results, so Google loves the site, too. With your product on Kickstarter, it’s going to rank for keywords that other companies could only ever dream of landing.
Another amazing benefit of having your own Kickstarter landing page is the fact that people are more likely to buy from you. That’s because they can clearly see the support of many people as well as their comments.
Compared to your own website, even if you were somehow able to rank alongside Kickstarter, which site do you think customers would be most likely to visit? Which one would they buy from?
Building an email list using Kickstarter
Next, let’s talk about one more very common and powerful online marketing technique: the email list.
When someone sells you their product directly, they usually get your email address in return. Many online marketers also collect email addresses by offering special free content.
People’s email addresses are extremely valuable.
Because it allows companies to follow up directly with people who have either shown interest in their products, or actually purchased them in the past. These are the types of people who are most likely to buy in the future.
Companies know that money spent on marketing to these customers will carry a much higher ROI than money spent trying to find brand new customers.
If all you do is sell on Amazon, though, you won’t get customers’ email addresses. Amazon doesn’t give sellers that information. Any time you launch a new product, all you can do is hope that your previous customers are out there keeping tabs on your company, ready to buy again.
Kickstarter does give you this information, so as you continue to come up with more products, you have a pool of former customers to pitch to. This will give a big boost to your sales every time you launch a new product.
You can also use your email list to “mine” these former customers for ideas. As we talked about at the very beginning, it’s important to get feedback from people who are actually willing to spend money, and they have proven that they are.
So, before you launch your next product, go to your market and ask them directly what they’d pay for. This will make your Kickstarter efforts even more efficient.
Let Facebook find more customers for you
While most people use Facebook for connecting with friends, you can now use it for finding new customers.
That’s because an email list is also great for building a “lookalike audience”. To do this, you upload your customer email addresses to Facebook, which then creates a large audience of users with similar interests that you can advertise to.
When people from that audience order from your Kickstarter page, they also get added to your email list. Your customer list builds further, and the profit-making cycle continues.
Rinse and repeat
By now, it should be clear that getting your Kickstarter project funded is just the beginning.
Aside from all the different ways you can cash in on your initial idea, I hope you also feel encouraged to go back to the drawing board and come up with even more products.
Now that you understand the system, you can use it again and again. Each time you do, your market will grow and multiply your potential results.
Get started today by putting this information into practice.
If you already have a Kickstarter idea, get it funded and then leverage that success into far greater results.
To those who have been putting off your Kickstarter ideas, I hope you’re now sufficiently incentivized to take action.
There are huge profits to be had by anyone who simply takes their Kickstarter idea and uses it for all it’s worth.
Besides his success selling on eBay, Amazon and Kickstarter, Ivelin is the host of Canada’s biggest online sellers Meetup group, the author of two best-selling books on Amazon, and the Amazon consultant with the most calls on consulting site Clarity.
River Cleaner is listed in the Web Retailer directory: River Cleaner listing.