Blocks is the first modular smartwatch. It allows the consumer to build a smartwatch unique specifically to the customer's own needs. Each module of the watch has a specific function, which you can choose, for example a heart rate monitor, GPS and contactless payment card etc. Blocks has a unique product, but how they raised $250 000 in less than an hour, is what makes them even more fascinating!
These are the tips for growth hacking from Samit Patel, who’s a crowdfunding campaign professional and whose kickstarter project Blocks was.
HAVE A KICKASS PRODUCT
Your product doesn’t have to be perfect but it MUST be exciting. You should reflect on the product and try to think about how you would feel about the product if you just now heard about it for the first time? This planet is pretty crowded, if it makes you jump out of your chair, you’re most likely not the only one.
It’s vital that you have something, at least a pilot, to show for your work before you kick off your marketing and sales strategy, so that you can give people the right idea about your product. With nothing more than idea it’s next to impossible to promote your brand or get investments.
You should enter a number of contest, not only to win prizes or investments, but also to network an meet influential people who can help you make your business viable. For Blocks, The Intel Competition opened many doors and on the side they managed to make $50 000. It made it possible for Blocks to connect with investors, journalists and tech companies that have helped Blocks to become what it is today. The competition also got the startup some press coverage and helped it to create a fanbase for the product and build awareness about the product. Even if your company doesn’t win the competition, it has a high potential in getting people excited, interested and aware of your product.
EARLY TESTING AND BUY IN
Offering early bird specials and exclusive memberships, or membership discounts, allows people to get special privileges and behind the scenes insights. Blocks landed with approximately 1000 early members that validated the command for their product. This on the other hand acted as a boost in motivation and generated some capital. It’s important to get this type of validation as soon as possible.
When building your fan base, locate the people who you think will play a key part in shaping your product. Find out who your typical user would be or is, and work together with them, in order to shape your product to the right direction. Also listen to your fans' feedback at every stage and maybe even organize hangout-events with them.
Create a list of content that you think your fans and potential customers would be interested in. You can have some fun articles to post on Reddit, Tumbler etc. and then some more serious ones about important social topics. This content is usually used early on to create traffic on your website and generate awareness about your business and product. Try to target various niches with your content.
Have a social media presence. Early followers will most likely be your first customers if you readily engage them. Through social media Blocks got the access to their fan base. Blocks used a combination of paid ads and competitions and of course, engaging content.
According to Patel there’s three stages to social media strategy:
Imagine - Get people’s imagination working on what they can do or accomplish with your product, make them visualise it.
Excite - Once you get people’s imagination flowing, everyone is interested in the details. Share product shots and details, especially if it’s a techy product/project. There are always a lot of sceptics, but those are the people who make you think about every little detail and matter.
Backing up - Ensure your fan base is ready to buy right before you launch. Build anticipation and plan every element of your launch and what it will take for you to reach your goals, and what that will entail.
Build up your mailing list and include various call to actions on your website that encourage people to sign up! Blocks gave fans the chance to win their product by joining their mailing list, as well as the opportunity to get an early bird discount. Blocks got a mailing list of over 25 000 contacts! They regularly engage those on their list with content about their product, information about new developments and what’s going on behind the scenes. Every new user who signed their mailing list got three emails within two weeks. The first message sent, was a very personal message welcoming and thanking them for joining their community. The second one had information about the product and its’ functions (engage people to use their imagination), the third one revealed some exclusive images and information about the product. Emailing 25 000 people has its’ own challenges: not everyone respond to the same content and timing is of great importance as well ( take notice of different time zones ). It could be wise to categorize and split the email list to optimize the results.
Build up connections with various members of the press, every chance you get. Create a list of press and journalists that could be interested in your product - both niches and mainstream media! Contact everyone on your list one by one, connect and tell them about your business and get them excited! Blocks requested a non-disclosure until the day of their kickstarter launch, so they would get a lot of traffic on their website on the launching day. Right before they went live, Blocks released their new promo video and announced which crowdfunding platform they would be using. Blocks ended up featured by BBC, Mashable, TechCrunch and bunch of other medias, over 200 throughout their campaign.
A few weeks before their launch, Blocks reached out to their fans and asked them if they would like to join Blocks’ ambassador program and be a part in the revolutionizing of the industry. They got over a thousand applicants which they shortlisted to 300. In the application they asked where the applicants were from, whether they were active in any tech based forums and whether they knew any press/journalists. The ambassadors helped Blocks gain important access to press they hadn’t yet contacted and created real excitement around the launch.
FACEBOOK EVENT & THUNDERCLAP
Blocks wanted to create as much buzz around their launch as they could, so they created a Facebook event for the date of their launch. The whole team invited all of their connections. Blocks also got their fans, friends and families to invite their connections to the event. Blocks ended up getting over 30 000 people to join their Facebook even. The event was set up so that also the people who hadn’t followed their project were still easily able to understand what the event was about.
Blocks also set up Thunderclap, which sends out messages in social networks all in one go. That acted as another reminder and helped raise awareness. They again invited everyone to join up and got a social reach of over 1,800,000 people.
MAKING THE MONEY
Blocks' triumph was a combination of these previously mentioned principles and tactics that got them to the impressive $250 000 in exactly 56 minutes. These were the methods they used to get people excited and got everyone to buy their product immediately. After the carefully planned preparation for the launching day, all Blocks had to do on the day, was to sit back and watch the money flow in.
If you have an amazing product you need to make sure you get the deserved reach!