The Freelancer Planner Kickstarter

The_Freelancer_Planner_by_Michelle_Nickolaisen_—_Kickstarter

It’s always bothered me that most planners don’t actually teach you how to plan – they just give you a place to write things down. There’s also a glaring gap in the planner market – most business-based planners are not only boring and/or ugly, they’re not created for freelancers.

I had printable versions available at the Bombchelle site that were designed to fix the first problem (teaching you better planning habits as you plan) and had received enough feedback on them to know that they worked. But I wanted to create something that solved both problems in one go, and that was nice to look at to boot. And it had to be physical, because as much as I love me a good productivity app, there are benefits of physical writing that can’t be ignored.

2015 was the year I did it – funding it on Kickstarter and jumping in with both feet despite a shorter runway than I had planned on (due to personal/health issues). Here’s how it went down: 

Concept and creation:

  • Oversaw creation of planner, providing concept sketches to designer and working closely with designer to refine concept and create something both attractive and functional
  • Did extensive research into Kickstarter best practices and created backer levels based on said research (along with choosing length of campaign based on research)
  • Wrote the script for the video
  • Wrote all copy for the campaign page
  • Once we were 100% funded, I sent out our printable planner prototype to backers to get feedback so that we could iterate based on that feedback (something I learned from my UX clients!) – what was sent to the printers was actually version two of the planners

Marketing and strategy:

Social media marketing:

  • There was a “pay with a share” option to download a one-page printable, which generated over 50 shares
  • Posted regular updates on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook
  • Changed all social profile links to drive traffic back to campaign during time of campaign
  • Embedded “click to share” buttons on the campaign page and shared them with backers regularly via campaign updates
  • Outreach to Twitter users who had tweeted about freelancing, productivity, or similar Kickstarter campaigns
  • One particularly effective tactic was posting thank you tweets, where I’d find the backer’s Twitter username and giving them a shout-out that day on Twitter – people loved these

Content marketing:

  • Kept up regular posting on my site while the campaign was going, with topics related to the campaign and linking back to the campaign
  • Recorded several videos for YouTube (then crossposted those videos to Bombchelle) with call-to-action embeds to check out the campaign and back it
  • Reposted older content on Medium (that had previously performed well on Bombchelle) to get more mileage out of it
  • Guest posted on several sites, including Puttylike and Millo, to drive traffic back to campaign

PR and outreach:

  • Lots of blogger and journalist outreach, which netted (among other features) a features on CreativeBloq and AGBeat, along with a Twitter shout-out from the Freelancers Union
  • Submitted the campaign to ProductHunt and promoted ProductHunt link
  • Review outreach to several bloggers with related niche followings, received several reviews while campaign was running

Results:

The campaign was funded to 156% of its goal and we passed the goal with well over a week left to go:

The_Freelancer_Planner_by_Michelle_Nickolaisen_»Funding_Progress

Here’s an excerpt of the backer report:

The_Freelancer_Planner_by_Michelle_Nickolaisen_»_Dashboard_—_Kickstarter

As you can see, social media and content marketing/guest posting drove quite a bit of backer support during the campaign.

Out of the direct referral traffic, some of that came from bit.ly:

Bitly__Traffic

Bit.ly’s analytics show (again) quite a bit of traffic from social:

Bitly__The_power_of_the_link_

But a fair amount of that traffic also came from the aforementioned guest posting/PR/marketing efforts:

Bitly__The_power_of_the_link_other_traffic

All in all, I think it’s safe to say that the marketing strategies were a success.

Last but not least, I also sourced and managed fulfillment of the rewards, and kept backers updated on the progress and delays that were encountered.

Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive:

Tamara_Gooderham_on_Twitter___Filling_in_my_brand_new_freelancer_planner_on_the_first_day_of_2016__Love_it__Many_thanks___ChelleShock_

Katharine_Paljug_on_Twitter___Setting_goals_and_making_plans_for_the_week__Love_using_my__freelance_planner_from___ChelleShock_for_this__

KickstarterFeedback2

Brenda_Stokes_Barron_on_Twitter_____ChelleShock_thank_YOU_for_creating_The_Freelancer_Planner__It_s_already_made_a_positive_impact_on_my_workflow__

KSfeedback

Philippa_Briscoe_on_Twitter___This_may_be_the_most_excited_I_have_been_so_far_this_year___FreelancerPlanner___ChelleShock_https___t_co_V02FCdgAxr_

The planners are still for sale, but I’ve backburnered marketing them for the moment to focus on my client work.