Friday, April 24, 2015

Traffic Matters

In a previous blog post, I talked about crowd building well ahead of your crowdfunding project launch, which is very important. Another important activity is to setup your traffic flow also well in advance of your launch. This is two fold: making sure your project is visible to as many people as possible and to measure where your traffic is coming from.

One asks how can I make my project visible before I even have a project. Very good question. Here are some things you can do:
  • You start with your website, blogs, and all of your online assets and make sure they have good SEOs. Your assets don't include your Facebook page as content there doesn't get indexed by search engines. I'm not saying don't have one, but it's limited in its usage.
  • Create press releases regularly that references your website (very common). Now you have another set of content that search engines index that also points to your website.
  • Blog about your press releases and submit them to several article directories (there are many of them out there).
  • Keep your content fresh and keep adding to it.
  • Once you get your crowdfunding project page setup, for example on Kickstarter, they will give you a temporary URL that you can share with others for review. This same link will still work after you go live and will redirect to your project. So once you're comfortable sharing your project page with others, even before launch, go ahead and use it. This content will still be out there and will become a route to your live project.
Now once you launch your project, you can go back to your online assets and add links to your live project. This content is already indexed and searchable. When a user arrives there, they will see you're on Kickstarter and they have the chance to view your project. You can do this on your website template (so it's accessible from every page), on your blog template, and anywhere else that you can edit to add a link to your project.

The second part is analytics. Tracking the flow of traffic to your project so you can determine what's working and what's not working and make the necessary course corrections. Unfortunately, Kickstarter doesn't give you much of analytics on your page unless the visitor actually backs your project. That's nice, but not very helpful in understanding how many visitors you did have and where they came from. Here is what you can do about it:
  • If you have a great domain, use it as a URL to redirect to your Kickstarter project page. In our case, it's iu.me, cannot get any better than this. Make sure your analytics can capture/log traffic for a redirect though.
  • Use a service like Bitly to generate a short URL (BitLink). The great added benefit is that Bitly will provide you traffic statistics for the short URLs that you create with them. You can have multiple short URLs for the same project (which you can use in different marketing activities like Tweets vs referrals from your site). It also gives you referrals (so using multiple short URLs is optional).
Now you can better understand your traffic including how many visitors, where they're coming from, and where you're loosing them. You can combine that with Kickstarter's stats for backers and you have the full picture. Just make sure you use these Short URLs out of your online assets (like your website).

To summarize, traffic is very important for your crowdfunding project. Aside from the fact that it will bring additional backers (even though at a smaller percentage), it will also help you understand your convergence and any obstacles along the way so you can do course corrections. And as an icing on the cake, traffic also matters to your Kickstarter project popularity (ranking), so the more viewers the higher up your project appears. This is vital, as the higher up your project is at, the more chances that a Kickstarter member will see your project and back it.