Interview: How to raise on Kickstarter | Circadia raised over $200k

In this interview we spoke with Fares from Circadia about what it takes to create a successful Kickstarter campaign! They’ve recently raised over $200,000.

Tells us a little bit about yourself and your campaign.

My name is Fares Siddiqui; I’m the CEO and Founder of Circadia. We raised $200,000 on Kickstarter. We raised 100% of our funding goal which was $100,000 in 72 hours.

We have created the world’s first all in one sleep system that tracks, diagnoses, and treats your sleep problems. It’s a 2-part system where we have a contactless sleep tracker and a light therapy device, which are both connected to a mobile app.

Why Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is the best platform to understand your product market fit. It’s not about selling, it’s more about — engaging with your community, ensuring that you are creating something that they want, listening to them, taking their feedback on board and essentially validating the entire market for your product.

We realized throughout the campaign, for example — our sleep tracker is designed to be mounted on your bedroom wall. Halfway through the campaign we did a survey to understand if customers would like to see another mounting mechanism, perhaps on their bedside table and we got resounding results for creating a nightstand option and very quickly, within a couple days we worked together with our design team and we came up with a nightstand option that people could purchase for another $29, and colors, in terms of what colors people would like. It’s a very personal product that we are creating, and hence to ensure that it appeals to a wide variety of people you need to ensure that — you have your colors right.

In addition to that, integration with other smart home products. It’s the best way to find out — what other products do these customers have? Would they like to see it integrated with Apple Home kit or with the Google Home? What would they like more? Would they like to see it integrate with the Apple Health kit, with the Fitbit? What other sort of services would they like to see it integrated with?

What did you do in your pre-campaign to ensure traction in the initial launch?

We focused on community building; we drove a lot of traffic toward our sign-up landing page to ensure we could get a community of early backers and then we engaged with them. We had an email drip campaign; we did a lot of AB testing on our marketing messages; we worked on PR so we ensured that we got covered in the media and in the press when we went live on Kickstarter.

You need to remember that your first backers are not necessarily people that are aware of Kickstarter itself. Kickstarter’s own audience is quite specific. It’s 80% males; they’re primarily between the 25 to 45 age group. Whereas your product fit might be females, 35+.

You need to understand, realistically, how much you can raise, how much traction you can get, and anticipate it — whether you’re gonna get $1M or $500,000 or $200,000 — and once you set a realistic goal, you set your budgets accordingly and go towards that. If you know that your target audience through Kickstarter is only $100,000, don’t spend an excessive amount. Don’t overspend. Calculate your risks and sort of move forward accordingly.

What advice would you give to someone running a campaign?

Test your marketing message. Do rigorous testing. We spent at least 20% of our entire budget on just testing different marketing messages — what headlines work the best? What slogans work the best? What images work the best? What images work the best for your ads.

Number two is to have a very solid funnel. Think about — in order to get a customer you go through awareness, you drive interest, and then you drive engagement, and then they make the final purchase. So have a very solid funnel in place; think about your funnel.

And a third thing is ensuring you manage your costs effectively. Because you could very easily rack up a lot of debt. Or you could spend unnecessarily on services that you might not need in pursuit of financial success, whereas your margins might be pretty fantastic otherwise as well. So high-volume game is not always the best. Sometimes you have to understand that you are proposition simplifiers or that the value that you’re providing is fantastic and if you don’t get volume initially, good marketing messages take time to build, and you can do that over a period of time.

See Circadia’s campaign page here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/circadia/circadia-sleep-and-work-better-using-nasa-inspired