OYO Fitness launched their first product, the DoubleFlex Black, on Kickstarter in 2017. While you’d probably expect a portable gym that incorporates technology used by NASA astronauts to do well on Kickstarter, the DoubleFlex Black was more successful than anyone could have anticipated. The project blew past its $30,000 funding goal, raising $659,175 with 4,206 backers. At the time, it was the second most-funded fitness product in Kickstarter history.
Three years later, OYO Fitness founder Paul Francis and his team were gearing up to launch their second product on Kickstarter — the OYO NOVA Gym. On the heels of their previous success, they approached their next campaign with confidence. But the big question was, how could they build on those past wins and have an even bigger campaign this time around?
Second project internal goal: $1 million
Kickstarter was the natural choice for the OYO Fitness team. “It’s such a great platform to take a product and get it out in front of a community of early adopters to see how it resonates,” says OYO Fitness COO Graham Ripple. They used the platform for the OYO NOVA Gym campaign because they knew it could work for them.
They set their funding goal at $30,000. This was the minimum amount they’d need to produce the product, and it was a number they felt they could hit, given their first campaign’s results. However, like many creators, they also had an informal, internal funding goal that they were shooting for — $1 million.
Even before they launched, the OYO Fitness team benefited from having a strong community of supporters behind him. In fact, the OYO NOVA Gym was developed based on feedback from that fan base. But to hit that one-million-dollar goal, they were going to have to grow that already large audience. This can be a daunting task, even for the most successful Kickstarter creators and creators like OYO Fitness who know the ropes.
And what if they managed to double or triple the number of backers they’d previously had? How would they deal with fulfillment on that scale in a timely manner? What kind of stress would it put on their team? To scale crowdfunding campaigns, you not only need to find ways to acquire more backers, but you also need to build the infrastructure or find support systems that will enable you to manage that success.
Crowdfunding combo power
Preparing for that best-case scenario, in which they had tens of thousands of backers, meant reaching out to BackerKit. OYO Fitness had used the BackerKit Pledge Manager to streamline the fulfillment process during their first campaign in 2017. They were happy with the results and planned on using the Pledge Manager again for the new campaign.
After speaking with BackerKit Account Executive Yung Choi, they learned about some of BackerKit’s new services. Because of their campaign goals, Choi believed that they’d be a good fit for BackerKit Ads — a performance marketing service, designed explicitly for crowdfunding that drives prospective backers to a creator’s campaign page.
The OYO Fitness team already had funds allocated to use on ads, so it was a pleasant surprise to learn that BackerKit had an ad service in addition to the Pledge Manager. The creators behind the most successful Kickstarter projects of all time know that in order to scale, they need to develop a strategy and seek out partners that would help them increase their marketing efforts and optimize post-campaign fulfillment. They decided to use Pledge Manager and Ads to help achieve these two intertwined goals.
Toning up OYO Fitness’ marketing: choosing an experienced ad agency
Facebook Ads are a paid marketing tool that can give your organic — or unpaid — marketing techniques, like email marketing, a boost. Running Facebook Ads during your crowdfunding campaign brings more exposure to your project and can ultimately drive more pledges.
OYO Fitness used Facebook Ads during their first campaign. However, when trying this technique out at that time, they partnered up with an agency that didn’t have experience working with Kickstarter projects. “We didn’t get the return on ad spend that we wanted,” says Ripple. “The first three days of a campaign tend to bring the most support. And I think that we really missed out on that. We did not come out strong out of the gate, and I think that affected how much we raised.”
It wasn’t until they started using a Kickstarter ad agency that things turned around for them. Finding a partner who understood crowdfunding was a major contributor to their first project’s success, and it was something they knew they would need to repeat during their second campaign.
Collaborating with multiple ad agencies
Targeting is a critical part of running a successful ad campaign. If you aren’t targeting the right audience with your ads, you’re essentially throwing away your money. This is why it’s so important to work with an agency that understands how to optimize campaigns for crowdfunding campaigns. BackerKit uses custom audiences to reach over a million crowdfunding enthusiasts. This ensures that a project gets in front of people who are most likely to convert and become backers.
The second piece to OYO Fitness’s paid marketing strategy was working with multiple ad partners. This is something that BackerKit encouraged. Backers convert in different ways. One agency may have a piece of the puzzle that another one doesn’t — they may have access to different audiences or have different marketing techniques.
For this reason, it’s best to stick with agencies that understand the benefits of this type of collaboration. An agency that genuinely wants you to have the most successful Kickstarter campaign possible isn’t going to force you to sign any kind of exclusivity agreements.
Achieving peak ad performance: $561K raised with BackerKit
The OYO Fitness team ended up working with four ad partners, including BackerKit. To keep all of these ad campaigns on track and ensure they were making the most of their marketing budget, Ripple, who was the primary strategist and project manager on OYO Fitness’s side, closely monitored return on ad spend (ROAS) for each of the ad partners. “This allowed me to allocate resources to them based on their performance,” he says. “We wanted to reward the partners that had found our target market.”
A creator’s target ROAS is determined by dividing the average pledge value by the average cost per pledge. With an accurate ROAS target, creators make money while spending. So while Ripple was tracking ROAS to determine how to divvy up funds, BackerKit Creator Marketing Account Manager Chris Rojas was also monitoring performance, making sure that they were adjusting the daily budget and ads to hit those ROAS targets.
“We had a weekly call with Chris. We were regularly having a dialogue about how the ads were performing,” Ripple says. “We would see if there were tweaks that could be made to either assets that we were giving him or the campaign page itself. It was a very collaborative process, and we felt very supported by the BackerKit team.”
In the end, this collaboration with BackerKit yielded $561,000 for the OYO NOVA Gym campaign.
Reaching more than 500K backers
The OYO team needed to connect with as many qualified leads — that’s is, prospects that could become actual backers — as possible. This would primarily be achieved through ads and more grassroots marketing efforts — they were sure to get their fan base excited for the OYO NOVA Gym campaign before their launch date to set the momentum for their campaign. But as BackerKit users, they had one more marketing tool at their disposal: The BackerKit Newsletter, which reaches over 500,00 opted-in backers.
The BackerKit newsletter is a real boon for budget-conscious creators because fees are based on results. To track performance in real-time, the OYO team could monitor an online dashboard. The newsletter gave their project more exposure — which is always a good thing — and brought them even closer to their funding goal. They raised over $28,000 through their newsletter feature.
“The mix of the Newsletter and the Ads that BackerKit provides is such a potent combination,” Ripple says.
The journey to $1 million
The OYO NOVA Gym campaign launched during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, the team was concerned about what effect that would have on their campaign and crowdfunding in general. But, as they saw the way the project was trending over the course of their fifty-one-day campaign, it was clear that this portable gym was particularly well suited for a time when people had to shelter in place and were working out from their homes.
Their marketing efforts allowed them to connect with thousands of people who needed a fitness product like the OYO NOVA Gym — both those who were likely to be interested in the product under any circumstances as well as this new audience of people who were dealing with the realities of quarantine. The project’s timing mixed with the preparation they’d done led to success far beyond what the team could have imagined.
They surpassed their $30,000 goal on the first day of their campaign, raising over $175,000 from 1,200 backers. The OYO NOVA Gym was on its way to landing on the Kickstarter most-funded list.
$4 million+ raised: Becoming the most successful fitness product on Kickstarter
Like many of the other Kickstarter products that have raised the most money in their categories and campaigns that appear on the highest-funded crowdfunding projects list, the OYO NOVA Gym brought in a lot of early pledges. They hit their one-million-dollar internal goal in six days. But the team didn’t stop there. They made sure to keep the momentum going by utilizing stretch goals throughout the campaign, offering new color options for the OYO NOVA Gym and fitness accessories. By the time the campaign ended, they’d raised $4,411,495 and had 26,199 backers. They’d become the most successful fitness product in Kickstarter history.
“We expected to raise as much as we did in 2017, and were hoping to double it and raise past the one-million-dollar mark if we could. But we did not expect the level of support we received. It’s overwhelming and such a cool experience,” Ripple says.
26K backers — now what?
The excitement of having just run one of the most successful Kickstarter projects hasn’t worn off. They had 26,199 backers — it’s a staggering number. And while OYO Fitness couldn’t be more pleased with their results, a larger backer count means order management flow during fulfillment can be cumbersome. Who wants to manually sort through spreadsheets with more than 26,000 backers’ information? From the get-go, the team knew they would need a survey and fulfillment solution that was more robust than what Kickstarter had to offer.
OYO Fitness is currently in the middle of the fulfillment process. The BackerKit Pledge Manager is making it possible for them to survey their backers to collect their information and then keep all of their backer data organized. They’re also charging for shipping in BackerKit, charging VAT for their EU backers, and raising additional funds through add-on sales.
“BackerKit is doing such a good job of helping a campaign get the exposure that it deserves and needs through Ads and the Newsletter,” Ripple says. “And then on the back end, they’re basically not only helping with fulfillment but also giving creators an opportunity for more sales, whether that’s using the pre-order store or using add-ons through the survey. It just makes so much sense to use BackerKit because of the holistic ecosystem that they’ve built.”
When launching a crowdfunding project, it’s important to consider the entire road ahead. What can you do to set yourself up for success at each stage of your journey? Which tools or partners can help maximize your project’s potential along the way? Answering these questions becomes especially important when you’re launching a bigger project. With BackerKit’s help, OYO Fitness not only surpassed their funding goal but is also now able to manage the post-campaign logistics that come with being the most-funded fitness project on Kickstarter.
If you’d like to learn more about how BackerKit works with the most successful Kickstarter creators like OYO Fitness on Facebook Ads, check out our upcoming webinar, Performance Marketing Secrets of Million Dollar Kickstarter Projects.