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Funding the Dream on Kickstarter
Ep 306 Narek Vardanyan with The Crowdfunding Formula
April 02, 2019 Richard Bliss / Narek Vardanyan

Ep 306 Narek Vardanyan with The Crowdfunding Formula (18:04)

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Date: April 02, 2019

By: Richard Bliss / Narek Vardanyan


Host Richard Bliss is joined by Narek Vardanyan, founder of The Crowdfunding Formula, a copy focused on helping crowdfunding project owners expand the reach and influence of their campaigns.

Narek shares his insights on what it takes to be a successful campaign on both Kickstarter and IndieGoGo.

What's interesting, is Narek's company is influencing and supporting projects all around the world, while being primarily based out of Armenia. He joins the show from literally the other side of the world.

Host Richard Bliss is joined by Narek Vardanyan, founder of The Crowdfunding Formula, a copy focused on helping crowdfunding project owners expand the reach and influence of their campaigns.

Narek shares his insights on what it takes to be a successful campaign on both Kickstarter and IndieGoGo.

What's interesting, is Narek's company is influencing and supporting projects all around the world, while being primarily based out of Armenia. He joins the show from literally the other side of the world.

Episode Transcript

Speaker 1:0:09Welcome to funding the dream, the number one podcast for the number one crowdfunding platform. Kickstarter. Now here's your host, Richard. Bless.

Speaker 2:0:18I'm your host Richard Bliss. And today our guest comes from a little bit further away than my guess. Normally he is the CEO and president of the crowdfunding formula, a company organization that helps backers, excuse me, that helps project creators promote their campaigns all around the world. And I'm joined by Nick Vardanian and Eric, thanks for joining me.

Speaker 3:0:40Yeah, thanks. Thanks for inviting me. Thanks for having me.

Speaker 2:0:42Nick, you and I have chatted a little bit. You, uh, the crowd funding formula is, has three offices around the world. Why don't you tell us a little bit about the company?

Speaker 3:0:52Yeah. We haven't been around since 2015. We started as a, as a blog, then consulting service. We had the training, we had a book called 57 secrets of crowd funding. And then in this last two years, we started the full campaign management. Uh, we have, uh, representations in us, uh, in, uh, Hong Kong and the main team is based in Armenia.

Speaker 2:1:14And you're at currently in Armenia. I have never been there, but, uh, I know that it's a beautiful country and, but you have a chance to travel all around the world helping and working with campaign creators for a crowdfunding. And I think the focus mostly is that around Indeigogo but you do Kickstarter as well, is that correct?

Speaker 3:1:32Yes, yes, that's correct. Like most of our campaigns on Indiegogo, but we also had Kickstarter campaigns. We love football, we love both platforms sexually.

Speaker 2:1:41You know, I'm interested, uh, narc how, you know, crowdfunding is touching every part of the world and it's, it's kind of exciting to see it because it just a few years ago it was a new experience. What brought you into this space and then had you blogging and writing a book and, and launching a company?

Speaker 3:1:57Ah, it was a very interesting experience actually. Uh, in 2014, we had one project and we decided with my friend to go to this project to crowdfunding, we researched a lot. We actually launched the project and we failed. We raised like $15. Uh, it was a mobile application. So a annual researched a little bit to, to, to find out what was the reason that we failed. And we found out that it turns out that crowd funding is not that team to some specific projects, particularly to mobile applications where we should be wearing. But as we did it, like really interesting research, we decided like to share this research to the, to the public to not have this be lost. So I wrote this book called 57 secrets of crowdfunding and put all this information basically that we research, interviewed from people, et Cetera. Uh, and we put this book on Amazon.

Speaker 3:2:52And very surprisingly, we found out that this book became the number one bestseller in the crowd funding category for a couple of weeks. So a southernly, a lot of people started to approach as, as a, as an expert. Then started to ask some questions, uh, about crowd funding, like how to do this, how to do that. And interestingly, we didn't had any chance to do any successful campaigns at that time, but we had a lot of information from others. So we started to do kind of consultation. Uh, and provide people's, uh, with this, uh, other people tips and a hex. And again, like for a great surprise to us, it turns out that those tips work. Yeah. Like a capital of a couple of campaigners, which were like struggling to, to meet, meet their goals at the time, but like successfully met their goals and exceeded them. And we're very thankful to all those advices. And we were like so excited that, that all this work and these are the two, why not that's scoped into, into this and dig deeper. And we kind of became a real experts and participated in real campaigns, managed our cells. So this, this, this was how we started.

Speaker 2:4:01And that's an excellent story because, uh, as this has grown to a worldwide phenomenon, uh, oftentimes people are looking for a secret formula, right? They're looking for either a shortcut or something magical that that helps them. Because oftentimes, and I've had this conversation over the years on the show, that the idea of asking people for money is always something that is awkward for us. Right? It's right. You know, I go to my mother and asked for her, uh, you know, can I, can I have some money? It's, it, it's a very, in some ways humiliating or humbling experience. And so helping people understand how to overcome that is always a liberating experience for them. But, uh, one of the things that we've learned is that there really aren't any secret formulas are there?

Speaker 3:4:46Um, uh, there are some structures, but I wouldn't say that there are some secret formulas. Every project is very specific and even even that, there are some like, uh, some structure thing that basically we doing all the campaigns, all the campaigns are very specific and you need to go deeper and understand the perceptions and specificities of each project and based on that you can decide your strategies and go with them.

Speaker 2:5:11Let's talk about that then. Let's talk about what kind of strategies or advice do you give when somebody comes to you with a crowdfunding need. Here's my project. Can you help me? What are some of the things that you look for and some of the advice that you start to give them? [inaudible].

Speaker 3:5:27So first of all, we like we start to assess whether this project have potential in crowdfunding or not. We are basically based in the reward based crowdfunding, uh, uh, segment the Kickstarter and Indiegogo. So we start to see first of all, whether there is a like experience with this project where whether, uh, it has a past history that uh, based on which we can like assess whether it's a good project or not. We have all also a methodology with which we are, we are assessing testing and understanding. It has a potential and where we are taking the project, we have, uh, like the, um, the main difference of us and maybe some other agencies that are around is that we love to focus with all the team to this specific project and squeeze the most out of it. Yeah. Uh, the, the, the main thing that we do is the preparation. Like we prepare really hard and uh, that that's basically the main secret. Coming back to your previous question, yeah,

Speaker 2:6:26yes. If there are different ideas that you can do, but it really comes down to understanding the audience, understanding the product. And then executing on a series of very specific structured, uh, approaches, right?

Speaker 3:6:37Yes, exactly. Exactly. So we usually start preparing like for two or three months, we start gathering like a consumer subscriber base. We started gathering a importers contacts, creating videos, content materials, et cetera. So based on the project, like, uh, we might be interested in different social media, like one project can do well on, on Twitter and Facebook and another project can do well on ticktock, which is just the new emerging core social network, which many haven't heard about. But it turns out that there's a great audience in there and you just need to understand really well your audience and the positioning of the product, how to position it, where your communities are. And maybe there are some very niche communities which nobodies nobody has ever heard of, but your audience is just right there. So you need to, uh, find some ways on delete on how to deliver information to those people, uh, get them into your subscriber list and prepare them for the launch of the campaign.

Speaker 2:7:37Okay. And you mentioned this kick talk. What is Kik talk? Is that like a, is it for around crowdfunding or is it something else?

Speaker 3:7:43Uh, no. It's like, uh, the tick talk. Uh, I think that's a, that that's the next Instagram. Uh, yeah. Basically based on our assessment. Yeah. It has like it's bigger than Twitter and read it together. Now it takes 500 million users currently. It's mainly, yes, mainly youth, a young people. Um, well it's a video platform. A very, very simple one. Uh, just emerged in the last year plus. Yeah. That is a great community in there. And if your project suits in there, you need to take it into consideration.

Speaker 2:8:20That's an excellent example of understanding the different jobs, the different platforms and the different niches that each audience is going to have. Are there some, are there some common misperceptions that your creators have when they come to you with their crowdfunding? What are some of the things that you have to educate them about in the beginning? Um, yeah, yeah, of

Speaker 3:8:40course. The interesting thing, you know, is that most of the people who go to Kickstarter and Indiegogo, when they start searching the campaigns or they found out that the biggest campaigns are on the higher parts of the platform, like the million dollar campaigns, right? So everybody that, most of the campaigns raised like million dollar or more than $100,000. So they don't see these big, big, big a failure rate and big, big number of campaigns which fail. And, uh, these makes them feel that, uh, basically this works automatically and there's like this big magic on Kickstarter and on Indiegogo, which will take their campaign and make them a millionaire in a day or so. So most of the people don't understand these big hand, uh, and his preparation part that needs to be done, uh, to, to come to them to come to this big success. Again, like 90, 90% of the success is definitely preparation. Uh, and usually when we start the campaign, most of the things, uh, that, uh, that are attributable to the success, uh, have already been done during this preparation part.

Speaker 2:9:48Do you find that these creators sometimes when they come with these high hopes and think that this is going to be easy, that they become discouraged at the amount of work that is going to be required to make this work? Did you see that happen?

Speaker 3:10:00Uh, yes, absolutely. This is, this is why a lot of people, sometimes they are discouraged sometimes. Uh, sometimes they, uh, they, they go and fail and, uh, we found out that this, this, this was, uh, uh, this is a good start for them. Yeah. When whoever was failed, then they understand it very cautiously. Uh, then they approach it like in a different way. It says, so we got the really good successes with people who had one failure before. Uh,

Speaker 2:10:32well, no, it is, it failure teaches you so much of what you did wrong. And oftentimes this is something that I have talked to many of my guests and, uh, when I have consulted as well, and that is that there's very little downside to the failure because you're usually not out anything. You, yes, you failed, but then you can retool re uh, readjust and then relaunch. Oftentimes having that base of people who supported you in the first time become the nucleus of the start. So failure sometimes is the best teacher on how to be successful in crowdfunding.

Speaker 3:11:07Yes, absolutely. We love this Baylor culture. We even facilitate feathers in our team and whoever doesn't goes into failure, it means they not experiment and we encourage, uh, all the team to do a lot of failures. And based on those feathers, they are finding something that, uh, that works.

Speaker 2:11:27Now, when it comes to your campaigns, in the projects that you support, is there a particular, is there a particular category or type of campaign that you look for now? Most of your work is done on Indiegogo's we said earlier, but is there a specific category or type of a project that you're always looking for?

Speaker 3:11:45Um, we'll have consumer projects will have consumer innovations. Like we did consumer electronics. We have this ultimate smart wallet, which was the funded word campaign in crowd funding history with $3 million. We had a dog projects, which is totally like the bristly project, which we had recently was totally out of of these tech segment. It was a dog toothbrush. Yes. So, uh, again, we love that as well. So basically I was summarizing, I would say that, uh, wherever there is an innovation, wherever there's a real problem solving solution and we see that this project is suitable to this crowdfunding audience, we're taking this, this campaign and try to make it as big as possible.

Speaker 2:12:29You know, it's interesting because most people wouldn't think that a dog toothbrush would do so well, but there are a lot of dog owners in the world, particularly where I live in California and, uh, they like to take care of their animals. And so sometimes what succeeds on crowdfunding can surprise us at times.

Speaker 3:12:47Yeah, absolutely. We were also like very much surprised the, when the, when the research, then we're digging deeper and understood that the, in reality there is a big problem and stress when you are like cleaning your dog's teeth. So it turns out that the toothbrush, although it's like looks very, very simple and uh, uh, yeah, it's like very simple, simple is the tool that everybody can come up with. Uh, but it turns out that the souls are really apparent problem that uh, all the dog owners were experiencing when they're like cleaning their dose teeth and whatever. Yeah. A lot of lot. There were a lot of dog health related issues coming from the tee. So uh, we kind of leveraged this, this, uh,

Speaker 2:13:31ratios. Yeah. Where do you see a crowdfunding going as you work with campaigns around the world? Do you see it continuing to grow and take on a greater and greater role in society?

Speaker 3:13:45That's a very, very interesting question. And we see crowd funding to change really much in these past years. So, uh, when before it started as a fundraising mechanism, uh, like 10 years ago, I would say, yeah. Now we see CalAtlantic transforming to something which I would call a more PR and market entry, uh, tool and mechanism. We see a lot of big brands going to crowd funding now when before only startups were using crowd funding for, for fundraising. Now we see like Coca Cola with the Sony, we see Nintendo going into crowdfunding and those, those plants, they don't need money. They go to crowd funding first of all for making a research or quickly understanding whether their products work or not, which is great. Uh, then to do a little PR to get early conversions, et cetera. So I think crowd funding is definitely transforming to something, uh, different. I don't know. It's a, it's a, it's good or worse, but that's definitely happening now.

Speaker 2:14:48Yeah, that's interesting because you bring up the fact that yes, that it's being used as a, as a PR approach, but also, and then we've seen that transformation that it's being used as a stage of the product development where before you would have to go out and raise funds from angel investors or something else, but now you can do a prototype, you can do a proof of concept. Getting a thousand backers are 500 backers or 15,000 backers, and then you can take that and launch it into something bigger or you can have something that generates a crowd and interest, uh, through the crowdfunding. I often say that people oftentimes don't have a funding problem. Money's easy to come by. It's the crowd that is difficult and that's the most important part of the crowd funding aspect. But mark, did you have some, some insights as we wrap up here? Do you have some insights that maybe you can share with the audience of what they should be thinking about as they approached their crowdfunding campaign?

Speaker 3:15:43Um, I will, uh, I would suggest to concentrate on three main dimensions when preparing to crowd funding project. First of all, those three dimensions are collecting subscribers. Yeah. Having a, having a community, uh, email subscribers, chatbots, subscribers, social networks, etc. Uh, collecting contact information of the porters who previously covered their topics, their niche topics, uh, and then creating a very interesting videos which have a chance to go viral. So basically those are the three main things that we concentrate in the preparation stage. And that, uh, help us to, uh, basically reach our goals very, very quickly. We, uh, usually a raise like 30, $40,000 in one day. Uh, and that's the, there's no secret in there. The only secret is, is that we put a lot of attention and hard work into this preparation stage. So having prepared well, uh, we'll give you a lot of tools and credibility's to launch well, uh, benefit from this snowball effects. Get also organic traffic from Kickstarter or Indiegogo, uh, and then push it as hard as possible. Um, you will get a lot of nonmonetary benefits as well. Like you will get cred credibility's PR, um, et Cetera.

Speaker 2:16:59Yeah. This is one of my previous guests, John Cover, you and I talked about the unexpected benefits of crowdfunding that you get data as you said, you get to find gauge interest. You get to establish a network of new backers and contacts that normally you would have never touched. And so all of those things are there. That's great advice. NARC, I want to say thank you very much for joining me on the show.

Speaker 3:17:20Yeah, my pleasure. It was a pleasure.

Speaker 2:17:22I appreciate it. You've been listening to narc varden yet with the crowd funding formula, you can find crowd funding where they do a good job of helping promote and manage a crowdfunding campaign. They're focus is normally on Indiegogo, but they do Kickstarter as well. Hopefully you found something interesting. It's always interesting to talk to somebody on the other side of the world and I appreciate the narcs time and for those who would like to continue to engage with me and my guests, you can always join us on our Facebook group funding the dream on Kickstarter podcast, Facebook group. Now that's a mouthful, and also thank you for those. Continue to support us on Patrion. Thanks for listening. Take care.

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