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How To Raise Money With Crowdfunding. A Kickstarter Campaign Makeover For Engineers.

by Paul Montreal. Average Reading Time: about 3 minutes.

I’m doing a marketing makeover on John’s Kickstarter campaign. John is a professional engineer pitching his invention, a dirty air filter alarm. At this point he’s 30 days into a 50-day campaign. His goal is to reach $32,000. If he continues at his current pace, he won’t meet his goal and he’ll lose all the pledges.

1. The Marketing

So, here’s what we have to work with. To learn the most from this process, go ahead and take a look at the page I’m going to review. This is John’s live kickstarter page. If you’re reading this after the project has finished, here’s a pdf version.

Here’s his video…

And here’s the project title and initial description from John’s page…

FilterWatch: Dirty Air Filter Alarm – Sent to Your Phone

Change your filter when its dirty! Not just after 30 days OR when it should be dirty. When it is DIRTY, your WASTING ENERGY and MONEY.

We started a blog that you can get to here. Get some more insights to what we are thinking and leave us your thoughts as well.

Plain and simple, FilterWatch is here to relieve you from having to remember to change the air-filters in your home. As your air filters get dirtier and dirtier, your HVAC systems will run longer and longer, and that is wasting energy that you pay for.

FilterWatch is a very precise sensor that monitors the air-flow going into your HVAC system at the return vent near the filter OR at a room vent. It then makes an intelligent decision as to when it is time to change the filter based on how dirty it is.

We have a couple of different models to offer. There is basic model for those of us who just want to be notified by a simple beep and/or LED. And we have recently added a wireless model to support popular home automation controllers.

A clean air filter uses less energy and most of the following project description is dedicated to studies and tables that show you the savings possibilities.

Clean air filters also mean cleaner air in your house. As filters get clogged, more dust particles eventually find there way through the filter and back into your house.

2. My main takeaway

The key message John’s existing pitch communicates to me, is that this is a product I should buy if I want to save money. In my experience, very few people spend money to save money. In fact saving money, is one of those things everyone says is important, but is rarely their primary motivation for taking action. (Just like saving energy and the environment.) Sure, people like to save money where they can. But it’s a secondary motivation. They need the momentum of a primary motivation to put their hand in their pocket and pull out their wallets first.

John’s invention wasn’t prompted by him wanting to save a few bucks on his energy bill. It was prompted by an unnecessary $400 service bill after clogged filters damaged his system. He felt real pain at that point. But not until that point. So unless he’s talking to other people who’ve just paid $400 unnecessarily, they won’t feel enough pain to take out their wallets. The basic argument of “spend money to save money” isn’t generally a strong motivator. People just aren’t hungry enough. And the people who are most obsessed with saving money are the least likely to buy anything.

So here’s my key idea…

3. Find the hungry market.

I don’t think it’s average homeowners who want to save 5-15% on their aircon bill. That’s just not sexy enough for them to act. If this were a commercial product aimed at factories or large offices, where 5-15% is a substantial figure, then maybe a money saving pitch might have more success. In a large company there are specific people tasked with the job of efficiency and savings. Their job is to be motivated about things like this.

Likewise, the HVAC equipment manufacturers may be interested in something that makes their product more efficient. Or the tradesmen that install these systems may be interested in the product. But to have those markets hear your pitch, you’ll need to aim it squarely at them, talking only about the things that are most important to them. And right now, the pitch is aimed at home owners.


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