KickoffLabs Blog:

11 Lessons From the Largest Crowdfunding Launch in History

By Josh Ledgard

May 17th, 2016


It sounds like a fairy tale: One small company, 30 days, $27,907,995 raised in crowdfunding. Who wouldn’t live happily ever after with those results?

But it’s not a fairy tale. It actually happened to KickoffLabs’ customer Glowforge.

In this post, we’re taking a look at how Glowforge broke records, made history, and ran the biggest 30-day crowdfunding campaign ever. Armed with an email list and an innovative product, Glowforge was able to build both brand awareness and excitement in their product before launching. We’ll also discuss key takeaways you can use for your next big launch.

By the way, don’t forget to check out Josh’s video interview with Bailey Nelson from Glowforge. We’ll cover the main points below, but you’ll definitely want to catch the video too.

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Use Specific Copy on Your Pre-launch Landing Page

As Josh advises in the market chat with Glowforge: “The copy should be able to stand on its own.”

While photos are great way to add visual interest to your pre-launch landing page, it’s your copy that does the heavy lifting.

Not confident in your ability to write words that sell your product? We’ve created a few posts on compelling copy that you can check out here:

Landing Page Hacks: Copywriting for Non-Writers

Essential Copywriting Tips for Absolute Beginners

Incentivize the Subscription

Getting people to join your email list isn’t as easy as it seems. You shouldn’t just haphazardly slap a “subscribe to our newsletter” widget on your website and then expect the sign ups to start rolling in.

It doesn’t work like that.

People are fiercely protective of their email addresses. No one wants to clutter their inbox with a bunch of junk mail.

For this reason, you need to be draw them in with a powerful incentive.

Glowforge used the following incentive on its landing page:

“Our first Glowforges will be half price. We don’t want you to miss out.”

Even more enticing than a steep discount is the fear of missing out. What’s incredible is that in two sentences, Glowforge offered two powerful motivations to drive signups.

Use Your Call to Action Button Wisely

glowforge prelaunch

When done correctly, your call to action button will direct the reader on the next logical step to take. It should also suggest the benefit the reader will receive after clicking the button.

Glowforge choose the call to action text, “Half off, please”. It reiterates the incentive first presented in the landing page copy. However, some people may completely overlook that copy and only see the call to action button. Use this opportunity to motivate the site visitor.

For more information on crafting a call to action that gets noticed, check out:

The Most Successful Calls to Action of All Time

Your Guide to Creating an Epic Call to Action

Have a Specific Goal in Mind


When constructing your pre-launch campaign, think about the outcome you want. Perhaps your goal is to grow your email list so that you can eventually sell your product. Or, if you’re more advanced, you may want to take pre-orders for your product.

Whatever your goal, craft a campaign that focuses on that goal.

Do A/B Tests on Your Landing Page

It’s test time. Perform A/B tests. You’ll never know what resonates best with your audience unless you test. If email collection is your goal, consider testing multiple ways to capture email, such as timed pop-ups, exit intent pop-ups, a sidebar subscription, or even a Hello Bar.

For more information, check out:

How to increase landing page conversions with great A/B testing!

Optimize Your “Thank You” Page

After you succeed in getting people to subscribe to your mailing list, take advantage of their attention. Get them to share news about your launch to their social circles with a “Thank You” page.

Again, incentivize this page, too.

Incentivize is the word of the day because without motivation, you won’t get anyone to move. Click To Tweet

In fact, let’s make “incentivize” the word of the day because without motivation, you won’t get anyone to move.

An example of a way to incentivize your “Thank You” page is to offer your referrers a chance to increase their discount based on their referral activity.

Identify Your Rockstar Referrers and Reward Them

glowforge rockstar referral

One key to success for Glowforge that you can use also is to determine your campaign’s top referrers. With KickoffLabs, you can assign unique referrer codes that the rockstar referrers may then pass on to their social circle. For those who meet a certain threshold of successful referrals (five, ten, or even more), reward their efforts.

Not only will these rewards demonstrate that you’re in touch and personal with your customers, you can also use rewards as a way to further increase their future referrals. For example, if someone successfully refers five customers, you can grant that referrer a meaningful discount code. No 5% off, please. Go for the gusto and offer a discount code that’s worthy of your customer’s time to share your news with their friends.

Weigh your reward level against the cost of the product.

Use Email Triggers for the Win


Fortunately, you can automate this reward experience for your email subscribers. Every time someone triggers a certain referral threshold, your system will automatically send a timely message that brings them into a deeper relationship with your brand.

For more information on automated emails, check out:

7 Automated Emails You Should Always Send – KickoffLabs

Focus on a Great Shareable Image

Words aren’t everything. You should also craft an image that will captivate those on social media who scroll past your text.

On your pre-launch page, include a great hero image that’s shareable. It should replicate the experience of the website. Be consistent with your brand messaging. List benefits and not just features. The image should make a prospective customer interested enough to click through to your website or pre-launch page.

Create an “I’m Already on the List” Type of Social Media Message


To avoid the appearance of spam on referral social media messages, you can offer your referrers a carefully crafted “Tweet This.” Be sure to include social proof.

For example, here’s a tweet that works: “Hey, check out Glowforge for a cool 3D laser printer. I’m already on the list.”

The reason it works is because it allows the referrer to say to his or her social circle: you know me and I’m on the list. You trust my judgement, you should check it out.

This is why word of mouth marketing is so powerful.

But don’t just stop with social media messages. Craft the email for your referrers to send also. Use something like “I just signed up to be notified, you should, too.”

Add Social Proof

One of the coolest things that Glowforge did was implementing personalized social proof.

And the best part is you can totally implement this on your pre-launch referral, too.

This is what Glowforge did:

Whenever a person came in from a referral, the customized referral page would show a picture of the referrer as an endorsement of the brand. Accompanying the photo would text such as “Bailey thought you’d like this…” or “Bailey is going to get Glowforge at half price and she doesn’t want try to miss out.”

Brilliant, right?

Combining KickoffLabs and Full Contact, Glowforge was able to pull a photo of the referrer simply by using any public photos attached to that email address.

The result? A much more personalized introduction to the Glowforge brand through the power of social proof.

Lessons Learned

+Invest in customizations that will make your product better. Small details make a difference.

+Personalization gives each customer a unique and personal experience with your brand.

+Remember that you want to develop an ongoing relationship with your customer for years to come.

+Don’t be too pushy. Be helpful in your copy and remove any obstacle that would prevent the customer from interacting with your brand or purchasing your product.

+Make people feel like they’re a part of something bigger.

To learn more about Glowforge

Check out our live marketing chat with Bailey from team Glowforge here and the Glowforge website here.

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