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How Woof 'N Meow is Winning in the Cutthroat World of Cat Litter

Learn how Woof 'N Meow blew past their indigo launch, got almost 3k people into a private group about cat litter, and signed up over 10,000 people to their email list... before launch.

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Key Takeaways

It's a Visual World.

Budget For Advertising

They budget $200 a day advertising and expect 20k emails from 1k dollars.

Keep People Engaged Pre-Launch

They ran a private facebook group with content and contests. 1/3 of email list joined.

Borrow Competitor Communities

They did 10 posts a day in reply to highly engaged competitor posts.

Make Referrals Worth it

1 referral was worth $30 credit. Referring 2 people gave early access to the card.

Follow Any Potential Customers

They followed customers On instagram or twitter so they saw their brand.

Produce Great Product Images

Combine great shots with lifestyle shots. It's a visual world.

Interview Bio

Valentina picutre

Valentina Lin - Marketing Director - Longham

Valentina Lin is the Marketing Director of Longham, one of the renowned marketing agencies that created the Woof ‘N Meow litter box from the ground up. It all started when Woof N Meow founder Wayne rescued an abandoned cat in the parking lot. Wayne had an automatic cat litter box and the cat was afraid of the noise and refused to use it. After endless visits to pet stores and online searches, Wayne found no solution to the problem and decided to invent one himself. After 6 months of hard work from the initial concept to product development, the team finally launched the smart semi-automatic cat litter box on Indiegogo. With their success, Valentina and her team are always looking for innovative ways to make pet care easier for everyone.

Full Transcript



Josh: Hi, I'm Josh Ledgard. And today on the On Growth podcast, we are talking to Valentina from the company [Longham 00:01:46] about their new product Woof'N Meow. Valentina and company have run a successful campaign within KickoffLabs. And we want to talk to her a bit about that success, how they drew an audience to the campaign, how they promoted it, how they kept people engaged and what their plans are going forward with the audience that they've built. Valentina, thanks for coming on the show.

Valentina: Thank you Josh for having me.

Josh: Can I ask you, people are always curious about backgrounds of people. So are you somebody that came from the tech world? I know you're the marketing director at Longham, but can you give us a bit of information, where have you worked before? What have you done? What's your background? What do you usually focus on?

Valentina: Okay, so I actually come from a design background and I previously study at FIT. So with my design background, I apply it to marketing such as using the colors and position of design elements on the overall design of marketing graphics. So throughout my college, I was actually, doing internship for a company. It was actually a precious metals company and were an intern for a marketing position. And then, I grew to love the whole marketing world and the SEO and the whole background of marketing. So I decided to work for Longham and Longham is a marketing agency. So, throughout the years I learned a lot of different type of digital marketing, the usage and how we keep up with the fast pace of the social media world.

Josh: So tell me about that transition. What did you really love about getting to the marketing space with Longham?

Valentina: I really love connecting with people online and see how they feel about our brand and our product. I love getting insights from people. Just is very different from design. I actually studied textile design and thus, two different things. But from my experience, I feel like I'm more interested in marketing after interning at different companies and eventually working on Longham.

Josh: Cool. So can you tell me about Longham leading up to this particular product with Woof'N Meow? How did they discover it? What's their role with this product?

Valentina: Yes, so Longham is actually a marketing agency and we have developed a lot of, we have created different campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. So it was very successful and we developed the Woof'N Meow product and it was founded by our team who are always looking for innovative ways to make pet care easier for everyone. So when COVID first started last year, our founder Wayne actually rescued and abandoned cat. He named the cat Sesame, and Sesame was unfortunately, in a extremely bad condition at the time. So when Wayne brought the cat home, he had a fully automatic cat litter box for Sesame. But Sesame was actually scared of the noise coming from the automatic cat litter box and refuse to use it. So at the time we didn't have the time or effort to scoop and clean the litter box. So he decided to invent a litter box for Sesame with the help of the team. So that's how the initial product idea came about.

Josh: So, what makes Woof'N Meow different than your standard sort of automated litter boxes? I see on the website, you've got a comparison that kind of goes into the details, but to you, what really makes it stand out as different from...? I've been to the pet store, I've seen these circular, automated litter boxes before, and what makes this one different?

Valentina: So that's a really good question. The main difference for this litter box, semiautomatic litter box is that it's designed for the modern lifestyle and also being semiautomatic, it means that you have to manually rotate the box, in this case, it will be the globe of our product, to clean the waste and there's no scooping involved. Also, it's very quiet, which is one of the main reasons why it was designed as a semiautomatic, so it doesn't disturb the cats and also solve the problem for Sesame. And also, it's easy to take apart so you can clean it and maintain it. So it's not messy for a traditional cat litter box.

Josh: So let's get to the specific campaign. So you guys come up with this idea, you find, how do you go? So, sorry, I'll take a step back. How do you go about sourcing the development of the products? You guys invent it, but how did you go about finding someone to build the product?

Valentina: So Wayne actually has a friend, in production and it took about six months of designing and testing and just the whole overall preparation for the Woof'N Meow. We were trying to make the product affordable to other cat parents and also for family with multiple cats. So we actually have people on our team who is responsible for different areas, such as in the design, the marketing. So we actually have a whole solid team already before we made the product.

Josh: Cool. And so you guys said that you've done several Indiegogo and Kickstarter campaigns before I assume that was for other clients since you guys are primarily a marketing agency.

Valentina: Yes, that's correct.

What all of the campaigns have in common is using the KickoffLabs page. We use this platform to test the market...see what people feel about our product.



Josh: And without talking about those campaigns in specific, what are some of the things that you believe made those campaigns successful for your other clients? What are some of the keys that have to be done before you run or you launch on Indiegogo or Kickstarter?

Valentina: So what all of the campaigns have in common is using the Kickoff Lab page. We use this platform to kind of test the market, to see what people feel about our product. And we actually have different strategies on how to test the market. So for example, we have a survey. So for the survey, we actually ask questions to see what our audience is like, how they feel about the product and how they feel about the price range. So typically, before we used to put the link on the email and then, the audience would get the emails and they will complete the survey. But recently, we actually tried a new strategy. We put the survey link on the thank you page. So when people sign up for our newsletter, the thank you page will pop up and then they can access the link right there, instead of having to do two steps. So that kind of minimized to one step.

Josh: Okay. So then specifically, you guys have run these campaigns and you're saying one of the keys is setting up a page like on KickoffLabs, where you have a page where people can join your newsletter to get information. Are you offering them any incentives to join and get started on the campaign? Or is it just, "Hey, here's interesting product, enter your email."

Valentina: So yes, we do offer free gifts. So we also direct them to join our Facebook group, where we have a community. So that typically, would be on the thank you page as well. So everything we did was through email. Before, it was email newsletters weekly to their inboxes and they will have to check, but then we realized that we didn't have the highest traffic or conversion rate because nowadays, especially for young people, they don't check their emails often. So what we decided to do was right away, when you sign up for this product, through the newsletter, like the signup button, we were taking advantage of the thank you page. And we're putting the link for the Facebook group and then the link for the survey. So, right there, people can have access to both of the materials, so that we have generated more traffic.

Although you've collected the lead, you have to do whatever you can to keep a group of people where it's at the top of their mind.



Josh: Yeah. And just to give people some context, because you can't see in, this is a podcast, looking at your signup page, the initial newsletter signup page, you were basically describing the product. You've got a lot of product descriptors and headlines, but your main call to action is saying, "Woof'N Meow just rotate to club, making litter disposal, easy for your pets." And it was saying basically, "Sign up now to get a special launch day offer." So people don't necessarily know what the offer's going to be, but you know that you're going to get something if you join in advance. And then once they sign up to recap what you said, I'm seeing you've got a couple of different calls to action. So you have an action for people to join the VIP group, which is the Facebook group you're talking about. And you've got a call to action for the survey on your pages. And so, once you set up a campaign like this, what creates in your mind? Because you talked earlier about it being a test, partially part of it's a test of the market.

Woof n Meow landing page



Valentina: Okay, so we're using the Facebook group mainly to kind of promote our products. So even though they already know about our product, because they read the Kickoff page, we were occasionally remind them what our product is like. So we will post a graphic and then one of the features of our product. And then, we will also host giveaway events on our Facebook group. So that's kind of like a free gift thing I was mentioning before. So the gifts that we will be giving out is related to the product. So it was something that they can use is not just a random gift that we're giving out. And the gift is limited. So they would need to. So for example, they would need to share and comment on our Facebook group post to get a higher engagement. And then, they'll have the chance to win, and blah, blah, blah, get an XX kind of gift. And then, from there, we will pick random winners with the most likes or with the most creative comments and then they will get the gifts with their product.

Josh: So if I were to recap that. You said a couple of things that I think are fairly common, what I've heard with other interviews is one, the importance of keeping the product top of mind, that although you've collected the lead, you have to do whatever you can to keep a group of people where it's at the top of their mind. And previously people might've sent out newsletters for this, and you guys are probably still sending out newsletters, but you're also using this Facebook group to keep content out there that keeps the product on top of people's minds, so that when you do launch people, remember who you are. Then I heard you say, you guys are running, keeping them engaged with promotions. So you're not just blasting information out of them. You're creating these interactive moments and these engagement opportunities with your customers in the Facebook group, with the contests. And related to that, the important part is that the prizes in these contests are generally related to the products that you're promoting. So the prizes are coming out as something that you would use if you bought the product.

Josh: So if you're participating in the contest, you're not just after a free iPad. You're after something related to the Woof'N Meow litter box, correct?

Valentina: Yes. That's correct.

Set the goal kind of lower than what you want because, once you're 100% funded on Indiegogo, your campaign will actually bump up...it will rank higher on the page. So people will be able to see your campaign.



Josh: Cool. So can you, what would have been, so you said there's 10,000 leads and you've got 3,000 people roughly, almost 3,000 people in the Facebook group. On the Indiegogo site that's live now, I can see you've got over 300 backers. The goal was set at, it says flexible goal. I don't know exactly what that means at Indiegogo, but you set at nearly $5,000. So tell me a bit about when you're running a Kickstarter, an Indiegogo campaign, how you set the goal, because it feels like people like to set the goals much lower than they're able to achieve, or do you set a goal that you think is really just what you need out of the campaign?

Woof n Meow Indiegogo



Valentina: So it really depends on different brands and the clients. So for our campaign, one of the strategy is to set the goal kind of lower than what you want is one, because once you're 100% funded on Indiegogo, your campaign will actually bump up to, it will rank higher on the page. So people will be able to see your campaign.

We mainly use the Facebook group to promote our other special offers and give them like a tease for behind the scenes and as well as offers for group members only. We offer a secret perk where people can purchase this product at a much lower price.



Woof n Meow Facebook group



Josh: Cool. And does collecting this audience in advance generally mean that within a short amount of time, you were able to exceed these goals? So you're trying to, if I were to summarize what I've heard, other people tell me about Kickstarter and Indiegogo, you're trying to, you see the audience in advance and then you're unleashing that audience onto this Indiegogo campaign in an effort to try and make it, I get it, more trending to make it show up for a day or two on a top list so that you attract a much larger audience. Is that correct?

Valentina: Yes, that's correct. And also, we actually mainly use Facebook group to promote our other special offers and kind of give them like a tease for behind the scenes and as well as offers for group members only. So we do offer a secret perk where people can purchase this product at a much lower price when, before we officially launch on Indiegogo.

If you just put a page on the internet, it's like the tree in the woods that nobody hears fall. So how did you get that audience of people to the pages to begin with?



Josh: That's a great idea. Can you tell me, we talked about collecting 10,000 leads. I want to back up a step. That means you must've driven quite a bit of traffic to the page to begin with. Can you tell me how you guys went about driving traffic to the page? Because those 10,000 people didn't just start searching the internet and find your page for Woof'N Meow and then all of a sudden sign up, because as we know, if you just put a page on the internet, it's like the tree in the woods that nobody hears fall. So how did you get that audience of people to the pages to begin with? What strategies do you use there?

We ran ads on Facebook to drive people to our KickoffLabs page. Having the Facebook group link on the KickoffLabs thank you page is more effective than email marketing..we kind of doubled the amount of 100% on the KickoffLabs thanks page and drove more traffic since it's direct traffic.



Valentina: So we use Facebook ads. We ran ads on Facebook to drive people to our Kickoff page. So, once since we're not launched yet on Indiegogo, obviously the call to action would be our Kickoff page and also our Facebook group. So, once they, like I said, once they sign up on our Kickoff page, we generally, [inaudible 00:17:26] the direct link to our Facebook group where they can sign up and then be a part of the group. And we found that a Facebook group, like having the Facebook group link on the Kickoff thank you page is more effective than email marketing. So which means that we kind of doubled the amount of 100% on the Kickoff thank page and drove more traffic since it's direct traffic. So on the Facebook group, you can reach customers and then they can also reach you too. But then on emails, you can only reach to customers and they can't really reach you back, if that makes sense? So we find that Facebook group really, really helped us gain so much traffic and also kind of Kickstart our campaign.

Woof n Meow KickoffLabs thanks page



Josh: Yeah. I mean, I get every campaign is different, but it's good for people to have a marker. So, you could say depending upon the product, 5% might be a good answer. Some products, maybe it's 20%. Does price of the product play into that where maybe a lower price product has a higher conversion rate and a higher price product has a lower one?

Valentina: Price doesn't really play a huge part for conversion. Is usually the product plus the price is what really converts. So if you having a great product at a really good price, obviously you're expecting to get a good conversion.

They should do competitor research first to see what's on the market and who they're competing with before jumping into a campaign.



Josh: If somebody else is out there and they've got an idea that they want to run a Kickstarter for, how do you suggest they start? What's the first thing somebody should do if they've got a physical product idea, maybe not exactly this, but similar to this where it's going to involve some production? What should they do first?

Valentina: So they should do competitor research first to see what's on the market and who they're competing with before jumping into to start a campaign. And also after that, they should do a survey. Even if you don't have an audience yet ask your friends and family, whether this product interests you? And how much would you pay for this product? And stuff like that.

Josh: Do you worry about if people would go about that route, people being too nice and saying, "Oh yeah, that sounds like a great product. I'll definitely buy it from you,"?

Valentina: Yes. Sometimes friends and family, they tend to be on the nicer side, but when testing a product, you can actually reach out to other people on social media, to start a community like Facebook or you can just... Sorry, I'm not really sure.

Josh: So, I get you're saying reaching out to other people. I think the important thing you said is the competitor research and then starting with maybe setting up a page to see if you can drive some traffic to it or a group to see if you can get people interested in the group is what you're trying to say, right?

Valentina: Yes.

Instagram is a great way to get a high engagement from other audience and you can follow your competitor's followers too.



Josh: I'm curious about the Facebook, modern state of Facebook. So you're still seeing a lot of success with the group obviously. If I were going to launch a product today, would you suggest I create a Facebook page first or just go straight and create it like a private group for the product and start that way? Because it's hard to tell which way Facebook would like you to go. But I'm curious which way you would go if you were going to launch a product from scratch today.

Valentina: So I will suggest starting a Facebook page first and then make that a business page, and also utilize other social media platforms, such as Instagram. Instagram is a great way to get a high engagement from other audience and you can follow your competitor's followers too and kind of tell them, "Hey, we have this product." And then, they'll follow you and then you'll [inaudible 00:25:06] sort of an audience going on.

Josh: So I talked to somebody yesterday who told me the same thing that one of their strategies was going to their competitor's pages. Look who engages with the competitor pages on Instagram or Facebook. And then, just start following some of the people who are engaging in those pages. And you say, and he said something similar about, then you've kind of, that's an opportunity to tell them about your product and what you guys do and what's different. That seems like an awkward conversation to me, if I'm somebody who's shy to talk to people. How do you start that conversation? Do you say like, "Hey, I saw you follow the auto-scoop litter box. Did you know about the Woof'N Meow one?" What I mean is that literally how you start the conversation? How do you go about talking to somebody in that context?

Valentina: We actually don't talk to their followers. We just follow them. And then sometimes, they'll get an application and they'll see, "Okay, this brand just followed me," and they'll check our page. We don't directly reach out to those followers, we reach out to the competitors by leaving nice comments under their posts and liking their posts and be more active on their social media, so people know that we exist.

We don't directly reach out to those followers, we reach out to the competitors by leaving nice comments under their posts.



Josh: Okay. So tell me about that, so the part where you're engaging in the competitor, social media space? So you'll go to a competitor's social media page or related social group about a certain product or topic. And then, what are you specifically? What are your posts like? Can you give me an example of some of the posts you guys have made in areas like that?

Valentina: So we would try to be supportive for the other competitors too. And then we would leave comments like, "This is great, check out our page," and then that'll be. I mean, it's not too spammy, because you're not directly telling them to buy our product, but more to check us out, to see if you're interested in our products too. And then, in the comments section, a lot of people, we usually pick the ones with the highest engagement, so other people can see your comments too.

We're looking for people who's posting about the competitor's price point or issues that they have.



Josh: So what kind of comments are you replying to? Are you replying to people who come in and say, maybe they have a problem with the competitor or people who are going and asking a question about the competitor? What kind of posts are you looking for to hit reply to besides just the highly engaged posts?

Valentina: We're looking for people who's posting about the competitor's price point or issues that they have. And then we kind of offer, we tell them, "Hey, check out Woof'N Meow, this is a affordable semiautomatic litter box," or if they have a problem with the noise. We're going to be like, "This is low noise operation." So just kind of pinpointing their problems and then we're going to give them a solution.

Josh: Okay. I apologize. I don't know if you can hear that noise coming through. There seems to be a bit of construction going on around me and what was usually a quiet space. I'll cut that out just for the editor by saying, "If you can cut out that noise," when we do this. So to talk about that. So I think that's a great strategy. We did something similar when we launched KickoffLabs, we were looking at the time it was more on Twitter and we were looking for people who are following competitors or talking about competitors. And then we were just replying to them saying like, "Hey, we're coming out with this new product, let us know what you think." And that was a great way to get some of our initial customers and traffic. And so, it's good to see that typical, communication strategies is still working.

We did about roughly 10 posts per day. We target not just Instagram but Facebook, Reddit, Twitter.



Josh: How many posts like that would you say you guys are making in a specific week? Because I've heard some people tell me they aim for everybody on the team spending five hours a week doing this one hour a day, basically just making these kinds of posts, all the way to like "Oh, I just did one or two posts like that."

Valentina: So initially, we did about roughly 10 posts per day and that's between five people, but we don't just target Instagram. We also target Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, all of the social media. So we have nothing to lose. So we're trying to maximize our chances.

Josh: And to get really specific, are you guys using your brand's profile to make these comments or using individual personas to make these comments?

Valentina: It's a combination of both. We mostly use individual profiles rather than our own brand, because we want it to sound more organic rather than promotional.

Josh: Okay. But you're obviously you guys are transparent. You would say, in your public profile, if you were answering, it says that you're, the VP of marketing at this company or marketing director at this company.

Valentina: Yes.

Offer some lifestyle images, too, so people know what your product looks like in real life or in a home setting.



Josh: Okay. Cool. What else haven't we talked about that you think is important for people to know if they're running campaigns like this?

Valentina: Sorry, can you repeat that question again?

Josh: Yeah, no problem. Is there anything we haven't covered that's important for people to know that you would want to impart? Something like, "Oh, I thought we talked about this and I think people should really focus on this other strategy as well." So is there some strategy or tactic that we haven't covered that you think is really important for people to keep in mind?

Reach out to other micro-influencers to review the product before the official launch..You want that ready before your campaign goes live.



Valentina: I will say, good content images is really important too. So hire photographer to take photos of your product. Also, offer some lifestyle images too, so, people know what your product look like in real life or in a home setting or whatever, and also, reaching out to other micro-influencers to review the product before the official launch, because you want that ready before, your campaign goes live.

Lifestyle image of litter box



Josh: Those are both excellent points. So first of all, having great imagery, lifestyle images, especially I think that really helps make people feel like the product is real. I mean, not that it's not real, but I think people are wary, especially with Indiegogo and Kickstarter campaigns, something's never going to shift. So the more proof that you have that this thing is real, here's it being used in a real setting is really beneficial for everybody in terms of giving consumers confidence. And the next thing you said is also a great thing that I've heard from other companies as well about reaching out to the micro-influencers. How did you guys go about finding the influencers to reach out to?

Valentina: So we perform our own research. So on YouTube or Instagram, we would look up keywords through hashtag. So for example, Woof'N Meow we will look up litter box or a cat and find influencers that actually own a cat. So, there'll be interested to review the product and use the product.

Josh: And do you send them a free version of the product to say, "Hey, if you like it, let us know what you think," or you say like, "Hey, here's a litter box and $1,000, can you post about us?"

Valentina: Would send them a sample first to have them test out the product and if they like it, they will post the video. If not then, well, usually they will tell you if they're interested or not. So it's really, once you have the sample shipped to them, it's theirs.

Josh: Yeah. And you find that generally for micro-influencers enough just to send them a sample of a product?

Valentina: Yes.

A micro-influencer to us would probably be at least 10,000 followers or above.



Josh: And what do you consider a micro-influencer? Is it 1,000 followers, 10,000 followers, what do you consider in that space of a micro-influencer?

Valentina: A micro-influencer to us would probably be at least 10,000 followers or above.

Josh: Cool. And then finally, what's next for Woof'N Meow and your company in general? I can see you have the Indiegogo campaign is live. You talked about there's 21 days left. You guys have at this moment, almost a $39,000 U.S. dedicated or contributed or funded to the campaign and what's next after you do the Indiegogo, are you guys going to set up your own store for people to buy it? Are you integrating or selling through other stores? What's your strategy next?

Valentina: So, yes. We're going to have our own official store for Woof'N Meow. And then, we're not only just going to be selling the cat litter box, we're going to sell other pet-related products, such as something like smart products for pets and to make pet care easier.

Josh: I was wondering about that, because the name Woof'N Meow and I'm looking at I don't think my dogs fit in that litter box. So that's good to hear.

Valentina: Puppies actually use litter box.

Josh: It's true. It's definitely true. So, is this a shift for your overall company? Because you talk about the beginning about being an agency. Are you guys going to continue to be an agency or is this a part of a larger shift into your own eCommerce space?

Valentina: It's a combination of both. We're just testing out to see how this works, since we have this great idea, we want to kind of try different directions, because being agency, it's not your own, like you don't have your own brand for a product. You have a lot of client's brand. So we're like a brand for our own.

Josh: Sorry. We'll have to edit that out again as it's coming through. Yeah. I'm just going to wait until this stops. Okay, cool. So, I mean, what you're saying is it's an opportunity, because you're not at the discretion of the clients, it's your own brand and you have more control of it and probably helps you guys test different strategies so you can pitch them to other clients in the future say, "Hey, we have our own store and this worked really well, running this type of contest or campaign and we could do it for you. And here's how much it would cost for us to do it for you," versus them being at their control fully where they say, "Here's exactly how I want the campaign to run."

Valentina: Yes, exactly.

Josh: Cool. I want to thank you for your time today. I really appreciate it. I know that people are going to get a ton out of listening to this. And so, how can people stay up-to-date with the product and follow you guys online or reach out to you if they have any other questions?

Valentina: So yes, they can join our Facebook group where a lot of our team members are active and they can follow our campaign on Indiegogo as well. We also have an Instagram. It's just the handle's just Woof'N Meow. So you can find us there.

Josh: Great. This was a really great conversation. I enjoyed talking to you and I look forward to seeing what you guys are up to next and some of the campaigns you guys are running in the future and let us know at KickoffLabs, if there's anything else we can do to help you guys going forward.

Valentina: Awesome. Thank you so much.

Josh: Thank you.

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