Here is the interview I did with James Martell on the Affiliate Buzz about the crowdfunding of my book:
Affiliate Buzz 082312
James: Hi, it’s James Martell here and welcome to another edition of the Affiliate Buzz. It’s great to have you with us. Arlene’s away today but I do have a special guest on the line, Jonathan Goodman. And we’re going to be discussing crowdfunding as a possible solution to fund your next big idea. If you’re new to the term crowdfunding, according to DailyCrowdSource.com crowdfunding is asking a crowd of people to donate a defined amount of money for a specific cause or project in exchange for various rewards. Jonathan Goodman, President of Halyard Consulting, has set up a crowdfunding project on Indiegogo to publish the first book in a series of Internet technology books for non-technical website owners. The book is entitled What Competitors Don’t Want You To Know About Website Traffic. Jonathan, welcome to the Affiliate Buzz.
Jonathan: Thank you, James. How are you?James: Very well, very well. And this is a great topic. This is something I’ve kind of been keeping a little bit of an eye on over the last couple of years as I’ve been working on various things and I’ve seen a few people actually one in particular, Jim Kruku actually fund one of his books. When you touched base I thought this would be an absolutely dynamite topic for buzz listeners because I do know that many of them, and I’ve had a chance to talk with many at various conferences and through our sessions in the boot camp or the backlinks workshop or possibly during one of our twice monthly live Q&As, it seems lots of people here are entrepreneurial spirited, have a great idea for a particular project. What’s kind of holding it back is a little bit of funding to kind of launch it. So if you wouldn’t mind, before we get into discussing the details of crowdfunding could you give us a bit of a definition or to you what is crowdfunding?
Jonathan: Well, to me it’s really a community coming around together to support a project that they feel connected to or that they would like to see produced. A lot of times there are industries such as the publishing industry where it’s difficult to get a book produced through the main channels but now there are so many more ways to go about that whether it’s Kindle or PDF or a solid book that goes to a specific niche audience, that a crowdfunding project such as mine will allow that niche audience to find it and raise the funds to get it produced.
James: You mentioned as we chatted a little earlier ago about a couple of crowdfunding projects that you’ve seen. One actually was more viral than anything and it was the woman you mentioned in Miami. Maybe you could talk to those two examples you gave me?
Jonathan: Yeah, it’s the Indiegogo, it’s called Let’s Give Karen (The Bus Monitor) H. Klein A Vacation. This was that woman that was harassed by the students and it was all videotaped and it was very difficult to watch for the world. And somebody created an Indiegogo crowdfunding to give her a vacation, just as a nice way of saying we support your work, sad that this happened to you. And it actually went and raised $700,000. It was really quite remarkable.
James: You’d also mentioned a story about Seth Godin. I think most listeners are probably familiar with Seth. He’s quite a famous author. Tell us about his crowdfunding project.
Jonathan: Yeah, that’s an amazing project because he basically went to his publishers and said the old traditional way of producing a book doesn’t work anymore and what we want to do is go out to the community and see if they’re interested in this new crowdfunding way of producing a book. His publisher came back to him and said, “Okay, if you can get $40,000 in this crowdfunding we will produce this book and we will produce all of the additional perks that go along with it.” Within a 30 day period he raised $287,000. It’s really quite amazing.
James: Your book, What Competitors Don’t Want You To Know About Website Traffic, tell us a little bit about the ideas behind the book, if you would. And then what sparked your interest and why did you decide to go the crowdfunding route?
Jonathan: Excellent. So the book is meant for business owners. It’s for people who aren’t from the IT industry, they don’t have a computer background, they have a website or they need to produce a website and there are obstacles to that because there’s code related to it. Even with WordPress, as simple as WordPress is you still have to have some idea as to how things work. And what I found was in my meetings with clients and in general having conversations with people who have businesses is that they wind up in a kind of see no evil situation where they don’t really understand what they’re getting into and they wind up working with a company and getting bamboozled by that company for, as I was telling you before this one conversation that I had last night was with a woman who is part of a law firm and I looked at her website and she said to me it cost them $80,000. And it didn’t even have the correct permalinks. I explained that to her and she said, “We know. We went back to that company and they want another $10,000.”
This comes all the way through to the business education, right? If you’re running your business, even if it’s a large business, small business, it doesn’t matter because there’s a disconnect even in a big company. There’s a disconnect between management and IT. So many times that disconnect leads to either confusion or over spending or just duplication of efforts. I was telling you before the company that I was with right after the Dot.Coms was a propane company and they had bought a fireplace and barbecue company, brought that in, and it came with a website that they then tried to redevelop. They spent $400,000 trying to redevelop this bad developed code. And I sat down with the President of the company and I said, “Make a purchase on this site.” He was just unable to do it. I said you’ve spent all this money and the website doesn’t even function. And it’s that type of thing that if there was a better understanding from the business side as to what, for example, this first book in the series is specifically about website traffic.
I was speaking to a client that I’m meeting with next week and they wanted me to do an analysis of both their website and their AdWords. They gave me access to their AdWords and I said, “Can I have access to your Google Analytics?” He said, “We don’t use Google Analytics.” I said, “Well, you do according to the code in your website. You have it set up so somebody has that somewhere.” They’re spending thousands of dollars a month on Google AdWords with no comprehension of what the conversion is, of what the traffic is. And I can tell you, I’ve looked at it and all of their traffic is specifically through AdWords. They turn their AdWords off, they have no organic.
That’s what this book is really about. It’s trying to ease the way in for the business owner who’s obviously very, very busy. And as soon as they open up a book in Barnes and Noble for IT they see all this code, all this jargon that they don’t understand, equations and numbers and everything, and they close the book and they say, “You know what? Somebody else should handle that.” And instead this book makes it very, very simple for them. In fact, at the ends of all of the chapters it says, “Questions to ask your Webmaster.” Because here’s the web traffic, now if you’re in this scenario you should really ask your Webmaster, “What should we do here, here and here?” And so I think that it really can hit a great, big niche of business owners who kind of feel very awkward when they speak to IT about these things that they don’t really even understand.
James: It’s definitely one of these areas that is a little bit rampant in the business world where we’ve got this, as you say, this separation between Webmasters and business owners. Jonathan, I can see we are up against the break. We’ll be right back.
Arlene is away today but I do have Jonathan Goodman, President of Halyard Consulting, on the line. We’re talking about crowd sourcing as a possible way to fund your next big idea. Jonathan just explained – basically you explained the ideas behind your book and we can see that there’s a tremendous need there in the marketplace for that and I think many business owners who are listening probably can relate perfectly to what you had to say. Affiliates, on the other hand, little bit different. From their perspective they have the tendency sometimes to think, “You know what? I’m an affiliate. I’m not going to write a book and I don’t have a product.” Whereas an affiliate could easily brainstorm the topic idea for a great book or a webinar, a mini course of some sort or a full on course. There’d be no problem at all for them putting together a crowdfunding project for that, would there?
Jonathan: No, that would probably work really well.
James: I noticed that you went with the website Indiegogo. Could you explain how that works and how you went about setting up your crowdfunding project?
Jonathan: Indiegogo is a little bit different than KickStarter in that KickStarter is really trying to hone in on the creative end of projects, of crowdfunding projects. Indiegogo kind of mixes everything together. They have writing; they’ve got community, like the bus driver. There’s a lot more flexibility. And then there’s flexibility in terms of the money. So mine is a fixed funding campaign. If it doesn’t raise the amount of money that I’ve set out to raise then none of it actually gets funded. But Indiegogo also has kind of this flexible funding where whatever money you raise is going to mean that the project moves forward.
James: In your particular case, I’m looking at your page on Indiegogo.com. Let me just spell that for listeners. It’s I-N-D-I-E-G-O-G-O. Indiegogo. And if you do a search for website traffic in the little search box, top right-hand corner of the homepage there, you’ll come across competitors and website traffic. This is your page where you’ve set all of this up that explains exactly what the deal is. You’re looking to raise a total of $7,500. As of today’s recording we’ve got fifty days left, fixed funding campaign. And then you’ve got some perks listed down the right-hand side. How do these perks work?
Jonathan: So the perks start off very simple. For $5 you can get your name in the book as a supporter. And then it moves up the amount as you go along. The PDF version of the book is $10. The printed version of the book is $20. And it kind of moves on up with the numbers of copies and signed books like that. And then I kind of moved into what I actually do, which is from the Internet marketing standpoint keyword reporting and competitor reports. And then a year of Internet marketing. And so somebody who wanted to work with me and they wanted to also help fund this, they would claim one of those perks. And as long as we raised the $7,500 within the time frame of the remaining 50 days then all those perks will get produced.
James: So I’m looking at the one here. So let me kind of just go down them. There’s $5 supporter, a $5 donation you become a supporter, you get your name in the supporter section of the book. $10 you get a PDF version of the book and your name included in the supporter section. The printed version of the book plus the PDF and your name in the supporter section is for a $20 donation. Is that what they call them, donation? Or contribution, I guess?
Jonathan: I think they’re just sticking to the word perk right now because I think that crowdfunding, and we kind of spoke about this before, the difference between this and say crowdfunding for a corporation, which is coming up in 2013, it passed in the United States, this is more of a tangible product. So I think that right now they’re referring to it as perks. But they are physical merchandise.
James: Sure, and I see $30 for a signed, printed version, $60 for four copies printed version. $400 for a one-page review in the book. And I think that would be ideal for a company, especially within a book that’s talking about SEO and that’s focused directly on small businesses, where maybe you’d have somebody. And you say a review, so this would be a review maybe of something like iContact.com where you would have an email marketing service. Then you could go in and review and include a page in your book?
James: Dynamite. Talk about a targeted marketing effort for the person who’s claiming that perk, will get that review directly within the book and to the perfectly targeted audience. Very interesting way to do it. And then there’s one for $1,500 and then $10,000 for one full year of Internet marketing. So to kind of tie this back, I guess, to listeners here who are looking to create a project of their own, they would come up with their own series of perks. And I guess you’d have to really think that through. There seems to be just all kinds of projects within the Indiegogo website that they could go in and have a look around. I also noticed that you’ve put together a pretty detailed description below, also a video that you put together.
Jonathan: Yeah, I wanted people to feel comfortable with the project. The detail in the text and me speaking on the video will hopefully kind of show the quality of work that can be expected. You’re going to want to read through this. If you’re putting any type of money into this then it’s going to be something that you want to not only put the money up front with but you also want to continually get emails about the progress of the campaign, you want to know how I’m doing in terms of finishing the book and getting the book produced and when it’s coming to you. So it really kind of builds that community around the project. And so the detail that I put in there is there for you to really understand what we’re trying to accomplish.
James: Yeah, I can see you’ve done a great job on this. I can see also, Jonathan, we’re up against the break. We’ll be right back.
Arlene is away today but I do have Jonathan Goodman, President of Halyard Consulting, on the line. And we’re talking about ways to fund your big idea. Jonathan, you’ve talked about your book a little bit, we’ve talked about crowd sourcing in general, and we’ve talked about Indiegogo. And again, I’m going to spell that because typically to me Indie would be I-N-D-Y, as in the Indy 500, but this is I-N-D-I-E and then Gogo, Indiegogo.com. They can do a search for you at website traffic in the search box up at the top. We’ll also put a link to this in the show notes, of course, so those who would like to go have a peek can do so.
Also, I’d like to encourage listeners to actually consider getting behind a project like this, getting behind Jonathan and maybe claiming one of these perks. Become a supporter, get the PDF version or the print version or if you happen to be in a niche market that a one-page review of the book would suit you well once it goes out, you may want to consider the $400 as well.
Now, also you mentioned in the description here that once you have reached the goal of the $7,500 that you’ll have the book published within six months?
Jonathan: Yes. That is absolutely the goal. And if we go above the $7,500 then that money is going to go to making the book even better. I personally would like to see a couple of cartoon illustrations, have editors really lay out and produce the book to the great standard that it should be.
James: What advice could you give somebody? And I can see that you’re relatively new to this as well, as am I, although you’ve got a great head start on any of us that haven’t gone through the process you have so far to get this all set up. What did it really kind of take to brainstorm the ideas as far as time and then to create this page?
Jonathan: Well, believe it or not it took the better half of a week only because I really wanted to get it right. I really wanted to – I analyzed Seth Godin’s page, I analyzed the bus driver’s page. I wanted to understand what made for a successful funding. And it seems like what I came up with was it must have a video, preferably you speaking or some type of entertaining factor. It needs to have as much detail content as possible and it needs to have a wide variety of perks. If somebody is a friend of mine but they’re not in the industry they should feel like they can click that $5 and it’s going to at least move me that much closer. And somebody who has let’s say a WordPress plug-in or a theme and really wants to get a review in the book, then they’re going to choose that. So I really took the better half of a week to kind of lay everything out.
James: And it seems I’m going to be very interested to see how this unfolds. And again listeners, Indiegogo.com and do a little search for website traffic and definitely if you can get behind Jonathan. And especially if you’re considering doing a project like this it’s always good to go through the entire process and to embrace it. The $5, $10, $20, $30 level is easy to get involved right up to – and maybe we can get somebody to take you up on that $10,000, one year of full-on Internet marketing. That would basically take care of the project, wouldn’t it?
Jonathan: Sure, absolutely. The $10,000 is actually cheaper than working with me for an entire year. It’s a great deal, great bargain. And you really get everything that you need to move your website forward.
James: Jonathan, if somebody wanted to get in touch with you, how would they do that?
Jonathan: Well, my website is HalyardConsulting.com. That’s H-A-L-Y-A-R-D Consulting.com. My phone number is 800-641-9157. I’m also on Twitter, it’s HalyardConsult. And we have a Facebook page as well.
Again, just one more for Jonathan. Visit Indiegogo.com, do a search for website traffic. I can see we are out of time. You can follow me at JamesMartell on Twitter. New episodes of the Affiliate Buzz can be heard every Thursday at 5pm Eastern and 2pm Pacific. You can access the archives to our previous shows on WebmasterRadio.fm, JamesMartell.com and, of course, on iTunes. Jonathan, thanks so much. And to our listeners, thanks for listening to another edition of the Affiliate Buzz.
- Halyard Consulting Uses Crowdfunding to Produce First Book (halyardconsulting.com)
- Crowdfunding attracts the hyperlocal news crowd (blockbyblock.us)
- Tech, hip hop and crowdfunding: World Up turns to Indiegogo to unlock Mozilla Foundation cash (thenextweb.com)