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SERVICE is a mobile app that gets you compensation from airlines. It works by syncing with your email to detect itineraries for flights hit by delays or cancellations. Service's team then contacts the airlines to request remuneration for your troubles.
Service engaged Bell Curve to create their growth funnel: From user acquisition to landing page conversion, Bell Curve is responsible for achieving and sustaining profitable CPA's on the major ad channels.
Identification of top users and driving product refocusing.
Acquisition via Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram.
Better conversion through new landing pages.
Service originally allowed users to file customer service complaints for any service — from broken electronics to fine dining. After identifying airline claims as the highest revenue user group, we recommended they exclusively focus there.
Because we needed that consistency in LTV to support aggressive ad expansion.
Focus was also critical for conversion. It let us unify our messaging across ads, landing pages, and user onboarding. One message speaks louder than many. It's how you compel users to take action.
You sign up, connect your email inbox, detect your flights, and choose which you want to request miles for. Simple.
We kept ourselves open to surprise discoveries by testing every ad channel in earnest: AdWords, Instagram, Facebook, Quora, Pinterest, and more.
The targeting capabilities of Pinterest and Reddit users didn't allow for sufficiently targeted advertising — we couldn't pinpoint people who had recently raveled — so we dropped those channels to focus on the rest.
After extensive AdWords optimization, we concluded the most-profitable AdWords ad unit was one that didn't allow us to exclude Android users. This was needed because Service was iOS only. So we paused AdWords and worked with Service to develop a simplified Android app.
Had we made an Android app before we had the data to prove the growth-related need for it, it would have been a poor use of time.
With AdWords pending and Pinterest/Reddit ruled out, we focused ad optimization efforts on Facebook, Instagram, and Quora.
We had okay success with Facebook and unbelievable success with Instagram and Quora. CPI's and paid conversion rates were so good that we wanted to see just how broadly we could push targeting while remaining profitable.
We had started by targeting frequent flyers, but now we expanded to anyone between the ages of 21-45 with an iOS device. Through extremely enticing ad copy, we hooked millions while keeping CPA consistent.
We were able to identify extremely performant ad combinations thanks to our automated in-house Facebook tool (affectionately called Terminator). It does the work of several people.
Facebook was performing worse than Instagram. (Due to user consumption patterns — IG users look for cool things/apps to experience while FB users are more skeptical of broadly targeted ads.)
But the success with Instagram validated that our product is broadly appealing. So it's not a matter of can Facebook work, but, How do we fully grab ahold of a visitor's attention?
We began by creating many landing page variations that appealed to various personas: frequent flyers, people who just returned from a trip, people who like travel-blogs, and so forth.
By A/B testing aggressively, we discovered the key to making Facebook work was not what we said but how much we said.
It turned out adding a lengthy landing page between the ad and the Apple App Store drastically increased conversion. It provided space to highlight our social credibility (positive reviews from The Today Show and Buzzfeed) and to explain how exactly Service works.
Normally, each (wordy) step in a growth funnel decreases conversion. In our case, however, our app's claim ("Did you know you can get $135 back for each flight delay?") was "too good to be true" to go unsupported. And the App Store wasn't providing enough creative to accomplish these messaging goals.
Users wanted to believe, but they also wanted to be handheld. A landing page was a critical addition.
CINDER is a countertop grill that cooks foods to Michelin-starred perfection. Gizmodo calls Cinder "The magical meat maker I always wanted." Mashable proclaimed "Cinder is your new favorite appliance."
Cinder engaged Bell Curve to develop and run their crowdfunding and PR campaign. From campaign creative, to audience targeting, to press and ads, Bell Curve was responsible for raising over $500,000 for Cinder within 60 days.
Our success helped prove the potential for product-market fit to Cinder's investors, which enabled Cinder to raise additional funding within a couple weeks of the campaign's end.
Here is that story.
Built compelling messaging with a distinct aesthetic.
Applied growth techniques to a crowdfunding campaign.
Generated 50% of total sales via Facebook Ads.
Most websites are haphazardly designed and written. "What are some things we should probably say?" is too often the only thought process.
In contrast, sites that convert well are copywritten for a specific audience. They leverage what audiences want to hear then pique their curiosity so they get lost in the magic of how their lives may change.
An appliance that claims it'll forever change the way you cook needs a bold design and forthright copy. So that's what we designed. (Visit their campaign.)
There's a lot we could have talked about: the tech, the software, and the cooking methodology. But, we stayed focused. We piqued food lovers' curiosity with blunt copy: "Cinder is a grill that cooks foods perfectly. No overcooking. No stress. Say goodbye to sous-vide."
After we capture their attention, we reinforce claims with specifics: We break down how Cinder works, and we embed a mouth-watering, 3 minute video.
When you're selling an expensive item, you need to go deep.
Consistency conveys professionalism. To keep our branding consistent, we designed a crowdfunding page with the aesthetic elements from our redesigned homepage.
We then needed to figure out how to justify a $499 price for a product with zero comps. There's nothing like Cinder, and the nearest category (sous-vide) costs $149 at best.
We concluded comparing Cinder on features alone wasn't the answer. Instead, we needed to hype the unparalleled lifestyle benefits.
So we shared the stories of home chefs, bodybuilders, single parents, and everyone in between who benefited from Cinder's time savings and food quality.
Cinder is taking over the world. Press is going crazy for it. Food has never tasted this good.
At least, that's the narrative our crowdfunding campaign must convey. Crowdfunding is storytelling; it's not merely ecommerce. Contributors pay to be part of your journey.
And the narrative begins far before the campaign's launch: We started by building an email list of early subscribers. And we asked, What can we tease them with to buy on day one? Or if they refer friends?
These early dollars are how we publicly demonstrated momentum. For crowdfunding, how much has been raised is a bigger credibility indicator than press coverage or customer reviews.
With our momentum, when we began running ads, visitors at-large saw our existing success and thought, "Wow. Something big is happening here." Plus, getting PR became even easier.
The Bell Curve motto is Keep yourself open to surprise growth discoveries.
So we launched ads on every potentially viable channel: from reddit to Pinterest, we were exhaustive — without over-spending.
Unfortunately, only Facebook Ads worked. And even they just barely worked. Volume was too low and CPA was 2x too high.
So we aggressively pursued press coverage to make up for it: Our cold emailing techniques got us on PCMag, Mashable, TechCrunch, Tasting Table, Popsugar, and many others.
And we didn't pay a dime for it.
But... it was a failure. All that coverage only led to a few dozen sales. What on earth was happening? Didn't we know our audience? Our early subscribers responded so well... (Continued on the right side.)
To solve our problem, we surveyed current contributors and peered into the conversion data. We noticed two interesting things.
First, our email list contained a high proportion of self-described early adopters. Second, our conversion rate for traffic originating from other parts of the Indiegogo platform was extremely high.
These transient Indiegogo visitors were like our email subscribers — early adopters. We began to realize Cinder's high price point made it inaccessible to general audiences.
However, targeting early adopters via Facebook ads was not the complete solution. Because the other hurdle to overcome was people's lack of familiarity with Indiegogo and crowdfunding altogether. Is it a scam?
So we didn't just need to target adopters, we also needed those who've crowdfunded before. But there's no automated, high-volume way of identifying these people on Facebook.
So we hustled our way into getting large email lists of people who've contributed to crowdfunding before. We then uploaded these lists to Facebook so we could target these people directly.
$500,000 in contributions later, it was worth the effort. And, unlike most crowdfunding campaigns, we were unfortunately limited to United States audiences. Had we been global, we estimate we would have doubled that number.