When launching a magazine for the startup community without a marketing budget, crowdfunding was an obvious choice.
Ideally we would have launched a crowdfunding campaign in November 2014 as we released the first test issue. We even had parts of the campaign ready, like the first marketing video, but it was clearly not good enough as a campaign at that point.
We discussed in early October with one PR agency specializing in crowd-funding, who said that mid-November would come way too fast for them — and especially for us — to launch anything viable. So we decided to delay the launch and start the campaign from scratch again.
Another important decision we had to make was on choosing the platform. Looking at our core audience, the global startup community, the choice was clearly between Kickstarter and Indiegogo. However, being based in Finland and Estonia, it would have been a stretch to use Kickstarter, which is not available in either country. It might have been more popular than Indiegogo, but it is also more U.S. centric. As our campaign and especially the product is focusing on the rest of the world, we decided Indiegogo was the more suitable platform.
The next decision was the scale of the campaign. Not having a massive loyal fan base ready to „click and buy“, it was clear there was no point in having excessive ambitions. At the same time one should not be too modest with the target, otherwise you cannot really test the market. Even if a smaller campaign succeeds, you actually do not raise enough money to produce the magazine. So our target was set for the absolute minimum needed to make the magazine and deliver it to the subscribers. Any further sales of ads or subscriptions would allow us to invest in improving and promoting the magazine.
A massive loyal fan base is something we can reach if we do a fantastic magazine, but we have to build our footprint step by step with good magazines, offer readers added value and something unique. At the same time in the crowdfunding campaign, we leveraged the ArcticStartup brand and audience to reach out to a wider community. We reached out to our media contacts to get stories about us into online and offline publications, and are using heavily Twitter, Facebook, direct email, as well as Instagram and LinkedIn. To some extent it could be seen as opposite to our #PrintReally thinking, but at the same time this is the new marketing paradigm, without a million-dollar campaign, it is tough to get a message out in traditional media.