Episode #069: Crowdfunding Q&A

OTHER WAYS TO ENJOY THIS EPISODE

As we reach the third and final episode of this powerful 3-part, in-depth series on the success of Leah’s recent crowdfunding campaign, Leah answer’s some of her student’s questions on crowdfunding. Having done a few crowdfunding campaigns during her career, Leah is always pushing the envelope and learning more, and even these three episodes on crowdfunding were not enough to cover everything. This is why being a part of her Elite program is so important for anyone desiring to have a full-time career in music by maximizing their music business through online marketing. Still, Leah goes even deeper in this episode by answering the most important questions she received about crowdfunding. If you haven’t heard the first two episodes, you should listen to those first, and the content of this episode will be far more fruitful for you. Enjoy the discussion!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The difference between Leah’s crowdfunding campaigns.
  • How social media has changed online marketing.
  • The simple things you must focus on.
  • Leah’s method of email marketing.
  • Leah’s method of using surveys.
  • How Leah keeps fans interested throughout her campaign.
  • How Leah writes her email subject lines.
  • How Leah managed her time.
  • The importance of cleaning out your email list.
  • Is there a certain time of year that’s best for crowdfunding?
  • Leah’s “trifecta” for marketing success.
  • Releasing singles.
  • Can you manage a campaign by yourself?
  • How Leah organizes her work.
  • The ins and outs of product bundles.
  • The breakdown of costs vs profits.

Tweetables:

“This isn’t the time to go after a whole new crowd, it’s the time to advertise to the people who are already following you, and so that’s really important.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:07:47]

“My advice is do the simple things. Build your audience, build your email list, learn how to run ads.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:08:18]

“I don’t treat surveys as exact data… It is to get a general feeling and sense for what you could potentially do.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:10:53]

“You try it and you figure it out, what worked, what didn’t work, and then analyze it after and make it better next time.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:14:04]

“You learn a hundred things to do, and a hundred things not to do.” — @MetalMotivation [0:14:10]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Leah’s Crowdfunding Page (Limited time) — http://ancientwinter.com

FREE Crowdfunding Guide — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/crowdfunding

Call Savvy Musician Academy —   www.callsma.com 

Annelise LeCheminant (Student Spotlight) — https://www.facebook.com/AnneliseSongwriter/

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show this CJ Ortiz, I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy, cohost of this awesome podcast. And once again, I get to sit across the table from the lovely Leah McHenry music marketer herself, queen of this domain. How are you today? 

00:39 Leah: I’m great, thank you. How are you? 

00:42 CJ: Good. It’s good to serve in the throne room, man. Always a pleasure to be here. Well, guys, this is the third episode in this amazing series on crowdfunding. Leah, all the episodes you’ve gone so deep in the subject and each one of these episodes has been longer than our usual ones and we’re still now three episodes deep. This is like a course and you said you weren’t going to hold back. You said you were going to go into all of the detail, everything.

It wasn’t just going to be a teaser that you were going to share here. You were going to go into this. Such a successful campaign. Your goal was $50,000 on this most recent campaign, crowdfunding on your own website. You went beyond that and reached $80,000 crowdfunding for this latest album, the winter album. It wasn’t even your usual music, wasn’t even the metal album that you usually put out, no metal in this album, still within your brand, but a holiday album which you had not done before and then you learn so many lessons from it because you didn’t start out initially having the vinyl, you queried your audience. They gave you such tremendous feedback about vinyl. You put vinyl into there and sold out within a few days. You were getting from your emails stats like 20 plus thousand dollars in returns from seven days of email marketing.

Again, just breaking all the rules, all the stigmas, all the myths about what can be done in this new era of music marketing while other people, Leah, are complaining about Spotify and iTunes and not getting their royalties. You are targeting your audience of superfans and fully paying for, and more, your album release. How is anybody supposed to wrap their head around that 

02:39 Leah: They listened to this podcast, that’s how

02:44 CJ: You know, when you hear it put like that, you know, in summary fashion, it does sound pretty amazing. And you know, if I didn’t know her so well, maybe I would be also one of those skeptics out there saying, “hmm, I wonder how she does it”. Well, we’re going three episodes deep, very long episodes to tell you how she did this. And even though there were so many specific ways and tools and things that she used to do this, as we’ve been saying throughout the series, she didn’t rely upon that. Ultimately what she relies on is her ability to market, her ability to sell, her ability to write copy and knowing her audience, like she said, she may not be able to write copy for other people, but she knows how to write to communicate with her audience. And so we’re going to get into today a lot of the questions that other musicians have asked students and whatnot. And so this is going to be even probably deeper than what we’ve gone so far because we didn’t get into the real nuts and bolts about things from an inquiry standpoint. 

But before we do that, Leah, let me just share a quick student spotlight. Another one of our elite students from our program, Annalise, she writes “#win, a journalist in France offered to review my album and my ads gained a ton of traction last night and I’m not sure why. I woke up with 200 plus more followers now to get to work.” I’ll tell you what I’ve had, I’ve woke up sometimes on Facebook or Instagram and seen a flood of new followers and said, well, I know somebody did something last night on the internet because this stuff doesn’t just happen on its own. But the thing is, is she got a review on her album and this is an independent artist, obviously, right? Who reviews independent artists publishing their own music?

04:39 Leah: Yeah. That’s really cool. I love it when those happy accidents happen, just cause you’re doing what you should be doing. And as I’m sharing in lessons, I’m preparing for the next iteration of TOM, I’m sharing about how in one mindset lesson about how it’s amazing when you just get to work and do the things you should, how much more “lucky” you get. Right? Just by doing these things, it’s just like all of a sudden opportunities just start happening and people start reviewing your album and these things just start happening to you. And it’s not out of the blue. It’s because you’re doing what you should be doing. You are marketing your music as you should be. And the doors open,

05:15 CJ: Leah, you raised $80,000 in 30 days. Your goal was $50,000, so more than half of that, you increased your amount. So you talked about all this stuff that you did, but you know, obviously, we can’t cover everything. So you made a wise move and you put some post out there to our existing Facebook groups and said, “do you guys have any questions?” What kind of feedback did you get?

05:45 Leah: Oh my goodness. Oh, we had so many questions. This is clearly an important topic to you. There’s no way I’ll be able to get to them all. But we do have a large list. I can’t promise I’ll get to answer single one of these, but there’s some really good ones and I’m going to do as many as possible and who knows, we might even have to do a round two of these because there’s so many and then it really will be like a mini-course for free. So I hope that you appreciate it cause I probably could charge for this information. I really could, but I’m not. I want to, yeah. 

06:17 CJ: Oh, yes you could. 

06:20 Leah: But, maybe we will.

06:21 CJ: Say thank you when somebody does something nice. Yes. Some say thank you and someone does something nice for you. 

06:24 Leah: That’s right. 

06:25 CJ: Leah just did something very nice.

06:27 Leah: You better leave us a good review if you get something out of this. So, yeah, why don’t we start with some of the first questions that came in and I’ll do my best.

06:36 CJ: What is the biggest difference between this crowdfunding and the initial one you did when you started? First and what did you do differently or better since your last campaign?

06:47 Leah: Well, the biggest difference between my initial one and say the last one and this one would be the component of Facebook ads, which I did not have. So my very first campaign when I did $27,000 that was email and social media only. I wasn’t doing Facebook ads back then and so obviously that still indicated I have quite a loyal fan base without the advertising. But you add the advertising in and some of the cool nifty things that I do and it obviously is multiplied and I’ve grown my audience since then too. So more people know about me. I’ve grown my email list like crazy since then. So I’d say the addition of social media would be growing my email list year-round in preparation for these launches because I never know when might do something new and really learning how to do Facebook ads and target my warm audience during things like. This isn’t the time to go after a whole new crowd, it’s the time to advertise to the people who are already following you, and so that’s really important.

07:47 CJ: That’s awesome. And again, a great argument for the way that social media has changed things. And so she’s using everything. She’s not advocating just one thing she’s using everything. That’s important for you to realize. Here’s another one; any advice for those of us who want to run their first crowdfunding campaign? What should we pay attention to more? What should we avoid?

08:10 Leah: Yeah, my advice is do the simple things. Build your audience, build your email list, learn how to run ads. And when you have an audience, I can’t give you a specific number and say, “oh, when you have 10,000 people on your email list, now you’re ready”,  there’s no way I can determine that. You have to do surveys. You have to put the feelers out there and determine for yourself when is the right time. You will know. So I can’t give you specifics like that. What you should avoid would be putting a campaign out there when you don’t yet have a following yet. You don’t yet know if people believe in your music, your music isn’t tested or proven yet. So we have done previous episodes, I’ll refer to again in the show notes about how to launch an album when you don’t have an audience yet, things like that, those are the episodes. If that’s where you’re at, you need to go listen to those. We’ve addressed that. So that’s what you should avoid. For these kinds of questions, guys, I always need more specific detail if you want a more specific answer. If you give me a broad question, you’ll get a broad answer, just FYI. 

09:17 CJ: There you go. Well, good thing you said that because the next question is very much in detail. In fact, coming in three parts. So how many times did you send emails to ask how much fans would pledge and how did you go about this in general?

09:34 Leah: I sent, actually, I haven’t counted it right now, but I sent many. So what this person was referring to is like in the last episode I talked about sending surveys, or was it the first episode we did all of this, but I sent a survey to my audience to get them to pre-pledge. Like, “Hey, if I do a crowdfunding campaign, how much would you be involved, in dollar amounts?” and I had that surveyed. Of course, if you send it out one time, you only get a few responses. So I descended out many times via email many, many times. So I want to say like eight times. I dunno, I sent it out a lot. Within a two week period, say before I went ahead and really made some serious plans. But I think around it in total, maybe for a month, I’m just going to guess somewhere in that ballpark.

10:23 CJ: Yeah, I got the emails and that sounds right. You also have some people who do not reply to emails even though they would like to pledge. So how did you get all of those who were interested in your campaign to reply to your questionnaire so you know exactly what your target should be?

10:40 Leah: I don’t treat surveys as exact data. I know that only a certain percentage of people will reply. I also know a percentage of people who say they’re going to pledge won’t because that’s human nature. So I don’t take it as whatever they pledge, that’s exactly what I’m going to get. That’s not how it works. This is a test. It is to get a general feeling and sense for what you could potentially do. So, I think I was sitting somewhere around a hundred thousand dollars in pre-pledges and at the time of this recording, my campaign hasn’t officially ended yet, so I don’t know where it’s gonna end up by the time this episode comes out and you’re hearing it and you can go and check it at ancientwinter.com. So I got a custom URL to send people there. That’s another little side detail that the whole idea is to just get a sense.

11:34 CJ: Yeah. What kinds of subject lines do you use and what kind of content to keep people interested throughout the campaign?

11:43 Leah: Types of subject lines. Oh man, I’ve sent, well, I can tell you through in this 30 day period I’ve sent somewhere around 35 emails, which isn’t even that much for a campaign if you’re campaigning pretty hard, honestly, I feel like I probably slacked a bit on the email. I could have done double, to be honest. When it comes to Black Friday, I will be doing two or three times more than what I’m doing right now. I just don’t want to burn out my list before the fourth quarter of the year, which is the most important and because it’s a pre-launch, I haven’t even actually launched the album, I don’t want to burn out my list quite yet, but I’ve sent somewhere around 35 emails, generally speaking to people and I will say that some of the time I’m excluding people who have already purchased.

12:30 Leah: Now, how am I doing that? Well, you find out those sorts of things in our courses and training, but I will tell you that I try to not bombard people who have already purchased over and over and over again after they purchase. They want to be updated. They do want to follow along, but they just don’t want all the sales ones constantly. So I exclude them from some of my emails. What I can tell you is Shopify is amazing and my email service providers amazing that allows you to do that. So as far as subject lines that I was using, I would say some of the students who, you guys are probably on my list and following along to see them all, some of them are straight up like, hey, this many days left. Some of them are like that. And then other ones are like, hey, something new.

13:14 Leah: And so that’s why as you heard in the previous episodes, I don’t show all my cards at the beginning. You got to leave something to bring out later in the campaign, a new perk, a new bundle, a new this, a new that, just something new. And even just new graphics that you hadn’t showed them before. And so, I mean, I can’t give you the list of subject lines here, but I just tried to keep things interesting, keep them exciting. And I always ask myself would I open that email? Is that interesting to me? And not all of them are winners. I got low open rates on a few of my emails. Don’t think that they’re all like hitting them out of the park. It’s an experiment, right? You try it and you figure it out, what worked, what didn’t work, and then analyze it after and make it better next time. 

13:56 CJ: Yeah. You learn a hundred things to do a hundred things not to do. 

13:59 Leah: That’s right.

14:00 CJ: How did you use your time leading up to the campaign launch? Maybe look at a day or week of prep and then look at the day or week while the campaign was live?

14:11 Leah: Oh my gosh, I cannot even answer this question. The reason why I can’t answer, how did I use my time is because it’s a blur. It’s a complete blur and I really don’t know that it’s that helpful for everyone because my life looks very, very different. I have to ask, why does this matter to you? Because I have a small team, so I’m delegating certain things to other people. I’ll say, hey to my assistant, can you go and draft all these emails? Like, get them all ready. I’ll go in at the end of the day and I’ll go make all my changes. I’ll add my personalization so it’s me speaking, but can you just get them ready and set up? Like that takes a few hours to do, right, that I didn’t spend in my day doing that. So I can’t really give you an accurate picture. Plus my life is crazy.

15:00 CJ: Well let’s think about it this way. Cause really it’s not important how much time you spent because your circumstances are yours, unique. It’s really more about the person who wants to do something like this. So thinking of a person who’s just starting out doing this kind of campaign, what kind of time do you think is going to be spent?

15:20 Leah: All I can tell you is if you’re wondering how many hours should I put in it? Maybe you shouldn’t be doing this cause all I know is I’m all in, I have no idea how many hours I’ve spent on it, a lot. I spent a lot of time, I spent every spare minute working on this, that’s what I can tell you. That just go all in whatever it takes to get it done. Yeah. That’s the mentality you have to have.

15:43 CJ: Yeah, because, and this may sound super mysterious, but I’ll reveal a simple secret here that maybe Leah has never told you this, but she starts with the premise that she wants a career in music, and so because she wants that career in music so bad, she does whatever it takes. It’s as simple as that. And so like she said if you’re thinking, oh, how much time do I have to spend? Then we’re back to the starting question. Are you really wanting a music career or are you just looking to have a hobby playing music? Because if you want a career, this is what, let’s talk, let’s walk together in that journey. If this is just a hobby to you, you just kind of kicking tires, well, it’s not for you now. Right now, of course, you’re going to watch everybody else do well and eventually your regret and the pain of not doing it will eventually get you to kick in and take action or you can take action now. How much time? Be prepared to spend all of it. You won’t, but be prepared. 

16:41 Leah: Yep. 

16:42 CJ: Okay, I would love to know if at all possible about your numbers as in the size of the mailing list and the Facebook ad spend. I’m reflecting on my current campaign, the many mistakes I’ve made and how I’d like to do it differently next time and because my album projects all costs roughly the same amount, around 65,000 pounds, I would love to have some benchmarks to work up to in order to reach my goal more easily and without having to offer such crazy rewards next time. I don’t know, Leah, you offered a lot of rewards.

17:12 Leah: Yeah, I don’t know what this person means by crazy rewards, but I will say it’s not about my numbers and my size of email list and that if you have the same size, you’ll get the same results. I’m pretty sure I know which student this is from. And if I’m correct, I think one issue with your campaign is that you don’t have a deadline. And so because you don’t have a deadline, this is still just some ongoing thing. I think we’ve actually given you this advice already. You’re not going to hit your goal because there’s no incentive to, there’s no reason. And people respond to deadlines. They respond to scarcity and urgency. And if you’re not giving them either of those, then that’s where your struggle is. So it’s not about my numbers. I can share my numbers, but that’s not going to help you.

So I’ll share though. Actually, during this campaign, I did a big list clean as well because you don’t want to have tons and tons of people on your list that they’re not active or they haven’t been opening emails. Sometimes people just sign up for things with the emails that they don’t really look at. Some are sitting around the $30,000 mark, somewhere around that ballpark. So we just got rid of any spam emails, spam traps, that kind of stuff. So, ad spend, I can’t tell you what the total is yet because I am still, the campaign is still on. I could probably share more of those stats in another episode. What I do know is that I think you need to follow the program that you’re in and I think you’ll get better results.

18:44 CJ: What’s the best time to start a crowdfunding campaign? What is the worst time? Now again, Leah did $80,000 in 30 days. So that’s, that’s a very, very tight timeframe

18:57 Leah: And I don’t know what they mean by best time. Does it mean like best time of the year?

19:01 CJ: Yeah. I think they’re referring to the best time of the year.

19:05 Leah: It doesn’t matter. What I wouldn’t do is maybe start one in December just because of the Christmas and people’s attention is diverted. But it doesn’t matter what time of the year. It really doesn’t, I think do it whenever it makes sense to do it. As far as like best time in your career, that’s maybe the other way you’re alluding to the question when you have a fan base that tells you that they will contribute to your campaign through a survey. Yeah, and I say that smiling again. Survey.

19:36 CJ: Yeah, I think for time of year, like she said, it doesn’t really matter. For example, she launched hers in August, right. So that’s summertime, which is typically when people are out vacationing and not at home and usually a bad time for retailers and the whole nine yards. Great for tourism industry, bad for retailers. Well not if you’ve got super fans and that’s the magic here, ladies and gentlemen, Leah has a targeted audience of people who love Celtic fantasy metal all year round and they love Leah all year round, so they don’t take a vacation from their email. They don’t take a vacation from listening to music. So you have that advantage. You’ve got a great targeted audience, you’re going to be fine if you just follow the principles. What have you noticed brings in the most money? I think the answer will be obvious as far as the contributions, mailing lists, Facebook ads or other?

20:34 Leah: It’s really the trifecta of email, Facebook ads, and organic social media. So those three things, it’s my trifecta. They all work together. They work synonymously and you wouldn’t really want to exclude any one of those three if you’re going to do it on this level. If you’re not ready for Facebook ads, then just don’t do the Facebook ads. Just do what you can through email and social and you’ll still get results. The Facebook ads are only going to amplify what’s already working. So if your campaign is not working, don’t do Facebook ads. That will not help you. 

21:08 CJ: Do you recommend releasing a single on the day the crowdfunding opens or during the campaign? 

21:14 Leah: I did that this time, and there are some pros and cons to that. When you release anything, you get all the eyeballs and attention on that one thing. So here’s what I learned about that, here’s my theory, I should say, I thought if I release a single on the same day that I launch the album and the idea was actually to release a lyric video the same day because I knew that would get the most attention, the most eyeballs, and then I would funnel all that free traffic to the campaign page, like a big announcement.

Okay, so that fell through. Actually, the company that I had hired to do the lyric video, they pulled out at the last minute the week it was supposed to happen and now I had no lyric video but I still had the singles, so the single came out. I would say the complication in doing that instead of maybe releasing it the week before or during, is that you now have two CTAs, calls to action, where it’s like, listen to the song and contribute to the campaign. Now I made it work in my favour. But somebody who’s not very experienced in this, you might find the tension is split between what you want them to do. So a general rule of thumb when you’re writing emails and copy, which we teach in our courses here, is that you don’t put more than one call to action in an email.

Sometimes I break this rule, but typically right, you wouldn’t say go here and go there and then go here and go there. You don’t want to give people five different things to do in an email because now they have to pick and now you just confused them again. You’re making them burn calories. If you make them burn calories, they’re going to click away. So the problem with releasing a music video, and although I’d say that’s probably one of the better things you could do, is a music video and then funnel all that traffic to the campaign. Like put it in your description and put it in, wherever they let you put a link, put a link there to funnel that traffic over. But if you’re writing emails or other places, you’ve now got two things you want them to do. You want them to consume the single or the video and then you want them to do this other thing was go over to this page.

So that’s the complication. I’m not saying it doesn’t work, it’s just something you need to think through as you are becoming a marketer. These are the types of nuances that matter. And so these are the sorts of things you have to test. So I hope that kind of answered the question. Would I do it again in the future? Yeah, I would. But again, I’m experienced and so I know how to do both. You could also have success releasing a single, getting people excited about it, then release the campaign. That would also work. You could release it during the campaign, but I think that it would probably be better before.

24:06 CJ: Do you recommend someone get assistance for their first crowdfunding? Like an actual assistant who’s an expert at that or an administrative assistant, or at least a coach? Do you feel it’s realistic to manage it all by oneself?

24:19 Leah: That’s a really good question. I think it depends on the size of the campaign. If it’s your first one, and you only do a hundred sales, that’s not that much to manage and you could probably do it. And my first campaign, I did it myself, uh, where I did the $27,000. Now it was a lot, but I also learned a lot and my theory on assistance, which you know, I’ve had a couple, is you do want to learn the things that you want them doing that you will eventually delegate because then you really know if they’re doing a good job and they might be better at things and you, and that’s good. We want that. But you still need to know what the basics are so that you know what to do. Now, I’ve never seen experts, crowdfunding experts who are assistants, right?

Maybe I should start an agency where we train assistants in our systems and then connect you with them. If you like that idea, let me know. But what I would do is if you have a band, make sure they’re involved. You should be delegating some of these tasks to band members. Get a spouse to help you. You could definitely get someone just to come on who’s a little more administrative and just help you with the order part of it. The marketing part of it. If it’s not a big campaign like what I’m doing, then I don’t see any reason why you can’t do it yourself. It just depends on the size.

25:37 CJ: How do you organize, prioritize everything, writing emails, bundles, photos, plus the landing page. How long before do you start preparing everything?

25:47 Leah: Quite a bit in advance. We start with mapping out what it is we want to offer and we’re looking at different wholesalers, where can we source this stuff and what are the profit margins going to be? And then from there, once we’ve solidified what the bundles are we start working on mockups and graphics, getting those graphics made up. Then we start figuring out what the page is and we put those graphics on the page. I start writing my copy, this is all happening at least a couple of months in advance is when we’re actually putting it together. The planning of it as long ahead of time that I can possibly muster. This time it was all a bit of a time crunch for me because I had just wrapped up the actual recording of the album and my vocals and everything was just, it was a little bit chaotic for me this year. More chaotic than I like because it was a very quick, as a quick decision. It all kind of had to happen. So it was a little more rushed than I like to do it. I love to give myself a good six months for any kind of launch. Six months before an album launch, six months before a crowdfunding campaign that that way there’s no stress and just you plug away at it until it’s ready. But this time it was definitely a little more on the clock. So that’s what happened.

27:07 CJ: You normally have all of your products ready to go before the campaign? During or after it’s completed?

27:14 Leah: Yeah, the timeline is always a little bit unique with each campaign depending cause there are so many different moving parts. This time, none of it’s ready before the campaign. The only thing that’s happened was during the campaign, my CDs, we’ve already predetermined how many digipacks we were producing and those are already being printed, they’re probably done now. The other things like vinyl we hadn’t even planned on, so that’s in production right now because those actually take the longest. They take like 12 weeks to produce and so we actually let our customers know who bought this was actually in our survey. Hey, since this is since we would be coming out with this late, you know, would you be okay with not receiving your vinyl on the day, the album launches? Are you okay with getting this a week within a week after the launch date or two weeks or anytime before Christmas and we just got a general feel and what my fans told me was, we don’t care when we get it, anytime it’s ready, we’ll be happy with is what they told us. So that really helped. 

As for the other bundles and the other items, t-shirts and all that, as soon as the campaign ends we get the totals, send it off to the order, you know the manufacturer where we’re getting it all done and then all of that stuff is going to go to the warehouse and we’re going to bundle it all together. So I’m not doing the typical print-on-demand one, one-off items that I would do, you know, on a typical day on my shop where they might get a few different packages and it might arrive at different types of, we’re doing it all together so that that’s part of the experience of getting to crowdfunding bundles. You open it up and everything’s in there and it feels cohesive and so that’s how we’re doing it.

28:51 CJ: I noticed you had quite a lot of high-quality photos, graphics, new video clips about the bundles and the time left in the campaign. You plan those ahead of time or have someone who is able to put those together relatively quickly for you? Where’s the easiest place to find people who put together nice promo clips and bundle photos?

29:09 Leah: Yes, so one thing I have learned about successful campaigns is imagery online, actually for any kind of marketing is very important. We’re dealing with a visual medium, you know, social media, even in email, any kind of banners or graphics or GIFs. Did you know you could put GIFs in email? They look like video, but it’s not. Any of those kinds of things require some thought. And so yes, I do have a graphic designer that I work with. I don’t do this stuff myself are you kidding. I’m not good at that. Unless you are a graphic designer, that’s one thing you should automatically hire out, hire a friend, hire somebody you know to do this, there’s a ton of sites. Just Google freelance graphic designer, that’s your friend in Google. There are all different kinds of websites. There’s Upwork, there’s Fiverr, there are all these different sites out there where you can find graphic designers to do this.

The high-quality photos are gonna come from original photos are taken of me, and then the graphic designer might Photoshop me into something else, a different background, a different filter. And that’s where the fanciness comes from. And the video clips usually have clips of the songs. Sometimes I’ve got these little animations that are going into my Instagram stories. Again, just a graphic designer who does little animations. That’s what you’ve got to find. So, as far as how quick, the graphic designer usually knows, we usually have a deadline on like dates I need them by and so then they just deliver them. So it’s usually nice if you can find somebody with a quick turnaround just in case you want to add something at the last minute. But that’s never guaranteed. 

30:45 CJ: How do you group and price the bundles? Which exclusive items do you find sell the best? What are the best options for those who want to support and are on a budget? 

30:56 Leah: So grouping and pricing bundles. Typically we just ask ourselves, first, we start with the grand total that we want to raise. What’s the number? So I take the $50,000 and I start doing some simple math going, okay, $50,000 let’s say the average price point, the average order value is $40 on average. How many people would I need to buy a $40 package? Or let’s say I make it $35 and then I’ll just get a number from there. So I start doing this kind of math and start going, okay, so that means if say my average bundle is a $40 bundle, what is the margin I need on that in order to be profitable to actually pay for all these expenses, pay the contractors and so forth.

And then I start putting, you know, once we got our bundles together, we start researching wholesale distributors, places where we can get these t-shirts. There’s so many on Google, you just Google any of them. Start talking to people on the phone. You get all the price listings and do some comparison, put it in an Excel spreadsheet or whatever, we have to do some price comparison. This is the laborious part that people don’t want to do and this is why they’re not profitable and this why they don’t make the money. You gotta be willing to do things that other people aren’t willing to do. So just do all these price comparisons and then we figure out what bundles do we think and what going to look, what have I historically sold, what a vice historically sold on my shop and in previous campaigns, what do people like the most?

Then I look at my survey data of course, and I’m looking at what do people want and then what can we put together, what’s profitable? And then you’re looking at profit margins. There are many details involved, as you can tell, in putting this together. And again, the other things that nobody else wants to do. And that’s why they’re broke still. So just to be blunt. So yeah, that’s, I mean, grouping and pricing it, you’re taking all of these factors together to come up with that. As far as what exclusive items I find sell the best, any kind of exclusive artwork. So the digipack, which I’m not going to sell after the campaign, the t-shirts and the hoodies that have specially designed artwork on them. Again, not selling them, at least not in the same way after the campaign, the blue vinyl, that was special. That was what they specifically requested. Obviously that sold well three days it’s sold out. Basically I’m really paying attention to what people are asking for and then we give it to them.

33:26 CJ: I’m curious to know what was planned versus what was a pivot based on demand or analysis. Should we plan for every conceivable contingency or leave wiggle room? Over planning can be paralyzing sometimes, but where is that line?

33:42 Leah: I think I’ve demonstrated that in the past two episodes already pretty well, where we planned for these four key bundles and then pivoted based on the feedback we got from fans and survey data and then we adjusted. So you want to be nimble, you want to be easily adaptable to the situation, but you also want to really be as well planned and thought out as possible. And yeah, I just think if you have that mindset, then you’ll be prepared for anything and you won’t be really stressed out or too thrown off.

34:22 CJ: We’ve got a few more questions here, but some of them are a little bit of repeat stuff we have covered in the past. I like this question here though. How do you know when to stop asking for money before people get tired? You kind of touched on this before, but break that down a little bit. How do you know when to stop asking for money before people get tired?

34:42 Leah: You don’t worry about them getting tired, number one because I can’t be worried about every single person. I’m on a campaign here. What I do in my social media, sometimes I’ll type something up on stories or an email. I say, hey, I don’t acknowledge the fact that they’re getting a lot of emails. I say, listen, “I know you’re getting a lot of emails. Thank you so much for hanging in there with me. This is the nature of doing one of these campaigns and the fact you’re still here reading this. That means a lot.” I just acknowledge it and then whatever else I got to say and I think just acknowledging that does a lot for them and they go, oh, okay, she’s aware. She’s not trying to just sell, sell, sell like, this is part of the campaign, par for the course and I can either go along for the ride, or un-subscribe, whatever. It’s cool. So that, and then there are things I can do, like in my email I can exclude certain people who have already purchased so I can do that so that I don’t annoy the crap out of people who have already bought something so that that is something I’ll do.

35:45 CJ: I’d love to know where the split is between actual revenue of the crowdfunding and how much goes to product cost. For example, someone buys a $50 perk, roughly what is the profit and what is the cost of the physical product?

35:59 Leah: When we’re planning the whole campaign and we’re putting these bundles together and we’re looking at profit margins and stuff, we’re looking for as big of a margin as possible because not only do we have to pay for the item and ship it to them, we also have a whole bunch of other costs to cover. Again, just to reiterate, I’m not actually trying to be super profitable during a campaign like this. I’m actually trying, if I come out breaking even, I’m really happy with that because that means that when I go to actually launch my album, I’m in profit zone already. And you can’t ask for more than that. Like it’s there’s no label that can offer me a contract that’s better than this situation. So I’m looking for deep margins as much as I can possibly get without degrading the quality of the items. So, but for these campaign items, I’ll try to go with a little bit more luxury t-shirts say than like a regular  t-shirt just because it’s a special thing and you’ve got to take into consideration when you’re pricing the product that, because this is a limited item and a limited time and it’s a special campaign, you can also go to the higher end of what you would normally charge for this. 

So instead of like a $20 $18 t-shirt, it might be a $25 value in the bundle because it’s limited, it’s special, they can’t get it. Again, there’s more perceived value in the item. So that means I can price it higher. And so, there’s more opportunity for profit during this. So we’re looking for at least like a 50% profit if not more, maybe 100% even. And yeah, there are some items we might even do more than that. So just depends. So these are things that you want to take into consideration

37:40 CJ: What, and this will be my last question, what is an acceptable target amount? This person asked specifically because they have a much smaller operation. But I think the larger question is how do you determine, no matter where you are with, you know, how much your expenses are, how do you determine a target amount for your particular campaign? How should, what’s a, what’s a formula someone can use?

38:04 Leah: Well, I’ve got some things for you to think through in the free PDF download that we’ve got for you guys when you go to savvymusicianacademy.com/crowdfunding there’s multiple things and this person who asked you know, what if my only real expenses are mastering artwork and publicity, I would just say there are so many more things you’re not thinking of. Like, where’s the PR going to come from? What about your marketing. What about, there are so many other things, so I’ve got a list of stuff for you to think through in that PDF. Yeah, there’s a lot more expenses than you think. Especially if you’re doing this seriously. 

If you’re just thinking about barely covering your costs, then I’d say this doesn’t sound like too serious of a campaign yet, and maybe it’s time to invest into some list building, and get a little more serious. 

38:52 CJ: Yeah, and I really encourage you guys to download that. We’ve been offering it throughout this series. Just go to savvymusicianacademy.com/crowdfunding, a free download that has this information and a whole lot more. It will really help you think through this process. But again, as we’ve said from the outset, the real skill here is in the sales. It’s in the ability to market and that’s the sort of thing that we teach in the Elite program. I’ve been at this sort of stuff for years and years in years and I can honestly tell you, I’ve seen nothing designed specifically for creative people and that’s why I’m here.

I’m here not just because Leah and I are colleagues in relation to marketing and things like that. We both love heavy metal, et cetera. We share a lot of things in common, but you know, I really have a heart for creative people. I have a heart for artists, you know, especially musicians and what she has done to create a program to help musicians really push forward and give them an opportunity for a music career is second to none. I know there’s a lot of other options out there and we’ve talked about that in some of our previous episodes. I can’t recommend anything more highly than what’s offered by the Savvy Musician Academy and in particular, we’ve been talking about the Elite program and I will really want you to do some soul searching. After you listened to this podcast, I really want you to have a discussion with yourself.

What are you prepared to do for that career that you’ve always wanted? This is your dream we’re talking about and I know it never goes away, I know the challenges that you have with your conscience and being prepared to live with regret. You are called and gifted to do something with your talents and abilities and here is a way for you to do that. There’s a lot to learn, yes. But so many others just like you who didn’t know anything at all, have learned how to do it and are doing it now. And there’s no greater example than Leah herself. She wasn’t raised in this sort of thing. She figured it out on her own. She’s gotten rid of all the junk information you don’t need to know and she’s distilled it down to a precise program that gives you current information on what you need to know to build a career in music, selling your music online. 

So I want you to go today to callsma.com and schedule a call. We’d love to talk to you more about your project, your career, and how there might be a great fit. But Leah, thank you so much for taking all of this time. I know you were excited about sharing all of this because it was so new, but still at the same time, I know you could go so much deeper on this and there are so many more details to this, but thank you, because I believe that a lot of people who are been listening to these episodes are going to take a step of faith in themselves and try to raise the money for their music and opt-out of a label and take the same kind of chance and risks that you did. And it’s good to know that there’s someone like yourself out there giving away this sort of information. So thank you for that.

42:17 Leah: Yeah, you’re welcome. And if you guys enjoyed this three parts series, I would love to hear about it. Whether you write us in the Facebook group or actually on the podcast page on savvymusicianacademy.com or on iTunes or whatever. We actually read every single comment and I promised I wouldn’t hold back and I didn’t. I got as detailed as whatever came to mind. And so there’s nothing I’m withholding from you in these episodes. And again, you don’t need a course on crowdfunding. You just need to learn how to market your music properly. And we do that at Savvy Musician Academy. I’m also hoping, if you’re not a student or you’re in our online musician program, you’re not in the Superfan System Elite, I’m hoping that by me sharing and just like giving you everything I can give you, that you would see the potential for how we might be able to help you. So if that’s the case and you’re feeling like, “I think I could learn from her, I think I could learn from the coaches at Savvy Musician Academy”, that is your call. Now’s the time. It’s never a good time, by the way, it’s like kids and marriage, it’s never a good time. You just have to do it. You have to do what you gotta do to move forward. And so yeah, give us a call. Callsma.com.

43:28 CJ: There you go, guys. Thanks again for joining us. We look forward to the next episode. Take care.

Leah McHenry

Leah McHenry

It's become my absolute obsession to find out what will make musicians successful today. In the face of many obstacles, and in the vast sea of the internet, we have an opportunity that has NEVER been available to us in the history of the music business.