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Stuart McKeownSlyde Handboards: Driving Growth By Giving Away Their Own Products

  • Wednesday, October 14, 2015   - Get post updates via email + a special bonus growth hack here

What do you do when you successfully funded and delivered on a Kickstarter campaign? For many businesses that is merely the start of their journey from an idea into a fully fledged E-commerce business.

Slyde Handboards took a bit of a different approach. They launched their E-commerce business back in 2012 and used Kickstarter as a platform to launch new products to market.

In 2014 Slyde Handboards reached their goal of $21k in just 21 days for the launch of their Phish Handboard. Success on Kickstarter now meant that Slyde could now fund the production of this new product and sell it to the world via their online store.

Introduction To Slyde

You might be wondering what on earth handboards are? Essentially Slyde has built a product that allows inexperienced surfers (like me) to go out and learn to catch waves without having to learn to master a real surfboard.

I’ll let Steve, the owner of Slyde give you a quick overview.

Slyde has been using a combination of marketing techniques to promote their product ever since launching their store in 2012 on Squarespace then moving to Shopify in 2014. They understand the power of using their own products to drive marketing initiatives forward and have built a loyal following over the last 5 years.

Thru the eyes of THE BULA! The concave board literally will “stick” to the face of a pitching wave and will allow you to put all of your weight on it at the critical part of the wave,

Posted by Slyde Handboards on Monday, October 12, 2015

As an E-commerce business, one of the most valuable assets that you have is your product, especially if you own and manufacture it. Your aim should be to get your product in front of as many users as possible to drive brand awareness and sales.

And that’s where contests come into play. The team at Slyde wanted a cost efficient way of getting their product in-front of potential customers, fans and friends of customers. So they signed up to Gleam and ran a campaign.

Slyde Handboards Gleam Campaign

Win A Slyde Handboard

Slyde had a very focused aim for their first campaign, they wanted to increase the awareness of a particular product. The Black Carbon Fiber Handboard.

Ain’t she a beauty?

Black Carbon Fiber Handboard

We launched an ambitious 27 day campaign, and completely exceeded all campaign goals and expectations, while generating exceptional brand awareness. This also resulted in us selling out of the Black Carbon Fiber Handboard.

I personally love seeing businesses that have a very specific focus with their campaigns, it really helps you drill down on the strategy and shifts focus towards a common objective.

Slyde Gleam Campaign

Slyde used a lot of actions in their campaign (18 in total). We get a lot of questions from customers about what is the optimal number of actions, and the answer is: We don’t know.

The response you get to using a large number of actions really depends on your audience, the prize and your promotional strategy.

It was amazing to see the drive and interest in our customers wanting to win the Slyde Black Carbon, we had some individuals entering nearly 500 times. The campaign helped solidify our overall product direction and future product launches.

This particular campaign has a few interesting datapoints:

  • 1.7 Actions per campaign impression (70% higher than the platform average)
  • 9.6 Actions per user, which means on average they completed 50% of the required actions
  • 700+ UGC images collected which is fantastic for any brand like Slyde that thrives off images of customers using their products
  • Nearly 100% of users completed the survey questions giving Slyde some valuable demographic information about their entrants

The campaign had an overall conversion rate of 20%, which may seem low, but it’s lowered by the fact that there were many users returning daily to complete some of the daily actions (a great way to ensure ongoing engagement).

6 Key Growth Takeaways

What can you learn from an E-commerce business like Slyde? What were they doing differently to skyrocket engagement?

1. Cross Channel Promotion Is Key For Success

One of the things that impressed me by Slyde is their ability to promote the campaign and make it compelling for their customers.

They focused heavily on 3 main channels: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

WIN THE COMPLETE SET! 👊 And Tshirt. enter through the link in profile 🔝It's on like Donkey Kong! Enter here

A photo posted by Slyde Handboards (@slydehandboards) on

Ready Set WIN!!!! You could be walking away with Slyde Handboards #CarbonBLK Complete Series. Enter TODAY>>>

Posted by Slyde Handboards on Friday, July 24, 2015

2. Utilise The Instagram Bio Hack

When promoting your campaigns on Instagram it can often be hard to get traction as the body of images can’t contain any clickable links.

Slyde got around this by using what I call the Instagram Bio Hack, tell users inside the post to click the link in your bio to enter.

Then have an awesome bio like this:

Instagram Bio Hack

Be sure to experiment around with Emjois for even greater impact. Did you know you can add Emjois anywhere if you use osx by pressing CONTROL + ⌘ + SPACE:


3. Use Urgency In Their Posts

Slyde scheduled out posts at regular interval reminding fans to enter, towards the end they really added some urgency to the messaging.

Here’s one such Instagram post at 28 hours out from the end of the draw:

Only 28 Hrs left to put yourself in the running to win this beauty stealth mission style pack. Get in and get barreled Enter to win through the link in our Bio ☝ or enter Here the random draw for the winner starts at 12 noon cali time. 😀😆😅😨

A photo posted by Slyde Handboards (@slydehandboards) on

5. The Prize Aligned With Their Objectives

Slyde’s overall objective was to increase awareness of their Carbon Fiber Handboard, so it makes complete sense to give that product away. This ensures that:

  1. You know people entering are interested in the product
  2. Gives you a list of users to market that specific product to after the campaign
  3. Allows you to register pre-orders post entry via email followup

Not only did they align the prize, but they went further and gave much more value by adding in more products and creating a prize package. This allowed them to increase users desire to win.

Slyde Prize Package

The final prize package looked something like this:

  • Carbon Black Wedge Handboard For Bodysurfing With Gopro Attachment Valued At $199
  • Slyde Handboard Bodysurfing Boardbag Valued At $26
  • Slyde Bicep Pro Coil Leash Valued At $26
  • Set Of Black Da Fins Swimfins For Handboarding Valued At $64
  • Custom Slyde Kung-Fu Grip Valued At $26
  • Set Of Slyde Vinyl Stickers Valued At $10
  • Slyde T-Shirt Valued At $20
  • Combined Worth of $371

5. They Added A Personal Touch To The Campaign

This isn’t often something you see, but works really well if you intend to do followup campaigns. Slyde announced their winner by creating a video from the founders.

WINNER Announced Slyde Handboards Black Carbon Fiber Complete Series

Close to 28k enteries were made for the Slyde Black Carbon Fibers series! With a fair share of luck & effort 1 Winner Slydes away with Victory! Congrats to all that entered!! Watch now & find out WHO!

Posted by Slyde Handboards on Thursday, August 20, 2015

It may not seem like much, but it adds real authenticity to their business and shows they care about their customers. You can just see the passion they they have! (Steve and Angela are actually married, running the business together).

Slyde Team (Steve & Angela)

6. Leverage Email For Current & Future Campaigns

Slyde did a great job of using the email list from previous campaigns. They also know how to make use of Emojis in subject titles to get your attention.

Here’s Slyde’s latest email announcing their new contest:

Giveaway Announcement

7. Don’t Just Run One Campaign

Slyde didn’t stop at one campaign, they leveraged their success, email list and knowledge to launch a new one for their 5 year anniversary.

WIN WIN WIN . To commemorate our 5 YEAR SLYDE-AVERSARY 🎂 we are giving away a full Carbon Blu Set with Hat and special guest Giveaway : a pair of sick @yesmanwatches sunnies and a pair of just released @zaknoyle @dafins 🙌 : Enter through the link in profile above ☝ or go here thanks for all the support over the past 5 years

A photo posted by Slyde Handboards (@slydehandboards) on

There are a lot of factors that come into play when determining whether or not your campaign is successful, so just keep learning and adapting to what works best with your customers.


6k Campaign Impressions
10,709 Total Actions Completed By Users
1,125 Unique Entrants Completing 9.5 Actions On Average
21.6% Conversion Rate From Viral Shares
850 New Newsletter Subscribers
600+ UGC Photo Submissions
Create Your Campaign Now

More Crowdfunding Growth Guides

Stuart McKeown

Stuart McKeown is one of the Co-founders here at Gleam. Shoot a Tweet to @thegyppo if you liked this post ☺

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