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At Automate we love using marketing automation to help companies grow. When a Finnish startup Haikara Watches asked us to launch their new product on Indiegogo, we saw it as an opportunity to make automation shine.

Haikara Watch is a smartwatch for fashion lovers. Created by the famous Finnish industrial designer Harri Koskinen, it oozes style and simplicity.

Haikara watch project

Our goal was to create a marketing strategy and build up enough buzz for a successful start of a pre-order campaign. Haikara wanted to make $75,000 in sales during the first 30 days.

While Haikara is an ambitious product that aims to redefine the watch market, very little marketing had been done beforehand. There was no existing lead database and no defined buyer persona.

We had only 2 months to prepare for the big launch. We needed to generate thousands of leads and nurture them in time for the campaign. Therefore decisions had to be made quickly.

Lean marketing automation setup

Marketing automation is one of the best way to identify, generate and nurture sales leads. Automation helps you reach your customers with personalized and relevant content at every stage of the buyer journey.

There are 2 main approaches to implementing automation. The right one depends on your strategy and resources. You can choose to start lean, or go for a full marketing automation solution.

Full marketing automation offers personalized messages and content that deliver superior experiences. Marketo and Pardot are good examples. While they can provide a great ROI, they also take time and significant resources to set up.

Lean automation is a gradual setup of the components of a full marketing automation system. While it takes time to find and set up the right tools, the combined effect is worth it.

For example, you can start by automating customer emails based on time delays or actions like email opens and link clicks. After that improve it by adding advanced lead scoring techniques or automated customer support systems.

Given Haikara’s limited marketing budget, we knew that lean marketing automation was the way to go. The next step was to set the requirements and choose the right tools.

Here are the expectations we set for the Haikara lean marketing automation solution:

  1. Quickly test many hypothesis to identify buyer personas
  2. Generate a large and steady flow of traffic
  3. Convert traffic into leads at under €2 per lead
  4. Score leads based on intent, and put them into appropriate nurture flows
  5. Nurture leads with relevant personalized content until launch day on May 9
  6. Push warm leads to buy the Haikara watch on launch day

With these criteria in mind, we decided to use AdEspresso to get traffic, Instapage to convert traffic into leads, and Autopilot to nurture leads into sales. These tools fit our requirements without breaking the bank. More importantly, they integrate well and share user data with each other.

Automated Lead generation

We needed to quickly generate thousands of warm leads to nurture them in time for the campaign. The focus was on several Western markets. Our internal target was to get under €2 Cost Per Lead (CPL).

People use Google to search for things they want. This normally makes Google AdWords a great source of leads for established products or categories. In our case AdWords wasn’t helpful, because we were working with an unknown product trying to carve out a new market segment.

Facebook is the opposite. People don’t go there to make important decisions, but rather to avoid making them. In addition, Facebook ads are great for building awareness for exciting and visually striking new products. This fit our needs perfectly.

It's easy to blow through your advertising budget if you don't know who to target.

 Since Haikara didn’t have a clear buyer persona in mind, our first priority was to find one through vigorous testing.

AdEspresso was our advertising automation tool of choice. It allows you to quickly create thousands of ad variations to test any audience assumptions you may have. You can also set up automatic optimization rules that will improve your campaigns until they reach the target KPIs.

adespresso automatic optimization

AdEspresso automatic optimization rule

As soon as we collected our first several hundred leads, we used them to create custom and lookalike Facebook audiences. AdEspresso allows you to customize and automatically test them against each other, until you find the right fit for your product.

In a few weeks of constant automated optimization we managed to generate close to 3000 warm leads with a €4500 budget. These leads became the core of our buyer group and helped us grow organically through smart nurturing and referral campaigns.

Most importantly, we now had a clear picture of who the future watch buyers would be.

Adespresso campaign data

The effect of automatic ad optimization on CPL and number of conversions. Our final CPL was under €1

Automated Lead Nurturing

Traffic generated with AdEspresso was sent to landing pages created with Instapage. This tool allowed us to quickly create beautiful high converting landing page variations for each market segment.

Instapage landing page variations

Instapage landing page variations for the US and Finnish markets

Instapage automatically moves the converted leads to Autopilot. This brilliant marketing automation tool allows you to create sophisticated automated flows as simply as drawing on a whiteboard. With Autopilot you can engage customers with personalized messages at just the right time.

Autopilot separated Haikara leads into different contact lists and automated flows, depending on which ads they came from and how they interacted with our landing pages. Leads then started receiving personalized emails and pop-up messages from the Haikara team.

We tracked their email opens, link clicks and other behaviours to measure engagement. If someone moved up the engagement ladder, they were ready for more sales-oriented content.

Autopilot automated flow

One of the Haikara automation flows visualized

We created dozens of emails to educate our new leads about the product, and the passionate people behind it. As a result our leads felt like a part of the Haikara team, and even had the opportunity to contribute to product development.

Autopilot helped us make Haikara’s communications timely and relevant. Over 45,000 emails were automatically sent to leads during the campaign. We monitored email performance, and improved the messages that weren’t working.

Our average email open rate was 46%, which is 3 times higher than the 16% average for e-commerce companies (MailChimp, 2017). Some of the individual emails scored as high as 80% open rate.

Autopilot email nurture data

Campaign email nurture data

Launch day

May 9 was the Indiegogo campaign launch date. Our automated emails generated enough excitement throughout the campaign, culminating in a massive spike in opens and clicks on the big day.

Automated email performance over time

Automated email performance over time

After all the hard work the final moments before the start were very exciting. The minute the campaign launched, we had thousands of potential buyers rushing in to make an order. The result?

The $75,000 sales target was reached in the first evening, and we went over $100,000 in 48 hours.

Haikara was one of the fastest growing campaigns in Indiegogo history.

Haikara made $100,000 in just 48 hours using lean marketing automation

Haikara made $100,000 in just 48 hours using lean marketing automation


The biggest challenge we faced was to identify buyer personas and generate the right number of qualified leads in a very short time. AdEspresso helped us to automatically test hundreds of assumptions and find the perfect buyers for the Haikara watch. After that all we had to do was convert and nurture them.

Lead nurturing is key to a successful product launch. In the weeks leading up to it, you should get your customers excited enough to buy. Use marketing automation to personalize the messages and scale your lead generation efforts.

Automation is the perfect way to grow your sales online. An automated system is easily scalable, and can work with as many leads as you feed it. All you have to do is plan the logic and create strong content.

In conclusion, we recommend the lean way of automating your marketing campaigns to most companies making their first steps in automation. Choose a few tools that work well together. A low-cost solution like the one we used in this campaign takes time to set up, but can be as effective as the more expensive all-in-one automation suites.

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