A poorly prepared crowdfunding campaign is a campaign that probably won’t be funded.
While a campaign may last for a month, one shouldn’t just ease into it. Momentum is absolutely key in a crowdfunding campaign, so it is important to launch with a splash to generate the initial wave of enthusiasm from backers and the wider community for your campaign. The bigger the snowball at launch, the easier it will be to keep the momentum rolling.
When starting your campaign, you need to be prepared. You need to know what you want to say and how you want to communicate it. So, how do you go about that?
Prepare a strong pitch
You know you have a good product. You know this is a product that people will find value in. You are enthused about the product. Make sure you communicate that effectively. Your initial pitch to backers needs to fully communicate the products value in as clear and concise a fashion as possible.
Your pitch needs to engage your customers and give them a reason to believe in you and your product specifically.
Produce a quality video
Potential backers want to see the product come alive. A video provides a great opportunity to show your product existing in the real world with a greater sense of what the product will be. But more than that, the video also serves as a statement about how serious you take the campaign and the product.
One doesn’t have to spend much money on a campaign video, but it does need to look like effort has been made. The video works as your proof of commitment to the project, taking you from being a person who has merely filled out detail on a website to someone who has put in time and effort into the campaign.
A half-hearted video suggests that you are not serious about the product you are trying to fund.
As with any communication, ensure your video is concise and doesn’t waffle on too much around the product and non-essential information. Your audience only need to know what the product is, your plan on how you will use the funds to get it mad, and what the user benefits are. You shouldn’t need longer than 2-3 minutes.
Create all the content you need before you launch
A crowdfunding campaign is far more involved than many people realise and you are going to be kept busy during the funding period. Promoting the campaign on social media, responding to potential backers, and drumming up media interest are all time consuming tasks that you’ll be completing on top of potential work on the product you’re attempting to raise money for. In addition to that, you may need to start sourcing/producing any promised bonuses you’ve offered supporters (merchandise, or other paraphernalia).
With all of that going on, make sure you give yourself some additional breathing room by producing as many content assets as possible before you launch the campaign. The last thing you need to do is spend time producing a video while you have other more pressing issues that need your attention.
Drum Up Attention Before You Launch
Million dollar crowdfunding success stories like the Pebble and Hive Flow are rare, so don’t set your expectations too high. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go into the campaign without trying to make some noise. It is important to start your campaign with strong momentum and that means getting vocal supporters on board. Get in contact with people prior to the launch who you believe might be interested and let them know about your campaign and what you might need from them.
Enthusiasm is infectuous and everyone likes to back a winner. The earlier you can build support for your campaign, the more support you’ll generate as your campaign runs its course.
Get Prepared For Constant Communication
Keeping an open channel of dialogue happening with backers and potential backers is crucial in maintaining the perception that you are a serious and engaged product developer seeking funding. Constant updates not only prove your validity, but they also serve to keep existing backers enthused.
Don’t forget, once a person has pledged money to support your project, they are investing in your success and have an interest in seeing you succeed. Enthused backers can be relied upon to spread the word about the project and to get your campaign over the line to see funding. Communication helps to maintain the enthusiasm.
Choose the right platform
With at least 585 crowdfunding sites to choose from, it is important that you match your project to the site that you believe will yield the best response for your campaign. While most people are familiar with the larger crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Pozible, there are many other sites that can provide more of a targeted audience.
- Phundee is a combination of both ‘Reward’ and ‘Equity’ crowd-funding dedicated to entertainment, arts, projects and businesses.
- Green Crowding is a peer-to-business lending website for tangible renewables and energy-efficiency projects.
- Pinkstart is a global crowdfunding platform designed for the LGBT community.
It is also important to consider how big a take each platform will want to take from your successfully funded campaign. For example, Kickstarter will take 5% of the total funds raised, with a processing fee of 3% + $0.20 per pledge.
Carefully Pick Your Time
Be sure to look beyond your own backyard when choosing a time to mount a crowdfunding campaign. Ideally you want to time the release of your product so that it can be used once it is received. This means immediate feedback from backers, helping propell further sales following the end of the funding campaign. For example, if you are raising money for an innovative umbrella, it makes sense to have a shipping date that will deliver the umbrellas during rainy, autumn/winter months.
Another timing consideration relates to manufacturing and delivery of products. If you are reliant on international manufacturing, you may need to factor in delays related to religious holidays. Manufacturing products in China during the Chinese New Year, for example, is likely to delay your production time.
Distribution delays can also be a matter for consideration. While you may want to get your product into the hands of your backers in time for Christmas, you need to keep in mind Christmas mail traffic.
It would be wise to ensure that your product ships before mail services are overwhelmed with general Christmas time deliveries. Not only do you want to give your products the best possible chance of being delivered to the right address in a timely manner, but should something go wrong it will be easier dealing with a courier company or Australia Post when their staff aren’t dealing with the busiest period of their year.
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Crowdfunding presents a great opportunity for the budding entrepreneur. As a public-facing bid for money, however, you really are putting your name and reputation on the line. If you fail to deliver on a funded product, it is going to severely harm your chances of getting future projects funded. Similarly, a poorly organised crowdfunding campaign makes it difficult to find backer loyalty for future efforts. A thoroughly-planned campaign is a must to find success.