It’s not easy to run a successful crowdfunding campaign. There are no guarantees in crowdfunding – it is generally a matter of hit or miss. It’s hard to predict which way a crowdfunding campaign would go.
Your campaign could be an instant success, it could take a lot of time to raise much needed funds or it could be an unmitigated disaster, with no one bothering about it. But regardless, whether your crowdfunding campaign is a success or not, it serves as a valuable learning experience which you can surely benefit from.
In this article, we talk to some of the most experienced crowdfunders out there and ask them about their hits and misses and about the tips they got for the rest of us. Read on!
Crowdfunding Tips: Spread the Word as Early as Possible
Janielle Denier is the COO and head of strategy at Rain Factory. She is the woman behind successful Indiegogo campaigns like Jibo, which raised more than $2 million. Janielle says entrepreneurs should share their product ideas as soon as they get their inspiration. Says Janielle, ͞When you have the idea and you start building the prototype put up the Facebook page and a website with a lead form and start generating buzz.
There are interesting crowdfunding tips. You have to have one of these three things: PR or an email list or advertising plans. It’s a numbers game. If you have enough people on your email list when you launch, there’s a good chunk of those people who are actually waiting and they will buy it — assuming you have the right price she adds.
You should make it a goal to start gaining at least a couple of hundred social media followers or email list subscribers a day well in advanced of the launch of your crowdfunding campaign. Get the world out as early as you can and leave nothing to chance. Use the social media as effectively as you can.
Kickstarter is an American public-benefit corporation based in Brooklyn, New York which has built a global crowdfunding platform focused on creativity. The company’s stated mission is to help bring creative projects to life. Kickstarter has reportedly received more than $1.9 billion in pledges from 9.4 million backers to fund 257,000 creative projects, such as films, music, stage shows, comics, journalism, video games, technology and food-related projects. People who back Kickstarter projects are offered tangible rewards and one of a kind experiences in exchange for their pledges. This model traces its roots to subscription model of arts patronage, where artists would go directly to their audiences to fund their work. Kickstarter is an American public-benefit corporation based in Brooklyn, New York which has built a global crowdfunding platform focused on creativity. The company’s stated mission is to help bring creative projects to life. Kickstarter has reportedly received more than $1.9 billion in pledges from 9.4 million backers to fund 257,000 creative projects, such as films, music, stage shows, comics, journalism, video games, technology and food-related projects. People who back Kickstarter projects are offered tangible rewards and one of a kind experiences in exchange for their pledges[clarification needed]. This model traces its roots to subscription model of arts patronage, where artists would go directly to their audiences to fund their work. Kickstarter launched on April 28, 2009, by Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler, and Charles Adler. The New York Times called Kickstarter “the people’s NEA”. Time named it one of the “Best Inventions of 2010” and “Best Websites of 2011”. Kickstarter reportedly raised $10 million funding from backers including NYC-based venture firm Union Square Ventures and angel investors such as Jack Dorsey, Zach Klein and Caterina Fake. The company is based in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. Andy Baio served as the site’s CTO until November 2010, when he joined Expert Labs. Lance Ivy has been Lead Developer since the website launched. On February 14, 2013, Kickstarter released an iOS app called Kickstarter for the iPhone. The app is aimed at users who create and back projects and is the first time Kickstarter has had an official mobile presence. On October 31, 2012, Kickstarter opened to projects based in the United Kingdom, followed by projects based in Canada on September 9, 2013, Australia and New Zealand on November 13, 2013, and Denmark, Ireland, Norway, and Sweden on September 15, 2014, and in Spain on May 19, 2015.
Go to Your Audience, Don’t Wait for them to Come to You
Garrett Wilson, is the CEO and inventor of Catzenpup and he is in a good position to talk about crowdfunding as the person behind a failed campaign on Kickstarter. Gareth planned to target pet owners with his product, an automatic wet food feeder for pets. He talks about importance of gathering an audience well ahead of time so that your campaign gets much needed traction and getting the product in front of as many people as possible. He says, “If you don’t bring your own audience, you’re not going to get anywhere. It usually starts with bringing your own network first and then starting to get them to push it and amplify it to their networks and continue to amplify it that way.”
That’s why it is so important to involve your family and friends in your campaign and secure money from them in advance of the launch or within the first 48 hours. This helps your crowdfunding efforts get much needed momentum and traction.
Craft a Compelling Story
Screenwriter John August achieved great success on Kickstarter with his campaign, Writer Emergency Pack. It was the best backed playing card project on Kickstarter until Exploding Kittens. As August explains, there is nothing more important in crowdfunding than to tell a story.
Again some crowdfunding tips: More than anything else, says August, “Kickstarter is a story. If we just launched something through a website or stuck it on Amazon, it’s not going to have that same point of focus and there’s not that story to tell. Kickstarter is built on trust and that trust comes from what you’re saying about yourself and what you’re saying about the project.”
As crowdfunding tips, he talks about continuing the story throughout the campaign through constant updates to backers and to address any concerns they may have. ͞We were a project that was very sincere and open and transparent from the start so as things came up along the way, I wanted to make sure we were talking about what that was like, August adds.
Setting a reasonable and realistic amount of time for your campaign to run is crucial for your success. You want to make sure you give yourself and your community ample time to rally behind the cause to reach your goal. Of all the campaigns we looked at that met their goals, nearly a third of them (30.5%) ran a campaign between 30 to 39 days long. Consider how long you can commit to being engaged with your campaign as well as your community. You’ll want to be able to build interest, maintain momentum and keep your audience engaged. If you find that 30 days is not enough, you can extend your campaign to 60 days. Keep in mind that this option is more like running two 30 day campaigns rather than one 60 day campaign. This sort of timeframe might work best for you in terms of marketing and resources. Videos are some of the most popular form of content on the internet today. They’re an effective and engaging way of communicating with your audience, and you can get as creative as you want. Campaigns with a pitch video raise 4 times more funds than campaigns without one, so it’s clear that the crowdfunding community enjoys videos. Not only can you educate potential contributors on what your product, film or concept is all about, but you can establish a more personal connection with them. Updating your community with videos is also a great way to continue engaging with them after launch. Make sure you make a great pitch video with these 6 tips. Pro tip: Uploading your video directly onto Facebook will help it reach more people organically and drive awareness about your campaign.
Work Hard on Creating a Brand
Jesse Potash, is the co-founder of Trunkster, which raised $1 million on Kickstarter. Jesse talks about the importance of branding for success. Jesse wanted to present his product, Trunkster, a luggage, as different, and so stressed on a feature that was unique, such as a zipper-less entry, rather than a feature that was common, such as location tracking. And the media lapped it up.
He talks about the lessons learned from his crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter and gives some crowdfunding tips, ͞The biggest surprise came before our campaign when a semi-similar campaign launched a month before we launched and had success. It’s useful to really know the brand you want to portray if you do get picked up by the press. For us, we had that really clear in our mind.
More Crowdfunding Tips: It’s Okay if Your Crowdfunding Campaign Fails!
So what if your crowdfunding campaign fails? Don’t worry about it, move on and relaunch later, says Ryan Grepper, chief creative officer at Coolest. He relaunched his Kicksrater campaign for the second time after it had failed in the first occasion, and this time raised $13.3 million, earning the title of the best-funded Kickstarter project of all time!
Ryan says, “Just because the campaign didn’t hit its goal, there was a tremendous amount of value that came from it. The failed first campaign helped us leverage the second campaign. Our timing was off. We dropped all the energy into day one and tried to make a big splash”, he adds. “Persistence is key in getting your dreams out there. If it was easy, everyone would do it”.
We hope the crowdfunding tips given here have inspired you! Never allow yourself to get defeated by how challenging and uncertain a crowdfunding campaign appears. Put your best foot forward and hope for the best.