Setting Up a Winning Crowdfunding Campaign
Anyone can set up a crowdfunding campaign, but the ones who are successfully funded have several things in common. If you want to maximize your success, follow these guidelines:
Create a concise story of why people should support you.
- What is the problem I am trying to solve? The size and severity of the problem is what drives the value of your product, not the product itself.
- How will my product/business solve it? Explain your solution and verify your market size (investors will want to know this).
- Who will care? Identify your target market so you do not waste your time trying to appeal to networks that will not have interest.
- How much capital do I need today to make it happen? Make this as small as possible, since many platforms do not fund you if you don’t meet your goal. You may need to break your project into phases to make this possible.
Research similar campaigns.
Many platforms leave completed campaigns live on their sites, whether they were funded or not. This is huge source of free information for you to study to find out what worked and what did not.
Create a video.
This is a high priority, and may not be easy to do by yourself. You may consider asking a professional. Even though it should be 2 minutes or less, you need a professional-quality video with 2 different endings.
- The first ending will be for before your campaign launch and will invite people to sign up for email updates to your upcoming campaign. This one should go on your website.
- The second ending will be used for the video you post to your campaign site and will invite people to contribute.
- For tips on creating a great video that will tell your story, check out this article on fundrazr.com.
Make your rewards simple.
If someone is ready to give, they don’t need to try to figure out what you are offering.
- Rewards should be offered for small amounts (starting at $5) and up to amounts in the thousands.
- Crowd101.com has a great article for creative reward ideas.
Start working on your campaign months before it launches. Some experts even suggest six months. Clay Hebert, the founder of Crowdfunding Hacks, says, “Crowdfunding projects get funded before they launch, not while they are live.”
- Do everything you can to secure supporters long before your launch date. Take the time to send personal emails to everyone in your own network. When you have an instant flood of backers on the first day of your campaign, it shows an “atmosphere of success” and gives your product a greater chance to go viral.
- Start contacting your local newspapers and press weeks before your go-live date. You need to give them plenty of time to understand your product/value proposition before your campaign starts.
Consider the timing of your campaign.
- Time of year: Make sure that you don’t launch a new snow shovel in the middle of summer. Take the seasons and holidays into account when you decide your launch date.
- Time of month: Since many people are paid on the 1st and 15th of the month, consider starting shortly after one of those dates in your chosen month.
- Time of day: This is something you should take some time to think about. You will need to do a big push in the final hours of your campaign. The time of day that you start will be the time of day that you finish. You don’t want those final hours to happen in the middle of the night when no one is paying attention. Also, potential backers who are “watching” the campaign, will receive an email 48 hours before it closes. What is the best time for your target market to receive this email? First thing in the morning when they sit down at their desks? In the evening after they have put their kids to bed? Consider your market and plan accordingly.
- What’s going on in your business? Some owners find that they have to take considerable time away from their business to market themselves during the campaign. So don’t launch during a time when you will be too busy otherwise.
Have a good social media strategy.
Once you launch, you must get your campaign in front of new people every single day. People won’t automatically find you—you need to do the work to find them. Your personal Facebook page won’t be enough, and you should not be afraid to spend a little money on marketing. Crowd101.com gives great advice on marketing a crowdfunding campaign on a budget.