Creating a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign
Whether it be an international campaign aimed at bailing out Greece from their financial crisis, or simply achieving a lifelong dream of opening a brewery in the Victorian Countryside, Crowdfunding has certainly cemented itself as a viable option for entrepreneurs looking to kickstart their ideas across the world. So much so that in 2017, crowdfunding projects raised a total of 17.2 billion dollars in the US alone, a whopping amount of money that no doubt funded a variety of ideas from the arts and media, to new gadgets and business ideas.
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news. A 2015 study into the success of online crowdfunding showed that Between 69 and 89 percent of projects — depending on the platform — fail to reach their targets…, with projects under $1,000 being the most difficult to fund. So, how do you avoid becoming one of those campaigns that don’t reach their target?
You read VMP’s blog, of course!
We’ve put together a list of things you should consider before diving head first into Crowdfunding. Whether you want to fund a short film or anti-radiation underwear – we’ve got you covered on how to engage your audience and achieve those funding goals!
Need to protect your downstairs area? Why not try anti-radiation underwear!
GENERATE YOUR CUSTOMER DATABASE FIRST & CREATE SOME HYPE
Congratulations! You have an amazing idea and you want to crowdfund some extra cash to get it off the ground. Your family and friends are super hyped and ready to hand over some money to help you get started… but depending on your goal – that might not be enough! The trick is to generate excitement for your idea or product and create a database of eager, everyday people who will be willing to donate as well. Whether it be through social media, public speaking events or email updates – you need to have your initial customers engaged and willing to stick with you throughout the crowdfunding campaign. Create a countdown to the launch, email them updates every couple of days/weeks and ensure they know you won’t forget them! Giving them a sense of pride that “hey, I was first to donate to *insert cause here*, and I feel good!” is important. Plus, when you eventually do launch, you know that you’ve got your core group of consumers ready to support you and share your success.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT CROWDFUNDING PLATFORM
Taking the time to choose the right crowdfunding platform is so important when setting your campaign up for success. Different platforms have different types of funding available, depending on their size and their terms and conditions. Read these CAREFULLY (never thought we’d say that!) and ensure that when selecting a platform that offers something like flexi funding (where you receive the donations even if you don’t achieve your goal), you understand what percentage the platform will take from your overall donations. Start off by looking at some of the bigger players like Kickstarter, Indiegogo or Go Fund Me and go through their current catalogue of campaigns and find out if your idea will fit their platform (i.e. Go Fund Me is more of a funding platform for individual causes and people, while Kickstarter is more of a business orientated platform). If none of these suit, then there are smaller platforms available. Keep in mind though, the smaller the platform – the fewer visitors you might get due to its public profile.
WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM THE REST?
How is your product different? Why should people donate? Who is the team behind this new idea? All questions that need answering for people to feel comfortable giving you their money. If your idea was founded in exceptional circumstances, tell people that. If you were influenced by an event or another person, give your consumers that backstory. It’s important to humanize yourself and your product in an engaging and succinct way, with the majority of successful campaigns featuring the person or team trying to launch the idea.
Oh boy oh boy – we love this part!
The key to a polished, professional and successful crowdfunding campaign is making it look good! We could go on and on again about how 55% of people watch videos online every day, and about how it’s been predicted that by 2021, 80% of internet traffic will be video, but a succinct and well produced Crowdfunding video could mean the difference between your campaign sinking or swimming. Kickstarter actually released some stats outlining the fact that projects with a video were 67% more likely to be funded than those without! So, whether you shoot it on your iPhone, or get a professional camera crew in to help you out (did we mention that we do crowdfunding videos?), it’s in your best interests to have a video to explain your product. A couple of things you need to keep in mind when producing your video are:
A robotic and rehearsed presentation isn’t going to make people excited about your product. You are the face of your brand, so while you need a good idea of what you want to say, you want people to be able to connect with you. If you’re the funniest person on the planet, lean into that! If you’re a straight shooter, chances are – your product and your audience will be the same! You know your consumers and your product better than anyone, so tailor your video to suit that.
Get your basics covered
Who are you? What’s the backstory? What’s your product? Is there a production timeline? Why should people donate? All of this needs to be covered in your video, and quickly! Which brings us to the next point…
Short and sweet…
We’re not the most attentive species these days. One study has shown that humans have an attention span of around 8 seconds (less than a goldfish!), so you need to get your message across quickly and effectively. The people at Funded Today recommend that your video is no longer than 1 – 3 minutes in length. If you get to a point where the video is over that time, get someone else with a fresh set of eyes to check it out and give feedback – you might be too close to the project to make the call on what needs to be cut, and what can stay.
Good vision and sound make a difference
High-quality vision and sound make all the difference. You know a bad video when you see one, so don’t let your video fall into that category. Phones these days can shoot HD and 4K footage, so take advantage of that – but if it’s really important, call in the experts and make sure your video gets done right the first time! Much like the video VMP created for Full Embrace which you can watch here
Listen, if the opportunity arose to fund a 30-foot inflatable dinosaur wearing a top hat to be paraded around the city center, we’d certainly put some money towards it… but we’d also need proof that it would actually happen (and god we wish it would happen)! If you need council/government permits, architectural drawings, production costs or if you have a prototype ready to go – let your audience know that you have it covered. Keep them updated! A lot of platforms allow you to connect with your audience through email blasts, so every time you smash one of your goals, let them know so they understand their money is being used wisely and going towards it’s intended use.
INVOLVE YOUR PLEDGERS
You have your amazing video, you’ve got a great blurb written and your campaign has gone live! The donations are rolling in, but a couple of weeks in they begin to drop off. Why? Well – have you been keeping your pledgers updated? Have you been giving them incentive to be connected to the campaign and share with their friends? Giving your pledgers weekly updates about the status of the campaign, your milestones and the product will ensure that the campaign keeps its strength throughout your allocated time slot. If you have a long campaign (i.e. over a month), then it’s SO important to keep everyone updated. Also – remain positive! Don’t guilt them into donating more money – give them reasons to help you over the line instead! As we said before, a strong customer base is your greatest ally in a successful crowdfunding campaign. Plus, if you give your pledgers some serious perks (i.e. early release of the product or a little gift), it’s a great way for them to have a lasting reminder of how they helped you achieve your goals!
FOLLOW THROUGH WITH YOUR PROMISES
Sure, sending out all of your incentives and gifts will be a task once the campaign ends but following through is so important in keeping an engaged audience! It’s also a legal requirement for most of these sites for you to follow through on any advertised perks you offered to your donators. Keep everyone updated of the process via email so if you’re delayed in any way – people won’t start to panic! Also, make sure you follow through with any kind of event or promotion that you advertised throughout the campaign!
ENJOY YOUR CROWDFUNDING SUCCESS! NOW THE WORK BEGINS…
WOW! You did it! You finished your first Crowdfunding campaign to great success. Not only did you reach your fundraising goal, but you got a little bit extra in the bank as well. Bask in the glory of finishing your campaign, then have the sudden realization that now the real work begins! It’s time to officially launch that great idea of yours – and we couldn’t be more excited for you!
P.s. we expect an invite to the launch party.