Instead of struggling to secure bank loans or venture funding, crowdfunding can be a great way for businesses and individuals to raise funds for their ideas. A common misconception is that you can go from an idea to a final concept immediately; however, running a successful crowdfunding campaign takes extensive pre-launch, as well as a continuing strategy to maintain momentum of both contributions and publicity.
Here are some tried and true tips for how to put together a crowdfunding campaign that people will want to support:
Research & Planning
Don’t rush into your campaign. We recommend beginning the planning process at least two months before your chosen launch date. The longer you plan it out, the more time you will have to stress test and build out a solid plan. Use this time to research campaigns similar to yours, both successful and unsuccessful ones, in order to learn as much as you can from them. Reach out to campaigners who achieved their goal, and don’t be afraid to ask them for any insights they’ve picked up from running their campaign. Be realistic and set an achievable funding goal. Campaigns that achieve their goals are seen as more trustworthy and likely to succeed and therefore tend to get more support and pledges from supporters. For more pre-launch advice, take a look at our checklist here.
Don’t do it alone
‘United we stand, divided we fall’ is the perfect phrase to describe how a successful crowdfunding campaign works – having allies is crucial. We recommend putting together a talented team so that you can divide tasks such as creating your pitch video and campaign page images, shipping perks and managing your social media channels, amongst many others. Moreover, campaigns that are run by teams raise an average of three times more than those who try to go solo.
Focus on social media
Social media is a great tool for generating a ‘buzz’ around your campaign as well as building your community. As there are many platforms out there, work with your team to make sure that you only choose the ones that are relevant to your project, and that you have the bandwidth to maintain them. Update your social media pages regularly to keep the your supporters informed, and always coming back for more.
Develop a strong community
Building a strong community and potential audience for your campaign is crucial for running a successful crowdfunding campaign. There are various ways in which you can build your database including partnerships with companies, attending and hosting events, and holding competitions on your social media channels. Remember that everyone who you interact with is a potential supporter of your campaign. Thus, aim to build an extensive database as the more people who you can reach the better chance of success you have.
Offer irresistible incentives
Create perks that are both exciting rewards for your backers, as well as achievable for your team. When designing your perks, ensure that they are varied enough to suit every wallet and that you are able to get them to contributors in a timely fashion.
Tell your story through the campaign
Your campaign page is the first impression that potential backers get, so make sure that it’s your best. Be honest with your audience about who you are, what you want to do, how you’ll be achieving it and what you’ll be using the funds for. Use a combination of infographics, an engaging pitch video and professional images to tell the audience your story. We recommend breaking your text up into sections and keeping it succinct to make it easier to read and digest.
Launch your campaign in stages
Split your database of potential contributors into core supporters, which are usually family and friends, and the remaining supporters, who may be strangers. Reach out to your core supporters during your “soft launch” which usually takes place one to two days before the “official” launch date. The soft launch is usually done to help you reach 30% of your goal before launching to the public. This encourages trust, and therefore further donations from others.
Keep the pace
Did you know that 42% of funds are raised in the first and last 3 days of a campaign? It’s important to keep the momentum going until the very end. A great way to boost your campaign is through emails and social media, as well as any other perks added whilst your campaign is in progress. Also ensure your team keeps your community updated with new perks and amounts raised to keep the momentum going.
Consider the Press
Consider spreading the word about your campaign through PR outreach. Decide whether you would draft the press release and contact your media yourself or hire a PR agency or freelancer to do so depending on your budget. You can use campaign milestones as ways to keep the press interested in your project as it progresses after your initial ‘launch’ push.
Follow up with your community
Even when your campaign is closed, thank your community for their support and keep them in the loop about where you are with product development, manufacturing and shipping. They contributed to be part of your journey, and you never know when you might need them again!
If you’re looking for a way to raise funds for your idea, crowdfunding will help you fund your project, and do some great marketing in the meantime. To make the most of your crowdfunding experience, make sure that you are fully prepared with a great team, a strong plan-of-action and an extensive database of people who are interested in your project.