By Joel Hughes, UK and Europe Director of Hardware and Technology at Indiegogo
On the surface, crowdfunding seems like an effortless way to obtain capital for your business.Even though crowdfunding it’s a great alternative to traditional finance, once you start the process you’ll quickly discover that there’s an extensive amount of strategy, planning and work that goes into a successful campaign.
A campaign’s success or failure depends not only on the activity throughout the campaign, but also on the preparation. If you’re considering using crowdfunding for your next project, there are a few strategies you can implement to give your campaign the best possible chance to be successful.
The planning stage
You should begin planning for your campaign at least two months before you launch to give yourself enough time to build a solid community of potential backers and create some excitement around your product or idea. The planning stage should include the following activities:
- Create a solid team – The proof is in the numbers: we’ve seen that campaigns run by a team raise three times as much than those run by individuals. It’s important to have a variety of skills at your disposal to build your community, create campaign visuals and written content, and ensure that your perks are sent in a timely fashion.
- Raise your profile with social media – Social media is a powerful asset when crowdfunding as it will help spread the word and keep your community updated throughout your campaign.It’s more effective to use one social media channel and focus all your efforts into it rather to create several mediocre ones. Focus on the platform where potential backers will be most active.
- Build your community– This can start with social media, but shouldn’t end there. The success of your campaign rests on your ability to get people interested in your product. Begin gathering contact details and build an extensive email list that includes your family, friends, colleagues and anyone else who might be interested in your idea. The bigger your community, the higher your chance of reaching your funding goal.
- Create great perks –Part of getting the public interested in your campaign is by creating a range of fantastic perks to reward them for contributing. Ensure that your perks are achievable based on man-power, budget and time. You should always strive to deliver your perks on the specified date, but if there are any manufacturing-related delays, be sure to communicate those with your backers.
- Tell your story –Most of your backers will learn about you solely through your campaign page so it’s crucial to be as open and honest as possible about who you are and exactly what you intend to use the funds for. Your text should explain why you are different from similar products or businesses on the market, and contain no spelling and grammar mistakes. Create some high-quality visuals that are engaging, and help your backers get to know you.
The Mous Limitless iPhone Case reached 2779% of their goal earlier this year, thanks to great planning and execution. Their campaign page included several strong and engaging visuals on a small budget, like videos the team demonstrating the product publicly.
The campaign launch and beyond
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. There are a variety of strategies that will not only help you launch strong, but keep the momentum going.
- Launching your campaign –It can be effective to launch your campaign in two stages; a soft launch, which includes friends and family, and then your “official” launch, which includes reaching out to the extensive mailing list that you created during the planning stage. The reason we encourage campaigners to break it up is that by reach at least 30% of your funding goal from friends and family during the initial launch will encourage the wider public to back your campaign later.
- Maintain momentum – Even though your launch will create excitement for your idea, it’s important to keep the momentum going throughout the campaign by keeping your community updated with new perks and any milestones reached.Share your progress on social media, and post campaign page updates to make sure your backers stay engaged.
- Consider the media –During the planning stage, you need to decide whether to create a press kit and contact the media yourselves, or hire a PR agency/freelancer. If you’re tight on budget and your campaign has crossed 40% of its funding goal, consider contacting the media yourself. Do some research and look for journalists that have similar stories or products, and explain why your product is relevant to the industry.If you know anyone who is a reporter or knows one, ask for help! After all, it’s the support from your community that makes the idea possible.
- Finish strong – After your campaign is complete, remember to send your community updates on where you are with product development, manufacturing and shipping. They contributed to be part of bringing your idea to life, and you never know when you might need their help again!
Even though it might seem easy on the surface, a lot of work goes into a successful crowdfunding campaign, starting long before the campaign itself. Before you launch, put together a solid team, build your community, and create a detailed campaign page with a range of fantastic perks. Launch first with your trusted community, and once you’ve crossed a funding milestone, consider contacting the press to share your story. Once your campaign has launched, ensure that you maintain the momentum by keeping your community updated on your progress. Remember, you’re all in this together.