Tips for a Successful Next Crowdfunding Campaign
Are you thinking about launching your own crowdfunding campaign? Well, it’s a tricky business to succeed in. I’m not trying to scare you off at all. Quite the contrary, I want you to succeed! That’s why I’ve done the research and put together this list of 7 tips to help you succeed in crowdfunding your next project.
Most of these tips are all things you can do before you even launch your campaign. So, be sure to read over them and take note of all the ones you can start on today. It’s never too learn to get ahead and these tips will help you achieve success on your next big project!
Do the Research
The first step to any good campaign is doing the research. Now, this is the least fun part of any project, but knowing what works and what doesn’t is how you can guarantee success. Three months before you plan to launch your crowdfunding campaign, you should be checking to see what other projects in your niche have succeeded and failed. Check to see what other successful campaigns did to succeed. How much were they trying to raise? How long did their campaign last? What were some of the price tiers they offered? How many people signed up for each tier? What were the rewards on each tier? There is a ton of information you can get from not only the successful campaigns but the ones that might not have met their goals as well.
You should create a spreadsheet and analyze at least 20 campaigns with similar products. Use that information to pin down the specifics of your campaign. Remember to keep it nice and neat. If other projects offered dozens of price tiers, but people only contributed to a few, then only offer the tiers that were the most popular. This information can save you a ton of time and energy when you start the serious prep for your launch.
Do the Math
The number one biggest problem that people come across after a successful campaign is the costs. Remember that you need to calculate everything. Not just the amount that Kickstarter or Indiegogo take from the campaign, but even the little things will have majors costs if your campaign blows up. What happens when your project goes viral and hundreds or even thousands of people want it? At that point, even the packing tape will have a significant cost. The devil is in the details, so be sure to plan everything down to the last cent, and then don’t undersell your product.
Of course, it’s not always the details that get people in the end. Mailing is a big cost as well, especially if you’re shipping outside of your country. Make sure you check to see how much international shipping will cost and either charge separately for that or make sure the tier price covers the costs.
The other big thing to remember is that after your campaign succeeds and your have your money, it will count as income. So make sure you know what your tax costs will be and be sure to handle your costs by the end of the fiscal year, so you can include them in your taxes.
A crowdfunding campaign is a huge whirlwind from start to finish. It’s not just making sure you have everything ready, but it’s making sure you have a proper plan from beginning to end. I don’t mean from when you click launch to when you get your check either. How long will production take? When should you start trying to contact the press or influencers about it? When do you send out e-mails? When will you ship your product?
These questions along can make any crowdfunding campaign seem like a full-time job. Trello is an excellent app for anyone considering an undertaking like this. It’s easy to use project management support that can help you stay organized and connect with the people working with you. That way you can know exactly what happens when, but what you should be working on as well. Having a battle strategy like this can help ensure your campaign doesn’t hit any big snags on the way.
Build an E-mail List
Really, this should be the first thing on this list. Never underestimate the importance of an email list. Despite all the social networks out there, this is still the biggest tool when it comes to selling online. Think of it this way, say you send an e-mail to 1000 people about your project. Maybe 30% open the email, which would be 300 people. Then let’s say half of those people decide they want to buy your product, that’s 150 people spending money on you. It might not sound like a lot from 1000, but 150 people spending $25 on your project each is $3750. All of that for just taking the time to send an e-mail.
The tricky part is putting together a list large enough. The best thing you can do right this second is add a signup option on your site or blog for people to get email updates. You can also host a contest for people to win something free (like a piece of fan art), all they need to do is submit their e-mail address to enter. Talk to other Kickstarter warriors to see if they would send an update to their backers about your project. There are a lot of ways to build this list, but it’s something you need to start on now!
Keep it Simple
There’s this thing in psychology called Buyers Paralysis. Despite being a society that wants everything tailored to match our every need and personality, we tend to freeze up when presented with too many options.
Here’s an example. You go to the store to buy jam. You go to the aisle and there are 7 different flavors to choose from. Easy, right? Now imagine you got to that aisle and there are 50 different flavors. Not only that but some are organic, some are sugar-free, etc etc. When scientist tested this, they found people faced with an absurd number of options tended to freeze up and have a difficult time deciding what to get.
This is something you have got to remember when it comes to your crowdfunding campaign. A lot of reward tiers might sound awesome in principal, but it is going to cause your backers to freeze up and never commit. The same goes for your write up and video. Your video should be about 3 and a half minutes long and your write up should be about 1000 words on your product. Keep it simple and make it easy for them to give you their money.
Plan Your Presentation
Your presentation of your product will make or break your campaign. You know that part where they say you can insert an optional video? Well, it’s not optional. Your campaign needs a video and it needs to stand out. Before you panic and say there’s no way you have the confidence to appear on video, there is an easy option for that. Get someone else to do it.
You can go on a site like Fiverr and find people who will make you quality videos for cheap. Too scared to appear in person, hire someone with an awesome voice to record it and toss it over some great shots of your product. The video is there first and foremost to sell your product. Of course, it’s always better to put a face with what you’re selling, but I completely understand that some people might not have the tools or confidence to pull this off.
The other thing to remember is that your presentation needs to be visual. Don’t tell people when you can show them. Include pictures of the product, info graphics showing tiers, charts with breakdowns on cost and production, and images of the rewards. Your presentation needs to be short enough to keep people’s attention, but long enough to persuade the holdouts by the end. Try to stick to about 1000 words over all, and let your images fill in the blanks.
The worst thing you can do when crowdfunding is launch a campaign out of nowhere. No matter how small your product is, the launch should follow the example of the biggest companies in the world. Does Apple launch a phone on a random day? No! They tease it. They build it up. They talk to people about it beforehand.
The same applies to you. Start today by getting to know influencers in your niche. People who blog about similar products, people will massive twitter followings, other creators. Get to know them, build up relationships. Scratch their back from time to time. When it comes time to launch your campaign, ask for their help. If you’ve managed to build solid relationships, then they will most likely say yes and spread the word. There is even an app called Thunderclap so that all they have to do is accept the message you want to share and everyone on your list will tweet and share exactly what you want the day of launch.
Another great resource is Prefundia. It’s sort of like a coming soon site for crowdfunding campaigns. Think of it sort of like a movie trailer and let the interest start to build before you even launch it.
Of course, you should be building interest yourself in it. Don’t start too far in advance though or people will lose interest and forget about it.
Those are only a few of the awesome tips I’ve learned about running a successful crowdfunding campaign. It’s a ton of work, but a successful one can be a huge win for you and your passion project. For those of you who have run successful campaigns in the past, comment below what you think the most important thing to do before launching. I look forward to reading your comments and answering any questions below.