You have your crowdfunding page and promo video ready to publish, but did you think about how you are going to run the whole campaign? Here are 4 tips you’ll need on the way.
You have your crowdfunding page and promo video ready to publish, your rewards are well thought out and you feel prepared. But did you think about how you are going to run the whole campaign? Do it wrong and your idea won’t be brought to life. How can you increase the chances of a happy ending? Here are 4 tips you’ll need on the way.
1. Before You Hit Hit the “Publish” Button
Crowdfunding campaigns appearing from thin air have a worse chance of succeeding than those announced beforehand. The first day of the campaign is most crucial. Most often everything will be decided on that very day.
Have people ready to pledge on day one. Having a fanbase helps a lot in achieving this, but even if you don’t have any backers yet, you still can get some people interested if you start promoting your campaign before it officially begins.
Use all of your regular channels of communications, like social media or mailing lists. Give people a taste of your soon-to-be-pitched project. Get them engaged and interested in what you are going to offer.
You can visit forums or other places where your potential backers naturally reside. But don’t pretend you are a fan of your company just spreading the news. People despise dishonesty. Say that you are a creator testing the water and trying to promote your project before the campaign starts. Be straightforward, honest, and approachable.
Communicating directly with creators is something that many potential backers value and if your campaign is a success, many of those early supporters will feel proud that they discovered you first. They may become your lifetime brand ambassadors.
Don’t forget to use social media throughout your entire campaign. According to GoGetFunding, “the average Facebook timeline post has a conversion rate of 3.8%”, so imagine how good it will be for your project if dozens of backers will post about it on their timelines.
2. Build the Momentum
Most campaigns get the majority of their funding from the first and the last three days of their run. If you don’t get at least several percentage points of your funding goal raised during the opening days, your campaign will project a sense of failure which may scare off many potential backers. They won’t fund you, seeing your project as a lost cause.
On the other hand, if you manage to secure a good amount of money during the initial days, the chances for your project to succeed skyrocket. That’s why we insisted in the previous paragraph that you should inform as many potential backers about your product before the campaign even begins.
After the first three days, the number of new pledges will drop significantly. Don’t panic, this is natural. You have to keep calm if you want to run the campaign through the whole month. Just stick to what you were doing earlier, publish updates, and keep spreading the news about the campaign on the internet.
The fate of your campaign will be decided in the last three days of your campaign. If you managed to secure your funding goal beforehand, you will get to know how much extra money you raise. If you still did not reach that amount, you will have to fight for your campaign to be successful.
As you can see, each part of the crowdfunding month is different and you should understand the natural flow of momentum to better understand how you are doing and to improve your actions at each step of the campaign.
3. Keep Publishing Frequent Updates
You need to reach your backers with constant updates throughout the whole campaign. Those updates should gradually explain exciting features of your product, tell the details of the upcoming stretch goals and keep your audience engaged. Have at least some of them ready to back you up before the campaign starts.
Give some extra insight and small details of your products. Those updates may convince the people on the fence to back your crowdfunding campaign and may make convinced backers increase their pledges. People who read those are more detail-oriented than the general public so feel free to show them more technical aspects of your work.
Updates should be frequent. Once about every three days is appropriate midway through the campaign. In the first three days, you should do it daily if not twice a day, the same applies for the last three days.
Updates in the last three days should reveal something exciting. Show a nice preview of your product. Engage the backers emotionally. Those last updates should mirror your pitch video in their approach.
4. Plan Your Stretch Goals
You may or may not exceed your planned funding goal. But if you do, you will use stretch goals to further boost your funding. You need to have them planned before the campaign starts. Making them up as you go, in a hurry, when your project unexpectedly becomes a hit, is a sure way to sabotage what may be your only shot at success.
Your stretch goals need to be realistic. There is a temptation to over-promise in order to attract many new backers. Don’t do that. It will ruin your reputation if the product that comes out doesn’t meet expectations.
People backed your project before it had stretch goals, it was the initial pitch that sold your product. This means that even after being funded if you have a good reward system, you will get new backers. If what you are promising to bring with your campaign is good in itself, you don’t have to make overblown stretch goals to attract new pledges.
Remember that unexpected things occur pretty much all the time. Have a margin of error when deciding how much will each stretch goal be worth. Make a few of them, make them small so that a relatively low amount of money is enough for the goal to be reached. This will help you to have new goals achieved in short intervals and your backers will feel the thrill of being a part of something successful.
Matt Warcholinski is the COO of Brainhub and a serial entrepreneur building companies supported by Wayra, Microsoft BizSpark, Pioneers Festival in Vienna, and others. He’s passionate about growth and marketing strategies and has worked with startups and companies covered by magazines like INC, Entrepreneur, and Business Insider.