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Charge your dream project. Seven tips for a successful crowdfunding campaign

16
Apr
2014

This is how it started… 

A great idea about a greater product originated in your head, but you needed financial support to realize it. You decided to act, so you created a fantastic campaign, which you published on a crowdfunding platform. You felt right about that, you believed… you convinced yourself that at the very moment you signed up for this, the whole world would bow down before you and your campaign would hit the jackpot of the year! You put into your campaign all of your effort and time, your mind, your will, everything. And the day when your project showed up on the crowdfunding website, it was a total failure. You found out that your project completely blended in with the crowd. It wasn't special or unique in any way; it was just another random submitted campaign.

Sound familiar?

When creating a crowdfunding campaign, you have to do something special, otherwise you will sink down to the bottom of the crowdfunding sea. But don't freak out! Calm down, because we have some work to do to make your campaign successful. Yes, it is work-intensive, but not impossible.

Roll Up Your Sleeves

We've known crowdfunding for decades so far. We know that´s a great tool for donating money to ventures and ideas we believe in. The one thing you have to do to be successful at crowdfunding is to convince many people to invest money, small or big amounts, in your project. On one of the most popular crowdfunding platforms, there is $1,069,682,133 from 5,981,812 backers pledged to projects. That means more than 59,000 successfully funded projects for this platform. How do you convince millions of backers to fund your project when there are thousands of other project owners with the very same purpose as you: to gain money?

The crowd isn't looking for you – you need to give them a reason, raise interest inside them and persuade them to follow you. Nowadays we are forced to look for different and flexible ways to rip our project out from the gray normalcy and give us a stamp of excellence. Here are some tips and some verified advice for successful crowdfunding.

Prep Work

Behind each project on crowdfunding platforms is definitely a huge amount of prep work (before launching the campaign). Lack of preparation and a cold start kills your project sooner than you would think. People freak out and get messy in their head if you change things, like for instance, product title, product price, shipping possibilities or others, after submitting the project to the platform. Be clear as to what you are trying to achieve with how much money. Define the main pillars!

# 1 The Story Counts

Tell the audience an engaging and compelling story. You know who you are, you know your intention with your project, you know what you want to achieve… so, why not share your vision with the target audience in an easy story format? If you are not a storyteller and you can't combine catchy words into smooth sentences or you don't have a good sense of writing, don’t worry. There sure are other skilled writers whose specialty is creating well-composed content. Don´t forget to keep your content adequately extensive to the project´s size. Certainly, you could talk about it for hours and hours, but keep in mind that users aren't interested in lengthy novels. Write briefly, effectively, and simply. Try to avoid boring and diplomatic phrases.

People primarily invest in the people and the story behind them. Punch them with an original, honest and outspoken campaign that will impress everybody. Tell them an engaging story, and keep it personal and visually interesting. Because the story counts!

# 2 Attach a Pitch Video

The best way to capture our target audience and tell them an engaging story is by creating a personal but professional, short and visually interesting video. A pitch video is your front door. Using a short video to communicate your idea is the best way to reach your target group. Don´t forget to put a face behind the story (a persona) and give it to people in an easy format to share. People are very lazy creatures, so keep your video under 3 minutes! If it doesn't capture a viewer´s interest in 30 seconds, chances fall by every second. At most, in 90 seconds you must deliver your message and create an emotional bond. Get to the point as quickly as possible.

A pitch video increases your chances to be successfully crowdfunded, but don't underestimate it. A video has to be not just high quality, but also ongoing, consistent and the actors have to look right according to the professional or comedic content. This means, if you are trying to present professional content, the people in your video should be wearing suits or professional outfits. In case of comedy content, casual clothing may be a better approach.

# 3 Initial Price vs. Final Price

Budget is one of the most delicate elements to focus on before submitting your project on crowdfunding platform. Lots of people make mistakes in valuation of the total price for the whole campaign realization and product production. Remember, the final product price isn't about lowering costs (only), but also about asking for enough money from your backers. That includes production costs, material costs, shipping costs for rewards (a.k.a. multiple perks), potential tax implications, the costs of making a pitch video, professional photography, and the commission payment to the platform. So, before asking for a financial amount, calculate wisely.

# 4 Crowdfunding Platform Selection

The correct and right platform selection for your project is one rule you always read about in articles about crowdfunding. And that´s a logical topic because you need to be aware of various platforms’ offers, their possibilities (as mentioned, the multiple perks), attributes, destination, terms and conditions, pros and cons, payments, etc.

There isn’t a formal policy against posting campaigns to more than one funding platform at a time, but it´s not a good idea. Why?

What does it say about the project owner? Isn't he cunning or sly when he is asking for multiple crowdfunding? His project loses credibility, transparency and worst of all, chances to be successful. Don't split contributors and the power of your project between multiple platforms; focus on the victorious one. Besides, it´s too much work to keep your campaign popular and it just confuses backers and press. In summary, it is better to invest your time preparing, planning for and promoting one robust campaign. More campaigns reduce your effectiveness, results and impressions. 

We know of four types of crowdfunding platforms:

  • The most common is the reward approach, when you offer people an exciting give-back. It means that the donor receives some kind of reward for his funding.
  • Donation platforms operate on selfless support without any expectation of receiving reward for their funding. Reward and donation principles are the best for charity, community or environmental projects.
  • Lending and equity platforms. Projects like software development, PC games, music or film production are more successful on lending and equity platforms, which are the places where direct return from invested funds is expected. Lending and equity platforms offer a chance to get up to a five times larger amount per project.

Another segmentation:

  1. operate on all-or-nothing model
  2. adopt a keep-what-you-raise model

Auxiliary questions for platform selection:

  • Where is your audience?
  • What can you reasonably handle in your daily life?
  • Which platform is the most popular?
  • What kind of financing do they offer?
  • What kind of sector do they target?
  • How successful is the platform in that sector?
  • How many similar products are on that platform? What rate of competition you have to face?
  • On what level is the availability and accessibility for other countries of the world?

Ongoing Work

You did the best you could to submit a well-prepared, complete campaign to the platform you chose wisely. Now, what else is there to do?

# 5 Leverage Your Social Space

We live in a virtual world. Most of our friends are smiling at us from social websites, we are writing about our experiences in comments on Facebook under pictures we took on trips, and about the hot news we’ve just tweeted on Twitter. So, yes, please create a social website connection and step into active interaction, because you need to be on social media and you need to have been using it for a while. If you signed up just today, give it some time before submitting your project. The wider your reach on social media, the better your chances to get funded.

Make a buzz about your campaign anyway, because you can shout out loud, but if there is nobody near you to hear your message, all your effort is useless.

One more piece of advice: hook people quickly! Write short tweets like punches and add good pictures. More reasonable is perhaps creating a new fan page instead of using your own personal social media account. Don't rely on your friends only; rather, create a Facebook fan page and don´t forget to welcome every new supporter into the fold. Attract the audience even more. How? Give them piece after piece, set rewards… Say that for every 10 friends on your Facebook fan page or contributors (funders) on crowdfunding platform, you give them rewards. It is up to you what kind of reward and under what conditions you give them.

A big mistake is when you ask directly for money. Please, don't do that! Tips in this case is the way of asking… you can use some collocation like: 

  • Help me spread the word… (link here)
  • Know anyone who might like this? (link)
  • Who can help me to find the next backer? (link here) …and so on…

# 6 Divide Peas and Beans

Every beginning is hard and it is the same in the case of crowdfunding. You can help yourself by dividing your audience. Once your campaign reaches at least 50% of the funding goal, there is a bigger chance of succeeding. Some authors of crowdfunding articles say that the chance is 10 times higher. People are more likely to support your campaign if your funding goal sidebar is already fueled at least to half. Therefore, pick the generous “peas” first to avoid the failure start caused by stubborn “beans.” Divide your potential backers into two segments: those likely to invest (your home-backers) and those less likely to invest. Try to bring those less-likely-to-invest funders only when you have already gathered significant support for your project.

# 7 Communicate Often

Most people like to talk with each other. That´s what we are: a communicative social creation. Keep people up to date, whether it’s good news or bad news. Tell people when you win the Oscar or Pulitzer, and also tell people about your new perks and notify them when you are late with finishing your product. People appreciate honesty and if you are honest with your backers at any costs, they will support you at any time. And when you inform your backers about the news your campaign experienced recently (whether good or bad news), you will get back trust.

The very last advice is the Latin motto experto crede, believe one who has had experience in the matter, and learn from other successful campaigns!

Uncover even more useful tips on how to make your campaign successful on the following websites we’ve found for you:

About the author

Virginia Durikova's picture

Virginia is the youngest member of Mogdesign.eu team. She is responsible for creating and managing digital content and social media.

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