If you’re going to finance your project through crowdfunding you better get cracking.
Crowdfunding is no stroll in the park. It’s much more like an extravagant, thoroughly planned, make-or-break picnic date.
On this first outing your date has to be somewhat interested in you just to get them to agree to go on the date. To do this, you need to show your date that you’re a swell person, looking sharp may help in this case too. Be prepared to entertain and be prepared for any kind of weather.
In terms of your creation, take into consideration how developed it is to determine if you are ready to launch your campaign. First off, it is crucial to have something tangible to show for your work thus far to prove to your potential donors that this is a worthwhile cause that you are already heavily invested in. The amount of proof of concept you have will heavily dictate your campaign’s success. Without evidence of self investment, benefactors may hesitate and question as to why they should be invested if you aren’t.
Aside from your creation itself, you need time to prepare. Over the span of your campaign, you will need to prolong your supporters excitement by entertaining them and that material needs to be on hand or in the making. With that said, you need to gain as many supporters before hand. Assembling all this won’t come without obstacles, a three month period would typically be enough time to put everything into position.
Checklist for the timing of your campaign/picnic
- Respectable proof of investment
- Reasonable agenda
- Realistic agenda
- Reliable reinforcements
- Ready support
The last check box brings me to the next paramount element of your date. Your audience.
Although you may be great and you’ve got a lot to offer, your companion is the most important thing on your date. Otherwise all the hard work gone into preparation and courting, goes on exhibition with no one to appreciate it.
Prior to launching your campaign, you need to continuously stretch your direct outreach capacity as far as it will go. Get a head start developing all your means of outreach. You can’t amass hundreds of thousands of followers overnight, unless you can, because that would be great, but in that case you should strive for millions.
You have to devote significant time and effort to expanding your audience as much as possible for two reasons:
- You can have the most amazing campaign video the world has seen, a story that will captivate anyone, a creation that could end world hunger, completely change the future, but if no one sees it, it ends right there.
- Having a large audience gives the impression that there is an inevitability of success which is what will catalyze an exponential increase of viewers which is positively correlated with donations.
For this, you have to start somewhere so start with your trusty-dusty inner circle and let them know what is going on, if you haven’t already, and ask them to help and spread the word.
- Email your friends and family
- Direct message through Facebook, Instagram, anything else you can direct message with
But because Aunt Sally and Mr. Peterson next door aren’t going to cover all your campaign costs, you need to grab some serious outside attention with actions like such:
- Social media posts
- Instagram and Twitter subscriber giveaways
- Personalized emails with simple directions for sharing
- Press release
- Hosting public events
- Attending private events such as conventions
While getting your audience together, you need to simultaneously consider and provide what will make them want to stay for the show.
There’s nothing more attractive in a companion than thoughtfulness….at least in this scenario.
First, they need to trust you. Your intentions must be clear. A first date may not appreciate being led somewhere after only receiving some vague information, it would seem a little suspicious. Someone like me, a little skittish to begin with, would be sprinting in the other direction if I got the slightest sense of sketchiness. Your audience needs a clear map of where you intend to go. If you take some detours, that’s fine, but give them the map.
Provide them with information about your education, your past successes, and any other information you can share so your audience feels comfortable following you.
The next thoughtful thing to do is to pack what your date likes in the basket. Think about what would please your date and would motivate him/her to reciprocate. Accommodate to THEIR needs, not just your own. You don’t want your date to get bored and not stick around. Use the prepared treats hidden in your basket to keep the momentum going.
- Keep things fresh to keep them engaged. Continuously update your campaign. Talk about the progress you’ve made, any new events, new issues or walls that you’ve hit.
- Show your progress in depth on your blog/updates, to further demonstrate your inevitability of success and make sure your content is visible and shareable.
- Have videos, blogs, vlogs and such prepared for your audience to follow up on. Use them as mediums to address any questions or concerns you receive from your audience.
- Give out rewards that are tangible and practical then add new ones to change the funder’s perspectives. It would also be in your favour to publicize their names to reinforce benevolence and possibly further it.
- Give out rewards at various funding levels (25%, 50%, 75%) to make donors think they are fulfilling goals more quickly.
At this point your comfortable date may like to hear more about you. Don’t dump your whole life onto him/her all at once, ease into it. Give a brief overview and if he/she wants to know more, provide that information. Show them some pictures to make them feel like they have a good sense of where you’re coming from.
Product explanation on your campaign page:
- Ease into the release of information on your campaign page, don’t drown your audience in information the moment they access your page, let them look at the video, read a simple headline, and a short description to get a taste. Then provide a more in-depth description for them to scroll down to if they are interested in specifics. Make sure you explain how your device is solving a particular problem. This is a good place for press and quotes to show that it has captured the interest of others, and this person isn’t the first to take some interest in your project.
- Next, explain the mechanics to really show you know what you’re doing and this isn’t some fantastical idea you had that popped into your head yesterday and you slapped a campaign on it the next day. Don’t say you’re going to build a flying car if you don’t know where a car engine is. You know what you are talking about. Make that clear to them here.
- Then comes the play-by-play. Let your potential donor know where their money is going and when. Be on top of this. Do not come off as a flake. Your investors need to feel that their money is going to a specific cause with a specific projected outcome that is within sight. They must feel that their good money is being put into the hands of responsible, innovative, young adults who are the leaders of the future.
Now that they have a good sense of who you are and what your project is, reinforce their relationship with you by helping them see how you could benefit their lives.
- Tell a story about you, your group, your mission, why it’s your mission, what you’ve done with it so far. Keep this message consistent throughout your video, your campaign page, and any other interactions you have with your audience.
- Gear your message towards the audience you predict you’re going to have in terms of language you use and the situation you imagine your invention in (you can change it a little based on the platform you’re campaigning on).
- Provide photos of the device to help your audience picture it in the situation/environment you predict a majority of them will use it in. You want them to be able to visualize themselves realistically using your invention in their everyday lives as much as possible.
- You need to have a video that clearly describes how your design works (2-3minutes). Use other successful crowdfunding videos that you liked as a reference. Make sure you don’t forget to include in the video how your device works and how it could benefit and be integrated into your audience’s everyday life.
You know what you need to do before and throughout your campaign, now it’s time to put it into action. Most campaigns are recommended to run for thirty days to show confidence and because there is usually little campaign movement past that time.
- The first 2-3 days are the most most most important. Because a campaign is conducted within a strict time frame, you have to get as much velocity as you can at the beginning because it is only going to slow down as campaign time dwindles.
- Offset the announcement of the live campaign a few hours so it has a chance to gain some money from your friends and family that have pledged to contribute before other people begin looking at it, making it seemingly more popular. If your target audience is in another time zone, make sure you account for that in deciding your launch time.
- The middle of the campaign loses the most momentum so this is where you need to give that extra push by providing new content, holding events, and any other ideas previously mentioned to boost excitement.
- Towards the end of your campaign you want to create a sense of urgency to let the audience know that this is their last chance to participate in your amazing project and reap its benefits. The sense of urgency will help push those who have been nervous to pull the trigger to finally go through with it. Spread the word through social media, release some stretch goals or new, interesting, last minute content to squeeze whatever you can out of your remaining time.
Once your campaign has ended, take a moment to celebrate. Then get started on materializing your dream because now you have a whole bunch of people waiting on you. Good luck.