“Plan your crowdfunding campaign for success” might sound like a redundant statement. Of course you want your crowdfunding campaign to succeed. After all, you wouldn’t be holding one if you didn’t want it to succeed, right? Amazingly, many crowdfunding campaigns fail through lack of informed planning. Perhaps the campaigner picked a goal that was distasteful to his or her potential backers. Maybe he or she had a great idea, but didn’t tell a compelling story about the product or service. Perhaps the campaign actually succeeded, but the campaigner didn’t budget enough money to cover the rewards offered for contributions. Worse yet, it could be possible that rewards were not even offered, or the ones offered were not appealing. You don’t want to be one of these campaigners. You want your crowdfunding campaign to succeed.
- Have a great product, service or idea. Do as much work on developing it as possible before you ask other people to contribute.
- Do your homework. No matter how great your idea, you need to know the protocols for conducting a crowdfunding campaign. Look at least ten campaigns on various platforms that promoted products similar to yours. How did they present their product? What did their promotional video look like? What kinds of rewards did they offer? How did they handle reward delivery?
- Develop a company website. Talk up your product on your company website and on your social media before launching an actually campaign. This is sort of a teaser, and has the potential to let you survey interest before investing time and money in a formal crowdfunder.
- Match your product to the platform. There are a number of different crowdfunding platforms available on the World Wide Web. Each one has protocols. For example, Kickstarter funds are only released if a campaign is fully funded. Indiegogo on the other hand will release funds as they are obtained. Each method has its advantages and its pitfalls. Read the fine print carefully before you select your platform.
- Tell the story of your idea in a compelling way. Having a great story (or not) can make or break your crowdfunding efforts. Sell your product or idea. Develop emotional appeal.
- Develop a great team to promote your crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding is hard work, with a high public relations component. You might be able to run one as a one-person team, but expect to have a very hectic 30 days if that is the case. Services such as www.Best-Crowdfunding-Websites.com have the expertise and connections to assist you with getting the word out.
- Actively promote your campaign. Use word of mouth, phone calling, ads in the local paper, Internet ads, a write-up on your company website, social media and any other legal method you can think of to let potential investors know that your idea or product is ready to go.
- Offer appropriate rewards that relate to the product.
- Have a plan for creating the rewards, paying for them, and for delivering them. Samples of your product or presales at a discount are often excellent rewards for products.
- Budget wisely. Not only do you need to consider the actual production costs of your product, you also need to think about the cost of producing your incentives. If you are offering t-shirts or hats, those must be manufactured and your logo printed on them somewhere. If you offer sample or discounts on merchandise, you still need to make a little profit above the cost of the item.
- Set up PayPal and a banking account just for the campaign. Don’t mix funds from your crowdfunder with your personal accounts.
- Plan for delivery. Not only do you need to plan for shipping costs, you also need to consider packaging, customer service, items that get lost in the mail, items that get broken in the mail and the labor of packing up items and getting them to the shipping point.
- Yes, Uncle Sam does want his cut – and you need to plan for it. Don’t turn your successful dream campaign into a financial nightmare by failing to take this into consideration. Furthermore, if you receive financial benefits from a program designed to help people with low income, you will also need to take into account the impact your campaign funds will have on your assistance money.
- International laws. If your product will be manufactured in another country, if you plan to accept contributions internationally, check the legislations that will be involved. You don’t want your rewards or merchandise being held up in customs.
- Spend your campaign funds as described. Even if your campaign budget includes some money for personal expenses, make sure that the money raised goes where it was planned. If you say you will use it to pay for production expenses for your product, then that is where it should be spent. If it is to pay motel rent, gasoline, and food-on-the-road for a musical tour, then that is where it should go. Be honest and realistic in your budget; and stick to the plan.
If this seems like a lot of work, then consider this: only 43% of Kickstarter crowdfunding campaigns succeed. Even the successful campaigns sometimes have problems with having enough money to successfully create their product or with delivering the promised rewards. You want to be part of the 43% who succeed, not the other 57%.
All of these points are important, but perhaps one of the most vital points when you plan your crowdfunding campaign is telling a good story. You want to grab your audience’s attention. You want your idea to be so compelling that people with do a big part of your advertising for you – once you get the initial word out there. Give your audience good facts and figures about your product, but also engage their emotional response. Give them a reason to want to invest in your endeavor.
The other vital part of this process is follow-through. When you accept money from contributors, you are making a promise to them. You promise that you will deliver a product or a service. You promise that you will reward them for their participation. When you keep your promises to your backers, you set the stage for future successful campaigns. Your contributors will say something like, “That Company that made this doo-hickey really followed through. I got mine in the mail right on time, and it does all the spazzle-razzle things that it is supposed to do.” Or “I just love the game I got from this crowdfunding campaign. My friends and I play it all the time. The art work is beautiful, and the concept is so snarky and fun – no two games are alike.”
You don’t want them to post on your after-campaign page things like: “My Doo-hickey busted the first time I used it.” Or “I never did get my game. I’ll never know whether it was a great game or not.” This kind of post-campaign comment can be a real wet blanket over your next crowdfunding efforts.
Plan enough funding to maintain a staff to follow up on problems and complaints, or hire a service that can handle this part for you. While it might not be much fun to deal with complaints, it is better to take care of them in a timely fashion—especially if you hope to continue with your business.
All of these processes can be broken down into three vital steps:
- Plan well before you share your crowdfunding idea.
- Use sound advertising and incentives plan to catch your audience’s attention.
- Follow through on your promises and obligations.
Using these three vital principles will help you to plan for success. With these ideas, you can develop a crowdfunding campaign that will truly rock the world. While you are following through, don’t forget to reward the loyal staff and any others who have helped you reach success with your particular endeavor. Just as you should follow through with rewarding those who have contributed, you want to make the time and energy your friends and co-campaigners put into the product or service you have produced worthwhile. In that way, you make it more likely that they will be willing to volunteer their services the next time you need help with a crowdfunding campaign.
It has often been said that when you take care of the little things, the big ones fall into place. Good planning, good advertising, and good follow through makes a successful campaign. Successful campaigns help give entrepreneurs that boost up the ladder toward developing an on-going, self-sustaining endeavor. May your every crowdfunding campaign succeed beyond your wildest dreams.