A quick guide to launching a successful crowdfunding campaign

Crowdfunding today has become a magic wand for people with ideas and great products. Gone are the days when your dream product would remain a dream due to lack of funds. Crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and many others have made it possible to raise money to build the product that you cherish. To know more about crowdfunding, take a look at the article highlighting everything about crowdfunding. To know about top crowdfunding websites and other information like the charges, products it supports and the type of funding, check out this list of crowdfunding websites that I’ve compiled. And if you already have read all that information and are thinking of launching a campaign, let’s move on to the tips for a successful crowdfunding campaign.

There are find hundreds of articles out there stating the obvious (good, product, timely delivery, great rewards, blah, blah, blah..). However, I would like to focus on more hardcore issues like building the audience, creating a buzz, marketing etc. But let me first state the obvious because no list to a successful crowdfunding campaign is complete without these obvious tips.

An idea that you would die for

OK, now that is really extreme. But the point was that you get the point. Passion always shows itself. If you are creating a product that you absolutely love, it’ll reflect in the story that you tell, and the video that you display. So, be sure that you believe in what you are trying to sell. If you love the product, people will be able to connect with it. Do not hesitate to tell people, why the product is so special to you or how you came up with this idea or what is your ultimate goal in the creation of this product.

If you read the story of Nebia creators, it will show their sheer dedication and hard work for what they believed in.

Be as transparent as air

When people invest in something online, the biggest factor that plays the role is trust. People should be able to trust you in order to buy from you or pay for something that you are going to create. Transparency in campaign proves vital in trust building. First thing is that show yourself before the audience or at least show some work in action. Just take the real-life example. Any Facebook post or update that shows the face of you/ someone that you know gets more likes and comments from your friends and acquaintances. Well, this works for crowdfunding too. A face proves that you are real. And if you could even show the building of product in action or the concept and prototyping of your idea, that’ll work wonders in trust building. Now, people will see an actual product that will be formed and not an abstract idea.

Its’ give and take, it’s real world

Now that’s reality. While you may find some people love your product just like you and may want to donate money but that is not gonna happen every day and not to most of us. People need to know what is their benefit in backing your project. Offer rewards that are attractive, unique and stimulating. People backing your project should be getting a deal that no one else gets. Also, offer early bird rewards to give an early momentum to your project. Most successful crowdfunding campaigns also set stretch goals that tell people that you are ready and prepared for more.

Sail the ship on time

Everything else you do will go in vain if you are not able to deliver what you promised and when you promised. The ultimate challenge is not in reaching the goal but in delivering the goal. There are examples of many highly successful Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects that did well but failed to deliver and hence lost their backers. One such example is the Purple Pillow.

Manufacturing is a challenging task. Many things can go wrong and you may not be able to complete your project on time. The most important factor in such a situation is communication. Communication bridges the gap between you and your backers. If you have a hard time delivering your product, let your backers know, what the issue is and what you are doing to get things going. Majority of people will understand and support you. There may be some ‘always unhappy’ backers but that’s merely 2% and you do not want to break communication because of them. Ignore rude comments and try tackling the real issues and keep your backers informed.

So, these points were just the tip of the iceberg to a successful crowdfunding campaign. There’s a lot more to it. Now, we will look at some of the tips that will help you leverage your already good campaign. The tips mentioned above are absolutely necessary for your project but there is more than you can do to boost up the rate of backing to your project.

Buzz Lightyear to the rescue

The buzz around your project will become the biggest factor in the success of your campaign. And to create a buzz, you need to start working 3-4 months before the launch of the campaign. People should already be informed about your project and interested in it before the project is launched.

Unfortunately, buzz Lightyear won’t be doing anything for us in this case; we need to carve our own path. Get your project published to as many platforms as you can. Talk about it on social media. Approach bloggers whose niche covers your project. Show it on Youtube. In short, do not shy away from talking about and trying to sell your project. Remember the queues at iPhones stores before a new phone is launched. There is buzz everywhere about the phone. Well, aim for that and even if you land somewhere far, that’ll be huge. The audience that you created in social media, blogs, and other mediums will play a vital role in the success of your campaign.

A good fat mail is all that you need

But don’t just stop at the buzz. Try to get emails of those who like your project. A mailing list is what brings the masses to your project on the day of launch. So, try to get a good mailing list.

And when I say a good mailing list, say, for a travel bag campaign, a 200 people list with people having a flair for bags and purses is way better than a 1000 people list who love to shop.

And one most important thing to remember is to never ever send general emails. Always make sure that you address the mail with receiver’s name. A general mail sent and you lose a potential backer. If you are not careful or interested enough to mention the name of the person who is probably going to be giving you their money, well they may not be interested either.

One sure shot way to get people to subscribe to your mailing list is by offering them what no one else will get. It can be a discount on the product, some early bird reward or something that will make them visit your campaign page and that too as early as they can.

Once you have the mailing list, try to send emails that will keep up the interest. You can mail anything from the addition of a new feature to the showcase of the new prototype or a cool article of similar interest. And then 12 hours before the D-day, inform them about the big launch and what benefits they will have for backing early. That should seal the deal.

The early bird gets the worm

The projects that start getting early backings from Hour 1 stand more chance of skyrocketing. The projects that reach millions are always the ones that reach almost 90% or more of their goal within the first two days of the launch. This, in turn, gets them in the trending list or the featured projects on the website. In other words, your project on the first page and thousands of extra views and consequently hundreds of more backers.

Such projects with initial momentum easily get featured in social media, blogs, and newsletters. This, in turn, results in more traffic to your projects. And remember, these people will not be random people. They will be the ones who read about your project, found it interesting and came for more. So, their conversion ratio will be high too.

So, give early rewards, special discount for the first 24 hours, a low price for first 100 backers or something similar to kick-start your campaign.

A video that one cannot unsee

Whether a person likes your project or not will be decided within the first ten seconds of your campaign video. I myself skip a video if it doesn’t turn interesting in a few seconds. And there goes the most impactful part of your campaign. A video tells the story that no words can tell. Keep your video short ( never more than 5 minutes), interesting, moving (do not linger on any one feature or topic for more than 5 seconds) and with some real-world connection. Try to show some work, prototype, you discussing the idea or anything that makes people believe in you and your project.

Big bucks lie in marketing

Yes, when it comes to marketing, there are big bucks everywhere. You need to spend some big amount on marketing and a successful marketing can bring some big bucks too. Crowdfunding marketing agencies and individuals have flourished on every part of the planet. And each one is ready to take your bucks and in turn, claims to earn pledges for your project. While marketing is a good way to reach people with similar interests, beware of choosing the agency or an individual.

Do not be blinded by the number of followers. Most of the people in marketing are influencers having followers in millions. But before selecting someone, make sure that you get all the facts right. Do they have follower lists based on interest? Are there followers whose interests are similar to your project? How will you know where your money is spent? Do they show you statistics of what amount was spent on which ad and what conversion did it bring?

All these points will make sure that you don’t lose your money to some punk who just started out marketing and used you as a launchpad.

Great timing will give great results

The time when your project is launched plays a major role in the success of your project too. What do you call the launching of a new cooler when it’s freezing outside. Just a look at the cooler will send chills down one’s spine. Similarly, a calendar or a planner in March serves no purpose. A quarter of a year has passed and another quarter will, when the campaign finishes and you deliver the product.

So, make sure to use the time of the year to your advantage. Try to gauge the shopping mood of the people based on weather, occasion, utility, holidays, etc.

For example, say you have a product that will be great as a Christmas gift, like a diary or a cool gadget in the budget or a board game. The best time to launch the campaign will be mid-July. That way, you will be able to deliver your product on Christmas. So, people will start considering your product as a Christmas gift. And that too a special one since the product is not on the market and they are among the first ones to receive it.

So, I guess I’ve summed up everything that you need to know to own a successful crowdfunding campaign. But the thing is that with crowdfunding, nothing is absolute. While these tips can bring you way close to success, your personal touch and experience are what will bring the ultimate success to your campaign. Do let me know what worked for you.