Although we’ve emphasized the necessity of a convincing pitch, complete with a compelling video and back-story, there are many more things one must do prior to the launch of a successful crowdfunding campaign. On the day before your project goes live, you must already have an established game-plan that will run for the full duration of your campaign. But strategizing this schedule well in-advance is not easy to do unless you’re prepared, informed, and confident. By following the seven pre-crowdfunding steps below, your campaign will be a success right from the start!
#1) Build a Fan Base
Reaching out to fans should be a primary concern before launching a campaign. Thankfully, social media networks have made this even easier — but don’t forget to actually meet-up with some of your biggest (most valuable) fans prior to launch. When it comes to networking, having pre-existing support could make the difference between success and failure. You need to get a few contacts on your side to aggressively promote for you. In terms of overall engagement, try tossing your ideas to the crowd beforehand, getting them involved and excited about what’s to come. A tip for locating and approaching a target audience is to browse any websites, blogs, and forums frequently visited by a similar audience and pitch to them directly. Sometimes, even teaming up with these popular websites can help market your campaign.
#2) Research Your Target Market
Finding fans and establishing a market go hand-and-hand. Close fans and friends are important to help get your campaign started at first, but after a while you need to think about how to influence people on a wider scale. In saying this, it’s important not to pitch too generally; otherwise, converting viewers into supporters will be a lost cause. Be sure to form an active relationship with many of the top players in your market because this could also give your campaign the credibility and power it needs to thrive. During this step, analyze your industry’s climate: who are the competitors, how are sales, is it growing, etc.
#3) Choose a Portal
With hundreds of active portals online, selecting the right one takes a fair amount of research. You must consider what each portal’s community has to offer (ie. size, reputation), the model of the site (ie. all-or-nothing, all-or-something), the type of crowdfunding used (ie. donation-based, equity, reward), and the specificity of the portal. The “specificity of the portal” goes back to a few of our older posts in which we explored some of the options available to bio-tech startups andathletes. While the most popular portals are often business or arts related, focusing in on a smaller portal related to your industry could boost your chances of success.
#4) Setting (Realistic) Financial Goals
What is the total cost of your campaign? This is a heavy question because there are many factors involved: portal fees, the cost of shipping incentives, tax, shooting a video, man-power, etc. Once these costs have been determined, be transparent. Your target audience needs to see where their funds are going in relation to the financial promises you’ve stated during your campaign. If the plans set-forth are not feasible or are overly optimistic, finding supporters will be much more difficult.
Deciding to launch a campaign as a group has its benefits, but it’s not for everyone. Here are a few of the reasons why some people decide to join forces during a crowdfunding campaign: reduced workload, diversity, credibility, and network. Dividing the workload helps ease the pressure of crowdfunding, just as several different perspectives may ensure no base goes uncovered. Four networks instead of one, for instance, has its obvious values as well.
#6) Write, Write, Write
Updates and press releases are an important part of keeping your fans and supporters informed. When it comes to the words, however, how your writing comes across is very important. Awkward phrasing and turgid sentences can hurt the readability of one’s blog, news release, or web content, thus pushing the audience away before you even start your campaign! You need to engage professionally and creatively, finding a happy balance in-between. This balance, of course, may change depending on the industry. Businesses will differ greatly from artists in this matter, but the basic principles still apply. Remember to also carry conversations with your biggest fans!
#7) Carry Your Momentum Forward
Having a few funders in your pocket before moving ahead is essential for new funders to get on-board. Family, friends, and professionals in your immediate network are a good place to look. Simply, if your audience sees that others have invested in your project, they are more likely to side with your cause and support. Many refer to this as the “snowball” effect, which essentially sums up this concept.
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