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Monday, September 17th, 2012

The Top Tips to Successful Crowdfunding

 

Are you looking to start a crowdfunding campaign for a project? With traditional funding hard to come by these days, crowdfunding is a great alternative to raising money. There have been many success stories of projects exceeding their funding goals and as a result generating an online buzz for their project. If you want your campaign to be the next success story, ensure you follow these tips in the pre campaign, launch and post campaign.

 

The Pre Campaign

Research into similar campaigns

Before starting your campaign, look into others that have been successful and those that have not. Go beyond their project pages and research their marketing campaign, website, online exposure on different websites, etc… What is it that made them stand out and how can you replicate this? Also take a look at their rewards. What amounts were popular and what gifts did they offer.

Start building a following through email, social media, and word of mouth

Already having a leg up on your marketing will make promoting your project a lot easier. Hopefully you will already have people interested in what you are doing that will be able to share amongst their networks, donate and share for you.

Involve your network in your planning

Share with your current network what your ideas are for starting a campaign. Ask for their advice and get them involved. A great way to engage prior to launching is getting their ideas for the pitch video, rewards, and ideas for promotion. This has 2 major pluses. 1. Your fans feel valued and involved before you start asking them for money 2. You choose an approach that is appealing to your target market.

Expand your reach

Target advocate groups that would be interested in your project or interest groups that would be willing to support you. If they are unable to donate, they may be interested in writing a blog post about your campaign, sharing through social networks or including you in their upcoming newsletter.

 

The Campaign Launch

The Pitch Video

The pitch video is one of the most critical components of your campaign launch. Most people will view the video before deciding if they should learn more about your project and if you don’t captivate them here, you’ve most likely lost them. The key to a successful pitch video:

  •  Don’t make it too long. 2.5-3.5 minutes is the average attention span of a viewer.
  • Ensure you are clearly and concisely explain what your project is, why it exists, and how you are going to go about accomplishing it
  • Ask for help (donations). This seems like it may be taboo but the point of this video is that you need funds.
  •  Be interesting, tap into human emotion, and be direct
  • Include a personal element. This can be easily accomplished by having the project director in the video.

 The Donation Amounts and Rewards

Often projects have between 4-6 dollar amounts that people can donate and all of these correspond to a different gift offering.

  • Try and keep as many of the gifts as possible digital. For example, e-book downloads, movie files, photo files, etc.. This way when the project ends it will be much easier for you to fulfill your obligations to your donors
  • Don’t set your lowest donation amount below $10. If someone is going to take the time to enter their payment information in, the odds are they will be OK to give you this much.
  •  Include an outrageously high donation amount in your options (between $5000-$10,000). You never know what rich stranger may come by and be enthusiastic about your project. Odds are you won’t get this donation but presenting the option can’t hurt!

The Campaign Length

There is a myth out there that the longer your campaign, the more money you are going to make. In some instances this could be the case, but more often than not, longer campaigns lose momentum and don’t end up doing any better than there shorter counterparts. Most campaigns go through a boost at the beginning, a lull period, and then get a boost of funding close to the end. It is not uncommon to be only 50% of the way to your goal with only a few days left. Do not be discouraged, this is your time to promote.

  • The ideal campaign is 30-40 days long. This keeps your audience engaged and you energized to promote the whole way through (promoting something for 90 days straight can be rather tiresome for all involved!)
  •  Have several people lined up to contribute at the very beginning that are eager to give testimonials and share about you. This will help first time viewers believe in your ability to reach your goal and make them more likely to support you

The Updates Throughout

Update to your donors throughout your campaign. Any updates that you post directly on to the campaign page will be directly emailed to everyone that has donated. These can be done through a written update or by video. If you chose to do a video it doesn’t have to be something fancy. A simple update on your progress through a camera phone can do just the trick.

 

The Post Campaign

Don’t leave your donors in the dark once you’ve reached your goal. Keep them updated on how the project is going, when you’ve reached milestones, etc.. This transparency will maintain your sincerity and appreciation for their contributions.

 

If you have any additional tips you’d like to share about successful crowdfunding please leave a comment!


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