So you are considering Crowdfunding to help you to raise some capital to get your idea or product off the ground?
Fantastic! It will be one of the most exciting, challenging, fun and scary things that you will ever do in business. And whether you end up funded or not, hopefully you will find the experience, ultimately rewarding and you will come away having learned a hell of a lot. As I did.
As you may have heard, crowdfunding can be very VERY tough. Funding on Kickstarter (for instance) is all-or-nothing in more ways than one. While 13% of projects finish, having never receiving a single pledge, 78% of projects that raise more than 20% of their goal are successfully funded. So with the rise in awareness of crowdfunding and a great deal of hard work on your behalf, the odds of raising your desired goal are in your favour. However, unfortunately there are no special tricks that I know of to get you over the line.
In my experience, it all comes down to hard work, massive preparation and persistence. Expect to be living and breathing it for the whole time leading up to launch and every minute whilst your campaign is running – including when you are sleeping. And of course, you will need a little bit of luck too.
Here are the top six things that I learnt and discovered, before, during and after the campaign.
Number 1, Video: You need to tell your story in the best way possible, and this has to be done with a video. Make it really creative in how you tell your story. Not only about the product you are building, but you also need people to connect with you. Why people should back YOU. Because (especially with an App, as in our case), backers are pledging to you as the product, to develop YOUR idea. So they need to see that YOU can deliver.
Here is our FurzAid Campaign Video:
NB. Upon assessment and reflection, I would have included a personal appearance into this video, to introduce the audience to myself developing this App and to give it a little more intimacy.
Number 2, Preparation: It’s all in the preparation before your campaign goes live. You have to prepare, prepare, PREPARE. I cannot overstate this enough. Read as many blogs as you can about other peoples success stories, what they would have done different and what worked for them. Then tailor it all and apply it to building the best story for the most affordable campaign you possibly can.
Number 3, Marketing: Keep some of your money aside that you are investing into preparing for your campaign, for marketing. I did quite a bit of research and reached out to a number of different marketing companies and contracted one that seemed to have a belief in my product and what I am intending to develop. This way I felt that they they truly wanted me to succeed and would therefore create amazing content that would reflect this. This spend was one of the most expensive parts of preparing the campaign, but I don’t feel that my story would have been as strong without their creative input and experience. Plus it is beneficial to have an external source, build your story to make it translatable and digestable for the widest audience possible.
Number 4, Rewards: You have to get really creative with your rewards (people want something tangible for their pledge). Because, we are developing the FurzAid Animal Rescue App, our potential backers are not receiving a physical product in the post. So if we were to exceed our funding ambitions, we were unlikely to attract their ‘buy in’ just by offering them a free download.
So you have to give them something that they may actually want. This is why I created the FurzAid – Animal Warrior Tribe and built the physical rewards around this. Therefore it gave backers the sense that they were becoming part of something bigger.
Number 5, Advocates: You have to have advocates lined up to pledge on the day you launch and you have to annoy (I mean really annoy) every person you have ever known to back your campaign. Every sales research ever performed, pretty much agree that a person needs to see something sixteen times before they will either recognise the item or take action upon it. So keep reaching out to people, even long after you feel that you are REALLY bugging them. Because, in all likelihood you will hear from someone you know, after your campaign finishes, saying “Oh, I would have backed you. You should have reminded me”.
Number 6, Advertising: To attract people you don’t know to pledge to your campaign, you will need to get really creative with how you reach out to people. The two best ways I found to get the most interaction and support with my audience was Facebook advertising (expensive but gives you a large reach) and LinkedIn.
With Facebook, don’t just boost your best post. Take the time to script and craft a really great Ad and build this around your amazing campaign video. For this is where your video will really shine. Next, make sure that you are using the most applicable ‘Detailed Targeting’ Keywords when you are building your Ad campaign. Include all the words like ‘Kickstarter’, ‘Indiegogo’, ‘Crowdfunding’, Fundraising’ and ‘Gofundme’, along with the secondaries that are applicable to your product or brand (such as Animal Rescue, in our case). This way, your Ad will appear to those that are potentially searching for campaigns to support. Also, give this the best budget that you can afford. It is expensive, but it is the best way to have complete strangers, find you.
With LinkedIn, search for job titles that are related to people who might be interested in your product. Also reach out to Philanthropists. I made some great connections here, I did not have a lot of them back me, but it has grown my audience and will now allow me to have a better reach when I move forward into the next stage. But you may have better luck with finding professionals who want to back your campaign on LinkedIn.
Other than all of this, it is just tenacity. One more email, one more text, one more social media post, one more cold call, etc… You just have to keep going, right until the last seconds run out. Otherwise you are not doing justice by your campaign.
If you would like to check out our full Kickstarter Campaign, you can do so HERE.
I hope this helps and you find your crowdfunding journey experience as amazing as I did. Feel free to reach out and ask for any clarification on any of the above.
Thanks for reading and I wish you the best of luck.