Both IndieGoGo and Kickstarter are amazing platforms to crowdfund your next great idea, and they’re only getting bigger.
IndieGoGo has helped entrepreneurs raise over $800 Million to-date, and Kickstarter just recently topped $2 Billion worth of crowd-sourced dollars. The projects on both platforms range from feature length films, to cologne scented candles, autonomous aerial photography drones, and so much more. Seriously.
If you’ve got a great idea and are looking for a viable way to fundraise, choosing to use a crowdfunding platform can help you bring your product to life. But with hundreds of products being launched each day, how will you make your crowdfunding campaign stand out in a sea of innovation?
Check out our class with inventor and crowdfunding extraordinaire, Chris Hawker for more on how to launch a successful crowdfunding campaign.
To get a sense of what Chris has seen working out in the real world with the dozens of crowdfunding campaigns he helped run, I asked him to share with me which factors contribute most to launching a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Here’s what Chris had to say.
“First and foremost is the product you are funding. The second-most important element is the quality of pre-campaign marketing, and the third is overall execution.”
In short, your goal is to be different, be honest, and be awesome.
Here are some great tips to make your crowdfunding campaign stand out from the crowd:
Tell Your Story, and Do It Well
You just created the world’s smartest air freshener? Cool, nobody cares. Yet.
Where did your idea come from? Were you inspired by the way smells are directly related to memory, and so you translated that to a technology that releases a certain scent at the touch of a button?
People aren’t going to give you any money (and let’s be honest here, that’s your end goal) unless they feel inspired by a great idea. Enlighten your audience. Sell your passion to them with a creative, thorough and heartfelt backstory. Connect with your audience.
If you can’t write, hire someone who can. Proofread, reach out for second and third opinions, make your story sparkle and flow.
Create a Stunning Video
You could have beautifully written, impassioned copy, but if no one reads it, you’re not going to make a big splash. Capture attention with an amazing video.
If you can get a gorgeous video in front of your potential investors, you’ll have a much easier time getting them hooked than with just a written statement and a good looking landing page. It doesn’t have to be professionally shot (although that certainly helps), but it does have to be eye-catching.
Most of all, it has to make your audience feel something. Go into filming with a specific message and go from there. Do you want to focus on the cutting edge innovation, social impact, or your charming backstory? Introduce yourself to your audience and get them excited about your idea.
Crunch Your Numbers
Enter your crowdfunding campaign process with a realistic goal. Are you trying to raise $50,000? Great! How are you going to do it? Once your campaign is approved, the clock starts ticking and you only have a certain amount of time to raise the money that you need.
What often happens is, campaigns raise most of their money at the beginning and end of the cycle, because that’s when marketing is heaviest. To minimize the donation “dead zone,” either make your target date closer or have a well thought out marketing strategy with press bumps and influencer mentions in between.
Prepare to Fundraise Like Crazy
You will only get out of the crowdfunding platforms, what you put in to them. If you don’t craft a passionate backstory, create a stunning video, and market the hell out of it (on top of having a great idea), you probably won’t get a lot people handing over their money.
Consider the fact that the highest grossing IndieGoGo and Kickstarter campaigns often require full-time, or the dedication of multiple people for weeks or months. The ROI can be huge, life-changing even, and you can raise tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in a few short months. You just have to be willing to work for it.
Be prepared to spend most of your time and energy on the marketing of your crowdfunding campaign, at least until launch day. Research other campaigns, hire a marketing consultant with experience in crowdfunding, and exploit every avenue you can think of to reach the widest possible audience and get your idea seen.
Give Backers What They Want
Your backers are going to want to know what’s in it for them. Clearly articulate what they’ll get for supporting you, on your launch page.
Structure your rewards system simply. Spell it out on the page and clearly state who will receive what, when. If it’s too complex and a potential investor can’t figure out when, how, or if they’ll be receiving your product, you’ll lose out on a lot of potential backers.
Keep in touch with your backers and don’t let the relationship sour. They believed in you enough to pledge their money to fuel your business, treat them with the respect they deserve.
Let them know how much you appreciate their contribution and keep them updated with email newsletters, product previews, and any new features or additions they may want to know about. It’ll keep up rapport and build a great foundation for any future products launches.
To make sure you get the highest return on your time investment with crowdfunding, sit down and craft an amazing strategy. That way, you’ll have an end goal in mind and a clear path on how to reach it.
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