Tips from a crowdfunding insider that will help make your campaign take off.
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Anyone who has a great idea – whether it’s for a product, service, or creative project – can now bring it to life without turning to traditional financing methods such as bank loans, angel and venture capital investors. Entrepreneurs can now use crowdfunding and convince the crowd (their first customers) to fund their projects.
Whilst there isn’t a formula for running a successful crowdfunding campaign, there are some key characteristics that great crowdfunding campaigns share. We’ve put together our best tips and shared some real-life examples of UK campaigns that put them to use.
Have a product worth funding
Innovation is key to running a successful crowdfunding campaign. To attract backers, focus on what makes your product unique and different from similar products.
A good example is SPYNTEX, a Lego-style set of interlocking water-resistant bars that can make beds, benches, tables, chaise lounges, big toys or armchairs, and can sustain up to 350 pounds of weight. SPYNTEX allows the ability to constantly change your furniture.
The campaign launched towards the end of 2016 and raised $112,876 USD by January 2017, which was 284% of the funding goal.
Create enticing perks
Perks are rewards that you can offer your backers when they contribute to your campaign. Spend some time researching what other campaigners have done so that you can offer a variety of perks that are not only appealing to backers, but that suit every wallet.
Perks like discounts on food always go down well
Ensure that regardless of how many people contribute to your campaign, you will still be able to deliver your perks. Introducing special or limited-time perks throughout your campaign is a great way to keep backers engaged, and even attract new ones.
Make sure your social media is on point
Don’t try to use every social media platform in existence. Instead, devote your time to the social media platforms that are most used by your audience.
Whilst Facebook works well for most products and services, use platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest if your product is particularly visually appealing. Ensure that you always link to your campaign page in the biography of whichever platform you are using, and include your deadline to create a sense of urgency. Don’t discount the importance of social media.
We’ve found that successful campaigns raise 21% of their funds from people who have found the campaign on Facebook.
Mifold, the grab-and-go booster seat, started using their Twitter account in June 2014, months before they launched their campaign to start spreading awareness. They post a diverse mix of content including updates, media acknowledgements, and reviews. They now have 3,336 followers and had raised a total of $2,585,721 USD in September 2015, which is 1,665% of their initial funding goal.
Think of your campaign page like your shop window
Everyone knows that first impressions are everything, and crowdfunding is no exception. Make your campaign page as attractive and engaging as possible.
The elements that make your campaign page stand out are: your personality, your story, attractive visuals and creative copy. Be sure that in addition to being compelling, your campaign page also answers the basic questions that your backers will want answered before they contribute. Be transparent and share what you plan to do with the funds raised and why you can be trusted to do it.
Use a combination of images, gifs and infographics so that your content is varies and engages your audience. It’s worth investing in a professional video to connect with your audience; campaigns with videos raise 4 times more than those that without them. Make sure you make a great pitch video with these 6 tips.
Mous’ campaign page ticked all the boxes for a campaign to be successful by explaining what the product and perks are, why the audience should fund it, how the product would come to life.
They put together a campaign page with pitch text that was broken up by various high-quality images, a brilliant just-under three-minute video; and as multiple engaging gifs and graphics. The campaign page launched in November 2016, and the team smashed their funding goal of $15,000 within a few days. By January 2017, the team raised $623,056 USD, 2,780% of their funding goal.
You’re basically launching a small business
Rather than having the mind-set that you’re just launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds, treat your campaign as if you’re launching and running a small business.
Take a step back and have a think before you jump into launching your crowdfunding campaign. I recommend beginning the planning process at least two months before your chosen launch date. After all, the larger the gap, the more time you will have to stress test and build out a solid plan.
Launching a crowdfunding campaign is a lot like starting a business
Running a small business is hard to do alone, even though it can be tempting to launch the campaign by yourself as you can run things entirely your way.
However, if you’re working in a team, it’s easier to come up with new strategies and leverage the strengths of your team members. And it shows - campaigns run by teams raise more than three times the funds than those run by individuals.
Get visibility before you launch
To get yourself noticed invest in marketing, PR, and advertising. Explore social media advertising, which is a great option if your campaign is targeting a specific demographic or type of consumers. Once your campaign page is up and running, reaching out to the press a great way to keep the momentum going and spread the word.
There are thousands of active campaigns that are competing for the press’ attention so your outreach strategy must be carefully planned. Create a short and exciting pitch and reach out to journalists that have covered crowdfunding before. Alternatively, consider hiring a PR agency that specialises in crowdfunding or startups such as Little Bear, or even a freelancer if you’re quite tight with your budget.
If you’re an entrepreneur looking for a way to fund a product, crowdfunding is a great option. By taking your time to plan your campaign, engaging your backers, and reaching out to the press, you can not only raise funds for your idea, but get visibility for it.