Pick your crowdfunding platform
Before kickstarting a campaign, you need to do some research on different crowdfunding platforms and what they offer. There are considerable differences between Indiegogo and Kickstarter for example. Read our Crowdfunding Showdown: Kickstarter vs Indiegogo article to find out more about these two platforms. This will help you decide which is the right one for your project. There is, of course, a plethora of crowdfunding platforms out there, don’t think that you are only limited to those two.
The difference between Rewards- and Equity-based funding
Something else to consider is whether you’ll be running a reward or equity-based campaign. Both Indiegogo and Kickstarter are rewards-based funding platforms. With equity-based campaigns, your audience is actual investors and shareholders in the company with a potential future return. When looking for equity-based funding, be sure to explore Crowdfunder or Circle Up. While you are deciding between these two crowdfunding types, research what current campaigns each platform is running. Your project might be more suited for a large audience who donate smaller amounts of money with a rewards-based campaign. In equity-based funding a lot of time goes into the structuring the actual investment offering by determining the terms of and legal agreements of the campaign. Also note that some platforms are better for creative projects, while others are more focused on health and non-profit.
Fascinate the masses
Everyone has a story to tell. And yours should be compelling and create a sense of urgency and curiosity. The success of your crowdfunding campaign relies heavily on your pitch and the way you continue to communicate with your audience. You are their one connection to the project. You have to sell your story and the aim of your campaign to garner interest. Determine who your target audience is and aim to reach them on the platforms they spend the most time on. Social media marketing campaigns are essential to boost your visibility and get more backers.
Gain support before the launch
To get social proof for your campaign, you must have enough support right out the gate. Supporter engagement is one of the most important things to help tell your story and show that your campaign is making waves in whatever industry you are in. Continue to communicate with your backers and use feedback to improve your project or campaign.
Don’t underestimate the value of your network of friends, family, and early supporters. It’s been proven time and again that the faster you gain support and funding in the beginning, the more successful your campaign will be. Most crowdfunding sites will feature you on their page if you reach 30% of your goal in the first 48 hours.
For rewards-based crowdfunding, you must have people ready to start funding your campaign from day one. It is important that you don’t abandon your backers once they’ve helped fund your campaign. Letting them know your progress on the MVP and showing them prototypes keeps them engaged and excited about the project they backed. Use their feedback to your advantage.
Supporter engagement with equity-based crowdfunding means that you have to get important and noteworthy stakeholders represented online as part of your campaign. High-profile investors and influencers will draw the attention of even more backers. Before you start, make sure to have a few investors already. This will also help you hash out the terms of their investment.
Draw them in with marketing
Shout it from the rooftops. A marketing strategy is essential to ensure success. Without it, you won’t be noticed and won’t get the backing you need. Launch a webpage roughly four months before your campaign starts, with information and visuals that entice. Don’t underestimate the power of presentation. Lifestyle photos, product photos and a quality video that tells your story is a winning formula. This way you can get followers and supporters even before you launch. It will also give you an idea of where your audience spends their time, and where you should focus your marketing campaigns to reach them.
Keep your promises
The story doesn’t end when your campaign does. You have a lot of orders to fulfill and backers to keep happy. Always communicate with your backers, and if you cannot make a deadline, keep them up to date on your progress. You will face challenges that all start-ups face, from dealing with prototypes to crowdfunding fulfillment and shipping. Make sure that your end-product is what your backers expect, or better. This is why it’s important to educate them on your project from the beginning.