For the past few years, more and more startups have been relying on crowdfunding to make their idea a reality. The issue is, the market is ultra saturated right now and it’s tough for a campaign to stand out – even if it’s good.
In order to succeed, preparation is crucial. Most crowdfunding campaigns only run for 30 days (sometimes less), so it’s recommended that you spend at least two months preparing:
1. Build Your Social Media Presence and Newsletter Subscribers Beforehand
Nowadays, you can’t just dive into battle without support.
Nearly every crowdfunding campaign stagnates in the middle: Jack Zhang, of ‘Valachio Watches’ says “Our first unsuccessful campaign hit 45% in 7 days, 70% in 15 days, and 74% in 30 days.”
The success of your campaign depends on the first 1-2 weeks unless you heavily push marketing during the mid stages. That’s why it’s crucial to spend at least two months of preparation building a good following.
At the bare minimum, you need to have a Facebook, Twitter and blog. Use WordPress first and decide if you want to spend money on a proper website later.
There are also other marketing channels depending on your niche and finding those is mandatory. For instance, as a game designer I also have to use IndieDB, Tigforums, Steam Concepts, Youtube and several other places.
2. Showcase a Professional Video
Having a professional video is probably the most important thing you can have. The video serves as a commercial for the rest of the page.
It should be emotive and not logical. The goal is to make the audience feel something rather than bore them with information about your team and why you’re going to succeed (that should be put later on the page).
Most of us are bad in front of cameras, so if you can’t make something engaging and emotional, then hire someone who can. My recommendation is Creativa – they experts at video production in Melbourne. If you decide to hire someone, make sure they have a proven track record.
3. Build Relationships and Contact Press
Relationships can take time to grow – that’s why you should start building them as early as possible. Find a list of journalists and influencers who would be interested in your product. Store their contact information; follow them on Twitter or sign up for their newsletter.
If you randomly contact them, there’s a lower chance they’ll respond. Instead of randomly sending them a tweet or email – reply to one of their questions. They’ll often ask for feedback or questions in their newsletter. Spend time writing a quality answer to these questions and that’s how you can start building a relationship with these people.
About one week before you launch your crowdfunding campaign – launch a teaser/trailer video that will also mention your crowdfunding date. Next send an email to as many people as you can from both big sites and small sites, mentioning that your campaign will be live in one week.
4. Build a Capable Team
Crowdfunding teams raise on average three times more money than individuals, but this doesn’t mean you should recruit anybody. It’s tempting to recruit someone like your best friends, but they might not add anything useful to the team.
Instead, find people who are knowledgeable about things such as design, marketing, writing which could go hand in hand with your campaign. The biggest benefit to having multiple people on a team is that you can multiply your connections and reach out to a greater audience. Most crowdfunding sites allow you to invite members to your project page.
5. Set Appropriate Stretch Goals
A stretch goal seems like a harmless way to make extra money from the campaign, but in actuality, it can harm your project, if done incorrectly.
Let’s say you start a crowdfunding campaign for developing an app or game on PC. An example of a bad stretch goal is “if we reach $x amount of money, we’ll release the program/game on Mac.”
That kind of goal will deter users from pledging, because they’re unsure if the stretch goal will be reached.
Overall, crowdfunding isn’t easy, and if you fail to create that initial hype – your project will most likely fail. So spend as much time in preparation as you need and only launch when you truly feel you are ready.