5 Tips for a successful Crowdfunding Campaign
Crowdfunding is an exploding topic all over the internet and business world – and for good reason. This source of startup funds could be a startup or entrepreneurs only source of much-needed capital to make their dream invention/company a reality. As traditional borrowing methods become more difficult to obtain, let alone pay off, crowdfunding has become an attractive option to many.
The wonderful news is that crowdfunding can be used by almost anyone to access funds they would be denied through traditional means. The terrible news is that crowdfunding can be used by almost anyone to access funds they would be denied through traditional means. Today, you will find campaigns raising money for anything between building a new life-saving invention to funding a woman's shoe addiction.
With hundreds of thousands asking for money, how can you differentiate yourself and ensure you get all of the funds you need for a successful launch? These five tips will help you stand out from the crowd, appear professional, and pull contributors to your cause more efficiently.
1. Have a Great Idea or Cause
It may seem obvious, but it is amazing how quickly the crowdfunding pool has filled up with half-baked ideas that are little more than whims. In order to test your idea, make sure you sit with it for at least a few weeks and ask yourself a few questions.
- Who does this help?
- Does something like this exist?
- How is my idea different or better?
- How difficult is this idea to explain? (Great ideas should be easy to explain!)
If you have the option, talk with other like-minded inventors or entrepreneurs about your ideas. They may be able to offer outsider perspective about possible weak points in your idea that should be addressed before you start asking for funds. But be careful of naysayers, though. You want helpful advice, not negativity.
2. Have a Fully Developed Plan
The way of doing – and starting – business is constantly changing thanks to the Internet. Non-traditional funding, business models, and client acquisition make it possible for people to go from zero to business owner very quickly. The problem comes when you want a thriving business without doing the necessary groundwork for stability.
While you may not need a full thesis with graphs and sources, you still need to create a business plan for your idea or venture. Now, you will also need to include your crowdfunding campaign in that plan as well. Map out how long you think it'll take to get the funds you need, how you plan to actually get your campaign noticed, how long production will take, how the venture will be profitable, and how you will systematically grow its success.
Once this is done, it's a good idea to share this plan in your campaign! Some attach the full plan as a PDF, while others just work the main points of it into their campaign pitch and story. Show potential contributors that you are worth their investment just as you would show traditional lenders.
3. Use a Multimedia Approach
The most successful campaigns have been shown to be those that connect with contributors in several different ways. Use text, images, graphics, and video to tell your story and show other why they should believe in your cause. This also has the run-on benefit of making your campaign more share-worthy so others can do a little of the legwork for you.
One caveat to this advice: while your images and videos don't need to be Hollywood productions, you do need them to be clear and professional. Take time to use good cameras and lighting, and make videos concise and interesting. No shaky-cam or fuzzy images!
4. Be Professional But Likeable
Professional does not necessarily mean a suit and tie behind a desk. You must be approachable in your professionalism. Show viewers that you are a real person (or people) and let a little of your brand's personality (your personality) shine through.
Keep things professional in quality, but feel free to have a little fun with content. No one wants to read product descriptions that read like a robot wrote them, and no one wants to be reminded of a 90s lawyer commercial when they watch videos online. You will get many more supporters if you are genuine and likeable than if you are simply “professional.”
5. Utilize Offline and Online Connections
Crowdfunding is done almost entirely online, but that does not mean all of your focus should be online. Chances are, there are many offline options available to you. Think of all of your current connections and how they might be able to help. Network offline with possible contributors. If nothing else, make sure you always have the ability to hand out the link to your crowdsource campaign – whether this means printing fliers, business cards, or just writing it down on napkins for interested parties.
Too often people fail to remember that almost everyone you come into contact with is online in some way, and has a network of their own. If even a few of them like your cause and decide to share it, that could mean thousands of people you might never have been able to connect with on your own are now coming to see your campaign - and hopefully contribute to it!
Credit : seedingfactory.com
Participate in the debate
Thanks for this excellent article. One point that should perhaps be added is "Carefully choose your crowd funding platform". While Kickstarter and Indiegogo may be the biggest players that does not mean that one's project is ideally suited for either. For example if your business idea revolves around an app you may be best off working with a platform like SellAnApp. Similarly, if you are raising equity funding ReturnOnChange might be a better option. Bottom line - do your homework in terms of selecting the best platform for your project before spending a lot of time listing it.