Crowdfunding essentials: 5 Things campaign must have for success.
There are a lot of articles the outline what is needed for crowdfunding, but I find them to be very overarching and not specific enough. Crowdfunding is not what it used to be and it’s definitely not as easy as just creating a campaign and making it go live. Crowdfunding campaigns have become a more involved and polished process over the past four years. While I realize that, as professionals, we don’t want to give away all our secrets, here are FIVE key things every crowdfunder should be prepared with when going into campaign planning.
- You Need Time – One of the most underrated things that I have heard when communicating with campaigners is the under estimation of the time you need to prepare a campaign. Saying that you are going to launch a campaign next week and not having everything already lined up is impossible. More than launching quickly, you need to focus on launching for success, which means having key campaign elements in place including:
- Campaign Timeline/Plan/Strategy for at least 30 days
- Campaign Video
- Product photography
- Launch emails
- Campaign layout and images
- Campaign backer communications
- Press Kit (images, fact sheet, FAQ, press release)
- Media outreach at least 2-3 weeks in advance of your launch
- Ads/Social Strategy – depending on your budget
- Size Matters When It Comes to Your Email List – Another equally repetitive question I get is “how important really is the email list?”. I would put this at the top of your list of important things you need. Many people assume successful campaigns are made out of thin air, when companies have in fact spent a lot of time, energy and money in acquiring qualified leads for sales through Facebook ads, Google ads, contest, past customers, friends/families and other ways. Emails are not only critical for the launch of your campaign but one of the most difficult tasks to generate well-qualified leads. The size of your email list will vary based on the cost of your product and your campaign goals, but you can use the old adage “bigger is better”. In a good email campaign you’ll get about a 20% open rate, even when the leads are qualified. From there you can be lucky to get a 5-10% conversion rate for a qualified list and a 1% conversion from an unqualified list. You figure out the rest. Consistency, repetition and new tactics need to be tried during this time. The email list is the list that will generate the first wave of key traffic to your campaign and is of utmost importance for your overall campaign momentum. Investing time and money in cultivating this list is worth your time.
- An Amazing Product – Let’s not forget the value of innovation. I have worked with campaigns that have no email lists but have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars based on innovation, cost and interest in the market. I’m not sure any of these kinds of campaigns exist today, with the market saturation of crowdfunding campaigns and the disappointment many have had with some of the cool successful ones. However, an amazing product at the right price point can go a long way. Remember there is no replacement for a great product. Ideally you will have a working prototype so that media can take a look prior to your campaign launch, but there are definite ways to work around that. You must prepare for each situation though, handling media interest can be difficult when you don’t have your amazing product on hand to deliver.
- Great Video/Photography – I’ve seen some pretty interesting products over my years working on campaigns. A good video and product can make or break your product. You may think a product doesn’t have much use, but a funny video can go a long way. In the same vein, if you don’t have the right pictures done to showcase your product, then the “crowd” may not get the right idea. Invest in your photography to get pictures done right, not just of images of your product but also action shots of how people would use the product in real life.Campaign videos are another tricky beast as you have to select between a more traditional crowdfunding video where you are introducing the product and the people that are creating it versus a video that is more like an advertisement on how to use the product and why you should support it. This decision should be made to best highlight the product and increase your chance of getting “crowd approval”. Remember this is not a typical advertisement. You’re getting early adopters to invest in the idea of your product.
- Resources – Money, People and Product – Last but not least, you need resources. Conducting a campaign on your own is fine if you’re prepared to make it your full time job for the next month or so, even then, having some help on deck is crucial. Make sure you have a web developer and graphic designer on hand for campaign communications, ads and social media posts. The truth is that even two people full time may not be enough for your campaign, so project management is very important to run a smooth campaign. Above all it takes money to make money. Invest in your product, people resources and your product as much as possible before launching a campaign to show that you are serious about development and providing some type of credibility to your campaign. The further along you are, the more people will feel confident that you will deliver. Confidence is something that you need to build with your crowd.
Even with these tips, it just covers the surface of what you MUST do for a successful crowdfunding campaign. There’s much more where this came from and many little details that you should cover in any campaign.
Feel free to contact us for your additional crowdfunding questions or send us your comments to info at thesilvertelegram dot com.