Learn what the most successful crowdfund campaigns have in common in their rewards strategy
It’s no secret that the most successful crowdfunding campaigns all comprise some kind of pre-sale. A good story and an innovative product are all key to make you meet your goals. Games are also successful, but harder to emulate as most were created by people with a strong background in the industry. Anyway, they are all pre-sales nevertheless.
But, in the end, the best reward driven crowdfunding campaigns all share a common strategy: a good reward scheme. You have to think and plan for all the types of potential backers, from the ones who see that your project will improve the world somehow and want to help you achieve such lofty goal, to the investor types who’ll want to meet you personally and establish some relationship if you’re successful. That’s the way successful crowdfunding campaigns like FlowHive, Coolest Cooler, Exploding Kittens and others have structured their endeavors.
Supporters are those people who want to give you money to help you in your project, but won’t necessarily want your product. As such, they’re willing to give you usually small amounts of money. $5 in exchange for just your gratitude seems to be the going rate. For those who want to be thanked in your website or game, a more substantial amount can (and should) be asked.
Offering gifts helps as well. But if you are going to send them some trinket, like T-shirts, cups and other souvenirs, think thoroughly about the costs to produce and ship them, so you don’t run into losses.
Crowdfunding is all about early backers, but some come earlier than others. You must make an offer that is appealing enough to people at the very beginning of your campaign, so it gets a boost as soon as possible. In your price strategy, think about making an offer as low as possible for the first 100 or 200 backers (make sure you put a cap on it). Offer something like 20% or 30% discount for them. Create the urgency to fund your campaign. Consider extending it a little to create more engagement as soon as the first round of early backers is over.
After the early backers offer expires, you can have a normal price for regular ones. But don’t forget one thing: as it’s a pre-buy experience, you must make sure that backers feel the offer is good for them. Displaying what will be the retail price after the product goes the market is a great strategy. Make sure people don’t have to calculate the discount on their own. Tell them right away. Coolest Cooler is a great example of that.
Some people want something special from you. They want gifts and perks along with your product. But not regular ones. They want a special version of your product.
Consider creating some high quality versions or accessories for your products. If you’re creating a game, a fancy box, an additional book, an exclusive material or in-game exclusive items work very well. It’s like those Gold or Game of the Year versions of successful games. Charge them accordingly: not so cheap, which would hamper your ability to make a profit, but not so expensive to make sure you don’t discourage people from buying.
You can also have a different delivery date. Promise them to ship their product earlier than for other backers, for example. That’s also a good bonus. If in doubt, create more than one special offer.
Bulk or group buyers
Remember that some people want to join their friends to make a unique offer. Others will want to buy several units of your product to distribute as gifts. It doesn’t matter the motivation, the fact is that many people will want to buy in bulk.
It helps if you don’t give them only a discount. Offer something special as well, such as a distinct thank you message, a fancy color or a special accessory. Make group-buying sound like an irresistible offer.
But don’t forget: we’re not talking about Groupon here. This kind of group buying is limited to small groups of friends or individual bulk buyers. So putting 10 or more units is pushing too hard. Think about groups of 3, 5 or 9 units and you can’t go wrong.
Having rewards for powerful backers isn’t really necessary, but surely helps. Depends also on your own goals. FlowHive and Exploding Kittens didn’t offer something like this, but Coolest Cooler did.
However not mandatory, there are people who’ll want to give you serious money if you’re successful. They may want to throw a special party. Or they may want to meet you personally and make sure they can have some kind of business with you after your campaign. Consider rewards for people who have a lot of money and what kind of interaction they would want (think commitments upwards of $2,000, $5,000 or even $10,000).
For those backers, you must offer a very personal experience. Ryan Grepper from Coolest Cooler promised to fly to backers’ hometown to man the bar at a party thrown by those who offered $2,000 for his campaign for example. PebbleTime offered a specific distributor agreement with specific colors for their smartwatches for those backing $5,000 or more (though that may be seen as bulk buying, it’s some kind of special arrangement). Famous Koji Igarashi, from Castlevania Bloodstained fame, offered a special dinner and a gaming night in Tokyo for those backing his project with $10,000 or more. Kevin, from EcoQube, promised a personal installation of 5 units of their products for those giving $9,000 or more.
In short: be creative. Think of all the possible interactions that backers may want to have with you and verify your goals. Calculate the costs involved in flights and your time, so you don’t lose money, of course.