Being successful in crowdfunding is, in the end, a matter of having the correct timing and mindset to grow your audience and entice people to donate to your campaign.
Yes, donate is often the correct term. Afterall, you are doing, most of the time, a bad proposition: people are supposed to give money to your project, which can be delivered late, will be delivered way after they gave you the money at best, without any reassurance on quality and, even worse, probably overpriced. People have to be very kind to give you money under those terms, right?
What you got to do, as an entrepreneur, is addressing those issues. You have to make sure your crowdfunding campaign does not look like a pledging for an altruistic donation in the first place.
Build credibility. Show as much as you can, be as transparent as possible, in order to make people believe your project. Show them you can deliver a good quality product on the scheduled time at a reasonable price.
Record a good video
Regarding learning style and the way they pay attention, some people are kinesthetic, others are auditory and many are visual. You can grab the attention of all those people if you record a good video, with a good, relaxing background music, a strong voice and good images (don’t forget to look straight at the camera).
In fact, video is the perfect tool to grab the attention of your potential customers. So much that it is required if you want to run a campaign on Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
Calculate costs and margins
Don’t just launch your campaign based on guesses and personal opinions. Do an elaborate study of your potential product before you even start one.
You should correctly assess costs involved, minimum amounts raised to break even, amount of time you will have to dedicate to the project, number of people who will be involved, set up proper deals with potential suppliers and so on.
It’s not like opening a new company and doing an elaborate business plan, but a certain amount of planning is surely needed.
It’s tempting to think that your project will be the next big hit, but keep your feet firmly on the ground while you eye for the stars.
Smaller goal values work much better than high ones. Several successful crowdfunders have discovered that empirically (that’s the story of Coolest Cooler, for example). Make sure your goal covers your costs but don’t overindulge yourself thinking you are going to beat it by tens of times.
Two or three-fold is not rare, but be prepared to take a failure and work over it.
The same goes for your pricing. Don’t force it too high when compared to alternatives in the market. Your prices should be as low as possible while your product is innovative enough to grab attention.
Start your social media campaign before launching your crowdfunding one
Set up your website, build media relationships, build your followers base. Do that months before launching you crowdfunding campaign.
Remember, your campaign will run for 60 days, at most. If you don’t have an audience, you will probably fail if you try to build it while you are pitching for investments.
Building your followers base must be a step before the crowdfunding campaign itself.
Time your campaign well
Remember to pitch your audience when they will most probably be interested. If you are launching a game, the campaign should be run on holidays and before Christmas. If you are launching a gadget for water sports, Summer will be the best time.
In order to discover the best times to promote your campaign, a good tip is taking a look at Google Trends for the keywords related to your product. A look at the graphs will tell you when people will be more inclined to search for something related to your offer and, thus, more inclined to make a deal with you.
The example is, again, Coolest Cooler. The first time the campaign was run, the goal was set too high and the timing was bad. In the Summer and with a more reasonable goal, the campaign managed to raise more than $12 million.
Find the right platform to run your campaign
Kickstarter and Indiegogo are almost synonymous to crowdfunding, but they are not the only players in town. Especially if you want to run an equity crowdfunding campaign, which is not possible on these platforms yet.
Sometimes it’s better to choose a niche focused platform, one that already has a follower base that is related to your industry and with a proven track record of success in the niche.
Plus, it can be considerably easier to be featured and promoted in the platform’s established channels as well. Your audience may not be as big as that of Indiegogo and Kickstarter (though you have to do your own marketing in both of them as well), but it can be more cost-effective.
Have a good story
We finish this guide by giving you a last tip, which is closely related to our first tip, on building credibility: every successful enterprise, in any market, has a good story to back it up. Think about KFC or Donald Trump. Telling a good story, with a sound background and facts to back it up is the difference between success and failure.
So pay close attention to whatever you write and whatever you say. Communicate properly in all occasions. Be it in your project description, in your video, in the updates you give about your project, etc.