After reading up on 5 things every entrepreneur must know, it’s time to get serious about creating a crowdfunding campaign for your startup. To be clear: a crowdfunding campaign should not be taken lightly, and you can’t just launch your idea out to the world without precedent. While the potential of a viral campaign and tons of investment may have you googly-eyed, there are a few cautious steps you need to take. Here is our rundown on how to create a successful crowdfunding campaign for your startup.
Find the Right Site
If you’re reading this article, you’re off to a good start! Before launching your campaign, be sure to do some heavy research to determine which crowdfunding site is best for your product and your needs. There are tons of examples, and some platforms operate on subscription models, some take a percentage from the donator, and some charge a flat rate. Use this list to determine which crowdfunding site is best for you.
Learn From the Greats
Once you’ve decided on a platform, consider donating to a few campaigns to get a feel for how the process feels from the audience’s perspective. See what kind of marketing materials they use, and take note of the relationship they try to establish with you.
Of course, one of the best ways to learn is by following the greats. The Pebble Smartwatch, OUYA, Oculus Rift, and 3Doodler have been some of the most lucrative campaigns in history. Their product obviously set them apart, but so too did their management of the crowdfunding campaign. Even companies like Damon — which hasn’t yet set out on a crowdfunding campaign but solves an important social issue — are good examples to look up to. Read up on how the futurist company is creating self-learning motorcycles that think smarter and react faster for safer driving.
Create Marketing Materials
Besides the product itself, the way you present your product to potential backers is the next most important piece of strategy. A smart, savvy video can be the difference between a captive and a not-so-captive audience. Team up with someone with experience in video content to create a lineup of sleek videos, photos, and other marketing materials. Here are 3 other marketing tips to help you boost your online presence.
Develop a Content Strategy
Once you have those pieces of content, you’ll need to devise a plan for their distribution. Content marketing is excellent in regards to the number of tools at your disposal, but it’s tricky in terms of how much competition you’re facing. The idea is to create content that creates social media engagement on social networking sites. Consider teaming up with someone to write blog posts, email copy, and other pieces of content that spread the word about your start-up (namely, the problem you’re trying to solve). Reach out to journalists and social media influencers, establish partnerships with other similar brands in the industry, and create a backlinking campaign that funnels your target audience to your site. Canva is an easy drag-and-drop tool for creating snappy infographics that are instantly shareable on social media.
Give Back with a Rewards Program
There are two main functions for Kickstarter rewards programs. First and foremost is to build a community surrounding your project. One successful Kickstarter CEO likened a campaign to how Japanese restaurant-goers love to watch Habatchi chefs cook — they’ve invested, and they enjoy feeling like they’re part of the project. In this way, your project’s backers want to watch something grow from a nascent idea to a full-fledged company. If you promise to involve backers in the creative process, they’ll be much more likely to invest (and much more likely to continue supporting the brand).
(https://pixabay.com/photos/teppanyaki-steak-fire-roast-grill-834149/ will crop this)
The second and most popular function of Kickstarter rewards programs is to provide an incentive for people to back your project. When you ask people for a financial contribution with nothing in return (or something negligible like pencils or cheap schwag), they’re understandably less likely to donate. The best kinds of rewards can be physical (the product), experiential (a trip or an experience), creative (a chance to sit down and brainstorm future ideas), etc.
Make Investors Your Promotional Allies
Once someone has invested in your start-up they become an invaluable resource for the growth of your project. They’ve bought into the idea, and now they should be more than happy to spread the word. Backers can share your crowdfunding campaign on their social media accounts, they can spread the word through their social connections, and they can spread the idea through word-of-mouth.
Consider offering special rewards for referrals or initiating a kind of referral campaign to help spread the word. The more incentive people have to talk about your project, the higher the likelihood they will.
Dillon is a travel-hungry outdoor enthusiast originally from Encinitas, California. He’s been to 28 countries, traveled around the world on a boat, lived in a tent in the woods for 6 months, and currently lives in Medellín, Colombia. Besides writing, Dillon can be found playing soccer, drumming, cooking, and doing his best impression of a salsa dance.