Fundraising Strategies for Crowdfunding Projects
“Getting nothing is a bit stifling.“
"We wasted a lot of time and almost did not make it.” -Roger
"If you don’t know how to reach people, your campaign
will always fail, every time. “ -Ken
“It takes constant attention and management.”
“People engaged but didn’t donate, and that is a tricky thing to deal with.”
“It's important to ask for a realistic amount. “ -Jia
Why do most projects have such a hard time?
I Talked with HUNDREDS OF people who Ran Campaigns, and ran my own.
HERE'S WHAT people have TO SAY about the truth of kickstarter...
Crowdfunding Expert // Over $13 Million Raised
Founder and Creative Director at StartMotionMEDIA
WHEN I launched my first campaign in 2009, I WORKED WITH A CLIENT with a cool product
HE QUIT AFTER THE FIRST WEEK.
It didn't matter how nice our video was, or how awesome the product was. He didn't go to potential backers and build community ahead of time, and didn't have an initial group of committed fans waiting for him to launch.
This is why 70% of projects fail.
After 8 years running crowdfunding campaigns as part of a group of crowdfunding consultants, in addition to raising over $13 Million dollars with crowdfunding, I also interviewed thousands of past project creators, and my research found that most creators are disappointed with their crowdfunding experience, and didn't know what they were getting into before it was too late.
I wrote this article to give you the keys to building an audience before you launch, and you can get our research via email in the free training.
Nice to meet you,
The Truth of Crowdfunding:
Most people are familiar with the benefits of crowdfunding:
A. Crowdfunding can help people raise the capital they need to take the next step in their business.
B. It can be a great way to make your idea public and get lots of people sharing....
However, most people don't know about the myths, and they end up embarrassing themselves in front of their fans.
There are tons of campaigns that never get noticed. Why?
Is it really that hard to motivate an audience to view your project? The answer is yes.
You might really want your friends, family, and the general consumer to support your project, but finding the way into their inbox and into their hearts can be a real challenge.
I put together this research Project so that you can have better Idea about today's fundraising environment and Solve the audience problem.
Why Do 70% of Kickstarter Projects Fail?
Here are the untested beliefs that you might already be relying on for your project:
- People will like my project
- Backers will discover my page organically
- Campaigns grow all on their own
- My friends will act the first time I ask
- Investing in press services is smart
- I don't need a pre-launch marketing budget
- I can run this without much time
- People know what Kickstarter is
- Social media works for peer-marketing
- Once I get funded, fulfillment will be easy
For most projects, the above myths aren't true.
I interviewed 1000's of project creators about their insights, and ran hundreds of my own campaigns.
here's the fundraising tips we learned about Kickstarter:
1. A project with the right features has to touch people's hearts
“I didn’t really know how to present my idea/product properly.” -Julian
"You have to have a good product that people want. “ -Ally
If you're like most of the people who launch a crowdfunding campaign, you've spent 95% of your time at the drawing board, creating your project. You might even still be in "stealth mode," which basically means nobody in the world knows about it yet and nobody has tested it. The whole "everything is a secret until our launch day and the product features will make this thing explode as soon as we go live" mindset is a bummer, because you miss out on the only real element that drives crowdfunding:
✔ A passionate founder who uses enthusiasm to build authentic friendship and connection with his peers around his or her important idea, long before he ever asks anyone for money.
It turns out the "cool features" of your product have a lot less to do with getting funded as you might think.
Focus on audience first, marketing second and product third. This will help you get actual feedback to determine if your features are worth it in the consumers eyes, and find a way to a large group of people.
Learn how to present and speak about Your product, and do that frequently.
✔ Try to have ten conversations a day about your project from now until you go live.
Often the content for your Kickstarter (page, rewards, and video), comes online much later in the project than the "opening up for feedback" phase. If you haven't presented your idea to an actual audience yet, I highly suggest to start there, because those conversations will end up showing your how to position your sale.
2. Backers only come from your existing audience
“I didn’t know how to draw people without having to pay for ads.” -Christy
“Due to saturation, only a tiny amount of projects will get random attention.” -Jay
“We had to promote it ourselves. And found it very difficult.” -Jurgen
“Have a network of people ready if you want to be successful." -Yoga
People are out there cruising Kickstarter for cool new projects to back, BUT most of those people will only back the campaign in the last 24-48 hours, and only after they have seen the campaign is really trending...
You can't count on Kickstarter to organically fund your project for you. Kickstarter is simply a platform to host the page, and despite all the popular kickstarter tips showing you how to launch, in the crucial first few days of your launch, it's up to you to attain critical traffic to back the project. That's why we advise looking at training courses to help you get on your feet
"I had a hope that our campaign would be successful because our cause was worthy to support. That sounded nice but it wasn’t true one bit. If you don’t have a “Crowd” or know how to reach people, your campaign will always fail, every time." -Ken V.
3. Momentum is human produced - you get what you push
“You need to "market" your project very hard and prep for a bigger launch announcement.” -Greg
"The problem is one of social awareness.” -Zolymar
“Having a long time to fund does not help.” -Karl
“I wish I spent WAAAY more time researching how crowdfunding worked.”
Do you know about the reverse bell curve of crowdfunding? It basically means that people donate based on the time pressure. If they know how important it is for you to "hit the ground running" within the first three days, and they personally know you and want you to succeed, then they will act as an early supporter. But the bigger question is: how do you get them to become a backer in the first moment you go live?
The only way to have a strong end is to have a strong start. The way to do this is to get agreements from friends and family prior to your launch, and choose a goal that's easy to raise 50% in the first week.
4. People won't back you unless you talk to them
“You must first have investors lined up and committed.“ -Rachel
Most projects that wait to tell people about their project on launch day. "We're live!" ---
Does this sound familiar? You get a :bcc email from a friend, Subject: “My Kickstarter campaign is open!” The message inside contains many paragraphs long, telling the whole backstory about something... You skim through it scroll to the bottom and follow the link, “Please Support!”
The page opens to a Kickstarter or Indiegogo, and immediately your stomach drops and starts to twist as your eyes land on, “$0 funded.” It's embarrassing. You start to sweat. It feels like you are caught in a bad movie. And the feeling of embarrassment gets even worse after you watch their video...
Am I supposed to be the first person to back this project? Do I give them a $50 "thumbs up" even though I couldn't even make it through their video? This is my first time even hearing about this project, why do I need to involve myself in this thing anyway?
What do you do? Give just because they are your friend? Wait it out on the sidelines?
If you're like most people, you will wait it out because it's too embarrassing to be one of the first to support a project if you haven't learned about how important your immediate support really is.
You need to get people on board with their credit cards "hot and ready" for that day. And that is where the "inner circle" comes in. This is a group that has been prepped for weeks leading up to your launch.
You want to Develop and Train an inner-circle so that they pledge in the very first moment of your campaign
5. "Promotion Boosters" are out for your cash - BTW they suck
"My money was all lost when project failed.” - Wolfgang
“I hate all the the gimmicks that I have to deal with from PR companies claiming they can help me. “ -Red
It is difficult navigating the noise of the crooks and those that can really help you.” -Tim
Search "Kickstarter promotion" and you'll see tons of options for how to invest MEGA DOLLARS in "boosting" your campaign. And as soon as you're out of the gates, you'll be contacted by numerous people selling you and "easy way" to succeed and get more backers. "Consultants" asking for $10,000 fees or 5%-10% of your campaign.
After you launch, you will get spammed with hundreds Kickstarter messages (like crazy) and personal emails (god knows how these people find your email address), with even more people trying to prey on your urgency.
Take a step back and think about it. Sure, they might actually write a press release for you and submit it to the PR newswire (which you can do yourself). They might list your project in their index of crowdfunding projects. They might mention you on social media. They might make it easier to message your facebook friends. But really, THINK ABOUT THIS -- how does any of the above actually result in someone pulling out their wallet to become a backer with you? If I submit a press release to a thousand blogs, there is no guarantee that anyone will pick it up and write about it. If you get a write up about your project there is no guarantee that anyone will view the blog and click the link. If someone does happen to click the link, there is no guarantee that they will pledge, and no way to reach them and follow up if they abandon the process. Would your really pay $750-$10,000 to send your link through all these non-guaranteed hoops?
I follow a "no-shortcuts" kind of model. Having someone's direct email contact is only real way to crowdfund, and most PR booster services simply can't get you enough audience compared to what you'd get from people you already know like your friends and family. When you look at the tools available for crowdfunding promotion, ours is widely known as the best.
While there are some established, reputable PR companies, most of the PR "booster services" that contact you will leave you with empty pockets and almost zero backers from your investment.
6. Save a nest egg for legit pre-launch marketing costs
"...Magically doing all that with too little time and very little budget.” -Mentics
"Be aware of the initial investment you need to make." -Stephan
“My challenge? Achieving visibility for the project without immense upfront investment - I wish I knew a better way.” -Francisco
You might think, "I'm here to raise money, not spend money!" when you start a crowdfunding campaign. However, the projects that are most successful have at least a small budget set aside to go big in their campaign. You'll want to research about the best fundraising websites to compare.
Running a crowdfunding campaign has rewards like walking way with the money you need to take the next step in your business, and reaching a larger than normal audience through social media sharing.
If you're planning to be in the public eye and have all that visibility, don't you want your project to look and feel as professional as possible? We usually see folks putting aside 30% of their expected total raise into video production costs and advertising costs.
Successful project creators pay for video production and campaign advertising, in addition to following a robust grassroots fundraising strategy. And if they aren't paying a team of people to help them, they are probably doing tons of research and treating their campaign like their full-time job.
If you simply don't have a marketing budget, your you are unwilling / unable to pay for media, then you need to plan on a no-cost grassroots peer-to-peer marketing strategy and to make your own crowdfunding video.
7. Rushing to start - drains you & doesn't work
“I was amazed at the time and attention it took away from our company to run the campaign. A crowdfunding campaign is a full time job “ -David
"I found raising awareness through social media, emails, and face-to-face interaction to be very time consuming." -Owen
You probably want to launch really soon. I hear that. It must be really hard to be SO CLOSE to your big idea coming out the gates. Do you feel a little bit of pressure beneath this? Are your knuckles white as you grasp to your crowdfunding salvation? You might think this rush is about supporting your project, but actually this is greed.
The solution is to take it slow with your crowdfunding marketing. Contact your entire audience at least a month before the campaign goes live, and have the project page complete at least two weeks before, so you can to receive feedback on it. When you are inclusive with your community, you distribute the sence of "something coming soon", and you don't have to handle the launch pressure all on your own.
Crowdfunding can be a time- consuming process, however, when you have a strategy like what we teach in our crowdfunding launch system, it can be done in a very efficient, composed, and organized way.
Once you begin your research, give yourself a breather and make sure you have plenty of time to have all the steps in place before your launch day.
8. Most people still don't know what Kickstarter is
“The majority of our product's target audience had never even heard of kickstarter. “ - Daniel
Unless you are in the tech industry, it's very possible your audience has never even heard of Kickstarter. You want to make it really easy for folks to donate, so let them know ahead of time how the platform works, and do what you can to have support for them through the process.
Make it very clear to "Use the Green Button on the Top Right" to Make Your Donation and don't assume people will know what your call to action is unless you make it really simple for them to understand. In your email messages to your backer, give them clear descriptions about what is happening and a distinct set of instructions for what to do: Visit the page an watch our video! Then view the rewards you get for joining, and select "become a backer" to get involved!". It turns out there are alot more proven fundraising ideas for nonprofits than just doing an email blast, so we've gone ahead and compiled the best info for you...
9. Social Media self promotion - you're getting sidelined
You probably want to know how to use social media for help -- after all, you spent so many years building this great following just for this moment. The problem is, self-promotion is really boring. And on top of that, posts are filtered by Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and if they look promotional then they'll only be shown to a small % of your audience. We suggest keeping social media and newsletters to celebrate "wins" and use personal emails and outreach for your more direct "ask." When you work with a fundraising consultant on editorial outreach, you'll be shown the same principles.
We've seen that the solution is to talk from a more storybook fashion, and share about the beliefs and background of your project. "link" posts perform much more poorly than photo or video posts. Avoid language like "click the link", and instead have the link to your campaign in the comments section of your post.
10. If you succeed, that's where the real work begins...
"Tell your contributors it will take twice as long as you think it will. “ -Dan
“It was like climbing a mountain. Really scary and really hard the closer to the summit. The excitement of success was overwhelming.” - Patricia
"People who start looking into running a Kickstarter simply give up with they look into shipping logistics and cost. “ -Loren
“The financial & time pressure for fulfilling perks and postage can be a challenge. “ - Phil
Once your project is fully funded, there's still a lot to think about. You must keep in mind shipping costs, credit card processing and Kickstarter fees as well as stay on top of updates and product fulfillment. Ready to prepare yourself to be one of the proud 30% to succeed in crowdfunding? Check out my invitation to make the process as smooth as possible for you below. Also you may be interested in get a hand with kickstarter video production to make your visual process sparkle.
Thinking of launching soon?
For the brave ones who venture out and do the proper legwork, crowdfunding on Kickstarter can be the exact wind in your sails that your project needs to put itself out to the world.
You might want to get clear on the main key action steps for how to do crowdfunding the "old fashioned way". Solving the Kickstarter problem is by no means easy, but we've developed a tried and tested solution of how to build an awesome project page on one of the top crowdfunding websites and the right things to say when training friends, family, and ideal customers to pledge their support...
THE ESSENTIAL CROWDFUNDING LAUNCH TRAINING
AN INTRODUCTION TO OUR LAUNCH SYSTEM
create a HEALTHY FUTURE for your KICKSTARTER
"I use this in-depth fundraising system and these industry tactics everyday to get backers. It works miracles."
-Michael Zeligs, Fully Funded Course Creator
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