6 Elements for a Successful Crowd-funding Campaign as Learned Through Failed Experience
- the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.
Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular way to raise funds for individuals and small businesses. With the help of websites such as Indiegogo, GoFundMe or Kickstarter, people can launch a campaign to raise funds.
As you may have guessed from the title of this post, I have previously organized and launched a crowdfunding campaign for a client that did not go as well as we had hoped. After running this unsuccessful crowdfunding campaign and consequently doing lots of research on why it did not succeed, I have selected six key elements needed for your next crowdfunding campaign to increase the likelihood you will reach your goal.
Show that your business is legitimate and growing. If you lack credibility and legitimacy, people will be hesitant to donate to your campaign. they want to know they can trust where their money is going and know it will do some good.
For startups to run a successful crowdfunding campaign, they must be established enough to be able to articulate the benefits of their products or services and understand how any fundraising campaign contributes to their overall strategic goals and success.
You can show your credibility by having a well-established website or other resources for your potential clients can peruse and review (e.g., social media platforms, printed documents). Another way to show credibility is to ask current or former clients to write testimonials or reviews about your work.
Make sure that you have a large fan base before launching. One of the biggest reasons for my failed campaign was that we launched the campaign without a solid support base. You must have a large reach of people who could possibly contribute to your campaign before you ever consider doing a campaign.
Before launching the failed campaign we had about 300 likes on Facebook, 10 Twitter followers, and a list of 10 local businesses’ email addresses similar to our clients–this was not enough. Whether it be a large social media following, a hefty email list of clients or lots of family and friends who are willing to help, the support of others in your social network is one of the biggest contributing factors to your crowdfunding effort’s success.
People want to know exactly to what and to whom they are giving their money. Identify the people and reasons for why you are where you are in this process. Use a variety of persuasive appeals (e.g., emotional, logical, ethical) tailored to your specific niche. Tell people how you noticed a problem and how this product or service is fixing that problem.
Highlight yourself and your story, and introduce the members of your team to build a sense of connection with your contributors. Putting a face on your organization (a.k.a. building your brand’s personality/identity) will also help with tip # 1, credibility. People will more likely give to a campaign they feel they can identify with or relate to.
- Compelling Visuals
People respond to visuals. On the platform I used, Indiegogo, it was mandatory to create a video for your campaign before you could launch it. According to MarketingSherpa.com, viewers spend 100% more time on pages with videos on them. The video is the first thing that anyone sees when arriving to your campaign page. This video is the way that you can show the contributors more about your cause and about yourself. You can use the video to show how your product or service works to better entice and educate donors. I recommend having a semi-professional video made for your campaign.
Crowdfunding relies heavily on reciprocity. People donate their money to you, but they want to receive something in return. These incentives can be intrinsic (e.g., feeling good) or extrinsic (e.g., getting a freebie). An incentive can be something that costs you very little to no money. An example of a cost effective incentive is a free or discounted 1-month subscription to your service or a free sample of your product. Having good incentives is a way to draw outside donors in.
Have a social media presence. If you lack a social media presence, do you even exist? In the world we live in today, no. Being present, visible and interacting on social media is key in building and keeping your follower-ship. The key here is interaction. Before you can ask people to donate money to you, you must first build relationships with them through interaction.
This interaction can be as simple as posting a link to an article you find interesting, posting a photo of your product or service in action, or simply liking or sharing a post from one of your followers. You should carefully select which social media platforms you will use by researching your target audience and their preferences. Choose a few platforms and make sure you become an expert in them. Moreover, your social media strategy should be developed well before you launch your campaign to be sure you are not lacking in tip #2, support.
If you keep these six elements in mind when building your next crowdfunding campaign, your chances of success will undoubtedly increase.
Written by: Olivia McCartney, UCommunicate Consultant
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