In the past, Yasmine launched a Philly nonprofit providing affordable opportunities for women to learn software development. She serves on the board of Coded by Kids, which provides free tech education underserved youth. She’s also on Leadership Philadelphia, PACT and the Philadelphia Awards.
Latest posts by Yasmine Mustafa
Over the past decade, crowdfunding has revolutionized the way startups generate capital and secure investment. In fact, in 2019, the global crowdfunding market reached a massive $13.93 billion, with this figure estimated to triple to $39 billion by 2026.
It’s no surprise then that everyone wants to get in on the action, and today, there is a wealth of platforms and organizations where would-be-entrepreneurs can pitch their big ideas and market test them before they’ve barely lifted a finger.
However, having a great idea is only the start on the journey, and the quality of your campaign can mean the difference between smashing your targets or being completely ignored. In fact, your crowdfunding campaign is often the first time your customer base will encounter your product or service, so making a good impression is crucial. But what exactly makes a good crowdfunding campaign, and how do you present your big idea to a global market?
We at ROAR for Good ran a successful crowdfunding campaign that exceeded our expectations. Below are the top tips we learned along the way:
Target your message
A targeted message is what drives your campaign, engaging your audience and speaking directly to their needs and wants. If you try to appeal to everyone, you’re in for an uphill battle, so it’s best to identify who your product or service most commonly appeals to and begin there. This should set the basis of all your marketing decisions, from how you write your copy to the images you use and the advertising criteria you select.
Learn what makes a good campaign and a bad one
There are countless successful and failed campaign examples out there, and you can generally access the information you need directly from your chosen crowdfunding platform. Take time to explore the profiles and find common themes, including things you like and things you don’t. If possible, reach out to other entrepreneurs and discuss what went right and what went wrong during their campaigns.
Build a community before launching
One of most crucial things to focus on is building an email list of people interested in your product. They will be the first group you evangelize to get the message out, contribute to your campaign and post about your product once it’s shipped. Check out these tips for learning how to collect email addresses during a pre-launch campaign.
You can use channels such as questionnaires, survey, newsletters, social media, pre-launch pages and both online and real-world events to spread your message and get people on board. Competitions and giveaways can also be a great way to boost engagement.
Speak to experts
Usually, the people who run your chosen crowdfunding platform have seen it all, meaning they’re perfectly placed to help push your campaign in the right direction. Contact those in the know, and talk to them about message copy, video formatting, perk selection and email strategies as well as how to set realistic targets and campaign goals.
Know your launch target
Ideally speaking, you want to have a 30% commitment to your crowdfunding campaign before you even have your profile up and running. The best campaigns are fueled by momentum, and starting off with a 30% boost within the first 48 hours will instantly signal that your idea is a worthwhile one.
This is where your pre-existing community comes into play. Reach out, gauge who will make a commitment and at what level and then calculate how it compares to your campaign goal. When you’re at least 30% committed, you’re ready to go live. Be proactive about ensuring they pledge as quickly as possible by sending email reminders that it’s time to invest.
Videos and animations are a staple of good crowdfunding campaigns, and they can provide huge amounts of information to your prospective investors in a short time. However, don’t be tempted to spend loads of time and money on your multimedia, as this can be self-defeating.
We found a simple, honest and short video was all we needed, allowing us to share our message and detail our products. Focus on making the first 20 seconds as eye-catching and engaging as possible. Additionally, try recruiting members of your community or influencers to speak on your behalf, as it can also help expand your community as they share it.
Establish clear roles among your team
Managing your crowdfunding campaign may be more work than you imagine — particularly if the campaign is performing well. There are countless questions and comments that will roll in daily, and you need to answer them promptly so you can keep potential investors interested. Assign ownership of who will manage press interviews, marketing, customer support and so on.
Throw a party
Most campaigns will experience a midway slump where momentum trails off and things go a little quiet. We used this time to throw a party for our local community and early backers, whipping up a little excitement with special offers and giveaways we encouraged them to share on social media — thus continuing to engage and expand our community. You can do this event hosting virtually, too.
Focus on press
While social media is invaluable, media coverage is the best way to break out of that internet bubble. Learn how to execute your own PR on a budget, develop a targeted media list, send a well-written press release and launch a strategic plan to get the word out to as many media outlets as possible. Depending on your product, a local focus may help with an initial bump.
Plan three to six months ahead
Running a successful crowdfunding campaign will take at least three to six months of planning, coordinating and execution. It will be a full-time job on top of your full-time job. The more work and time you invest in it, especially in building your community as well as the tips above, the more likely you are to succeed.