Showing and telling are both essential elements in any rewards-based crowdfunding campaign. Nevertheless, without the show, you’ll never get to the tell — let alone the sell.
Crowdfunding is an excellent way for entrepreneurs to test the concept of their product or service and determine market need (or lack thereof). Rewards-based crowdfunding is a great way to get the upfront capital you need while providing backers with a unique return on their investment in the form of rewards, like a physical product.
While rewards-based crowdfunding isn’t the be-all, end-all of fundraising methods, it’s one of the simplest and cheapest ways to raise capital for your new business. However, not every campaign is guaranteed to be a success.
In fact, about one of every three crowdfunding campaigns is successful. Why? One reason is poor planning. Too many entrepreneurs set up a basic crowdfunding page and wait. Others forget that backers might hesitate to put their money behind campaigns that appear to be unpopular (think those that sit at 10% support for weeks).
Of course, the other challenge lies in the “show and tell” premise. Far too often, entrepreneurs who want to try crowdfunding forget that their primary job isn’t only to have a terrific product or idea. It’s also to promote that product or idea like a storyteller.
Think like a visual storyteller
When you’re planning a rewards-based crowdfunding campaign, you need to consider adding high-quality video to your campaign. As Indiegogo indicates, crowdfunding campaigns with pitch videos tend to get four times the backing of those without a video.
Your video needs a story arc: a structured, well-documented journey. The video needs to highlight the most interesting differentiators of your company or project, making it difficult for backers to say “no.”
While the idea of creating video content might be intimidating, high-quality crowdfunding campaign videos with a decidedly human touch can start with you and your team members storyboarding a few concepts. Storyboarding allows you to flesh out the story behind your campaign and can help you write supportive long-form content for your crowdfunding page.
Tips for generating and leveraging rewards-based crowdfunding video content
Be sure to follow these storytelling best practices as you conceptualize your visual pitch:
- Educate yourself. Don’t worry: You won’t have to enroll in a film class to come up with an irresistible branding story for your crowdfunding video. Nonetheless, you should engage in research. To start, spend a few hours sifting through other brands’ crowdfunding videos. Bookmark videos that are so captivating that they make you want to become a backer. At the same time, keep a separate list of all the mistakes you see so you know what to avoid.
- Create several storyboards. The flow of your brand or project video story matters, and it’s rare that your first attempt at storytelling will be the one you ultimately end up using. Consequently, plan on creating several storyboards with value-rich introductions. Remember, your first few seconds can’t be fluffy. They need to pack a punch right away, packaged up in a thoughtful way. Just make sure that in your eagerness to be creative, you don’t forget to include specifics. Pitch videos, no matter how artistic, need to help backers by covering the how, why, what, when and where.
- Construct a clear call to action. At the end of your pitch video, as well as in your copy, you’ll need an unmistakable call to action. Your CTA should give backers a better sense of what steps they can take to help out your company or project. Even though your main CTA will be to back your business monetarily, you can add another CTA, too. For instance, you might want potential backers to sign up for your newsletter or follow you on social. Generally, you’re best off sticking with just two distinct CTAs. Otherwise, you’ll dilute your message and wind up with a lot of people watching your clever video, but far too few of them backing you.
- Work smarter when filming. You’ve reached filming time, and you’re ready to roll! In addition to capturing everything you need for your pitch video, capture additional footage that you can edit into brief, 15-second teaser videos for social promotions. The rule of thumb is that you can never have too many shots or options. Although you don’t want to turn your filming into an overnight marathon, you should absolutely make the most of the time you have.
When it comes to rewards-based crowdfunding, you need to make sure your company and your project stands out from the crowd. Allow your pitch to shine through your storytelling, and viewers will be more inclined to hit the “support” button.