Crowdfunding has been around for a bit now and turns out to be one of the best financial reliefs for start-ups around the world. Thanks to the “crowd”, we can make our ideas come true together.

People and investors are more and more willing to contribute to these beautiful projects. Almost all projects can be funded, from a brand new album to a top-market technology. But among the growing quantity of projects, platforms, and ideas, it is very difficult to stand above the rest.

11 Crucial Steps To Pave The Way For Your Crowdfunding Campaign

Here on CrowdDistrict, I want to introduce you to my top 11 tips to succeed with your crowdfunding campaign BEFORE going live:

1 – Envision a 1 to 2 month anticipation to get everything clarified. It might not look like it, but building a crowdfunding campaign takes a lot of time and rethinking. You don’t want to overlook any element: pitch, video, storyboard, perks, budget, etc.

2 – Choose the right platform for your project. Some websites are only targeting niche markets. And if you want a chance for your project to be featured on the front page, you might want to consider being the right fit for that platform. Pick your platform according to the costs, the way you collect the money, the target audience, the number of projects funded, and the popularity of the website. Stick to one platform to gain an initial audience and minimize complications.

3 – Prepare your storyboard – prioritize images and bold text to highlight your major facts. Some successful projects choose to present their fact (or at least part of it) as an infographic. It can be a good idea according to your project. It must look clean, easy to read and understandable at first glance. Stay coherent and simple with your graphic choices. Also, try to focus on the benefit of your project before anything else. Use bullet points to clarify your main features.

Then comes the most striking element of the campaign: the video. Shoot a short video (2 minutes more or less) showing your motivations, your products and some rewards you’re offering. We want to know who’s behind the genius idea; and most of all who’s asking for our money. In the video you can start talking about yourself first, so that people understand your story and motivation. Where’s the idea coming from? Do you have any funny fact to mention? Play with the camera angles to keep people interested. But keep it short, real and attractive.

Your text is a more detailed version of your video. You’ll be able to give them more information there (shipping method, “about us” section, details of the offer and FAQs).

4 – Watch the competition on each platform, as well as other industry leaders. By browsing other campaigns, you can get a clear idea of what’s working or not. You’ll notice the importance of the video and the perks. Take a look at how people describe their idea and what’s noticeable about it (Compete.com is very useful for that also).

5 – Get closer to the press and influential blogs by reaching out with a brief introduction to your project. Set up a media kit for your outreach and display the main reasons of how your idea is a future success (check out Storyboard). Provide bloggers with your logo, designs and benefits for their readers. Offer them a product once the campaign is over or an exclusive post. Be appealing and find out what they want out of your relationship.

6 – Decide – very carefully – what will be your perks for your contributors (between 5 and 12 maximum). You don’t want to have too many rewards. First, it is a pain for you to organize the shipping. Second, you might lose your audience. It is better to set up limited edition offers for early adopters and define proportional stages so that everyone can participate at some level (especially between 10 and 100 USD; where most people donate). Don’t underestimate your lower level contributors. Show them your appreciation by offering more than a simple “thank you”. Look for something different (example: free shipping or tickets to a special event at the end of the campaign). If you make them smile, they’ll be more willing to participate.

7 – Write a very precise financial plan taking into account your perks (production, shipping, etc.), as well as the actions implemented throughout the campaign (platform, social networks, etc.). Even if your perks don’t cost you much, it is important to include them in your total, along with the delivery fees. Make sure you know all the terms of use, so that you don’t forget the platform and payment fees (Paypal for instance).

Explain to potential backers where the money is going and how much it costs you.

Draw a clean chart. Transparency is the key.

8 – Set up launch and closing dates of your crowdfunding campaign, along with production and rewards delivery dates. We say a crowdfunding campaign is like a marathon. You’ll need a lot of energy and coffee breaks to make it to the end. The appropriate period can vary, but I’d recommend 30 days as an optimal length (90 days is the maximum you can do). It can be hard to keep your audience’s attention for more than a month. When you make your plan, don’t forget to forecast the production dates after the campaign closing. Your contributors want to know when their rewards will be delivered.

9 – Prepare the ground with your network: Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter contacts (Pinterest, Tumblr and others as well). Try to personalize the messages you send as much as you can . People need to feel involved. Build anticipation for your campaign by talking about it all the time.

Set up a (free) Launchrock.com page to tease your audience about your future campaign launch. This page allows you to expose short glimpses of your project in order to draw people’s attention. This is also a great way to collect your would-be contributors email addresses. The goal is obviously to get as many as you can. To make this easier, implement a contest to push people to register, like, and share your campaign.

10 – Backing up some projects beforehand will help your crowdfunding credibility. On most of the platforms, your creator profile will be displayed. With that, everyone can get a better idea of your crowdfunding experience by your activity and donations to other projects. I’m not saying you should pour millions into strangers’ campaigns, but displaying significant donations and activity can make a difference.

11 – Talk about your projects from a backer’s point of view, not yours. What’s your added value? Why would I invest in your campaign rather than someone else’s? Be mysterious and surprise your potential contributors.

Last but not least, remember to keep your audience in the loop. Your story should never stop being shared.

Feel free to reach out to me for any further help.
Jérémie Lorrain.