Tips and resources to improve your crowdfunding campaign and simplify your life.
We’ve written a fair amount about crowdfunding campaigns, including How to Market Your Crowdfunding Campaign and Four Steps to Kickstarter Success. We have the opportunity to be involved in a few more campaigns this year, and we’ve been doing some research to get ready. Below are some of the best tips and resources we’ve found to help you improve your crowdfunding campaign, get more backers, and get more publicity – all while reducing your stress and workload.
Research & Analytics
One of the hardest things for a crowdfunding campaign to do is figure out exactly how much money they should be asking for. There’s a big difference between what’s ideal and what’s realistic, and campaigns have to take all sorts of metrics into consideration: the cost of actually producing whatever they’re trying to fund, the cost of the backers’ rewards, how many backers they need to make enough money to fund both of the previous costs, and the likelihood of their campaign attracting that many backers. Whew! Now, you can do your own research if you want, by digging through funded and failed campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, looking at how many backers they got, how much they raised, what their reward levels were, how often they updated, etc., etc… Or you can use one of the crowdfunding analytics tools that are now available like Kicktraq and Krowdster to do the research for you. These sites provide analytics and predictions for crowdfunding campaigns, allowing you to dig deep into what works and what doesn’t without having to spend hours and hours finding the information. So if you’re launching a project, look up similar projects by keyword or URL, and get all sorts of information that can help you plan a successful campaign.
Did you know that even with all the new technologies out there to help you reach your audience, email marketing is still the most effective? (It’s true!) For a crowdfunding campaign, you’ll want to email your contacts when the campaign launches, keep in touch with your backers during and after the campaign, and send out marketing emails to potential customers. Email marketing is a great tool for teaching; you can explain how crowdfunding works, tell your origin story, explain the value of your product, and break down exactly how the money will be spent. All information that, while incredibly important, might be a little difficult to convey in a single Tweet or Facebook post!
When you email your potential or actual customer base, you want to know how effective those emails are, right? That’s where an email service provider comes in, that can send out mass emails, manage and segment your contacts, and provide analytics on the impact of your emails. For those with a smaller budget, MailChimp lets you use their service for free, for up to 2,000 contacts and up to 12,000 emails a month. For more contacts or emails, you’ll have to go for a paid option. If you want to get really in-depth, you’ll want to invest in marketing automation software. This software tracks visitors to your site, collects information through forms and calls to action, and can email your contacts based on either a timeline you set up, or based on actions that customer takes. It’s a good way to stay top-of-mind for the duration of your campaign and after, and encourage potential customers to build a relationship with you and (hopefully) buy your product or back your campaign.
So you’ve launched your campaign and you’ve let your contacts know that it’s live. Awesome! Now, how are you going to get the rest of the world to pay attention? If you’re doing any kind of PR – whether that’s actual press releases or reaching out to bloggers and other influencers – you’ll want to know who’s writing about what.
To find out, you have a few options. LinkedIn Pulse allows LinkedIn users (everyone from moguls like Richard Branson to everyday people like you and me) to write and publish articles on the platform. When browsing Pulse, you can search relevant keywords, browse popular channels, or just check out the most popular users. Google Trends is a Google product (obviously) that lets you explore popular Google Search queries and results. You can sort by category and location – so if you’re raising money in Argentina, be sure you’re not seeing results for the U.S.! Finally, Buzzsumo is a browser application that lets you search for trending content, sort it by influencers, and set up alerts for content. Buzzsumo is not cheap – the least expensive option is $99/month. But they boast clients like Hubspot, Buzzfeed, and Rolling Stone, so they’re doing something right.
Once you’ve found your influencers, you’ll have to pitch them. Hopefully you’ve worked on your pitch and are comfortable approaching people with it. Sell them the pitch, and they’ll help you sell your product.
Simplify Your Rewards
Being honest, the campaigns that I’ve seen fail after being fully funded had difficulties fulfilling their backer rewards, and compounded that by poor communication with said backers. Not naming names! But take that worry off your plate by using a campaign management system like Backerkit or Pledge Manager. These paid software services help you streamline the campaign after it’s funded, letting you send surveys to your backers, update payment methods and shipping addresses, and send out updates as your reward fulfillment proceeds. Instead of complicated spreadsheets and a million reminder emails, these services consolidate all that information into backer data sheets, and make sure that each backer’s information is up to date, and they get their reward on time. Nothing derails a funded campaign like angry backers, so keep them (and your team) happy!
Crowdfunding campaigns can be incredibly stressful, but not everything has to contribute to that stress. Use the tips above to improve your campaign, get more backers, keep those backers happy, and simplify your life. Do you have more questions about crowdfunding campaigns? Are you starting to plan your own and need help? Shoot me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!