Launching. If only it were as simple as slapping a page online and watching the numbers roll in. Really though, a good amount of work goes into creating even the most straightforward crowdfunding campaign: writing good copy for social media and newsletters, designing and building campaign pages, scripting, shooting, and editing videos–this stuff takes time, focus, and creativity.
On top of that, you may realize at some point that you can’t do it all by yourself. You may need to hire some help (or at least bribe some friends with beer and pizza). At any rate, whether or not you need help with all these tasks, there are a few techniques you can put into place in order to ensure a smooth-sailing launch, and we’ll go over some of the most important ones now.
Create Your Master Plan
To avoid overwhelming yourself, reverse-engineer your project into bite-sized chunks. List every task needed to get the desired result: a beautiful crowdfunding site with lots of traffic. For example, since you will probably want to produce a video for your campaign, break it down into all of the steps involved, like writing the script, wardrobe selection, location scouting, procuring equipment, video editing etc. By writing everything down with as much detail as you can, you’ll have a better idea of what really needs to be done to launch a successful crowdfunding campaign, and you can plan accordingly.
Organize Your Tasks
Once you’ve listed your tasks, begin grouping them into broader categories like: web development, video production, copywriting etc. Jot down the amount of time you think each task (and overall category) will require for completion. Decide what you can or must delegate and and recruit the help you need.
Organize all these tasks into a sharable platform like Google Calendar. You can use different colors to differentiate categories (i.e. pink for copywriting; green for web development). If this is your first time managing a big project like this, it might be wise to allot twice as much time per task as you initially estimate. It’s better to over-estimate your needs then to find out along the way that you are lacking in resources.
Drum up excitement before you launch your crowdfunding campaign
You know that list you’ve been building? It’s time to let your subscribers know “the big day” is coming! Without giving away too much, tell your social network you’ve been working on something really cool, and you’re really excited about it.
According to neuroscientists, the human brain is constantly looking for patterns and anticipating completion. This is what compels us to finish yet another episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians (even though we know it’s unlikely that Kim is going to discover the cure for cancer). We want to know how it ends! Use the same mechanism to build anticipation for your launch.
Make special content for your community
Create special content in celebration of your launch. Depending on your artistic medium, and overall social strategy, this could include things like: An exclusive sneak-peak at the making of your project, a series of emails leaking riddles + clues that encourage readers to guess the subject matter of your project, culminating in the most awesome prize EVER, or even, a blooper reel of outtakes. The bottom-line: Get creative and give ’em something fun to keep the excitement level up!
Strategically Format Your Site
Whether you realize it or not, you’re making an e-commerce site. Any time you’re calling people to action, you can benefit from tried-and-true marketing and advertising techniques. Don’t bury your message and keep your call to action above the fold. Marketers have taught us that consumers (or supporters) need to be told exactly what to do as quickly and clearly as possible.
One of the advantages to running a self-hosted campaign with a platform like Ignitiondeck Crowdfunding is that you have a ton of freedom when it comes to how you to structure your website. Make it your own, but don’t forget to take some advice from the experts. You can use direct-response marketing principles to your advantage by formatting your message like this:
Make it tangible, specific and concise.
- REASON FOR SPEAKING
Share exactly why you’re reaching out (i.e. your “big thing” + your core message).
- REASONS OF INTEREST
For example, If your product solves a common problem/need faced by your target market, describe that need in detail. If your film pokes fun at motivational speakers, bond with your reader over how silly you both think they are etc.
- MONEY ALLOCATION
Share exactly where the investment goes.
- YOUR STORY
Share why you decided to provide this “solution” and why you’re the best person to do it.
- YOUR OFFER
Share their options and corresponding rewards for investment.
- SOCIAL PROOF
When possible, always include a few testimonials from relevant persons who can verify your work or your character.
- ADDRESS CONCERNS
Here you want speak to any possible concerns your reader/viewer may have (i.e. manufacturing timeliness, trustworthiness of seller, and so on). Include your budget and speak honestly.
- CALL TO ACTION
Tell them exactly what you want them to do and what will happen after they do it (i.e. Click on the “green” button at the top of the page. You will then be asked to choose your investment option…). Also, let them know how they can receive updates on project progress.
Always wrap up by summarizing your project’s core message and thanking people for their support.
Hold a Test Run
If you’re self-hosting your crowdfunding campaign, test the heck out of it. Your first supporters will likely be your friends and family and they can help you find any issues with the experience of contributing to the project. That’s what friends are for! You want to make sure that transactions go through smoothly, but also, you want to make sure your site looks awesome in all major browsers (i.e. Firefox, Safari, Chrome, iOS, Android) and all buttons/links lead to their intended destinations. You don’t want some tiny error to confuse or dissuade potential contributors!
This has been the 4th part in our 4-part series on How to Crowdfund Like a Marketer. Keeping all these concepts in mind, we think you’ll have a solid foundation on which to begin planning a truly successful crowdfunding campaign.