6 Important Questions To Ask BEFORE Starting A Crowdfunding Campaign
“I wish I would have known…..”
When planning a crowdfunding campaign, there are many, many moving parts. For an established business or creator, managing those moving parts isn’t super difficult. If this is a first time endeavor, however..…it can be a bit overwhelming.
HERO successfully finished its Kickstarter campaign just over a week ago, and since then our team has taken a moment to evaluate the things we did right and the things we could have done better. We did a lot of searching online and even worked with a company prrior launch-but the majority of the information available was geared towards campaigns with huge raise goals, teams, and budgets. If you’re a truly small startup (like we are), those things are not necessarily what you are aiming for. So where was the advice for the little guys?
At MMT we have a “If it doesn’t exist..let’s build it ourselves!” mentality, and thus, this article was born. Below you'll find 6 of the questions we were glad we had the answers to when we re-launched on Kickstarter last month.
Is crowdfunding right for your project?
A project like HERO could have easily been unsuccessful on a crowdfunding platform-and on our first launch, it was. HERO is a new concept which wasn’t easily explained with visuals, since the majority of it is internal. We asked backers to buy into our idea AND buy into a crowdfunding system, and that is a big one-two punch of “asks” Projects which are more easily recognizable (Food! Enamel pins! Games!) take less explanation, which translates into an easier buy in. Backers may not understand crowdfunding, BUT if they understand your product quickly, it removes some of the uncertainty.
How does your project "show"?
Clear, explanatory images are key in crowdfunding. Grabbing and keeping someone’s attention is a big part of getting backers. There is also a “Projects We Love” section which is on the front page, putting your project in front of thousands of extra eyes if its chosen. The projects which are chosen tend to be those with bright, interest grabbing cover photos. Short, clear videos like the one below, or gifs, are another great way to demo your product and translate well to social media.
Who will your collaborators be?
When we launched HERO, we were surprised by the number of emails from various groups wanting to collaborate with us. Some were simple-other creators with projects that aligned with ours wanting to cross promote. Others were far more complex, offering a wide array of pay-for-publicity options including email “blasts”, listings on websites, inclusion in newsletters, and sharing posts on their social media pages. Due diligence here will save you time, money, and headaches. A quick search will often give you a lot of information on whether these companies will deliver….or not.
We want to give a shoutout to BackersInfo in particular-we worked with this company during both campaigns. Their pricing is transparent, they are very communicative, and their team is amazing at converting resources to backers.
Does your goal make sense with your rewards values?
The majority of successful campaigns have around 200-300 backers. Keep that in mind when considering your rewards levels and total goal. If, for example, most of your rewards are around $20-$25 and your goal is a $15000 raise, you’ll need 600 or more backers. That might work great if you have a huge social media following, but you also might want to consider doing a larger value reward (offering in multiples, for example) or decreasing your total goal. This last point is especially true if working with an “all or nothing” funding site.
Is your social media ready?
Unless your project grabs the attention of someone influential, your backers are going to come from advertising, and social media followers. Building up your following on these platforms before you launch is a great way to get backers excited and ready to back on Day 1. We like to participate in things which are successful-and be on the “winning” team-its human nature! So, a potential backer who sees a project with early traction is more likely to commit their resources.
Are you ready?
While crowdfunding is sometimes used as a way to fund creative, one-off projects, it is also used to help small businesses. We are using our funds for our first major production run, and plan to go forward from here as a business. This means our name and reputation are also attached to the success of the campaign and its fulfillment. We knew how many of each item we would be able to produce within certain timeframes, and kept track during our campaign to ensure we would be able to fit within our timeline. Making sure that you under promise and over deliver is important. It sets a good tone for your company moving forward. We have all heard of “crowdfunding disasters” where thousands of people pledged and never saw anything of it.
After asking yourself these questions, maybe you are ready to start a crowdfunding campaign-great! Best of luck, have fun, and remember that every challenge is an opportunity to learn.
Have you launched a crowdfunding campaign? What do you wish YOU'D known ahead of time? Let us know in the comments below!