Crowdfunding is all the rage these days. If you have a dream project you want to complete but lack the capital, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and other similar sites are the perfect places to make it happen. But it takes work for your campaign to be successful. Here are six tactics to help make sure your crowdfunded campaign is successful.
1. Have the project near completion.
This is a controversial tip, but I stand by it. Backers get antsy when they pay for something that is months or years away from being delivered. To reduce the wait time, you should have as much of your project finished as possible before people start pledging their dollars towards it. The larger the gap between funding and delivery, the more hesitant people will be to back your project, and if you’re a month or two late on delivery, your backers’ impatience will start to rear its ugly head.
2. Build a fan base first.
Launching a campaign with no prior support worked for a certain potato salad Kickstarter, but that crowdfunding behemoth is the exception to the rule. The best thing you can do to find success is cultivate followers over an extended period of time who like your work and will, eventually, be happy to support it with their dollars. Order of the Stick was an extremely popular self-published webcomic before it went to Kickstarter for help. The fandom helped the author raise $1.25 million dollars when it came time to reprint the Order of the Stick print editions, an impressive total for a comic book made up of stick figure characters.
3. Use it as a marketing tool, not just fundraising.
Crowdfunding sites are so much more than simply avenues to raise money; they’re also one of the best ways to promote your product. Crowdfunding campaigns get a lot of attention from the media, oftentimes more than tradition product debuts. Even if you don’t need much money to fund your dream project, you can benefit from launching a Kickstarter with a low financial goal and receive a marketing push you couldn’t have achieved with a typical product launch. Amanda Palmer’s Kickstarter for a record, art book, and tour was a masterclass in drumming up support from people by connecting with her fans on a very personal level.
4. Make good art.
Do you know what Order of the Stick and Amanda Palmer’s million-dollar album have in common? They’re both crowdfunding campaigns for creator-driven, quality works of art. There are a lot of elements to a successful campaign, but in the end people want to support good projects. Make it a priority to produce the best rewards you can, and the backers will come.
5. Solve a problem or fulfill a need.
If your campaign is for something unique that fills a niche, it could find massive success. Classic watches went out of style with the rise of cell phones, but people still want something to put on their wrists. Tiktok came along in 2010 with a Kickstarter to make wristbands that allow you to wear devices like an iPod Nano, as a watch. That campaign raised almost one million dollars. Two years later Pebble came to Kickstarter to fund an early version of the smart watch, raising a staggering $10 million–a record for crowdfunding.
6. Be transparent.
It’s understandable if things fall behind during the fulfillment stage; almost every Kickstarter I’ve backed has delivered its rewards at least a few months late. Backers accept that life leads to delays, but what they don’t accept are lame excuses and radio silence. Admit when you make mistakes and provide backers with a steady stream of updates so they know you haven’t abandoned the project. They need to know that the project is still of utmost priority and that you will deliver what you promised. The biggest Kickstarter disasters have resulted from miscommunication or just a complete lack of it. Do yourself a favorite and communicate with the people who supported making your dream a reality.
Featured photo credit: Kickstarter Project Shelf at the Kickstarter HQ/Scott Beale via flickr.com
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