In my last blog we went over the basics of crowdfunding. As I prepare for my own reward based campaigne we'll dig a little deeper. Launching a crowdfunding campaign is not as easy as setting up a nice looking page on Kickstarter and watching money pour in. It should take months of preparation, solid dedication all the way through and even a good amount of time after receiving funds.
Ok so our ultimate goal here is obvious. Create and launch an interesting campaigne that will drive people to donate to your business in exchange for gifts. The hard part of running a SUCESSFULL campaigne.... all of it. It should and will completely consume all of your time.
Order of Business:
1) Business Plan - Polished and completed, viewers will need to know that you're serious. Treat this as if you were asking for a loan. You are in fact asking people to give you their hard earned money!
2) Rewards - Thoroughly plan and calculate costs. Get creative! Try to think of unique ways to highlight your business. What would compell you to donate to someone? Watch other crowdfunding platforms and even donate, make note of your experience!
3) Project Goal - To the penny. Your business plan should already include cost to startup and operate but now we need to calculate all of your rewards AND shipping them to your backers. Many sucessfull campaigners stress this the most. Shipping costs can get out of control without proper planning. What if your local business gets a slew of out of country backers, international shipping costs can be crazy!
4) Team - All platforms agree here, backup is invaluable. You can't be and do everything at once. Gather your closest friends and family. Most platforms say that a team of 5 is plenty.
5) ADVERTISE - Unfortunately the set it and forget it tactic doesn't apply here. Take a quick look at any platform and you'll see an ample supply of weak campaigns, some with $0 raised by the end... didn't you at least tell your mom?? Social media and word of mouth are your best friend, get creative and ramp it up!
6) Launch - The work doesn't stop here. Most well planned campaigns have a robust start and fizzle out in the middle. It's your job to keep everyone in the know and make sure nobody forgets to donate. The end should have another big peak in donations.
7) Fulfilling Rewards - You made your goal hooray! Now back to business. Just a little longer, hang in there! Make sure you get your rewards out in a timely manner, if you come across any issues be honest with backers. Let them know what's going on and your plan to get back on track. If you have a non-tangible reward offer, schedule it right away. If it needs to be a few months down the road, your backers will understand.
WHEW! Still feeling up to the task? Of corse you are, your an entrepreneur!! We're all a little crazy! Here's some more tips to help you along.
Preparation-Do your homework. Find the right platform for you and your business, some don't allow anything other than "creative projects". Follow the blogs of the major platforms, they have a TON of amazing information. Check out the book "The everything guide to crowdfunding" by Thomas Elliott King.
Rewards - Be careful of how many rewards you offer. It may be tempting to have something for everyone but you don't want to overwhelm your backer into not donating. Make sure you do have non-tangible rewards for long distance backers. If you create enough hype, you'll get more than expected, make sure they're as involved as local backers. Lastly, try not to break the bank and give too much away. You want a nice balance between satisfaction to your backer and budget.
Choosing Your Goal - It can be tempting to either set a crazy high goal or a conservatively low goal. Even if you DO need a really large amount, don't be embarrassed or feel greedy. Just make sure you can back it up. Realistically budget your needs and rewards with a contingency budget in case of emergency. Keep in mind people can usually recognize a fluffed up budged. Include any cost to advertise your campaign.
Team - Take time to choose your dedicated team. They should genuinely want to help you succeed. Some qualities to look for are, digital media for your video, social media expert to advertise and an organizational person to coordinate events. Try not to wear your team too thin but also keep steady contact and schedule meetings in advance. You might reward them with one of your rewards on your campaign or pay them if your budget allows.
Advertise - If you're this far along you should already have a website and some sort of social media. If you can afford to boost posts from your social media pages now is the time to do it. If not put your head down and grind. Print flyers and take free product to local business', colleges, churches, etc. Don't stray too far from your target demographic, every dollar counts. Reach out to local newspapers, magazines and bloggers.
Launch - You might entertain the thought of hosting a "Launch Party" to get everyone involved. This is a great chance to meet your local backers and create relationships. Create a backdrop for a photo op that has your logo and special # on it to share on social media. I just learned of a feature on Twitter called a "Geo filter" alerting everyone in your immediate area to your event. It's not free but extremely affordable.
This was probably more involved than you thought, but hey! Your an awesome entrepreneur! That's not something that everyone understands. You work hard to make your goals and dreams come true. You go above and beyond what people say you can or can't do. You're a natural born beast. You can handle this!
Ok that last part was for me but I'm sure you can relate!
As for me... I'm leaving the security of my 9-5 in September to fully indulge in preparation and launch of my own campaigne. Wish me luck!
I'm 26 years old and have always been a goal driven person. Growing up my parents always fought about money and struggled financially in general. I told myself at a young age that I would't let that happen. I believe strongly in working hard for what you want and have made myself very proud doing so.