by Hellen Barbara, It’s never been easier to connect with people. And with sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe democratizing funding for projects, finding like-minded people to support your idea is more feasible than ever.
Creative people, companies, artists, and authors are taking advantage of their online connections to crowdfund their projects. But despite their best efforts, a campaign can simply fall short. In fact, about six out of ten crowdfunding campaigns don’t meet their goals.
A lack of interest in your project can sometimes hold it back, but other times, committing these crowdfunding crimes can stifle its success:
Ineffective outreach efforts: If a campaign doesn’t have a strong start, it can’t have a strong finish. It’s important to gain five to 10 supporters within the first 48 hours and get them to share your idea on their own social networks. Providing ideas — and sometimes going so far as to procure tweet and email templates — can simplify things and make it easy for others to help spread the news for you.
Unrealistic goals: Do your homework, and get an accurate calculation of what you’ll need to implement your project so you’re not reaching too high. As Ethan Mollick from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania said, “Increasing goal size is negatively associated with success.”
Decide whether you can fund yourself — and how much you would be willing to fund. If your platform allows you to create a minimum goal, take advantage of that feature and consider platforms that allow flexible funding. That way, you can still collect the funds and complete your project, knowing that you will need to contribute more of your own funds to bring it to life.
Of course, crowdfunding is an incredible way to unite people around a common cause and bring a project to life, but it’s still an endeavor that requires attention, organization, branding, and networking.
No matter what type of project you’re funding, you have to create a timeline and strategy for it to succeed. Here are some essential steps to consider before launching your next campaign:
Identify your goals. Define your funding goal and your reward levels, and determine how you’ll pitch yourself and your project to your audience. This step serves as the foundation of your project.
Establish a presence early. Building momentum is vital to your campaign. That’s why effective crowdfunding is easier when you have an existing network to tap into. These don’t have to be people you know personally — just people who know about you and are interested in your project.
Understand your audience. These are the people who will propel your campaign to success. Knowing who they are and how to reach them is vital to your campaign’s longevity.
Develop a marketing plan. Too many people jump into crowdfunding campaigns without planning a marketing strategy first. Having a week-by-week (or even day-by-day) plan will keep you on track throughout your campaign.
Offer enticing rewards. Start by researching other successful campaigns. Then, figure out how to make your campaign more attractive to your supporters through appealing rewards and a creative branding strategy.
Sustain your efforts after the launch. Make sure your supporters feel in-touch and appreciated throughout the length of your campaign. Consider sending newsletters, personal emails, or even handwritten notes if they fit your project. Adding a personal touch is the best way to get supporters to spread the word.
Take Your Campaign to the Next Level
It’s time to figure out the most exciting way to share your project with the world. Producing a compelling campaign video can generate excitement around your crowdfunding campaign and tug at your audience’s heartstrings.
According to Patty Lennon, the author of “The Crowdfunding Book ,” “It should be short…[and] open with a captivating quote or statement, followed with the purpose of the project. Remember to answer the question ‘why,’ and always culminate with a strong call to action.”
LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook will be your most valuable tools for spreading your message. Choose one or two platforms to build your audience, and focus on making genuine connections within your industry. After all, that organic buzz will often mean the difference between a successful campaign and a failed one.
Not every project will meet its crowdfunding goals the first time, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. With the right combination of messaging, branding, and interest-building endeavors, it’s easy for a smart project to raise sufficient funds on a crowdfunding platform.
Just remember: Treat your campaign like your business. Kick in your marketing savvy, pull in all your favors, and promote yourself. Be proud of it, and others will share your enthusiasm.
Hellen Barbara President and Founder at Pubslush
This article was originally written for & posted on Killer Startups