By Megan Ritter, CrowdFundBeat contributing editor, Whether starting a new business, seeking funds for charity or reviving an existing venture, crowdfunding can be used as an effective tool to accomplish your mission. As with any project or campaign, it is necessary to have a clear strategy in order to reach your ultimate goal.
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Here are eight steps outlining a successful crowdfunding campaign:
1) PLAN OF ATTACK – If you want to win your campaign then you will need a clear and concise plan to accomplish all of your goals. Make a calendar for publishing content to your site including blogs, video and any other multimedia. Be prepared and have these materials completed before you start the launch of your campaign.
2) CLEAR MESSAGE – Successful campaigns may have a clever idea or unique product but they need to be explained clearly as though they were completely transparent. If you are seeking charity donations, tell your contributors exactly how their funds will be used to benefit the work that will be done. The same is true for a product or idea. Make sure your backers know exactly what they are investing in and how it will be beneficial to everyone involved.
3) VIDEO – Although you will have a written introduction of your campaign goals, a short video will have a more personal connection with your target audience over a written piece. Your video doesn’t necessarily have to be a full-scale, production quality piece as long as it is genuine, authentic and/or unique.
4) PLATFORM – Make sure you choose the correct platform for the primary source of communicating with your potential donors dependent upon your goals and audience. For example, Kickstarter is geared more towards a startup business venture while a site like Gofundmeis better for charity. Although you may wish to use several platforms to reach your donors, be sure you have one primary source to attract your visitors.
5) GO SOCIAL – Rather than posting on a personal social profile page, seek out companies, organizations and service providers that are somehow aligned with you and your product, idea or charity. Many would be willing to promote your campaign through blogs, newsletters or other social media platforms.
6) MEDIA OUTREACH – Contact the editors of at least ten publications, broadcasters, bloggers or similar organizations that could have an interest in your venture. Get in touch with them several weeks before your launch date. You don’t need to make an actual press release necessarily, a short, personal email describing your project will suffice. Provide a short video or relevant link that describes your campaign. Mark your calendar to follow up with these contacts if you don’t hear back from them with either a denial or acceptance of coverage for your campaign.
7) PROMISES – Don’t make promises that you can’t keep. For example, if you promise every contributor a certain product or reward expecting only a few hundred takers. What happens if several thousand or even a million people respond?
Keep your offers realistic. Most campaigners will only give something in reward for more sizable donations. If you cannot deliver on your promises than your reputation will be ruined regardless of whether or not you reach your goals. If this happens, any future endeavors will fail even before they have even begun.
8) ENGAGED & POSITIVE – Keep everything positive and upbeat while engaging with your audience. If a backer posts something that appears negative, perhaps they are just passionate about your cause and your are mistaking it for something that sounds irritable. After all, there is no tone available with a written statement. So even if it sounds like impatience, turn it around into something that sounds more like excitement or enthusiasm.
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While communicating with your backers, take note of any ideas or suggestions they may have for you or your project. Take note of any new trends, especially those with communications, that could assist you with your campaign.
Most importantly, stay in communication with your audience to ensure the success of your campaign. Without staying in touch with your backers, your product or idea will seem disingenuine and you will come off as uncaring.
So good luck on your crowdfunding campaign. Stay in communication with your audience so that both you and your contributors are equally pleased with your success.
Megan Ritter is an online journalist and entrepreneur with a background in social media marketing. In addition to sharing her research about crowdfunding success, her writing also covers business communications, virtual technology, and business globalization. Connect with her on Twitter!