How to Build an Organic List Before You Launch Your Crowdfunding Campaign

By Heather HairgroveIf you’re getting ready to launch a crowdfunding campaign, or you’re campaign is live, I hope you started off by telling all your friends on Facebook, Google+, or any other connections you have on social media. If you didn’t, you’ve set yourself up for failure… or at least an uphill battle.

There’s an art to building a buzz. You can’t just tell your connections about it once and expect them to be interested in it. You have to be mysterious about it.

Start off by coming up with a code word or code phrase. For example, let’s say you want to raise money for a memory foam cat bed laced with catnip that you’ve developed. Your code phrase could be “Project Rested Kitty.”

Then, start posting on Facebook to all your friends one sentence about your project. Post things like, “Just spent the last hour working on Project Rested Kitty.” Or, “My kitty sure loves Project Rested Kitty.” Limit your posts to one sentence that’s vague enough to pique some interest. When your friends comment on your post and ask you what Project Rested Kitty is, don’t tell them the details. Just tell them you’ll tell them more in the near future.

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Be creative. Make some notes about your design process with questions and answers. Take a picture of your notes and blur out the answers so only the question is visible. Then, take a picture and post it to Facebook.

Write your mission statement, take a picture, and blur out 70% of the words. Then, post it to Facebook. People are naturally curious. You’ll start to get a lot of engagement from your friends that want to know what you’re doing.

When you’re about a month or so out from launching your campaign, you should make a video about the big reveal of your project. The video should be about two minutes long and should start out by addressing the problem. About 75% of the video should be spent talking about the problem and how you (or your cat) have been affected by it. In the last 25% of the video, you’ll announce what Project Rested Kitty is and tell them about your memory foam cat bed laced with catnip. Tell them how they can get involved.

The video should be released to a captive audience. Live events work well. Or you can create an event on Facebook and invite all your friends to watch the video.

Make sure before you release the video that you’ve set up two email opt-in lists through your email provider like AWeber or Mailchimp. You should have one list that’s for people that want updates on your product and campaign, we’ll call this list the Founders list. The other list should be for people that want to get involved and help, or the Ambassador List.

You need to send the Founders a video every week giving them a weekly update. Let them know that they’re the only people that are getting this exclusive update. Ask them to forward the email to their friends and post about it on Facebook. Tell them to tell people how they can get on the Founders list too. You could even provide them with clickable tweets that they can share. Click-to-Tweet’s great for this.

People that sign up for the Ambassador List genuinely want to get involved. However, if you don’t nurture this list, they’ll quickly move on. The best way to get them involved and make them feel like they’re a part of your campaign, is to talk to them personally. Call them, or meet them for coffee. Tell them what you’re doing and let them know you can’t do this without them. Ask them to start spreading the word through their social media contacts.

None of this is difficult to do. If you follow these steps you’ll be well on your way to creating an organic list of people that are truly interested in your crowdfunding campaign and want to help you succeed.

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