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Successful Crowdfunding Starts With Planning

You have a project that you’re passionate about.  You know the basics of crowdfunding.  Now what?

Like so many things in life, crowdfunding success depends on hard work and planning.  I’ve included the links to three articles, one book, and a few videos on successful crowdfunding campaigns to help you research and plan your campaign.  These links and looking over other successful and unsuccessful crowdfunding offerings are a good place to start in planning your campaign.

You will find that these resources have some things in common.  I think of them as three areas of focus.  The areas are connecting, perks, and the pitch.  While success in business can be stated in the mantra, “location, location, location,” crowdfunding success depends on the three pillars of connecting, perks, and the pitch.

Successful crowdfunding campaigns usually tap into the project creators’ own network of connections.  Their family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and peers are crucial in helping to get the word out and offering some support for the project.  A well run campaign will also tap into is an interested community.  For instance, if you are making a documentary on sailing, it would make sense to post on sailing forums, be interviewed on sailing news sites, or even advertise on those sites.

A big part of connecting is letting interested parties know that your project exists.  Then stay connected with these parties.  Use social media, your kickstarter or indiegogo page, your personal website or even telephone to make sure you keep your supporters engaged in your project.  A motivated army of supporters will help to get the word out about your project.

Do people understand your project?  Do they get a sense of your passion about the project?  Can they understand why your project matters?  What are the perks?  Do they believe you can pull your project off?  A good pitch helps to answer these questions and more.  Your campaign pitch is very important in your success as a crowdfunder.  The most important part of a pitch is a good pitch video.  A good video can really launch a campaign.

Perks are the third pillar of crowdfunding success.  Perks are the sizzle to the steak.  Make sure your perks have worth to your supporters.  Also important is to make sure you offer perks at various price points.  Most successful campaigns offer perks at a number of prices: $5, $15, $25, $50, $100, $250, etc.

Campaigns are, by definition, a planned series of actions to achieve some goal.  The following resources should offer a good starting point in planning your strategy.  And remember to research other campaigns.  Knowledge about what works in terms of perks, the pitch and connecting to an audience, will help you plan smarter.  Finally, begin to use your community of supporters to help you plan your campaign early.  Supporters can help you attract funders and build your audience.


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On Giveaways and Perks

'Gift' photo (c) 2006, asenat29 - license:

Whether they’re called giveaways, prizes, gifts, rewards, incentives or just thank yous, the principal behind the word is the same; people are more likely to support your project if they receive something in return for their donation.  The perk itself is one of the major selling points to your crowdfunding pitch.  Perks add value to your campaign’s pitch.  These perks do not have to be physical, like a DVD or book; they can also be intangible items like a digital download or personal phone call.

Intangible perks can be divided into two major categories: digital and experiences.  Experience based perks work because of the exclusivity of the offer.  Musician’s might offer guitar lessons or a meet and greet.  An author with expertise in a certain area might offer a one on one skype consultation.  Another area of experience based perks is services.  A writer could offer to edit a website’s copy or an artist could offer a personalized image for a blog. Experienced based perks should be unique to your personal skills.

Offering an advance digital download of an app your creating is an example of a digital perk.  Other digital perks are eBooks, mp3’s, desktop wallpaper, or exclusive website access.  These types of perks offer a cheap alternative to physical gifts.  Once a digital file is created, distributing thousands of copies is easy.  Digital perks are the perfect low cost way of collecting small amounts of money from many to donors to fund a campaign.

Physical perks are common giveaways for crowdfunding campaigns.  T-shirts, posters, calendars, books, comics, DVD’s, and flash drives are examples of this type of perk.  For some campaigns, like new inventions, offering a physical product is a no brainer.  Other campaigns, like for a new website, might offer physical products to fill a gap in their fundraising offerings.

Most campaigns will use a mixture of these perks.  A musician might offer a thank you note on their website, a digital download of their album, a backstage pass, a t-shirt, and autographed memorabilia.  The JOBS Act will allow entrepreneurs to offer a share in future profits – a whole new level of perk.  However, this website will focus on providing ideas and examples of cool digital, experience and physical products that could be used as gifts to donors.

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