While an exceptional campaign can find outpourings of support from all across the web, much of the support may still come from people who already know your work: your fans, friends and community. Too often, entrepreneurs launch a crowdfunding campaign on a platform and anticipate “platform traffic” to convert into “campaign customers” and by the time the campaign is over, they feel like they’ve been let down. In their defence, the major platforms have done a poor job of educating the market on crowdfunding.
At UpEffect, we recommend treating your campaign like a business launch - if you’ve decided to take a product to market, then be prepared to put in the hours to make your business succeed. Crowdfunding is a 30-day marketing campaign for launching your business.
Below are some things to consider when spreading the word:
Prepare an outreach plan
Outside of your fans, friends and family, who will be interested in your campaign? How will you convince them to buy a reward? Gather lists of relevant blogs, media outlets and relevant communities - like message boards, forums, Facebook Groups, LinkedIn communities or people you know will care about your work. If you're making a solar light, rally up all the clean and solar energy communities on the web.
Pitch the press
Google topics and projects related to yours and find out who writes about them. Journalists get between 200 - 500 emails a day, for your project to stand out, it has to be a topic that is close to their heart. They don't like being pitched ideas that aren't topics they usually write about.
Announce your campaign
Before you launch, let people know about your launch date so that they're ready to pledge on day one. The most successful campaigns secure at least 90% of their funding goal pre-launch. That is why you will notice the best campaigns meet their goal on day one of launch. Before you share your project, ensure you have traction and success. Nothing attracts a crowd more than a crowd.
Line up help
Many campaign creators have described crowdfunding as an intense but rewarding experience. If your goal is ambitious, try to find collaborators, peers and friends to help you get the word out.
Host an event
Consider launching your campaign with your friends, family and fans in one room with the project page on a large screen and rally up support throughout the event.
- Set up your social media channels and identify the optimal time for posting on these platforms (each platform varies). Research the platforms your backers use and build relationships with them prior to the launch of your campaign so that you can rally their support when the time comes.
- Draft your emails, letters, press releases and schedule social media messages
- Is your launch date falling on any international days that you can leverage for marketing?
- Design and use promotional graphics – people love connecting with strong visuals.
- Put together milestone videos e.g. thank you videos, updates
- Post regular updates on your project – what are you up to behind the scenes?
- Ask, ask and ask. The biggest mistake campaign creators make is that they forget to ask for support.