One of my favorite quotes from Henry David Thoreau has always been, “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” As Creative Director of Ripples Edge Media, I love being in the crowdfunding space because all of our clients – the creatives, the nonprofits, the entrepreneurs – come to us looking to produce a crowdfunding video for their “castle in the sky” idea. It’s incredibly inspiring!
But we also want to be sure we are setting our clients up for the most successful Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns possible. This requires clients first build foundations under their great ideas pre-campaign launch. A compelling crowdfunding video is one essential component for a successful campaign, but the other critical elements include clear & engaging messaging, effective marketing & promotions, social media engagement, PR and press contacts.
There are two methods for building foundations for a successful crowdfunding campaign:
1) The DIY Approach
This is the approach we recommend most crowdfunders, on a limited budget, take. This route requires months of groundwork laying to organically build up your social media following, email list and press contacts.
When it comes to crowdfunding, there is no silver bullet to a successful campaign. Generating buzz is about bringing your campaign directly to an interested and engaging following’s attention vs. launching and hoping people will find your campaign among a sea of others.
A rough outline of the work required pre-launch for a successful crowdfunding campaign includes:
A. Foundational Steps
- Research the most (and least!) successful crowdfunding launches
- Compile a list of 10 campaigns in your niche and reach out to the campaign managers to see if you can speak with them personally about their campaigns
- Learn everything you can about crowdfunding
- Take ecourses on how to create the biggest splash with your campaign. We recommend the Success with Crowdfunding courses and also, this hour long interview with Vann Alexandra on crowdfunding success secrets.
- Follow blogs with case studies about successful campaigns and how to launch a winning campaign (Our crowdfunding blog is a great place for this! *hint, hint* 😉
- Know your target audience and how to reach them
- Compile information on your audience’s demographics
- Build a document planning how you’ll position your marketing and campaign to reach this audience
- REACH YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE:
- We highly recommend Krowdster‘s research and engagement tool for all crowdfunding campaign. Krowdster is the first big data powered, cloud hosted crowdfunding analytics, optimization and promotion software. This software is available for a low monthly fee, with a 1 week free trial, and allows you to analyze, optimize and then promote your campaign to over 300,000 active crowdfunding supporters.
- Establish an engaged social following
- Create a website or landing page of some kind for your product, idea or cause where you can capture prospective donors’ information
- Maintain consistent social media profiles & engage authentically with your user base
- Build an email list
- Research niche sites/ forums related to your target market
- Start blogging & contribute guest blogs to sites that will establish your voice as an authority in your respective niche
- Create a timeline for your campaign (pre, during and post-launch phases)
- Choose a marketing budget
- Select a reasonable fundraising goal
B. Setting Media Goals
- Search for your ideal media contacts and press outlets (niche-specific and that have promoted similar ideas or causes to yours in the past)
- Identify blogs that have covered similar projects
- Find relevant forums and niche-specific fan sites
- Evaluate your sources and select your top 10
- Reach out to your top 10 media outlets pre-campaign launch
C. Creating Branded Marketing Materials
- Write your campaign page copy
- Hire a professional production company to create a compelling pitch video
D. Selecting a Crowdfunding Platform
- Select a platform with the funding mechanism best suited for your fundraising goals. (Kickstarter = all-or-none funding; Indiegogo = keep what you raise).
2) The ‘Bring in the Experts’ Approach
If you are unsure whether you have the personal network and public reach to pull off your target funding goal, and you have a modest to large marketing budget, then it may be time to invest in a bit of help from the professionals on the marketing, social media and PR fronts of your campaign.
A few of the most well-known crowdfunding PR agencies (in no particular order) include:
- Mad Hatter Agency: A full service agency based in Denver, Colorado specializing in crowdfunding and product launches, PR, advertising and building movements around ideas using growth hacking strategies.
- Metzger Albee: Founded in 1991 as one of the nation’s first technology public relations firms, Metzger Albee has led the evolution of public relations, investor relations, marketing and creative services through the Digital Age.
- Vann Alexandra: A crowdfunding PR and management agency getting projects finances through crowdfunding with a 100% success rate.
- Blaze PR: in business since 1990, BLAZE is an award-winning, strategic communications firm, with offices and affiliates in Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., and Santa Barbara.
- Fundzinger: An easy, affordable tool to turbocharge your fundraising by driving press and social media contacts to your campaign.
Now go forth and carve your own path to your dream! Our goal is always to set you up to soar and we hope you’ll let us help you along the journey with your Kickstarter video.