How to Successfully Crowdfund Your Project (And Reasons Why You Should)
What Is Crowdfunding?
In the realm of E-Commerce, getting a company or even a concept off the ground can be tough, especially in terms of possessing capital freedom. When seeking a large-sum investment or loan seems unfeasible or inefficient, crowdfunding offers entrepreneurs more flexibility. Crowdfunding is when a business or person raises an amount of money through small contributions from many people.
Supporters of crowdfunding campaigns typically receive something in exchange for their support directly, and donate with the hopes that a project succeeds. Often, the reward given to contributors is the final product itself, where funds are used to manufacture said item – called reward-based crowdfunding. An alternative option is equity crowdfunding, where investors fund start-ups in return for capital or a portion of the business. Crowdfunding is a popular option among people who want to secure a market for their product, can’t obtain funding from outside sources, or don’t want to sink large amounts of personal capital into something that requires a high upfront cost.
Picking a Platform and Planning Your Campaign
There are plenty of avenues for crowdfunding your specific campaign, and you may already have one in mind. Some crowdfunding platforms are designed for certain product types specifically, while others may be more beneficial based on your location or country. Overall, there are a few that are more popular, in part because they offer more campaign setting flexibility and options for determining your audience and demographic.
Kickstarter is a popular platform, with the only downside that it can be tough to be featured among such a large number of campaigns. Campaigns hosted on Kickstarter are all-or-nothing, and meeting your funding goal requires some extra planning to ensure you’ll reach it.
For an equity-centric crowdfunding platform, Seedrs is a great option. This platform connects investors to up-and-coming companies, allowing people to raise capital by buying into businesses. Seedrs allows companies to acquire new customers and grow a professional network alongside their crowdfunding, making campaigns more multi-faceted.
Indiegogo is another top-tier crowdfunding option, which offers both fixed and flexible funding. Indiegogo tends to be more oriented on music, travel, and technology, though any category goes.
One last popular site is Patreon. Patreon is support based on monthly contributions, where supporters can receive rewards each month for the typically-smaller amounts they provide. This platform is especially helpful for projects with smaller moving parts or sub-projects that are produced for consumers along the way. Artists, musicians, and content creators tend to thrive here.
These options are all more generalised, but don’t think you have to go big to succeed. Finding a smaller, niche crowdfunding platform can be ideal for marketing to your desired audience!
Designing Your Campaign Page
Once you’ve decided on a platform, it’s time to start drafting your campaign page. A campaign page is what supporters see when they click into the details of your project. Campaign pages should be crafted to be simple and clear. Your title should be descriptive, without puns or clever nuances. As for page copy, the goal is a concise description of your project that doubles as a persuasive piece. For projects that need more depth or explanation, design the page so that the intro could serve as enough information to support the campaign alone, and add additional details below. This gives more involved supporters the chance to learn more if they so desire, but doesn’t force anyone to read beyond their attention span to understand the project’s end goal.
If you’re struggling on where to get started, begin by searching for similar products or services on popular crowdfunding sites. See how successful companies that have hit their full funding lay out their information, and what types of financial goals seem achievable for your specific market. You can also look into unrelated categories that seem to be trending or doing well. Analyse their language and how they talk about their project. Don’t be afraid to borrow techniques or information layouts. If it works to get a project funded, then it’s worth pursuing.
Choosing a Campaign Goal
Goals are not arbitrary numbers, nor are they truly goals in the sense that you aim above your realistic funding maximum. If your campaign goal is too low, you may miss out on potential contributors who see you’ve already hit your funding. If it’s too high, you may never make it – which can return all money to contributors depending on your chosen platform. You should consider the number absolutely necessary to start physically producing your product. You really can’t go below this goal unless you’re capable of funding the rest of the financial barrier yourself. From there, consider how money beyond that necessary funding would be used. Would it even be beneficial? Would it go towards marketing that could boost the project long-term? Most of all, how does your goal compare to similar projects? When alike campaigns have wildly different campaign goals, consumers may be persuaded into backing the one with a lower price tag, knowing that their money is more likely to become a tangible object.
Promoting Your Campaign...The Whole Campaign
Without constant promotion, the likelihood of a project succeeding quickly dwindles. Promoting your campaign ensures people will, at a minimum, see it. There are many ways to spread information, especially in the age of technology. If you have the funds, paid advertising may be the way to go. Composing an email or mailing list is also an option, which is typically done through creating related informational content and collecting readers’ contact info. With notably innovative ideas, smaller news and press outlets may be interested in running a piece on you and your product. Easiest of all, social media gives you the ability to market yourself, always with the potential of going viral or reaching entirely new audiences. Depending on your product and connections, asking friends, family, coworkers, or peers to spread the campaign is possible too.
Before starting your campaign, plan out what you’ll do to market it for each day that it runs. Unlike products that sit on the market for years, time is incredibly essential here. With each day, you should have achievable goals for a number of backers, understanding that the beginning and end of a campaign are when the highest number of people will show their support. Assuming that posting about the campaign each week is enough is not often the case, and you should aim for press, ads, and unique marketing tactics constantly. Feeling especially creative? Consider rewards or giveaways of sorts that precede your final product. For example, if you’re funding an article of clothing, choose one lucky backer to receive a mockup or original design. If you’re funding the writing of a book, give backers a short excerpt as a thank you for supporting the entire piece.
Make It Happen
Every company that runs a crowdfunding campaign knows – achieving your funding goal is just the beginning. From there, production begins, and things can become hectic as you work through logistics in real time. There are a portion of campaigns that become funded but never follow through, and it’s best to not become one of them. Have a timeline and plan already outlined before launching your campaign; it’s the best way to guarantee your success.
Full Fat Commerce’s Support of Crowdfunding
In our time of customising Shopify sites to grow businesses’ E-Commerce presence, we’ve watched clients succeed through stellar crowdfunding efforts. In fact, Labfresh is one of Europe’s most-backed fashion brands on Kickstarter! We know that having a website that properly displays your capabilities as a brand can be essential for garnering support, and our team of designers, web developers, project managers, and QA testers is ready to formulate a platform to support your campaign. Contact us today for top-tier sites and priority support, or check out a description of all of our helpful services.