Crowdfunding is no longer a fringe concept, it’s a legitimate way to fund your growing business. Whether you’ve developed a service concept, a brand new app, or even an idea for a product you just know will be a hit, launching a crowdfunding campaign is a great way to get the ball rolling.
The question is, how do you garner support for a campaign no one even knows exists?
Here are six steps to getting your crowdfunding campaign to take off.
Start planning for social media way before you launch.
If you’re not already active on social media it’s going to be pretty much impossible to kick off crowdfunding and a social media presence at the same time.
You need to cultivate Facebook and Twitter presences, at the very least, for months before you launch your campaign and it’s smart to set up both business presences as well as personalized, “human” profiles as well.
During the planning phase it’s also smart to investigate other social sites (Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) you might want to us depending on your target market.
Make sure you choose the right platforms.
Not only is it important to choose the right social sites to market your campaign, you need to decide where your crowdfunding campaign should live.
There are literally hundreds of active crowdfunding sites, each with their own set of rules and features that appeal to different users.
You’ll want to consider everything from the fee the site charges to the activity it requires to keep your campaign alive.
Consider spending money to make it.
Sometimes it can be genuinely helpful to pay a PR or marketing firm to assist you in your efforts, especially if you want to raise a lot of capital.
It’s also a good idea to spend some cash creating an engaging, aesthetically pleasing campaign: photographs, mock-ups of the product, and even professional-produced videos. People will be more interested in contributing to a cause they think is professionally run and will manage their money well.
Engage, thank, and reward your investors.
No one gives money to a crowdfunding campaign without getting something in return whether it’s a t-
shirt or a promise of a fantastic product in the future.
The more you interact with your fans (answering questions, providing follow-up information) as well as thank them both verbally and with free SWAG, the more traction you’re going to get as those fans tell others about their awesome experience.
Viral starts with engagement.
Consistently put out content surrounding your campaign.
The biggest mistake crowdfunders make is to create a fabulous campaign and…let it gather dust. Of course, the initial campaign blast is important but you can’t neglect the rest of the campaign as the first burst of excitement fades.
Consider a blog, a website, magazine interviews, or YouTube videos – anything to ensure people know you are still active, you are making progress and you’re ready to get to work.
Always follow through on your promises.
The worst thing you can do for your campaign is to sabotage yourself by failing to follow through.
Whether it’s a launch date, a ‘thank you’ gift, a prototype or even a charity donation, your campaign is only as good as the level of trust people have in your brand. Once you fail to live up to your promises you’re damaging that brand, sometimes irreversibly.
That’s bad business and it’s something you should to avoid at all cost.
Crowdfunding is a great way to attract small-time investors you otherwise wouldn’t have access to. And it offers more control than traditional money-raising options which is a particular bonus for creative minded startups. Success is in direct correlation to how much time and effort you put in!
Ryan Currie is a product manager at BizShark.com, with 5 years experience in online marketing and product development. In addition to web related businesses, he also enjoys the latest news and information on emerging technologies and open source projects.