Lorenzo Grandi is Founder in Residence at Startupbootcamp Amsterdam. In this post, he shares his experience in what makes a crowdfunding campaign successful.
You decided to use crowdfunding to launch your project. Congratulations! Here are a few steps you can follow to increase your chances to make it right. To write these steps I’ll use the experience we had with relayr‘s crowdfunding campaign here at Startupbootcamp.
1. What can you offer?
Crowdfunding is a very common way to achieve different goals: raising awareness about your product; testing your assumptions about the market; gaining traction; building your community; oh well, raising money. There are different platforms to do it but the first question is: what can you offer?
Crowdfunding can be either donation-based or investment-based. The first is essentially a way to pre-sell your product. Besides well-known sites as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, here you can find many other options.
Investment crowdfunding, on the other hand, is about selling ownership stakes of your company in the form of equity or debt. Today we’ll go with the donation-based option though.
2. Get acquainted
Kickstarter has a few recommendations about what is necessary for your project to be accepted on their platform: what kind of project you can submit, what your goals should be like, etc. You may want to check this out.
3. Benchmarking and inspiration
You should know well who your competitors are and how they’re doing. It’s also important to understand what has been working for them about crowdfunding. If you are in the Internet of Things market, here are a lot of successful IoT campaigns.
4. Prepare your strategy in advance
Preparation is crucial and the earlier, the better. A few contents are usually necessary on the campaign page to increase your chances. Campaigns that feature a video are way more likely to get funded. Here you have some tips about the shooting. Other basic assets you need to provide: the features of your product; why you’re doing what you do; what your backers will get; pictures of the product and the team.
Besides what you show on the campaign page, you also may want to reach out to the right people to let them know you’re going to rock. Writing to bloggers and journalists the day the campaign starts isn’t the best time: they need to know in advance. So do your homework: research the opinion leaders in your market and contact them weeks before the launch.
5. Where is your target?
You also need to understand who and where your target audience is. Here’s another homework for you: find the places where people gather and talk about the kind of stuff you’re doing. Spend time on Google and check carefully the main social networks: is your audience on Quora? Do they use LinkedIn groups? Maybe they spend time on Google+. Wait, is there a forum for that? If your friends belong to your target you can ask them directly.
In the end you have a list of blogs, magazines, social media pages, forums and people that are related to your market. Now you can try different strategies to engage them. Recently guest blogging is very effective – our friends at Twoodo can teach how to do it right!
6. Start tracking everything
As long as you start taking actions online, you should start measuring them. Analysis is crucial to understand what works for you, what can be improved and what should be killed. Whenever you use a new channel to spread your contents you can create a new link to be able to track back where your visitors come from. This can be done every time, both before and after the launch. A two-step tracking can help:
a. use the Google URL builder to add some parameters you’ll see on Google Analytics afterwards;
b. shorten every link you create with bit.ly. You need to create an account to access bit.ly stats and double check your Analytics.
Now you’re – almost – ready to launch!
To be continued…
What else have you done before launching your campaign? Please use comments below or tweet @lorenzograndi4.