5 Ways to Ensure a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

Linda Jenkins, October 10 2015

If you have a great business idea but don't have a lot of money to invest into it, crowdfunding is a good, viable option. You might have had trouble finding traditional investment and want to open your project to the community so that they can help you succeed. Several multi-million-dollar companies have been started via Kickstarter, GoFundMe, IndieGoGo and other crowdfunding platforms.

But for every idea that makes it big, there are many that fail to reach their goals on these crowdfunding websites. What separates the successes from the also-rans? More importantly, what do you need to do as an entrepreneur to ensure that your product or service is embraced by the masses?

Here are five tips you can use to make sure your crowdfunding campaign stands out from the competition:

1. Know your audience beforehand.

A shocking number of entrepreneurial ventures fail because the founders don't perform enough market research. Having a broad idea of your audience is simply not good enough. You have to understand the mindset of a person who will visit your campaign page and agree to contribute their hard-earned money.
crowdfunding success
You can find a lot of information about your customers by researching online or attending events where businesses similar to yours convene. You have to understand specifics, such as age range, gender, marital status and average income, to have the ability to refine your campaign. 

2. Appeal to your contributor's emotions.

You are driven by emotional responses. In fact, most of your buying decisions (even the ones you convince yourself are driven by rational thought) are the result of an emotional connection to the product or service. Use this phenomenon to your advantage.

Make sure your campaign is driven by a strong emotional message. Craft your call-to-action and the copy on your page around this central emotional message. You want to frame your product or service as a chance for your contributors to be a part of a unique adventure or trend. After you've done this, you have to add sizable rewards and incentivize your audience to become contributors.

3. Create top-notch content.

The "Coolest Cooler" campaign was a failure when it originally appeared on Kickstarter. After the original campaign didn't make it, so the creators went back to the drawing board and relaunched it with a different message and better content. "Coolest Cooler" went on to become one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all time. The product was unchanged, but the content made the difference the second time around.

Make sure you put a special emphasis on your content. If you're not good at creating copy, find someone who is. Get a good photographer and put up some amazing shots of your product or service in action. Find someone who can shoot a cool-looking video to showcase your idea. In the competitive crowdfunding marketplace, content is king.

4. Find the influencers and super-fans in your niche.

A large percentage of your overall contributions will come from a relatively small group of backers. These are people who believe in your product intensely and are willing to put down a sizable amount of money to see it succeed. Leverage the power of these fans and empower them to become ambassadors for your brand.

Additionally, look for people who are experts and authorities in your niche. Talk to these people, send them a demo and convince them to promote your product. If your idea works as advertised, most people will be happy to endorse it.

5. Update your campaign constantly.

Frequent updates are a great way to convince your audience their dollars are being put to good use. If you're away from your page for weeks at a time, people might get nervous about their contributions, and this could lead to backers pulling out, which in turn can result in negative press.

To avoid this, make sure you're always posting updates on your page to inform your backers about the progress of the project. Include any photographs and additional content that is relevant as the project begins to take shape.

Crowdfunding campaigns are a boon for new small business owners and entrepreneurs who have a great idea but don't want to navigate the VC landscape. According to estimates, the crowdfunding market was worth $16 billion by the end of 2014, and it's constantly growing. If you want to be a crowdfunding success story, make sure you're using these tips to effectively market your campaign.


 Image courtesy freedigitalphotos & hywards