Spike Lee does it, journalists do it and startups like the idea – of course, I am talking about crowdfunding. Since last year the number of platforms has exploded and more and more people upload their crowdfunding projects on the various websites. Unfortunately, not all projects are funded and only a lucky few make it into the crowdfunding Hall of Fame. On the other hand, one doesn’t need to be a creative mastermind to turn his or her crowdfunding project into an instant success. I was able to get my first ever project funded within 18 hours (which is still a record in Hamburg, Germany) and received over 400% of the money I asked for. Here are my top tips to make your crowdfunding successful:
1. Ask your friends and family
This is the easy part. Whenever a new crowdfunding idea comes to your mind, go out and test it. Whether with friends, family or your community doesn’t matter. If they understand it, your project has good chances of being successful.
2. Build on a story
Being a storyteller myself you might think I am heavily biased here, but your project won’t find any attention if you are not telling a story. So no matter if you are a director, musician or creative, you need to communicate the problem you want to solve with your project (pro hint: it’s not the money you want to generate!).
3. Show your expertise
Once the problem is outlined, you have to show your skills and expertise, otherwise you won’t get any funding. So if you are a film-maker and want to go on a new research trip in the far east, your crowdfunding fans want to know more about your movie-making and journalistic skills. Inspire your audience and convince them that you are the right person to crowdfund!
4. Offer a solution
Another very obvious tip, I guess. Here we are talking about media formats, products or other solutions money normally can’t buy. You can easily turn your book or film into a very personal one for every crowdfunder by offering creative incentives in return for their backing. Here you need to think of money-can’t-buy-incentives which can be linked to your personality. But if nobody knows that you are a marathon runner, nobody is likely to pay the 1,000€ to run the New York Marathon with you – unless you can guarantee a place on the starting list…
5. Give your story + skill + solution a face
Almost every crowdfunding platform now requires a video before greenlighting any new project. You don’t need to be a You Tube star to convince people online (have a look at the lighting, sound and quality of my video here), but the best rule of thumb is, the more money you ask for, the more professional your video has to be (the IT-startup Protonet was able to win 200,000€ within 48 minutes with this video).
6. Restrain your eagerness
Your video shouldn’t be longer than 120 to 150 seconds – and I really mean it. Nobody wants to watch 5 Min videos which are not funny and go on forever. Yes, you can introduce your startup team, but please do not show all their names. Let them sing Frère Jacques in their native tongues, for instance. Naturally, you should use your video to tell your story, show your expertise and offer a solution.
7. Call to action
What most crowdfunding projects tend to forget is a personal call to action. Don’t hide behind still images or voice-overs. Get in front of the camera and ask for the crowdfunding money! And as people are lazy and forgetful, remind them that they can help you by either clicking on the right (or whatever side) next to the video to crowdfund your project NOW!
8. Stop crying over spilt milk
Sometimes you haven’t had the time or the guts to ask other people about your crowdfunding. And now you are stuck with 0€ and only 13 days left to reach your goal of 1k. You can either admit defeat or use the project blog to give updates. Here you can also link to a new video or a better logo or a better jingle – you get the picture. Prematurely abandonded projects will also limit your future chances for crowdfunding success.
9. Get personally involved until the very end
If you aren’t as lucky as myself and earn your money prematurely, you have to be involved with your project until the very end. So e-mail marketing and social media marketing should be definitely on your list and do not forget the good old forums related to your topic (pro hint: only long-term forum members get instant support, newcomers will face skepticism). But please, don’t get cocky and tweet stuff like “This is the most interesting crowdfunding project ever” – people aren’t that stupid and will realize in a second that this is your project. Of course, you have to use your owned media channels (FB, Twitter, Instagram) excessively for the run-time of the project.
10. Inspire other networks than your own
Assumed you got the story, skills and solution right, produced a good video your main aim should now be to convince your immediate surroundings to back your projects – meaning that you and your team + family and friends should invest in your project. Only then you can start working on convincing other communities – in your city or state. Here you might use traditional media channels, but don’t waste too much money and time on that. If your story sucks, this won’t help either.
You need help with your crowdfunding project?
Contact me for a free feedback via mail, Twitter, Facebook or phone!