1. Keep it short.
Campaigns lasting fewer than thirty days have a higher success rate: “shorter projects set a tone of confidence and help motivate your backers to join the party.” [X] It’s also harder to maintain momentum if you have a longer campaign. Backers lose interest and you’ll run out of energy from the time each day a successful campaign requires.
2. Include a budget.
This shows you’ve done your homework. Your published goal should be the absolute minimum you need to get started—you can always go over your limit, but if you don’t hit your goal you typically don’t get any of the money at all. But don’t sell yourself short and have a minimum that’s too low. Kickstarter keeps 5% of money raised and there’s a small fee on credit card transactions (see their taxes page). For a higher fee, you can choose the “flexible funding” option on Indiegogo, which means you get to keep whatever money you raise, whether you hit your goal or not.
3. Set up good rewards,
but consider the cost of each one. You’re responsible for fulfilling all of them, so don’t make them too cheap. See each one as a promise. The most popular pledge size is $25 and the site-wide average (on Kickstarter) is $70. Factor this into your decision and offer a range of options for people on all kinds of budgets.
4. Campaign early.
Reach out to everyone you know and include a personal note. Most of your early support will come from friends and family, but they won’t respond to spammy messages. Do a lot of this before you launch to get your momentum going. Build your email list ahead of time. Don’t forget to follow up individually too.
5. Understand the time investment.
Plan to spend a lot of hours on this project…and I mean a LOT. According to Richard Swart from University of California’s Program for Innovation in Entrepreneurial and Social Finance, successful campaigns (that raised more than $100,000) had people behind them spend 200 hours preparing and 136 hours managing. And remember: you don’t get your money until your campaign is over. This means you’re looking at investing 336+ hours before seeing your money.
6. Keep your backers updated.
Show them behind-the-scenes footage or information. Indiegogo says campaigns with at least three updates raise 239% more than those with fewer updates. You should send an update every few days with news, an update, and maybe a photo or video to keep investors interested. Interested backers will tell their friends about your product…which means more money for you.
7. Plan for “stretch goals”
If you raise more than the minimum, what will you try to do next? More colors, additional sizes? Offering additional incentives can help propel your campaign far past your original goal.
8. Hit 20% as soon as you can.
This is where your family, friends, and email list come in handy. Most campaigns that reach this mark make it to the finishing line. People are more likely to fund your campaign if they see that other people are too. If you can hit this goal, you have an 80% chance of success.
9. Look at other successful campaigns.
See what they’ve done that has helped them achieve success and emulate them. Read advice from successful crowdfunding campaigns and learn from them.
10. Play by their rules.
Don’t forget to read your site’s terms of service to make sure you’re not breaking any rules. Running a successful crowdfunding campaign involves entering a relationship with your backers, and you need to earn their trust before you can do that.
Have any more tips? Leave a comment to share!