So, you have taken the bold step of crowdfunding your project. You may be an artist who wants to fund a project that’s important to you personally but not supported by traditional sources of distribution. Or maybe you’re an entrepreneur with a product you believe can be the next Pebble SmartWatch or Flow Hive that hasn’t yet been endorsed by angel investors or venture capitalists.
How do you take your idea from the drawing board to your audience and enlist support to turn your project into reality?
Here are five proven ways to attract more contributions to your crowdfunding campaign on any platform:
1. Figure out who your audience will be, prior to launch.
This might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at how little people know about their ideal contributor. Most people advise you to start off by asking friends and family and connections on social media sites. However, to be effective, you have to go way beyond that.
The number of people you know is extremely limited. So, your first task for obtaining the contributions your project needs to succeed is to identify whom this project matters to and the best way to communicate with those people. If your category is specialized, find out which online blog, magazine and/or trade publications the industry is reading. These can give you insight into how your potential contributors consume information..
2. Nail down an emotional message and stick to it.
Focus on provoking an emotional response and drill away. Emotional messaging goes far beyond asking for money. You are providing your potential contributors with an opportunity to participate in a unique journey that will result in the success of a project important to both of you.
If you succeed in getting your audience to trust you as a leader in producing what they want and are already passionate about, you’ll be on the road to a successful campaign. Pinpoint the proper messaging for your “call to action” and rally your audience behind you. Then, create the proper rewards and experience to foster loyalty and passion.
3. Develop the best content possible and constantly update your community about it.
Buzzfeed’s Jonathan Perelman said it best: "Content is king, but distribution is queen and she wears the pants.“ Of course your platform of choice will help distribute the contents of your campaign, but what’s the point if it’s not worth consuming? Make your campaign as entertaining as possible and you will find that people are much more likely to contribute. They are also more likely to contribute if you involve them.
Make sure all contributors know that they are with you on this journey, from idea to completion. Create a recursive feedback loop that provides input for product innovation and further rewards. Offer an incentive for audience members to share this content with their friends so that more people hear about what you are doing and why it is important for them to support the project.
4. Identify any “super-fans” and harness their power.
Fifty percent of the funding dollars contributed to most campaigns come from this small group of people. This is the group that cares about the campaign’s outcome the most and will support it with their dollars as well as their personal social networks, on and offline. Let them be your evangelists, but be prepared to reward them for their unyielding support.
5. Focus on backers, not dollars.
This means staying away from talking about money, and focusing on telling backers how the success of your campaign is going to benefit them. The dollars will come if you focus on helping this group understand what they’re getting out of the completed project and how they can help build the community that will result in you reaching your goal.
Remember, these are the people behind evangelizing the campaign. They believe in you and are proud of the project. They will vote with their dollars. But, more importantly, they will communicate the importance of your campaign to their personal networks, which will result in the other half of the contributions you receive. Offer special incentives/rewards each time a backer milestone has been exceeded.