Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular way of funding everything from new gadgets, to apps, games and hardware. But raising that cash is slightly trickier than simply creating a page and hoping for the best. So how can start-ups best leverage crowdfunding to grow their business? IndieGoGo’s Director of UK and Europe, Joel Hughes guest-blogs for us with this advice.

Most successful campaigners spend months planning their campaigns before actually launching. At Indiegogo, we recommend beginning the process at least two months before your launch date – the minimum amount of time needed to build a community around your idea and create a strong email list, which are two key factors in your campaign’s success. Check out our top 10 tips on how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign.

1. Build Your All-Star Team

Did you know that crowdfunding campaigns run by a team raise over three times as much as campaigns run by an individual do? Think about who can join you to help not only with the completion of your product itself, but with things like your pitch video, product shots, infographics and any other assets that will help make your campaign page more robust and engaging.

2. Grow Your Social Media Presence

Social media is one of the best ways to spread the word about your campaign. Start by creating profiles for all of the channels relevant to your target audience that you and your team are comfortable with (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.). Depending on the type of campaign you’re running, some of these channels will be more relevant than others.

3. Build Your Community and Email List

We mentioned that having a strong email list is one of two key components to launching a successful crowdfunding campaign. Therefore, it’s important to collect emails of people who you think might be interested in your idea when preparing for your launch. Using a variety of different tools, such as landing pages, events, social media and in-person collection of contact information will help you collect emails from many sources, expanding your potential network.

4. Create Perks Your Audience Will Love

Perks are an excellent way to incentivise people to contribute to your campaign. When organising and preparing for your campaign launch, it’s crucial to create perks that your audience will love. Start by designing your campaign perk structure and make sure you will be able to fulfill them so in a timely fashion. You should also decide which special perks you’ll introduce later on in your campaign to keep the momentum going.

5. Tell Your Story and Create Your Campaign

Be transparent with your audience about who you are, why you are running this campaign, and exactly what you’ll use the funds for by using a combination of:
Pitch Video – Not only do campaigns with pitch videos raise four times more funds than those without, but videos are an extremely effective and engaging way to communicate with your target audience while offering you full creative control.
Images and Infographics – In addition to your video, high-quality visuals help to quickly paint a picture of who you are and what you want to achieve. Visuals, such as infographics and product shots, are much more digestible, shareable and engaging than blocks of text.
Pitch Text – We’ve spent a lot of time focusing on visuals, like your video and images, but it’s equally as important to have strong pitch text on your campaign page. We recommend breaking it up into sections with headers so that it’s easy for people to quickly skim your entire campaign and still retain information.

6. Launching Your Campaign

Divide Your Email List – Remember all those emails you collected through social media, networking events, landing pages and word-of-mouth? You already selected the core group of supporters (your host committee) and have been actively keeping them updated with your progress. Now it’s time to divide the remaining emails into groups for your email blasts during the campaign.

Soft Launch – A soft launch occurs before your official launch, takes place over a 1 to 2 day (up to a week) period and is reserved only for your host committee and early supporters to help you reach at least 30% of your goal before the official launch. Having a strong start before the public sees your campaign will create a sense of ease and comfort for others when considering contributing.

Public Launch – Once you hit 30% of your goal from your own community, you’re ready to start reaching out to the crowd. During your public launch, plan to send out an email blast to the group you’ve identified as the individuals on your entire contact list who are most likely to contribute to your campaign. Create social media posts that are exciting and encourage people to donate.

7. Maintaining Momentum

You might have heard that 42% of funds are raised in the first and last 3 days of a campaign, demonstrating the importance of having a strong launch and strong finish as well as a mid-campaign strategy to maintain momentum. You can keep momentum by adding new perks, videos, infographics, and by replying to comments and adding campaign milestone updates.

8. Campaign Page Updates

The easiest way to send a message to all of your backers at once is via a campaign page update. These updates get automatically emailed to everyone who has contributed to your campaign and are visible on the campaign page itself. Updates are a great way to foster a sense of community, announce milestones and set expectations during and after the campaign.

9. Consider your Press Strategy

You should consider whether you have the skills to not only draft a smashing press-release, but also to reach out to the media and see about getting your campaign in the news and media. If you have the budget, it’s a good idea to think about working with a PR agency or freelancer ahead of launching your campaign to give you the best support possible for the duration of your campaign. If your budget is a little tight, once you’ve reached 40-50% it’s worth drafting a press release and contact key players in the media who cover products similar to yours to see if they might cover your campaign.

10. Finishing Strong

Your campaign is coming to a close, and ideally by now you will have raised the majority of your goal, if not more! Finish strong by making sure all the logistics are sorted and making one final push to raise funds at the end. Enter your bank account information in your campaign, call your bank to confirm details and learn about when you’ll receive the money.

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