Crowdfunding has helped many entrepreneurs, businesses, and people across the globe raise the funds they need to complete particular projects, develop products or even help out a cause or person in need. Crowdfunding can be a great way to get the funding you need without having to go into debt, and it can help develop a buzz and awareness around whatever you’re raising money for.
In 2014, 16.2 billion (USD) was raised through crowdfunding campaigns globally, with 58% of that being in North America alone. There’s no question that crowdfunding is continuing to grow in popularity, and entrepreneurs like Josie and Ronny of Magnetree Books were just two of those entrepreneurs taking advantage of this platform to help kick start their business.
Josie and Ronny’s goal was to reach $20,000 in 30 days so they could use the funds to place their first order of books and purchase tools and supplies for making the magnets that come with each book purchase. They had debated over starting the campaign for months and ultimately decided to launch their crowdfunding campaign because they wanted to:
A) Get their product ready for the holiday shopping season.
B) Expand their community to test their product.
C) Take advantage of the brand awareness and marketing potential a crowdfunding campaign could offer.
But starting a crowdfunding campaign doesn’t happen overnight, in fact, it involves a ton of work and planning in order to be successful. Here are five things to think about before you launch, according to Magnetree co-founder, Josie.
1) Shape your brand
Before you even launch your campaign, it’s important to shape your brands identity. Naturally we support people who we feel a connection with so it’s important to decide what you stand for as a company and let that be a part of everything you do.
Crowdfunding wouldn’t be crowdfunding without the crowd. Your community is a huge part of running a successful campaign. To start, Magnetree started a focus group where they invited 100 people from their target market and offered a free book in exchange for their ideas and feedback. “We weren’t just testing our ideas, we were building a community of supporter’s who would help us expand our reach more than we could imagine,” Josie explained.
3) The video
With every good crowdfunding campaign comes a video, which is a critical part in your campaign. Choose what format you will create your video on, whether it’s through your phone or with a professional, and use this video to tell your story. Humans will connect with your brand because of the story, and your audience wants to know what brought you to where you are today and where you’ll go with their help.
4) Public Relations
Before launching your campaign, don’t forget about public relations. Reach out to bloggers in your space and find a way to stand out to them. For example, Magnetree made a list of 60 influential mommy bloggers and reached out to them with a personalized video about their campaign. Another important thing is to make sure you have is a media kit to distribute to people like bloggers in your outreach. You want to create as much buzz about your campaign as possible prior to launching your campaign, so when it launches that momentum continues.
5) Create your campaign
A few tips that Josie recommends is to:
- Include the cost of shipping and fulfillment in your reward cost structure
- Set a realistic fulfillment date
- Include a lot of pictures in your description and carry the same branding and design throughout
Once you have created your campaign and you’re ready to launch, it may be an idea to host an event inviting people in your network, media and bloggers to get the buzz going.
6) Launch your campaign
Now that you’ve launched, spread the word of your campaign far and wide by contacting everyone you know through personal outreach, Facebook messages, and paid promotions. You want your campaign to reach as many people as possible in your target audience.
Taking the time to plan for your campaign execution will help set yourself up for success before launching your campaign. So follow these steps to get yourself started on the right foot.