Before you even consider how to promote your crowdfunding campaign you need to ask yourself two important questions…
What Are You Selling? And Who Will Buy It?
Successful crowdfunding begins when you’ve accurately and honestly answered these questions. That’s because there’s no other way to identify your crowdfunding audience. Without knowing who you’re trying to reach, even the best crowdfunding services with legendary crowdfunding PR and epic methods to promote a crowdfunding campaign won’t be as effective as it can be.
To keep things interesting there are four possible answers to these questions depending on which of the four below categories a crowdfunding campaign falls into:
One – Did you already build/develop/design/patent a product and you’re using a crowdfunding project to raise the funds you need to bring it to market?
Two – Do you have an IDEA about building/developing/designing/patenting a product and you’re using crowdfunding to validate your idea as a form of very low cost but very effective market research? A secondary objective could be to raise the funds needed to roll out the product.
Three – Are you engaging in nonprofit crowdfunding in seeking funds for a worthy cause such as somebody’s mounting medical bills which they have no ability to pay, preserving the African rain forest, saving the whales or helping someone with a legal defense fund?
Four – Are you counting on successful crowdfunding for something with a limited geographical reach? These could include profit-driven as well as non-profit causes such as acquiring a food truck or opening a restaurant, expanding a bookstore, helping a homeless shelter or securing funding for an after-school problem for at-risk youth.
For the purposes of simplicity we’ll group every possible tangible or intangible product imaginable into the “product” category including gadgets, do-dads, apps, films, books, music EPs, etc. with the one qualifier for category one being that the product can either be shipped or downloaded.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these categories.
Category two crowdfunders will either be very happy with their crowdfunding results such that they will have either crowdfunding success or be satisfied with failure in that they realize their idea is not viable which enables them to move on to their next idea and try again. Crowdfunding campaign managers accept reality easily and realize that crowdfunding PR, activities all geared around the single mindset of “promote crowdfunding campaign, advertise crowdfunding project” going off in their head over and over again and possibly hiring a crowdfunding consultant led them to this outcome. Typically a category 2 crowdfunding campaign is a team effort consisting of a few or even several people. When a category two campaign joins the hallowed ranks of successful crowdfunding campaigns, the entrepreneur has validation of their idea and has all the funds they need to finish the product, start production, and then honor their obligation to fulfill all of the perks promised during the crowdfunding project. Category two crowdfunders are the happiest ones even if they encounter crowdfunding failure because while success would be nice, failure doesn’t lead to a life-changing loss or letdown. They accept the outcome, nod their head and go back to the drawing board to think up their next good idea.
Category one crowdfunders have that “build it and they will come” mindset regarding successful crowdfunding which almost always backfires leading to the exact opposite; crowdfunding failure. I can’t tell you how many times category one crowdfunders ignored all of the crowdfunding tips I gave them – even if they paid for crowdfunding consulting! Sometimes I’ll see a few things horribly wrong with a crowdfunding project and provide some free crowdfunding services to improve a crowdfunding project that would otherwise have no chance. Too often these crowdfunding tips are ignored and a successful crowdfunding outcome is impossible. It’s interesting to note that crowdfunders in this category are usually going solo or have maybe one or two partners along for the ride.
You may think you’re sitting on the greatest shoe horn, Bluetooth enabled wine bottle opener, epic documentary or glorious piece of music and you quite possibly have already put in a lot of effort and a ton of money for its creation including design, prototypes and patents/copyrighting only to find out – thanks to crowdfunding – there’s not enough interest. I always love seeing campaigns like these succeed and often share in the frustration these starry-eyed entrepreneurs feel when their crowdfunding campaign fails. Category one crowdfunders tend to take their failure personally as some sort of public rejection which sometimes leads to some very bad feelings. That’s if they accept failure at all. More often, a mental state of denial sets in and blame is tossed around. They tend to blame everyone around them for their failure with such statements as “I can’t believe people are so stupid and can’t see how totally cool and life changing this is!” or “My crowdfunding PR sucked. The company I hired with one simple mission: promote crowdfunding project didn’t do a good enough job, etc. etc. I just KNOW this thing would sell if enough people heard about it and were interested!” They tend to look everywhere for excuses and blame except the one place they really need to look – in the mirror. The simple fact of the matter is that every crowdfunding campaign is a voter’s ballot where dollars are votes. Successful crowdfunding is measured by dollars, plain and simple. When we promote your crowdfunding campaign we deliver reports and statistics proving we did our job with advertising crowdfunding. Usually, the crowdfunding campaign got more than enough traffic thanks to our magic skills with social media promotion but not enough votes from crowdfunding backers. It’s as simple as that.
Category four crowdfunding campaigns can do very well if they’re leveraging a large population center such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas or New York but are virtually certain of failure if they’re in a small town in, say, Utah or Idaho. Crowdfunding success is all about the numbers and when your potential base of backers is a million people or more you’ve got legions of potential backers you can reach for that new winery, bakery or food truck in stark contrast to a suburban or rural area where your potential audience might not break 50,000. To achieve crowdfunding success, category four crowdfunding campaigns need to have a very local approach to crowdfunding promotion. Case in point: a crowdfunding campaign to open a saloon in Sayreville, New Jersey shouldn’t be doing any serious crowdfunding PR to the citizens of Seattle.
Category three crowdfunding projects seldom succeed because there are just too many of them and it’s virtually impossible for someone to back all of them and they almost never hear of any of them. Not to come off as being harsh but there are dozens of new crowdfunding projects rolling out every day to help pay for surgical procedures, cancer treatments, help a homeowner get out of foreclosure, etc. etc. On a recent podcast, I discussed this phenomenon with crowdfunding guru Manolis Sfinarolakis and as he put it, campaigns like these are little more than web-based begging. Walk down any busy street in San Francisco, New York or anywhere else and notice how many people have their hand out for change. Now stop and think of how many people you actually gave money to. The answer probably is – “none of them” and the answer would very definitely NOT be “all of them”. All of the crowdfunding tips in the world and an army of crowdfunding consultants won’t change the facts. Crowdfunding success can be achieved if the story is truly an out-of-the-ordinary human interest story (https://www.gofundme.com/l7girc), the beneficiary is a hero (https://www.gofundme.com/mintz) and/or the recipient isn’t launching and running the crowdfunding campaign on their own; a concerned friend or family member is (http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/release-593476.htm — note the campaign was successful and to preserve the privacy of the recipient, the campaign was subsequently removed — AFTER exceeding the crowdfunding goal).
Did you notice I listed the different categories out of numerical order? These different campaign types are listed in order of probability of crowdfunding success as measured by achieving the intended goal.
As you make your crowdfunding plans, identify your category then identify your audience then build your strategy accordingly. As crowdfunding consultants and crowdfunding promotion experts, we can help.