Run a Crowdfunding Campaign Like a Cruise Ship

I’m back from a cruise roughly 72 hours and reality hasn’t quite set in yet.

Unlimited food, great service, beautiful views and most memorable of all – endless upsell opportunities everywhere.

It occurred to me on the spot how this could translate to crowdfunding success. Why? I live, breathe, eat, sleep, drink and think about crowdfunding all day every day.

Don’t cry for me. I love what I do!

I marveled at the business model present on The Carnival Conquest. Every day and in every way they are trying to sell you more and more stuff even after you drop a few thousand dollars for the tickets to board your cruise ship and sail away.

I couldn’t help but be impressed by how cruise ships take every opportunity possible to sell passengers products and services at every turn. All of the cruise lines have mastered this because they are not content with selling you tickets to ride along with 24×7 access to unlimited food. They want to wring every dollar out of you they possibly can 24×7. And you should have the same goal for your crowdfunding project. Here are just some of the wonders of modern-day cruising:

– Purchasing excursions at every given port of call with as many as 20-30 different choices at every destination.

– Buying liquor, cigarettes and cigars, jewelry and watches, souvenirs, spa packages as well as signing up for the cruise-branded credit card, registering for their frequent traveler program and — perhaps my favorite — selling slices of cakes, pastries and brownies when such things are available in unlimited quantities over at the buffet at no additional charge. The casino? Don’t even get me started. Talk about a captive audience…
(Related side note – you can buy the highest quality liquors in the world at the lowest possible prices without taxes or duties — but you can’t drink any of that liquor on the ship! They stow it away for you until you the ship returns to port. In the meanwhile you need to buy their liquor at their inflated prices. The fact they can pull this off with a straight face is a marvel of modern marketing in and of itself.)

But I digress.

How does running a cruise ship relate to running a crowdfunding campaign?

Easy. Position your perks to grab all the tangential sales that are related to the campaign itself.

If you’re on a cruise ship you’ll find a flyer in your room after room service offering for sale the same beach towels, bath robes and other goodies you enjoyed on the ship so you can enjoy them at home.

If you’re steaming towards the island of Saint Thomas they play shows on the shipboard TV telling all about the wonders you can explore on that beautiful island if only you purchase one of their excursions right there in the main lobby between 8 AM and 4 PM. Flyers and brochures back up this message inviting you to spend yet more money.

While you’re enjoying your cruise you can sign up for their branded credit card so you can earn a lucrative bonus at signup then rack up double points on every dollar you spend during your trip.

This goes on and on and on every day and it’s nothing less than brilliant marketing.

Modify this same mindset when choosing crowdfunding perks. So if you’re selling a watch consider a non-abrasive polishing cloth that owners can use to clean their watch without any fear of scratching the glass of the face. If you’re promoting a new kind of water valve that’s guaranteed not to freeze over and burst your pipes in the middle of winter a sensible crowdfunding perk could be a thermometer that accurately reports the current temperature quickly and easily.

Add-ons and upsells don’t just happen on cruise ships or retail stores; they can and should happen every where. Even a crowdfunding campaign.