I found launching a crowdfunding project to be quite a scary thing. You are essentially putting your creativity on the line to the public and asking for their help to make it a reality. However I believe if you have a great idea/product and follow a few general rules it can be one of the best decision you will ever make in your life.
PRE-POZIBLISATION: It is essential to start building your audience NOW. So that when you launch your page you have a whole bunch of people interested in what is about to go down. This was some wise advice I got from a very successful crowd funder and I now realise how this can be crucial to a projects success.
CLARITY: Be clear about letting your audience know that you need their help. Explain exactly what you will offer them in return for their help and make it clear where their hard earned cash will go.
KEEP IT REAL: Tell people your story. That's what I did and it was my point of difference. As a singer/ songwriter who prides themselves on honest storytelling and lyrics. I decided that if people were going to back me to record my debut album it was only fair to really let them know the person they were backing. So I took them on a 14 entry video diary journey of my life and how I got to this point. Now I don't expect everyone to tell their life story if they are selling a new hovering paperclip, but at least let people know a brief idea of how you came up with the idea you are launching.
RESPECT YA CREW: These are the people who will make or break your project success, so be respectful to their needs. There is a big difference between sharing interesting content while incorporating a link to your page and outright SPAMMING your page links in their face. I found it vital to do all I could to always keep what I shared on social media, fresh and enjoyable for those who see it in their news feeds. Also realise that this project is a "we" project and everyone (the backers) are a part of its success, it is not an "I" project. Thank them when they support your cause. At 40% funded I did a Bob Dylan parody of 'Subterranean Homesick Blues' thanking people by making up a song involving them and writing their names on cards like in the original clip.
WORK Y'ASS OFF: Basically prior, during and after your crowdfunding project you should be working your butt off to find ways to involve, intrigue and inspire your audience. When you think there is nothing else you can do… THERE IS! For me it became a full time job with many all nighters and when I did sleep I'd dream about the next thing I could do. My crowdfunding went over the christmas period and many people said that wasn't a great time to do my campaign. In many aspects they were right. However the ball was rolling and I had to deal with it. So I put together a fun christmas video that would incorporate elements of my project that now has 2500 plays. Embrace these challenges and find ways to use them to your advantage.
REALISTIC REWARDS: Its good to have a range of rewards but make them realistic to produce if they are selected. There is no point having a fan dangle sparkly hipster t-shirt available for $20 if only 3 are sold in S, M and L and cost $30 each to make. So think more broad and research all your budgets for pricing. For example I sold stubby holders instead of t-shirts and included them in packages with CD etc so I would ultimately sell more of them and they would only come in one size.
"bE Cre-AtiVe}: I'm creative, are you? Well if you are here, then probably. It may actually be one of your strongest qualities and the key to making your project a success SO USE IT. Be creative every which way, in your rewards, in your video's, in your status updates, in your tweets, in the photos you post etc
PASH PASH PASSION: If you are planning on launching a pozible page I would assume you have something you believe in, something you are passionate about. LET PEOPLE FEEL THIS. It is so important to not just tell people about this but let them feel your passion, your energy, your belief and your blood sweet and tears. If they start to believe in you, then they may also start to believe in your project
IN CONclueSION: Do your research, be smart about your figures, connect with and appreciate your audience, be clear, be real, work like hell, share your passion, be as creative as you can be, have a point of difference and work like hell.
Good luck and if you want to check out my funded pozible page, the rewards I had, videos etc. Hit the link below
I've been using the internet for years but this is my first project and I just want to encourage everyone who wants to dream big and do it Now! Also to plan to celebrate because celebrating is great fun. Um, yeah... that is all for now.
You know what? The truth of it is, that crowd funding is AMAZING!
It really is! So you have this brilliant idea whether it be to make art, further your career or give back to the community, you put it out there, warts and all for everyone to see, then people back you! They believe in you. They believe in your work and they want you to succeed. It is an awesome boost to your self confidence and it should be rewarded. You have got to love your supporters as they love you. Lets face it, money is tight these days for the most of us and it really does speak volumes that another individual is willing to part with their hard earned dollars to support you and your project. For me, and my supporters I think, it really helped to think of this whole process as working as a 'team' together. Each member and pledge, big or small, is just as important as each other. We worked together to reach a goal and it gives each person a sense of value. Which leads me to the next point; rewards!
Rewarding your supporters is important. Each pledger needs to be recognised and know that you appreciate their support. I chose to give the big ups on my facebook page every time I got a pledge and posting a link back to pozzible so as to keep the project in the forefront of everyones mind. I think time frame also comes into the mix, I chose a shorter time to reach my goal which could be risky but I thought it was best to hit it hard and strong over a shorter period than rather drone on over a longer period of time.
The hardest part for me was the mid way plateau. How on earth was I going to make it through when I already felt as though I had the majority of my pledges (friends and family). I decided to go through all my email contacts using anyone who had ever bought a piece of my work, my stockists, my co workers, basically anyone who had supported me in the past, and put together an email with lots of good pics to let them know about my project and if they would like to help support. This helped fantastically, it amazed me how much people wanted to help.
The last thing that really amazed me was that we managed to raise $500 over target!! What I chose to do was tell my supporters what the extra money would go towards if we met the next target. For example, if we reached $2,500 I promised I would attempt to make a golden beet in glass!! Turns out people really wanted to see me do this and it pushed the grand total up to $2,500. Amazing.
So I think:
Know your project inside and out
Acknowledge all your supporters
Keep a hawk eye on your project
Be prepared for great successes!
Be personal - let people know who you are! We found an honest, personal approach really helped people to connect to the project.
We made a simple video in which each member of the team spoke about the project in an honest and (hopefully) unpretentious way which helped to offset the slicker promotional material we had already created.
Of course the other tips (which everyone below has mentioned) are:
- research what other successful projects have done
- ask friends and family to review you project and comment on it's strengths and weaknesses
- Strong images help to break up blocks of text and keep readers interested
- Ensure that rewards are carefully considered and not financially cumbersome. Most people who donate are not after a huge prize but simply something to help them feel involved in and connected to the project.
I did quite a bit of research into crowdfunding before I launched my campaign and it was very helpful indeed. Just hearing from the experts and people with direct experience of successful campaigns (and even unsuccessful ones) can be a huge advantage. I was also lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend a Pozible seminar in my hometown and it was very valuable advice.
I think it’s important to have a clear communication plan BEFORE you start the campaign. Just putting up your campaign on a crowdfunding site and doing the occasional post on Facebook won’t necessarily be enough to get you across the line. Design your Pozible page to look pleasing to the eye – have a great video and some images to go with your text. Make sure it’s concise, personal (but not too colloquial) and well laid out.
Ensure your rewards are realistic and actually MEAN something or have value for people (e.g. $20 for a postcard is not really a great reward). Some people can only afford to make a small contribution, so give them something worthwhile, as well as those who have more to spare or want to be overly generous. Also, don’t have too many rewards as this can be confusing for your pledgers. Keep it simple but enticing.
Knowing and being able to communicate with your audience is paramount. Make lists of everyone you know who can pledge or share your link, including your friends, family, colleagues, classmates, any groups that you might be a part of, people in your own industry and your own community, the media and any others you can think of.
Write press releases for the beginning, middle and end of your campaign and send them out (with photos) at the various stages. Make sure you have a different angle for each one or you’ll just annoy journalists and comms people.
Engaging local media was very helpful for me. I got two newspaper editorials, a television news feature, and interviews on two local radio stations. They loved the crowdfunding idea!
Email and send personal messages to everyone you know. You’d be surprised how many people will jump at the opportunity to help you and be part of your journey. Some of my pledgers told me of it make THEM feel good to be part of something unique and creative and others said it inspired THEM to follow their own dreams.
Make sure your communication is consistent and frequent across your online and offline presence. My Facebook and Twitter profiles were updated daily (if not more). But be careful not to spam… don’t JUST ask people for money. Be honest, genuine and humble. Ask them questions and be responsive. Make good use of the Pozible communication tools. Any updates you post will be sent as an email to your pledgers and they love to be kept in the loop. You can also post images in these updates, so you can actually SHOW people how hard you’re working. You can also message people directly and respond to comments posted on the Pozible site, so keep the conversation going.
In terms of offline promotion, I held a pop-up gig at a local café in the middle of my campaign. It was a great way to get awareness of the campaign and gain a few pledges via a laptop we had on site. It was also a good opportunity to reward those who had already pledged, as I offered a free small coffee to people who had already contributed to the campaign (which the café ended up kindly donating as I did the gig for free). It was also a great way to engage people who use social media infrequently or not at all and to have a one-on-one conversation with people who were interested.
Which brings me to my next point – don’t just put your hand out and expect things to come to you. You need to engage and mobilise your audience. Make them feel like they’re contributing in more ways than one. Ask people to share links, images and videos.
Use your social media tools wisely. For example, on Facebook images are more likely to receive interaction (likes/comments/shares) than purely text posts. However, this is not necessarily the case for Twitter. There are also certain times of day when the number of views or interactions is likely to be higher. Do some research on how to get the best engagement on various platforms. There are plenty of good resources out there on such things, but one of my favourites is CYBER PR (http://www.arielpublicity.com), who specialise in PR for musicians and have some great tools and tips.
Finally, tap into any networks you have and look for “champions” or ambassadors for your project. I’ve worked in bands with some high profile musicians recently, so I asked them to share the link via their own (much larger) networks and using their own words to describe it. I also emailed people in my local council and local politicians to let them know that as a member of their community who has participated in and supported many other community projects, that I’m interested in support from my community. Having worked in the mental health sector, I had people willing to spread my message in those circles too.
You’d be surprised at how many people will take on the job of champions themselves! I had a couple of people who were consistent retweeters, likers and sharers. They were following the campaign progress almost as anxiously as me!
Above all, treat it as a learning experience and an insight into your audience. I learned so much about the people who listen to my music and support me through this process. It certainly strengthened my faith in continuing my creative endeavours.
Think of it like this... even though YOU need the money, make it about THEM.
Love your supporters because they are investing in you.
Make a great video, and then love them by engaging them personally the whole way through your campaign in whatever way you can.
Love them by giving them more than their moneys worth in rewards.
Publicly thank them a lot.
Find creative ways to get to your supporters friends i.e. I made a picture of all my supporters names and tagged them on facebook, so the picture comes up on their profile thanking them, and all their friends can see it.
Make your rewards personal, one of a kind stuff.
Perhaps offer immediate rewards like a free track, etc, for people who pledge, even if your campaign fails.
If you are generous, love your audience, and genuinely do have a great product, they will love you back.
Pozible provides an awesome, easy and professional platform to raise awareness and funds for your project - but it's your job to get it noticed! Social media is a great way to spread the word. Create an event on your Facebook page so that visitors notice it straight away and frequently post about the success to get people involved.
You'll also want to approach like minded people and businesses directly via email or, even better, a surprise visit. A Pozible campaign is a great jumping off point and makes starting conversations with business owners a lot less daunting. It also allows people to contribute as much or as little as they feel comfortable with. Don't forget to mention whats in it for them - your awesome rewards and that philanthropic feeling!
Best of luck!
My main piece of advice when people ask me about Pozible and crowdfunding is this;
Setting up your page doesn't mean you don't have to do the leg-work of going around and getting people interested in your project, and inspired enough to invest in it.
Pozible provides you with a great platform to demonstrate what you and you project are about, and it makes it easy for them to donate.
Pozible creates a great, professional, centralised space, to send people to when you have already got them interested in your project.
It is your job to get potential investors/donators to your page.
Then keep them interested by being clear, eye catching, and original.
And stay in touch with your supporters.
Good luck with your creative adventures
It is important to make sure you promote your goals and event or product you are raising money for as widely as you possibly can! You should have a video advertisement, have it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr everything you can! Try approaching the media as well as they jump at people trying to raise money for different things. You never know where you will find the people wanting to donate. :)
Remember you’re competing for pledgers attention amongst 100s of other projects so you need to stand out. To make your project shine try:
a. Selling with your project title. Don’t just give the name of your album, book or film, try to point out what makes it different. Use the full character allowance but don’t run over it as your details will truncate. My project title was “An enjoyable poetry book”.
b. Writing a snappy and engaging project description. Again use the full character limit but don’t let it truncate. Try to inject a little personality or humour. My project description was “Please help me publish my poetry book ‘Gone Dotty’. Fun, silly, touching poems to enjoy over a cup of tea and a bun.”
c. Choose a great image: Pick an image that is striking and maybe a little at odds with your project so that people wonder why you’ve chosen it and click through.
One of the keys to a successful campaign is setting a realistic monetary figure.
If you know how big your fan base is, you'll have a much better idea of working out how much is actually feasible to raise. Maybe you actually need $6000 to cover the project, but you only have 50 likes on your Facebook page. It isn't feasible to expect each of them to pledge $120 to your project, so you probably won't reach your goal.
Work out exactly how many people you think you can count on to pledge, then multiply that by a conservative pledge amount (I used $10). Some will probably pledge more, but others you expect to pledge won't at all. The figure you end up with is a much more realistic financial goal for your campaign.
Now ask yourself, can you complete the project with only that amount? If yes, you're ready to campaign. If not, you need to network and build your fan base more first. Start drumming up interest in your project so that when you have the numbers, you can launch with much higher chance of success.
Once our Pozible campaign got going it was a full time venture - we were tweeting and posting message on Facebook every day. The campaign also flushed out a couple of large sponsors who may not have come forward without the campaign. They must have come from our followers re- sending our messages. Social networking really works but it does take time and commitment.
No matter how many times you post about your campaign on Facebook, most people won't donate until you've taken the time to approach them personally. Send them a short email about why the project means so much, or have a quick conversation about it when you see them. If you can't reach everybody, this is where a video comes in really handy.
If you're contacting companies or the media for help promoting your campaign, don't just send a press release. Go out of your way to include a cover letter about why your project is relevant to them and their readers - you're much more likely to get a response.
There will always be different groups of people who want to donate to your project at different stages. Some will get in early and believe in it straight away, while others will wait until it looks like you're going to successfully make your target before they pitch in. It's difficult to navigate the middle stretch that comes between the two.
We found it really useful to set targets along the way, and give people an incentive to donate. Try to make half of your target by midnight on a certain day, or offer to post a behind the scenes video if you reach a certain percentage of your total. It gives people a reason to keep following your project, and means that the stragglers are more likely to donate at the end.
If you get close enough to your final goal, everyone will want to see you succeed so you don't lose all the money you've raised.
During our campaign for "Wastelander Panda," we found that a personal approach made a huge difference. At first, we only put up the 3 minute film prologue we had made, which only showed the product itself. While donations were coming in, they began to accelerate a few weeks later when we put up a more personal video of the cast and crew talking about the project and how much it meant to us. Show people who you are, and give them details about what you're doing. Part of the attraction of crowd funding is being part of someone else's journey, not just seeing the final project.
The biggest thing is to let your audience know where the money is going. Be as transparent as you can and also provide the compelling and real reasons for your project - that helps your audience understand you and also helps build trust.
One of the best things you can do before you get started is to start planning what to write for your campaign description. Also, what creative rewards can you offer that will be mutually beneficial for you and your supporters - it takes a fair amount of time to think about these.
one of the most important things that I can't stress enough is to READ THE FINE PRINT before you get started on your campaign. know exactly how pozible works, and how much of the pledged money should be budgeted toward the cut that pozible will be taking should you be successful.
people who have been successful on pozible tend to be a friendly bunch and happy to help if you have intelligent questions that aren't covered elsewhere. practice getting out of your comfort zone, and get in touch with someone who's been successful and ask 'em about their experience. find out if they learnt of any gotchas of things they learnt along the way.
know what to do should the crazy happen - what if a silent investor wants to fund the whole project off pozible? does the pozible fine print accomodate you if you need to call it quits early? what if you want to change a reward after people have started pledging - can you do that? know what you're capable of doing now.
make sure that your project is within the guidelines - last we heard, 49% of pozible projects are rejected, because they're not suitable. time is precious stuff - a quick phonecall and/or email to make sure you're on the right track might be worthwhile for you before you apply.
One of the best things you can do is to research well before you get started. Before I had even thought of my project TON OF WOOL, I had already pledged money to other crafty adventures overseas, which gave me a lot of insight. Why should someone pledge you money? What should they pledge for? How much?
It's a really helpful exercise to sit down and critique a few projects - what works for you? Would you pledge them money? Why/why not? How could the project be improved?
What do you think about the feel of the project? What's the video/photos/graphics like? How have they written up their project page and pledges?
All that information gathering and thinking will help you to give your project the best shot possible at being a success.