Crowdfunding is entrepreneurship in its most simplistic form. It requires hard work, motivation, and perseverance. It’s unrealistic to think you can just launch your campaign and people will flock to support you. Conducting a successful campaign can be time-consuming and tedious. Fortunately, it can also be completely worth it.
Here are five basic steps to get your next crowdfunding project off the ground:
1. Do your homework.
Many entrepreneurs don’t realize crowdfunding requires a lot of pre-campaign work. It is important to determine clear goals and expectations. For example, do you want to raise money to publish an eBook, hire a video production company for your film, or buy the materials to make a prototype? The amount of funds you raise will vary greatly depending on your end goal.
2. Set a crowdfunding goal and reward levels.
Once you know the cost of your project, you can set a goal for your campaign. Aim for an amount that is realistic and attainable. Set appropriate minimum and maximum goals, and ensure you can offer rewards that are proportionate to the financial support provided.
Your budget should include a variety of options for every income level. Someone who wants to help your company raise funds may only be able to give $10. No amount is too small — every dollar moves you closer to your goal. Most importantly, be absolutely sure you can fulfill the rewards that are promised at the end of the process. And don’t forget about shipping costs.
3. Create a crowdfunding marketing plan.
The biggest mistake you can make is to start a campaign before you are ready. Crowdfunding is time-sensitive. Most campaigns last 30 to 60 days. If you have a marketing plan in place you’ll be able to hit the ground running and keep momentum throughout the campaign. Dividing your marketing strategy into weekly steps can help to keep your campaign moving forward.
4. Reward your funders.
Your supporters want to know what’s in it for them. Offer something of value they can believe in and get behind. It is essential to show enthusiasm and passion for your project because it inspires other people to believe in your idea as well.
People don’t usually give to crowdfunding campaigns because of the rewards, but smart rewards can build more enthusiasm for your project. Some of the most enticing rewards don’t cost a dime. For example, an author crowdfunding her book could promise to name a character after the highest donor.
5. Follow up.
Every time someone supports you, send a personalized thank you and ask for help in spreading the word. Be sure your supporters are updated throughout the process, even after the campaign has ended. Keeping supporters updated will reinforce their investment. Take care of your new-found brand advocates — they are your biggest asset.
Amanda L. Barbara is Vice President of Pubslush, a global crowdfunding publishing platform for authors to raise funds and gauge their audience for new book ideas and for trendsetting readers to pledge their financial support to bring books to life.
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