What do the Statue of Liberty, The Iliad, the Pebble Smartwatch and a bowl of potato salad have in common?
They’re all examples of crowdfunded projects.
Yes, crowdfunding has been around long before Kickstarter or Indiegogo were launched. Crowdfunding has become increasingly popular over the last few years, allowing regular people pitch in to bring a project to reality.
It’s been used for everything from local council park restorations to that 3-D printed widget that you didn’t know you needed. In return, backers generally receive rewards of some kind.
Depending on the platform used, contributors may be offered rewards like early versions of the product and others offer services, or a stake in the venture.
Since 2013, the global crowdfunding industry has skyrocketed and was projected to have surpassed USD $60 billion at the end of 2016.1
“In comparison, the VC industry invests an average of $30 billion each year.” (source)
With more people getting online, the variety of crowdfunding platforms with multiple fundraising options, the industry continues to grow everyday.
This explosive growth has led to the development of projects that vary widely in their scope, reach and function.
Many projects have been launched that serve more than one purpose.
One example of this is the Kickstarter campaign launched to fund the production of a mobile phone charger with a built-in lamp.
Campaign backers receive a cool solar-powered desktop lamp, as a perk. But the creator also donates one lamp, in the backer’s name, to developing countries.
Talk about a feel-good factor.
Looking at successful campaigns, many entrepreneurs are seduced into thinking it only involves:
- Identifying a need, brainstorming a solution, prototype building, and loads of testing.
- Finding suppliers, negotiating quotes, figuring out how to carry out fulfillment.
- Marketing and customer outreach.
Solid plan, right?
Not really, as this plan will only work in certain regions like the US, Canada and parts of Europe. If you have any plans of attracting international buyers–your campaign plans must be modified.
Floship has come up with four essential tweaks for getting international backers to your crowdfunding project:
1. Choose the Right Platform
Many of the crowdfunding sites appear similar, so much that they even seem to overlap sometimes.
Creative projects are more common on Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
Funding a social project: Try Buzzbnk.
Not-for-profit organizations can raise funds at sites like Fundly.
Kickstarter policy recently changed–for those that live in privileged countries where Kickstarter has expanded.
For international crowdfunders that do not live in the U.S.A. (Kickstarter initially required all user to have a Social Security number, which left anyone living outside of the U.S.A. not able to raise money on the platform) you can now raise funds on Kickstarter without a Social Security number.
If you are planning to raise funds from countries apart from this, you’d best look to Indiegogo or one of the dozens of other crowdfunding sites that have become popular.
2. Use targeted Social Media
After all, Twitter has a huge user base of 316 million users across the world. But with only 72 million of them in the US, there is a huge base of other backers available for you to pitch your campaign to.
You can increase exposure to your campaign by targeting certain countries and nationalities in your social media campaign.
Most social media platforms (and quite a few social management tools) allow you target audiences in specific areas of the world. This can allow you identify key audiences, build a buzz and increase your campaign exposure across different regions.
3. Use the Power of Local Outreach
Help-A-Reporter-Out (HARO) is a platform that allows reporters connect with sources on particular topics.
Having a media influencer in the country you want to target can be invaluable for building the initial buzz in that region.
You don’t have to stick to the papers–are there any influential bloggers in the desired region?
Collate a list of the top bloggers and contact them about introducing your campaign to their followers.
4. Know Your Costs
Apart from the product itself, one of the most important things when seeking funding is to think about what you’re offering backers in return for their investment.
When you get the rewards system wrong, you’ll seem like you are short-changing some backers.
Make a realistic financial plan that will ensure you have enough cash to fulfill your backer perks:
- How many units do you need to sell to reach your goal?
- Will that number give you the required funds to manufacture and handle the logistics of order fulfillment?
When you are hoping to attract international backers, a one-size-fits-all campaign simply won’t work. Your plan must account for the cost of production, rewards and shipping the rewards to international buyers.
Design rewards that let you hit your goal, and still give backers the best deal. Failure to do this will cause you to lose money, fail to deliver or even worse, both.
When it’s all said and done, you must adhere to the cardinal rule of crowdfunding “don’t ship late.”
However, this can be difficult, depending on how many backers your campaign attracts. Shipping rewards and order fulfillment can be a nightmare, leading to late delivery.
A 2012 report by CNN Money, reported that 84% of Kickstarter’s top projects shipped late. And that was within the USA!
To avoid wasting time on fulfillment as you struggle with postage charges, Customs duties and so on, use the services of an order fulfillment company. They are experts at making international shipping (and every other part) of crowdfunding order fulfillment as straight-forward as possible.
Whether you have backers in Alaska or Spain, Floship can ensure they get their rewards on time.
For more information on how we can support your campaign, contact Floship here.
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- How To Deliver The Product You Promised In Your Crowdfunding Program
- Everything You Need To Know About Crowdfunding In 2018