Everyday, the importance of crowdfunding as an alternative source of financing seems to grow.
The model has had such resounding success that it has attracted everyone from “starving artists” to entrepreneurs, even big businesses like Sony.
Some say the success of crowdfunding is from more consumers seeking more personal connections with their choice of products.
But regardless of backer intent, most project creators soon find that raising money via crowdfunding isn’t that easy. There is the choice of sites to use, the types of rewards to offer, how you’ll ship goods across the world and much more; but before all that, getting the pre-launch is just as important.
With project creators focused on running a successful campaign and getting funded, the pre-launch stage is often the most overlooked stage of most campaigns.
This critical period, before your campaign even goes live, is where you drum up support and build the initial momentum to get your campaign noticed. Once the campaign launches, you’ll find you don’t have much time to do this.
Campaign creators need to get out of the mindset that you can just ‘launch’ your crowdfunding campaign and the funds will come rolling in.
With over $1,000 a minute pledged to projects on Kickstarter in 2015, and its position as the most-trafficked crowdfunding platform (30 million visits per month), it is clear that Kickstarter is the ‘place to be.’ But before you are swayed by those figures alone, also remember that only about 40% of projects get successfully funded.
Do you now see the importance of giving your project a head-start?
We advise campaign creators to prepare for up to 60 days before launching their campaign; this pre-launch phase can be divided into three stages:
Prelaunch Stage 1: Crowdfunding Research
Chances are someone has already had an idea similar to what you want to crowdfund.
Rather than shelving your plans, this is a good thing as it gives you access to vital data. By studying data on the success (or failure) of these campaigns, you can re-evaluate everything from your marketing strategy, choice of rewards to your fulfillment options.
By “stalking” previous campaigns, you can:
- Narrow down your target market for the product and the crowdfunding campaign itself.
- Find out how much failed and successful projects were trying to raise.
- What rewards were they offering?
- Did they get any backers?
On Kickstarter, you can investigate campaigns by simply searching the site for your topic and you’ll be presented with a list of projects that managed (or failed) to raise money.
You can dig deeper by using kicktraq.com to see how much funding the project generated each day when it was live.
One tip is to study the the project’s funding curve; if it showed steady growth, this means there is an established audience for the industry on Kickstarter.
Prelaunch Stage 2: Crowdfunding Outreach
This is where you start to connect with people to help towards successfully funding your campaign.
Start by contacting your family, friends, colleagues, and other associates; when you launch, their initial donations will help you get the funding ball rolling.
By this stage, you should have a regularly updated website or blog where you send your first few contacts.
It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated, just make sure it has these three basic pages: an about, contact and the blog where you discuss the details of the project.
Next, start building a list of influencers who can help spread the word to their networks; one of the best ways to do this is via social media. Set up campaign profiles on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, when your industry is business-related. By adding a link to your site in your bio, these platforms can help give your campaign access to an even wider audience.
Some tools tool that can help you connect with influencers include:
Prelaunch Phase 3: Community Building
This is the part many project creators think they should start with, after their campaign has gone live.
Having an active community will take the load of marketing your campaign off your shoulders.
Relying solely on Kickstarter for traffic will not help spread the word.
People generally hang out in forums to discuss things they are passionate about. Find two or three forums related to your cause or business and join them. On most forums, you can include a link to your site in your signature. Spend a few weeks interacting with other forum users and aim to be genuinely helpful.
Finding an engaged group of people and offering them a product that they can be passionate about, can help your campaign reach–and exceed–its goals.
Crowdfunding data shows that campaigns that start with no funding have only a 15% chance at reaching their goal. On the other hand, those with up to 5% in pre-funds, have a 50% chance at meeting their goal.
When you find a passionate group of ‘evangelists’, increase your chances of success by offering them a discounted pre-launch offer.
This may sounds like a lot of work for a pre-launch, but if you get this right, you’ll increase your chances of reaching your goals while doing less work during the campaign.
There are even apps like Pitchfuse that help you get you pre-launch attention amongst backer communities.
If you have a physical product you can also list it on Gadget Flow and introduce it to millions of potential customers through their curated platform.
Pro Tip (Bonus Stage): Logistic Planning for Success
When you’ve taken the proper steps in your prelaunch planning, your project will have a higher probability for success but why not anticipate success by do some logistics planning so you are prepared to deliver your projects rewards to your backers.
- Have you considered the fact that when you are raising money online many of your backers will live outside your home country?
- Have you factored the cost of logistics for delivering to them?
Due to the low rate of quick delivery, crowdfunding platforms now encourage campaign owners to outline any possible challenges with fulfillment.
To help project creators get past any delays, Floship has developed a custom fulfillment evaluation plan.
The plan helps campaign creators assess their current fulfillment plan, getting campaign creators a realistic overview of the challenges of international fulfillment along with the various shipping options available and their plusses and minues: cost over speed; special considerations, like MSDS and more.
We also offer alternative solutions to any difficulties that may occur.
Don’t jeopardize your brand reputation before it’s even built; use get a free FCLP today to assess your readiness for filling your backers orders, perks and actual products.
Interested in how Floship can help with your prelaunch crowdfunding preparations, click here to find out more.