One of the biggest mistakes a crowdfunding creator can make is deciding to launch a campaign and then just…launching it. Running a crowdfunding campaign takes months of hard work and preparation, with some of the most critical components happening well before your campaign goes live. In this article, we’ve outlined everything you’ll need to run a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
First things first, your audience has to see it to believe it. Assets are proof that your amazing innovation is as good as you claim. Successful Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaign pages almost always use high-quality photography, videography, and even audio, to tell the product’s story. To make a clear and memorable first impression, these need to be professionally shot. Any photos or images captured on a phone won’t do. You may also want to add initial sketches and renderings to show how your product has evolved.
Photos will likely take up the most real estate on your crowdfunding page. Images are great for showcasing your product, breaking up campaign page copy and can be used for other marketing materials. It is a good idea to capture two types of photos: lifestyle and product. When it comes to lifestyle photos, you’ll need images of people in your target audience using your product in a variety of relevant places and relatable situations. To be successful on Kickstarter or Indiegogo product photos should be focused on design, features and specs. Include tight shots of the product in its entirety, ideally on a solid, contrasting background and at different angles.
As the first thing seen on your crowdfunding page, videos should be a high-quality representation of not only your product but also your brand. Make sure your video includes factual information, as well as personality. It should be around the two-minute mark or under with this overall structure: introduce the product within the first 30 seconds, explain the problem and how your product is the perfect solution, and conclude with asking people to help fund your project.
Build the Campaign Page
The project page is the heart and soul of your crowdfunding campaign. All of your planning, all of your work and all of your goals must be summarized and properly relayed onto one, single page. Below, we’ve detailed all the elements a successful Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign page has.
When telling your story, and especially as you get into exactly what your project is and how it works, keep one thing in mind: who is your target audience? You need to tailor your messaging to them, rather than trying to appeal to everyone.
Title and Headline
Both the title and headline need to grab the reader’s attention and compel them to click through to view your page. Include important keywords so your project gets discovered through keyword searches on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Google or another search engine. Note that there are character limits for the title and headline, so try to keep it short yet descriptive.
Below the campaign video, you’ll want to jump right into the product’s key features. We recommend displaying them visually using high-quality graphics so visitors understand what your product does at a glance. Below the graphic, you can go into more detail about each feature and how it will benefit the backer.
Testimonials and Endorsements
Testimonials and endorsements provide social proof that real people in your target audience love your product. If you have a few press hits, it’s a good idea to create an “As Seen On/In” graphic towards the top of the page to instantly establish credibility.
Next on the page comes product specifications like measurements, weight, materials used, etc. Providing technical information lends credibility to your project and lets people know exactly what they should expect in your product. When you give all of the detailed information to your backers in one place, it keeps you from having to answer the same questions repeatedly in the comments section or via social media.
Many successful Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaigns include a visual design that represents how your rewards are structured. This is especially helpful if you have packages that include a variety of different items. Here, you can display them in a way that makes it easy for people to understand what they’re getting for each reward or perk.
Your Company’s Story
Crowdfunding backers aren’t looking to invest in some huge company—they visit Kickstarter or Indiegogo to support small, startup businesses to become part of their missions. Most campaigns include a timeline that shows the progress they’ve made to get to where they are today. Kickstarter, specifically, likes to see this too, as it makes your project more trustworthy. For more differences between the two crowdfunding platforms, check out Kickstarter vs. Indiegogo to help you determine which one you should use.
Why You Need Backers’ Help
The next section in your campaign page copy should be about why you need backer help. Here, you explain where you are in the process of your project, and exactly how you plan to spend the money you are asking for. The more detailed you can be here, the more confident backers will be in giving you their money.
Once you’ve finished explaining what your campaign is all about, the ball’s now in the backers’ court. Not only should you ask people to fund your project, but you should also ask them to share it with their friends, family and social networks. Keep your CTA, short, sweet and simple—make it easy to be part of your brand’s mission.
Graphics bring your project to life and help create an informative and interesting campaign page. At a bare minimum, make sure you have a video, cover photo, headers, CTA buttons, animated GIFs, a list of rewards/perks, specs/features/benefits and a timeline of the project. Keep in mind that Kickstarter graphics should be exactly 700 pixels wide and Indiegogo graphics should be exactly 620 pixels wide.
Pre-Launch Crowdfunding Marketing
Once you have your project planned and your marketing materials ready, you can begin the pre-launch phase of your campaign, which usually lasts 4-6 weeks before the crowdfunding campaign begins. Pre-launch marketing is focused on building leads who are likely to contribute to your campaign as soon as it starts. While this significantly increases the chance of hitting your goal quickly, it also provides an opportunity to test your messaging and imagery so that when you launch your campaign you’re launching with something you already know works.
You’ll want to begin by creating a landing page optimized for email collection so you have a list of qualified leads on launch day and throughout the campaign. The page should introduce the product, announce that it’s coming soon to Kickstarter or Indiegogo, and highlight a few of the product’s key features. It’s also a good idea to incorporate a contest to help increase your email list. We recommend using a Viral Loops giveaway where users can enter in their address for the chance to win a free product.
Make sure you are posting daily to your social networks and responding to comments in order to keep your followers engaged. While you don’t want to be spammy, the content you post should generally guide your social media followers first to your landing page, then to your crowdfunding page once it’s live. While there might be opportunity on many social networks that your target audience frequents, at the very least, use Facebook. This is because engagement on your FB page helps with ad performance, which we will go over in the next section.
With billions of active, daily users, the Facebook Advertising platform is one of the largest and most effective advertising vehicles for crowdfunding. As you progress through the pre-launch phase it’s important to test various target groups as well as ad creative and messaging so you know what works and you’re better prepared for the live crowdfunding campaign. Once your project has launched on either Kickstarter or Indiegogo, your main focus will be driving traffic directly to the crowdfunding page.
With the email list you’ve gathered, set up a pre-launch email drip campaign that sends new opt-ins a welcome message in addition to other emails that build excitement around your new product. Two days before your project goes live, send out an email with news that your project is about to launch and encourage subscribers to set up a Kickstarter or Indiegogo account if they don’t already have one. Once the project launches, it’s important to let your contacts know and include a strong call-to-action that there are a limited number of Super Early Bird or Early Bird rewards available.
Before your project launches on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, you must do some public relations prep work to ensure you get maximum coverage and visibility while your campaign is live. Take the time to craft a highly-targeted media list of the top outlets that cover crowdfunding campaigns similar to yours. Simultaneously, you’ll need to build a press release distribution list–we suggest having anywhere between 3,000 and 8,000 industry-related contacts.
Paid Promotional Opportunities
As you get closer to launch, there are promotional opportunities that help drive traffic to your page once your Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign goes live. These opportunities are available through third-party platforms such as Kickbooster, BackerClub and BackerLand.
Kickbooster is similar to an affiliate marketing program where users create their own unique referral links and encourage their contacts to back the project. For every sale they bring to your project from their link, they receive a percentage.
BackerClub is a platform consisting of several thousand people who have backed 50+ crowdfunding projects. Offering an exclusive deal to BackerClub members is the platform’s only requirement, and it’s how you entice their members to back your project.
BackerLand is similar to BackerClub in that you’ll need to offer a unique reward for their members. Their platform consists of active “super backers” on both Kickstarter and Indiegogo and brings additional traffic and backers to your project.
While crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo aren’t easy, the benefits they provide to entrepreneurs are huge. If you’re willing to put in the work on the front end, you’ll be much more likely to build a list of qualified leads, test brand messaging and creative, and, ultimately, hit your funding goal quickly. For more information on how to be successful on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, read the full comprehensive guide from Enventys Partners, a turn-key product launch and digital marketing company.