Crowd-funding Survival Guide: Part 1
We wrapped a successful crowd-funding campaign a few months ago and I wanted to share some tips for running your own campaign — things we wish we had known when we started ours. I’m going to do a series of short posts, using quick lists to touch on a number of different ideas without going very deep. That way, we can cover a lot of ground. Use the comments to let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to explore more deeply. Ok? Let’s go!
Sure, a successful crowd-funding campaign can give you an infusion of cash that will help you create your project. But there are plenty of other benefits.
Crowd-funding can help you:
- Prove that you have product/market fit. In other words, prove that folks really would buy this thing that you’re making. It’s one thing for people to say they’d buy it. It’s a totally different beast for them to enter their credit card info. They’re committing to this purchase when they back you!
- Find your early adopters. These folks will likely be your biggest cheerleaders and advocates. They’ll be showing off your thing to their buddies, and maybe convincing them to get one too.
- Get some press. The press is still interested in crowd-funding success stories. You can use this to your advantage to get some nice write-ups during your campaign. This will bring in more backers.
- Get feedback on your idea. Be careful here. You don’t want to jump into design-by-committee, but it’s incredibly instructive to hear how people are planning on using your widget. Use those insights to refine your product. And remember, even if your campaign is not successfully funded, that’s still valuable feedback that you can use to refine your idea for the next attempt.
- Refine your messaging. Once your campaign is live, people will ping you with questions. Look for trends. If a handful of people are confused about the same thing, use this insight to refine the way that you talk about your project / product. This includes updating your web site (not just the crowd-funding page). Sometimes you have something that they want, you’re just not explaining it very well (yet). Iterate on how you talk about your idea.
- Seed your forums and social networks with activity. This is a great way to continue the conversation with folks who are interested in what you’re making.
We ended up using IndieGogo for our campaign. We often have people ask us why we didn’t use Kickstarter, and how our experience using IndieGogo was.
- Kickstarter changed their rules back in September and now they no longer support offering multiple quantities of same item as a reward tier. This is a deal-breaker if you’re in the business of mesh networking. Pinoccio makes way more sense when you can offer multiples.
- We got great support from Indiegogo. I can’t say that we wouldn’t have on KickStarter, but perhaps we benefitted from Indiegogo being a smaller company that could give us individual attention. They were quick to respond to our questions, and always helpful.
- Indiegogo helped tout our campaign. They awarded us with Campaign of the Day (and Week if I recall correctly) and promoted our project via email and Twitter. This brought in more funders and was great publicity for the campaign.
In the next post, I’ll talk about how we prepared before the campaign began.
Filed under How To
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