Crowdfunding websites have opened up a whole new world of opportunity for entrepreneurs hoping for capital to start a business. Although you have probably read tons of viral stories about incredibly successful campaigns, there are also those that make common mistakes and don’t perform as desired. So, before you kickstart (pun intended) a crowdfunding campaign, read these tips:
1. Pick the right platform.
As crowdfunding rises in popularity, more and more big players are entering the field. To ensure success, it’s important to pick the right website for your campaign. First, decide whether you are offering equity or a small reward in exchange for an investment. Websites like Crowdfunder only allow campaigns that sell equity, debt or revenue-based securities, while others like Kickstarter offer investors small rewards at your expense. Once you’ve made this decision, see if your industry has a niche crowdfunding website. Trying to raise funds for an innovative app? Use Appbakr. Launching a music career? PledgeMusic is the place for you. You should also look at the different fees associated with each crowdfunding site. Most websites take a percentage off of every raised fund and then an additional percentage off for credit card processing fees. Some sites, like RocketHub, take a higher percentage of your earnings if you don’t meet your stated campaign goal. Making the right decision when picking the platform guarantees that your campaign will reach its intended audience and at the right price.
2. Personalized Pitch.
“People fund people, not just ideas,” says Indiegogo CEO Danae Ringelmann. Follow her advice and make your pitch video personal and convincing. Talk about what motivated you in your journey and how you want to impact the world with your product or idea. What problem are you solving? How will your product or idea personally help the potential investor watching your video? Investors want to feel your passion for the project, so be open, honest and hopefully, convincing.
3. Do your homework.
Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo keep campaigns posted on the website even after they have finished. What does this mean for you? You have a treasure trove of past campaigns and their results at the click of a mouse. If possible, find campaigns within your industry and see how they performed. Analyze the pitch videos, rewards offered and any other information you can find to see how you can mimic success and avoid failure. After you’ve researched past campaigns, learn about your audience. Most investors are male between the ages of 24-35 earning over $100,000 a year. This is the group you have to win over to make a sale, so keep this audience in mind when creating a pitch.
What’s in it for me?
Imagine sitting at home on the computer watching pitches for startup businesses. What would it take you to get up, grab your wallet, and pay a stranger online to pursue their dream? Ask yourself this question as you plan your campaign. The reward or equity the investor receives must be enticing enough to convince them to spend their hard earned money on you.
A little trick that Kickstarter suggests is using the $1 donation option. Although it may not seem like much, each dollar donated adds up quickly. The $1 donation gives potential investors an option to contribute without sacrificing much, while still feeling like they’ve made a difference. Also, unlike the larger investments, the $1 commitment does not require a substantial reward in exchange for the donation. Entrepreneurs typically offer a digital thank you note or something similar in size which won’t add to your campaign expenses.
Have you ever invested in or launched a successful crowdfunding campaign? Tell us about it in the comments below!