If you're looking to get attention and funding for your business idea, crowdfunding might give you the initial push you need to make your dreams a reality.
Some of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns include the Coolest Cooler, which raised more than $13 million -- or 26,570 percent of its original funding goal -- and Exploding Kittens, which amassed just under $9 million, or 87,825 percent of its initial funding goal.
If a multi-function cooler/blender/music player and a card game about kittens and explosions can exceed their funding goals by such large margins, imagine what you could do with your revolutionary and innovative business idea. This isn't to suggest that crowdfunding campaigns are easy, however.
The good news is that launching a successful crowdfunding campaign can essentially be broken down into six steps. Let's explore these together.
1. Share your story.
Let your potential funders know how your product or business idea can benefit them. Share who you are, what you're planning to do, where the project idea came from, what your budget is and why you're passionate about it. This shows that you've actually put some thought into the idea, which helps prove the legitimacy and credibility of your project.
A basic outline of this information is also available in Kickstarter'sCreator Handbook, which is an invaluable tool for those who want to use crowdfunding to get funding for their businesses.
Communicating your story through visual imagery is of particular importance. Make sure to create a great looking project-header image as well as a compelling video. Video is particularly important, and can even make or break your project.
Ensure that your video is high quality and professional. Most campaigns that do well on Kickstarter have great looking videos. Make it engaging and fun to watch, and don't cut corners with the production.
2. Offer great rewards.
People will back your project if they think it's worthwhile, but it's always good to have great perks for your pledgers too.
You'll likely want to refer to the aforementioned Creator Handbook to figure out what you can and cannot offer, as there are some restrictions you'll want to be aware of. You'll also want to be fair with your rewards in terms of price points, and make sure that you can actually fulfill them.
It's fine to promise your pledgers big rewards, but don't forget that delivery can take considerable time and effort. Be realistic with your rewards.
3. Set a funding goal.
If you're launching your campaign on Kickstarter, you should be aware that they have an all-or-nothing funding model. If you meet or exceed your funding goal, you get to keep the money. If not, you don't get anything. Of course, there are platforms such as Indiegogo that work on a slightly different model where you get to keep the funding regardless of whether you reach your goal.
At this point, it's important to think about how much money you need to get your business up and running, and how many people you know that would be wiling to pledge. Although you may attract the attention of new people with your campaign, most of your support is going to come from those who already know you. Be realistic.
Also, keep in mind that you can't change your funding goal
once you've initiated the campaign.
4. Promote your campaign.
There are many different ways to make people aware of your crowdfunding campaign. Here are several tips for getting the word out there:
Utilize social media to spread the message.
Reach out to the media and bloggers to get coverage for your campaign.
Host a live event to drive up interest and engagement.
Keep in mind that your campaign is unlikely to succeed without a 100 percent commitment on your part. You need to think of it as a your full-time job while you're driving toward your campaign goals. Leverage every relationship and marketing channel available to you.
5. Update your backers as your project progresses.
You need to keep your project backers in the loop as you move forward with your campaign. If you don't share regular updates with them, you could lose their interest and you may not be able to attract as many pledgers as you would like.
Fortunately, crowdfunding platforms generally have built-in tools that allow you to update your project backers and send messages out to them. Take advantage of these tools and keep everyone in the loop.
Hype is unnecessary. Be honest and regular with your updates. If things aren't going exactly as you hoped they would, be transparent. Backers want to know that you can actually deliver on your project and the rewards that you promised them.
6. Fulfill your promise.
Crowdfunding campaigns aren't over if and when you reach your funding goals. They're over when the creator has fulfilled their promises. This means completing your project. This means delivering on your perks or rewards, and making sure that you're communicating with supporters every step of the way.
You can also use surveys to collect feedback from the pledgers at this stage, and this will give you the feedback you need to improve upon your crowdfunding processes in the future.
Only when fulfillment is complete can you truly say that you had a successful crowdfunding campaign. Until then, there are still a lot of things up in the air, both for you and for your backers.
Bonus step: Use Krowdster to boost your reach.
We've already talked a little bit about promotion, which is absolutely vital to the success of your campaign.
Krowdster is an app that helps you manage your crowdfunding campaign. You can use it to optimize your target audience, extend your social reach and get in touch with journalists and media outlets to get more exposure for your campaign.
The challenges of launching a successful crowdfunding campaign should be fairly apparent by now. Krowdster could prove to be an invaluable tool in meeting your funding goals.
Don't forget: Your backers are of number-one importance. When you show them that you care, they'll be more willing to trust you and may even reach out to their friends to share your idea with them.
It's no secret that crowdfunding campaigns can be a lot of work. With the right structure in place, you can meet and even exceed your funding goals, but don't expect it to come easy. If you don't succeed the first time, be willing to try again. The Coolest Cooler would never have been funded had creator Ryan Grepper given up after his initial failure.