You have decided to run a crowdfunding campaign to fund an upcoming activity such as making a new album or embarking on a tour. If you are to make the campaign successful, you have much work ahead of you. Planning, strategizing, and most importantly execution are all vital to creating a successful campaign. In this article, we have broken down the major components to a campaign, providing suggestions about what to do and what not to do for each.
Titling your campaign
The title is the first section of your campaign that a potential backer will see. The title is what will show on the Show4Me homepage, if your project manages to make its way to that slot. As you can imagine, the title of the project is therefore extremely important. The title will set the entire tone of your campaign. Ensure that your title stands out and captures your audience's attention.
- Keep your title simple, to the point, while allowing it to peak the audience's interest.
- State the main purpose within the title. For example, if the campaign is for a tour, include the name of the tour in the title. Be concise in doing this.
- Use search relevant keywords to your advantage. There could be new fans looking to support work similar to what you are releasing.
- Make an overly long title
- Use technical terms in your title that viewers will not understand
Choosing your campaign image
Don't judge a book by its cover. I am sure you are familiar with that cliche. The truth is, many people do judge a book by its cover. The same is true when it comes to supporting crowdfunding campaigns. Choosing your campaign image is much like choosing a book cover. Make sure it represents the campaign well.
- Make an eye popping, vibrant image
- Use a high-quality promo shot of you and/or your group
- Use the correct specs for your upload
- Use too much text in the image. Use your description section on the campaign page to include the important campaign elements.
- Use an image that is not optimized for the specs of the image. A blurry or pixelated image can be a turn off to would be backers.
Setting your funding goal
Choosing your funding goal is one of the most important steps in this entire process. To choose the correct funding goal amount, consider what will be needed for the entire process of your campaign.
- Consider all associated costs. If you are recording a new EP or album and plan to release it independently, you will want to factor in the cost of recording, marketing, distribution, and perk fulfillment.
- Clearly communicate the reason you have chosen your specific goal amount. Before your fans and potential backers invest their money, that was hard to get, into your campaign, let them know how that money will be used. The more transparency, the better.
- Worry about not receiving the full amount of the funding goal. Unlike many other crowdfunding platforms, Show4Me allows for flexible funding. You will receive your funding regardless of whether you hit the goal or not.
- Be overly ambitious. Too often, campaigns will try to take advantage of flexible funding by providing an over-the-top funding goal. This can actually drive away potential backers. Your fans want to know that they helped you reach your goal. This is why transparency makes all the difference.
Setting your campaign deadline & schedule
Once you have decided on a funding goal, it is now time to choose an appropriate deadline. We recommend setting the deadline before ironing out a schedule. By giving yourself a safe deadline, you can then work backwards and put milestone dates on the calendar. It's important to consider not only how long it will take you to do activities like make your music, but also how long it will take you to fulfill all of the perks that are attached to the campaign.
- Give yourself a cushion. If you expect the campaign to take 60 days, add on another 15 or so to give yourself ample time in the case of any delays that may occur. It's better to exceed expectations then let your backers down by falling short of the expectations.
- Plan accordingly to your campaign. Is your campaign a tour that will last a few months or span over a year? Clearly identify that and communicate it through your description section, video, and other avenues of communication.
- Factor in time for shipping. If you have backers from all across the globe, then you will want to take this into consideration if you need to ship any items. Allow for at least 15 days to do this.
- Set a deadline that stresses you out. You want your focus to be on running the campaign smoothly. Setting a deadline that feels rushed will cause a variety of problems from start to finish.
- Underestimate how long it can take to receive your final product. If you are recording new music, studios can often times become backed-up with their workflow. Again, this is why it is important to set a deadline that allows for any delays throughout the entire process.
- Underestimate how long it can take to order, receive, and ship any physical perks.
Creating a memorable campaign video
Creating a video for the campaign is optional. However, we highly recommend you do so. A video is one of most powerful ways to communicate your purpose of the campaign to your fans. Research has shown that campaigns using a video raise four times as much money as campaigns that do not. If you are able to do so, making a video is a must!
- Make the first 30 seconds of the video capture the audience's attention. Briefly summarize the campaign during this time to keep the viewer watching.
- Explain why you are raising your funds. What will the viewer help you accomplish by backing your campaign?
- Explain the perks. What will the backer receive when they support your campaign?
- Provide a strong call to action. Inform your audience how they can get directly involved in your campaign.
- Release an unprofessional looking video. Recording the video can be done on your smartphone. Unless you are a good editor, try to find a friend, family member, or hire a freelance editor to help with the editing.
- Speak in a way that makes your audience feel disconnected. Speak directly to your audience as if you were in a one-on-one setting.
- Make the video too long. A short, concise, well-done video will go a long way.
Developing the description of your campaign
The description section is where you can answer many important questions and set expectation for the campaign. A strong, transparent description can be the difference between a backer choosing to pledge to the campaign or not.
- Include a brief summary about the overall campaign. Aim for around three sentences to help explain what the campaign is doing. Potential backers should be able to make a decision on whether to contribute or not based upon this description section.
- Clearly explain the timeline of the project. What backer pledges to the campaign, what can they expect to happen at specific dates?
- Address FAQs. Having a set of good FAQs can save you many hours on the back end, addressing questions that potential backers may have throughout the process. Save this section for the end of the description section.
- Make the description too long. No fan or viewer of your page wants to read a book for your description. Keep it concise and effective.
- Make the description too wordy. Use pictures to help break up long text sections. The less viewers have to read, the better.
- Share unnecessary achievements. While sharing your achievements can be useful, do not provide an overly long list. Provide your top 3-5 most impressive achievements.
Choosing your campaign's perks
At the core of any great campaign are great perks. Good perks help draw your audience into the campaign. Great perks make them a part of the process. The more enticing the perks, the more backers you will likely have.
- Be creative yet strategic in choosing your perks. Digital, physical, and experience-based perks all have their benefits. Consider using a mix of all of them to provide incentive for fans to pledge to your campaign.
- Consider the logistics behind each perk. Digital perks can oftentimes be simply delivered over email to anywhere throughout the globe. Physical perks can present more challenges depending upon shipping times and costs that are associated with them.
- Plan ahead for shipping costs and time-frames. Backers love physical perks, but they provide more logistical challenges for you.
- Provide experience-based perks. This could be anything ranging from a Skype session with you and the group to flying the backer out to the studio for a recording session. These types of perks can be extremely valuable to your most passionate fans.
- Offer too few price points. Offering perks at $10, $25-$30, or $100+ can provide several options for backers. You do not want to exclude your casual fans from getting involved by only having expensive perks available. In the same regard, you do not want to exclude a passionate fan from making a large contribution if they decide to.
- Fail to plan for expenses. If you are offering shirts as a perk for $30, but it costs $15 to make and then $5 to ship, that perk is really only worth $10 to you. This is why it is important to plan all of this ahead of time. If the receiver lives in a foreign country, you could end up spending over $10 to ship it to them.
- Offer too many perks. A long list of perks can overwhelm backers regarding making a choice and oftentimes lead them to not contribute at all! Consider adding a limited supply of perks that have strong differentiation between them.
To sum up
Running a crowdfunding campaign can seem overwhelming. With the right approach and mindset, the process can be fun for you and the rest of your group or team. We know that getting started is the hardest part. That is why we created this list of do's and don'ts to help you get started. Use this as a starting point. This article is by no means that only research you should do. We highly encourage you to do as much research as possible since it will increase your chances of success.