13/01/2015

By Luigi Mantellassi, Co-Founder and CMO, Dizmo

Crowdfunding through Kickstarter can be an invaluable tool for start ups, however not many people are aware of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to running a crowdsourcing campaign. Here are our 10 simple tips to ensure that your kickstarter campaign goes off without a hitch.

1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Crowdfunding is powerful, vibrant, challenging and fun, but very different from anything you might have worked on before. If you are a seasoned marketeer or a bright CEO, don’t think you can reach your goal without any obstacles; most campaigns fail that way. In fact, only 44% of projects reach their monetary goals. Get advice and support from those who got it right, whether through a business or specialised agency.

2. Do it for the crowd!
Money should be a by-product of your campaign, rather than the main purpose, though it is important and rewarding in some cases. Crowdfunding is first of all a marketing platform. It helps in building your brand, trust, image and credibility. It allows you to build a community of advocates, and a network of partners, developers, makers and users. It provides you with the most valuable thing in business; direct, spontaneous and honest market feedback from people.

3. Inspire a change in people
Make an awesome video, and nothing less. It needs to be clear and concise, demonstrating your idea, your product and your passion. The shorter the video the better. Keep everything else in your project description short and simple too. If you need to get 500 backers to support you, you’ll need between 30,000 and 50,000 people to watch your video to the very end. It must tell people what you want to do and how, but especially why you exist and why backers should support you. If you don’t answer these two questions, you will most likely fail. In one word, “inspire” them.

4. Set a realistic preparation timescale
Don’t rush into your campaign. Prepare it well. 2 or 3 months of preparation is the minimum you need. Test your ideas inside out. Check drafts with as many partners and people you can find; share it, enhance it, share it again. Don’t hesitate to throw away your early drafts and start all over again. Preparation is everything.

5. Rewards make the difference
So you have you video now, but how do you get further attention from this and make your audience click ‘Back This Project?’ Rewards are essential for that. There are no rules on good or bad rewards, I believe. Just make sure they are meaningful, unique, appealing, fun, innovative, special and relevant.

6. Understand your audience
Your audience will mainly be a USA-based audience. No matter which projects you develop and where you run it from, make no mistake, more than 50% of the folks backing you are in the United States. So, make sure your project is appealing to them. Others are as important, but can wait.

7. It is a full time job!
You could lose it all right at the last minute of the last day. That is the way it works. And that can happen, if the community of backers loses confidence in your project and in you, if they feel you are not reliable, consistent, committed and passionate. So be prepared to be 24/7 for the entire duration of the campaign and provide them with constant information, continuous, meaningful updates and immediate answers to comments and messages.

8. It never ends…
Your campaign doesn’t end on its last day. You must continue to feed your backers with updates and ultimately deliver them what you originally promised, likely for months and quarters after the campaign ends. If you do so, they will become your core support team and your best brand advocates for your product. If you don’t, you’ll suffer.

9. …but keep it short!
Set a short deadline. The shorter the duration of your campaign, the better. Extending the length of your campaign does not necessarily mean more backers or higher success. In any case, if your project doesn’t reach its goals by the end of the 1st or 2nd week, it is unlikely that it will ever do. The additional days or weeks are there for you to set stretched goals and increase your community of backers and supporters, and to get picked up by the press. Much of the media will only cover successfully backed projects.

10. All the above…is very time sensitive
There is a lot to say about crowdfunding, and much more than I’ve said here. One thing to add is that crowdfunding is relatively new and rapidly evolving, very rapidly. What Dizmo learned this year may be different to the next year; this is why this last point is quite important. Have fun! Crowdfunding is above all fun, rewarding, adrenaline intensive, a bit crazy and almost unavoidable!