Creatives, inventors, and entrepreneurs from all walks of life are finding the best way to fund and get their products out there is through crowdfunding. Face it: Word-of-mouth has always been the best way to spread knowledge and develop relationships with loyal customers through trusted recommendations.
Similarly, crowdfunding offers the market audience and industry supporters a firsthand look from the source at what the business idea is all about. It’s the personal touch that develops trust, and in turn, raises the money you need to produce results and launch your business.
Millions have the opportunity to watch you talk about your idea, explain the prototype, and discuss what you’re going to achieve and how you’re going to do it. From the drawing board to production, there is still the issue of reaching the right people and extending that reach on the great wide web. Many have done it successfully, and so can you.
Protect Your Idea
Before you sign up for crowdfunding websites and shoot your videos, the first vital step to your campaign’s success is protecting your idea. Get started on the patent process, before you do anything else.
Delving through paperwork and translating legal jargon isn’t exciting initially, but this will keep others from stealing your idea. The easiest first step is to fill out a provisional patent application, especially since patents are expensive. This document is filed through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which will give you a specific date within a year to file the regular patent application. Regardless of provisional or regular, your product or idea will be labeled patent pending, offering some protection.
There are professionals to help you file for a patent. InventHelp is an industry leader when it comes to assisting entrepreneurs and inventors with a business idea, launch to release, including this vital step.
Recognize the Value of Failure and Feedback
Crowdfunding has been around for ages. To translate Homer’s “Iliad” in 1713, Alexander Pope funded the venture by accepting subscriptions in advance. In the age of information technology, people have become more impatient. That doesn’t mean the public won’t wait for a product it’s invested in and passionate about.
Know that you may fail. Per Kickstarter, only about 40 percent of campaigns that are approved get their funding, and some 20 percent of campaign submissions are rejected. The importance of these facts help you learn from others within your industry who have launched successful and failed campaigns. It doesn’t mean you should copy every step of a successful campaign, but rather use this raw data to emphasize how your business is unique and what vital niche it will fill with specific details.
This data will also help you narrow down the crowdfunding platforms that will be most successful for your venture. Even if you must endure a trial by error on one platform before moving to another, the data and exposure you receive will be priceless. These sites boost your brand’s visibility: Kickstarter receives more than 13 million unique visitors each month.
Use Data to Choose the Right Platform and Try Again
Just as you consider your audience’s feedback on your idea and product, you must consider the pros and cons of various platforms, regardless of which platform funds the most campaigns overall. Look beneath the surface to specific numbers and audiences. Creative projects have a greater likelihood of being quickly funded through sites such as Crowdrise or Kickstarter. Ideas that are more personal and have a smaller audience will have more luck with Indiegogo, YouCaring, and GoFundMe.
Depending on who is funding your idea and from where – are factors you’ll need to consider. Will you be able to deliver on shipping a physical item overseas or offering the full service? Start with a platform you feel confident about producing such results through, and make sure it has your target audience and transparent fees.
Choosing a platform also depends on if your business is nonprofit or for profit. If you’re running a nonprofit, it’s important to recognize the difference between fundraising and crowdfunding. Crowdfunding campaigns for non-profits don’t typically result in a product for purchase. Donors don’t become the principal beneficiaries of their own donations. With for-profit campaigns, those giving money are motivated by the production of a specific product or equity in the company.
Crowdfunding campaigns are useful for both types of businesses, but again, it’s important to use the data to choose the right platform for the right reasons.
Contact the Right Media Influencers and Conversationalists
It’s vital to have your entire marketing campaign outlined before the launch of your campaign. Forget coaches and workshops on “Making Your Kickstarter Campaign Go Viral.” Target influencers, journalists, and other conversationalist game-changers that have written about or promoted similar campaigns. You’re tapping into the similar word-of-mouth mindset. There are writers and influencers with a wide reach that your audience trusts. Let these influencers be your audience matchmaker.
As you research similar campaigns, note these influencers and reach out through social media. You may also utilize tools for influencer marketing, such as Ninja Outreach, and these companies will target the right bloggers with the best voices to get your brand out there. When articles go live, boost the signal through your newsletter and social media pages.
Tap into the conversationalists of a community you may already have. Do you have a blog or business that has gained a following? They’d be interested in what else you’re working on.
You’ll need at least three months to continue conducting research outreach efforts through influencers to raise awareness of your idea and its campaign. This way you’ll save startup funds you’ve personally invested into the venture and avoid shady deals that leave you staring at an empty bank account and zero growth.
Strategize Specific Forms of Visibility
Don’t sign up for 15 different social media profiles because it’s what’s done. This ultimately leads to dividing your precious time and resources and confusing people, not to mention yourself.
The same goes for photos and videos. Clips make for frustrating or informative teasers. Let people see your product or idea in action. Amateur videos have a certain amount of appeal but can potentially damage your credibility if done poorly. Call in favors and invest in well-produced and well-thought out media.
Any promotions conducted on specific platforms should be unique to the outlet. For example, Bigtree Bonsai, an indie band, raised $6,956 in funds after successfully creating the hashtag #letsmakearecord with IgnitionDeck, virtually doubling their target.
Believe in and Stay on Board With Your Idea
You’ll forget things, and you’ll miss important details and information. You’ll learn from where you’ve failed and remain solutions-oriented. You may lose faith in your idea, but keep showing up.
Remain on board with your idea. Stay transparent and clear with your communication, even when you have to search for answers. Show you’re doing the legwork and that you’re producing results.
When costs or production or manufacturing come back too high, reevaluate. Communicate with transparency. Keep showing up, and the results will follow.
Signing up Is Easy: Crowdfunding Is in the Legwork
Anyone can sign up on a crowdfunding platform. Anyone can fill out a form. Anyone can shoot a video. Signing up is easy.
The success of your campaign is in the legwork you do beforehand. You have to bring the audience to the campaign and continue showing up to successfully crowdfund your business idea.
What has your experience been with crowdfunding?