I have been talking to a lot of people lately who want to raise money through crowdfunding, and the most common question I receive is a very general, but very important. “How do you run a successful Kickstarter campaign?” So, I am going to lay out the secret to crowdfunding success, whether you are on Kickstarter or some other platform. Here it is:
The secret to a successful crowdfunding campaign is to have a large group of people who are very enthusiastic about you and what you are doing. These people should be very excited about your project, and be ready to back it on the very first day your campaign goes live.
Crowdfunding is an excellent way to raise capital for your business, for your creative projects, or for many other things you might want to accomplish, but simply being on Kickstarter is not enough. In the earliest days, crowdfunding and Kickstarter were new enough that simply running a campaign was enough to generate excitement and enthusiasm, but that is not the case anymore. There are so many crowdfunding campaigns that running one just does not generate the same level of excitement anymore.
Anyone can run a crowdfunding campaign in the sense that they can put up the crowdfunding page, but not everyone does the legwork and sets up the infrastructure before the campaign ever starts. That is what leads to success. As has been said so many times, “It is called ‘crowdfunding’ for a reason”. You need to have that enthusiastic crowd of people to make it successful before the project’s crowdfunding page even goes live. If you build a great relationship with an enthusiastic following, then it is much easier to bring in backers and your probability of funding your project goes up dramatically.
Yes, you can attract backers who have no prior interaction with you during the campaign. There are ways to do that, but they are not as effective as building relationships with people who are interested in what you are doing before the campaign even starts.
In fact, one of the most effective ways to bring new people into what you are doing is to already have a bunch of enthusiastic people who are backing your campaign. People like to be a part of things that are successful. There are certainly people who will back a campaign just because it is going well and they want to be part of a phenomenon. There is a snowballing effect there. Why do people like certain things? Because they know other people like them. But you have to get it all started.
You don’t want to have to rely on getting people you have no prior connection with to back your campaign and get it funded. There will be plenty going on during the campaign without having to do outreach to people who have never heard of you before.
You also do not want to rely on other people to bring backers to your campaign. If it’s your project, then you should want to be in control as much as possible. Don’t rely on someone else posting about your campaign on their blog, or creating a YouTube video about it, or getting a celebrity endorsement of our campaign. Directly connect with people who love what you do. Then your fate is in your own hands.
If other people do send backers to your campaign, that is wonderful. That is icing on the cake and can potentially propel you to even greater success. But the bottom line is that you want to lay a solid foundation for the campaign by building your own audience well in advance of the campaign. Then you will be able to run a successful crowdfunding project. If you don’t have that, then it is going to be very hard to get traction during the campaign. You will be fighting a very tough battle to make up for lost time.
That is the “secret” to a successful crowdfunding campaign. Find lots of people who are very enthusiastic about your project. By the way, this makes crowdfunding one of the longer term strategies for making your first dollar I wrote about. Is there a more fundamental “secret” that I am missing?