2. Do the research. Take the time to research all of the latest trends and analysis around crowdfunding. Take the time to learn from at least 10 other creators that have run successful crowdfunding campaigns.
3. Have a sample or prototype of your final project...or at least as close as possible to the final vision. You want to show your backers the real deal, or as close as humanly possible. This inspires confidence and encourages folks to back you. Additionally, there is less possibility for a game changing surprise (another way of saying expensive) if you've worked the bugs out of the product before you start your crowdfunding.
4. Set up your business entity, bank accounts, credit cards, email and social accounts, domains, etc. Make sure you've consulted your accountant, lawyer, and any other related professional to ensure you are legal, compliant, and safe.
5. Generate email list for pre-launch promotions. I use LeadPages to create my landing pages that I use for email collection, but there are plenty of solutions out there. Do you research and find a system that works for you, integrates with your email marketing service. I use MailChimp for my email marketing, but again, there are numerous services available to you.
6. Create your branding assets. At a minimum, have a logo, fonts and colors defined and ready to go. If you don't have a good graphic designer in your life that you can enroll in helping you out - consider using Fivrr, or another freelance site to help you create what you need.
7. Research shipping. Learn what are your best options for shipping, use shipping services that offer discount shipping rates (I love GoShippo, but depending on the project, I've also used BackerKit and ShipCenter), avoid dimensional charges, and never assume that you know all the ins and outs of shipping...it'll always be the one wildcard in the development and fulfillment process.
8. Don't scrimp on your video. It is an up-front cost, but having a professional video created can dramatically improve the backer "belief" in your project. If you can't afford a fully produced professional video, shoot the video as high quality as you can and hire a professional editor to finalize your video. Lower cost - much better results than editing on your iPhone.
9. Get quality photographs. Use only high resolution, well lit product photos. These will be used in your press kit, Kickstarter page, website, social media and every where else you want to promote and showcase your product.
10. Set up a DropBox or HighTail account to store your photos, press releases documents, graphics, branding elements, and other relevant information so that you can easily share a single link - even better if you create a Bitly link so you can track who uses the shared link.
11. Get yourself stickers or "postcards" that you can give out at events, or use as leave-behinds. Provide a link (again, use a bitly link that affords you the ability to track) that takes people to your website, rather than directly to your crowdfunding page. This is preferable because it won't hurt your search results after the campaign ends and you can either update or redirect folks from your webpage. This is especially useful if you plan to sell product on your website after the campaign.
12. Consider a PR Firm if you don't like doing promotional work, aren't good at it, or aren't connected to the industry you are trying to sell into. In those cases, find a PR pro in those spaces. You don't have to go big, keep it simple, get a press release created and sent out with them listed as the contact. This is the principle way of getting out of your singular channel.
13. Get it in the can. create all of your written correspondence prior to launch: launch emails, social media posts, crowdfunding updates, anything you think you might need in the future of the project. It's a lot easier to have the "Successful Funding" post already written and primed than it is to try and get it written on the fly in the midst of all the chaos.
14. Connect with your influencers. Much like having your writing in the can, you want to have all of your influencers lined up as well. Feed your bloggers and podcast folks all the information and assets they need to create compelling content. Make yourself available for interviews that they can have ready and primed for the launch of your product...or maybe even integrate them into your pre-launch strategy with teases and behind-the-curtain peeks.
15. Execute the entire pre-launch check list. Skipping steps only impedes your potential success. Get your copy of the latest check list by scheduling a Free Initial Consultation.
16. Roll out your communication plan. Send out the personal emails, social media posts, forum and group posts, pull the trigger with all of your influencers so that they can flood the channel with additional voices. These first 24-48 hours are crucial to the success of your project.
17. Follow up with all media contacts and remind them of your launch.
18. Keep up on all of your messages, emails and social media and make sure you are responding to everyone and encouraging them to share your project with friends and family.
19. Shares, not likes are the key for Facebook. Use calls-to-action that encourage sharing to expand your reach in the most effective organic manner.
20. Product iteration. Consider and communicate any design changes to your product based upon early feedback from your backers.
21. Keep your backers informed with updates. Make the updates relevant and use them to excite you current backers and to encourage them to share with their friends and family. Provide graphics that can be used in social media, or create action links to push social media messages.
22. Personal communication with early backers to help encourage sharing and promotion should be done early in the campaign.
23. Thank you backers! These are your biggest fans right now, make sure they feel special and understand your gratitude for backing your project.
24. Finalize all details with any fulfillment partner. Make sure that everything is accounted for, all the contracts are in place, and there are no surprises coming.
25. Finalize all production numbers and get production underway. Make sure you still on schedule and on cost.
26. Keep your backers informed. Give periodic updates and let your backers see the progress of your production and fulfillment.
27. Don't be a secret. Hiccups happen, schedules get blown, shipments get delayed, your backers are much more likely to have a good experience if you keep them informed and be transparent with any issues that crop up.
28. Don't convince yourself that you are an expert. The trends and best practices in crowd funding are changing all the time. Read as much as you can, understand the latest tips and suggestions for being effective in your campaign...on the platform you have chosen. Look for as many ways to get your campaign in front of people as possible - This is probably the single most concept that evolves. Ideas and concepts for getting your campaign in front of your potential customer have evolved a LOT since the start or crowd funding. Reading an article that is six months old can be as valuable as asking your 84 year old grandfather for tips on coding in HTML 5.
29. Generating your email list prior to launch can possibly your single most powerful tool you can employ, and can potentially be the make or break point for your campaign. My goal is to always to build a list that has at least 4x the number of folks that I need to hit my initial goal. Remember, the goal under the current algorithms is hit your initial funding goal in the first 24-48 hours after launch. This is where you mailing list is vital to your success. Learn everything you can about email list building, and partner with an expert if you are out of your comfort zone.
30. Have a great product. I can never say this enough. It's not just enough to have a good product, it must own it's category or niche, it must address the customers desires or wants, it must differentiate itself from it's competitors, and it must offer a great customer experience!
If you are interested in crowdfunding you next creative project, or need help with product development - give ArtOrder a ring! We are dedicated to empowering creatives with the means to take their ideas from the back of a napkin and into the hands of their fans.
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