When Should I Start My Crowdfunding Campaign?
For every successful crowdfunding campaign held on Kickstarter, two will fail. On Indiegogo, the odds are even worse, with 9 out of 10 campaigns falling short of their goal. To help ensure success for your next campaign, it’s important that you recognize the top four reasons for failure:
● It’s not as easy as it looks.
● The rewards program is lackluster.
● The campaigner isn’t prepared to answer questions.
● The campaign simply doesn’t gain traction early enough.
Fortunately, these four causes of failure can be entirely avoided if the campaigner just takes the time to plan things out. Out of everything, the number one question a campaigner needs to ask is this: Is this the right time to hold your crowdfunding launch?
Before You Launch
Before you even think about launching your campaign, you need to get things in order to avoid the common pitfalls.
#1 Know It’s Going To Be Hard
There’s no way around it. Whether you have a national presence or no following at all, crowdfunding is by no means simple. Convincing people to give their money up for a cause or project is difficult.
That’s why, during the early stages of planning, you need to take time to do some market research. Look at any similar campaigns that exist and figure out what they are doing right. Then, determine how your campaign is going to be unique from their campaigns. What are you going to offer that’s different?
You also need to clearly define the problem that this crowdfunding campaign is going to solve. You then need to do the math, using real-world numbers, to figure out the actual amount you need to raise. Set that as the goal, and make sure it’s realistic. If the original number you come up with is very big, consider crowdfunding in stages. Begin with a “bare bones” project to prove the concept.
#2 Make Your Rewards Program Awesome
People who give to crowdfunding campaigns do so because they want to see a really awesome product succeed. The top campaigns have rewards at smaller denominations, starting at just $1 (which maybe gets them a Twitter mention or thank-you eCard) and then more rewards at $5, $10, and so on.
These smaller rewards will encourage casual supporters to give a little bit, and that can really add up over time. You’ll also want bigger rewards for the small percentage of your audience who will be willing to go all-in for your project. A limited edition product, getting one of the first production runs, or even being involved in the design can all be worthy awards starting at $100, $1000, or even $10,000.
#3 Prepare Yourself For Questions
As the campaigner, you are the face of the project and you’re likely also the heart and soul behind the operations. It goes without saying that people are going to have questions. When they ask questions, you should engage with them and give them honest answers.
People who ask questions are showing interest in your campaign. You should be taking the time to actively engage them and pique their interests so that they donate, and share it with their friends.
You should also be proactively giving updates about progress along the way to help answer the questions people have/may have in the future before they even get around to asking them. Your campaign page should be very active and updated constantly so that potential supporters can see that you are committed.
#4 Start It With A Bang
Did you know that 79% of Kickstarter projects that reach the 20% funded milestone go on to become 100% funded? That just proves how important it is to start things off with a bang.
It’s much easier for your project to get funded if you put out all stops the day off the launch, rather than launching your campaign and then continuing to make changes/updates to it.
Your early marketing should begin before you ever publish your campaign. The day you launch, your campaign should be ready for supporters instantly (no publishing a half-finished campaign saying you’ll add to it later).
Knowing When To Launch
Let’s say that you have gone through all of the above steps. You are now ready to launch your campaign on any platform…but when?
#1 Choose A Month
Is this something that you want to get off the ground in the next few months or the next 1–2 years? It never hurts to postpone the campaign’s launch if you have not yet completed the research needed to prove the concept and get real-world numbers and schedules sorted out.
It’s best to do the research now and postpone the campaign for a little while to ensure that, on launch day, you have an accurate and realistic goal along with all the information you need to go all-in with your idea.
#2 Choose A Day & Time
Once you know when you would like to launch your campaign, the next step is selecting a day and time. You might launch at midnight, or first thing in the morning, or in the middle of the day.
One way to determine what time you’d like to launch is to use any data you have about when your audience is engaging with you already since your current audience will be the first ones you market to.
Use email marketing stats from your prior newsletters and audience insights from your social networks to determine the day/time people are most engaged with your content. Base your campaign’s launch around this day and time so that you can get as many people interested in the launch as possible. This initial traffic (and, hopefully, shares and donations) will help tremendously.
Prior to the launch, you should be building up a lot of hype about your campaign. Posting on Facebook in the days leading up to it and then Tweeting about it when it’s just hours from the launch will help garner interest in your campaign. That will help you start with a bang.