Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Crowdfunding Strategy: Getting your Campaign from 'Mediocre' to 'Fantastic'

As the progress of 'Your Milkman' charges forward, I think now is a good time to discuss funding yourself.

Crowdfunding isn't anything new, but the platforms that are available are. So we're using IndieGoGo-- there are other sites such as Kickstarter that do the same thing, but you actually get to keep the contributed finances on IndieGoGo even if you don't achieve your goal. That's really what sold me.

Anyway, there's a wonderful melding of IndieGoGo/Kickstarter platforms with social media. It's a tango of sorts. A push and pull of giving and taking with your social circles. There's a fine line to tread with crowdfunding. Either you're not pushing enough, or you're way too in-your-face.

Of course I'm only a month into this campaign, I've still gone into this with some strategy under my belt. Here it is.

Social networking is great, but it works best in creating awareness of your campaign, not actually instigating an action. Unless you can benefit the laymen who stumbles across your crowd funding page, they'll just look past it. SO, how do you drum up the kind of budget you need? Well, it's simple case of time and work.

Direct contact to individuals is crucial. 75% of our budget thus far has been obtained by directly contacting individuals. That equates to a LOT of personal emails asking each person for help. That doesn't mean doing a copy-and-paste message to your friends and family. It means reaching out to everyone you think might be interested and engaging them by writing a personal message. Keep it conversational. Offer to help them with something if they need it. Make it a two-way street.

With the mass amounts of messages people are bombarded with every day, the general public has grown quite keen to a sales pitch. I know anytime I get approached by someone on the street or am asked to give money for something, I immediately decline without even listening to what it's for. You crack that egg by actually putting time into an individual and conversing with them. I'd much rather help a friend out than a complete stranger. Use those relationships to your advantage.

So once you get people to put in the initial sum of money, you've got to keep it fresh. You need to update your audience on the project's progress. The updates need to be relevant and the more you can give back, the better it will be received. So far, our biggest hit aside from the campaign launch was the 10 minute documentary we made about the script read through. We have four or five video concepts designed that both remind the viewer about the project, but also inspire and educate them on the process.

How frequently do I make these posts? I try to put something out once, maybe twice a week. If I'm slacking on progress for the production, I get something done that's newsworthy. It keeps me motivated. If I'm totally stumped with news, I post out a thank you to my newest contributors and update the grand total of donations so far. I update the progress of the week.

It's important to keep your project relevant, but not over saturated. Posting too much is off-putting and gets people numb to your project. Once or twice a week is plenty.

Now-- When? When do you post? There's been a lot of data floating around recently for social media that all concludes that you NEVER post on weekends. Friday-Sunday is a dead time for reading news. You need to capture your audience while they're at work secretly checking their facebook pages and twitter feeds and happen to stumble across your interestingly-worded piece of news.

Monday Tuesday and Wednesday in the morning, between 8-10am is your prime time to post. If the right people see it, and it gets reposted, it should coast through the afternoon.

So that's the basic strategy I'm riding on right now. It seems to be working. Keeping it up for the remaining 85 days of this campaign is just the challenge. I'll definitely keep a running post of my strategy, so stay tuned!

Crowdsharing works, it just requires a LOT of time. Keep it entertaining, relevant and regular and you should be able to get the most out of your promotions. Good luck, folks!

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