Whether it is an equity crowd funding campaign or the pledge model, the core ingredients that make for a successful campaign are rather similar. A good story told well, good rewards (or attractive realistic projected profits in the case of equity crowd funding), a solid team with broad skills and a history of success, and the ability to communicate this to your audience are the key components to obtaining the goal you have in mind. Understanding the essence of these, preparing your campaign before launch, and making them work for you are the difference between successful funding and missing out.
Your project description or outline needs to generate supporter interest, and make them desirous of wanting to be part of the action, or at least to want to have a slice of the pie. It should inspire enthusiasm, and end with a call to action. A good project description or offer document shows how the offering is relevant, and how you will satisfy a market need or demand. It needs to be transparent in its outline of the project creators, the team, and mostly about what will be done with the funds raised. The project description needs to detail the desired outcome or (in the case of equity crowd funding) projected earnings, explaining what will be achieved if the funding target is met or exceeded. A project creator also needs to outline what will be done with the minimum subscription or if only the tipping point is reached instead of the desired funding target. It is also essential to tell potential investors or supporters about who you are, your relevance to the project, and about the expertise of your team.
Supporters and investors not only back a great idea, they finance individuals if they believe in them. Spelling out your expertise, as well as your ability to deliver your intended outcome is paramount to achieving support, especially in the case of equity crowd funding. A project creator needs to demonstrate and build confidence that they have the ability to deliver, or have at least surrounded themselves with the right people to offer the breadth of skills to successfully commericalise and monetise their concept. Gaining the confidence of investors is the key. Imagine if you had Richard Branson or Warren Buffet on your team. Visualise what a great impact that would have on investor confidence. OK, you may not be able to get guys of this calibre, but the more capable people you can get on board, the more chance you have of securing the funds you need.
When it comes to pledge model crowd funding, good rewards can often be the inducement that drives a campaign. Noone really wants another t-shirt, coffee mug, or bumper sticker, unless they are truly unique or collectors items, so steer away from offering these as your rewards to those who support the campaign. Thought needs to be given to the types of rewards that will be sought after by the audience to whom you are pitching. Limited edition rewards, those that are unique and different, will always attract a premium pledge. And rewards don’t need to have a high cost or perceived value. Public recognition and naming rights, as well as invitation to an event or interaction with the project team are attractive rewards to many potential supporters, but cost a project creator very little. Often, the product itself makes for the best reward while providing the project creator with a form of pre-sales, and achieving market validation and powerful social proof should the campaign succeed.
But the best description, strongest team, and most wonderful rewards or projected return mean for nothing if the project creator does not communicate the offer to the world. A project creator must connect with their first tier early in the campaign, and get the support from those to whom they are closest. Only then will the second tier (friends of friends) and the third tier buy in. It is important to run a discovery session with the team, and really identify who you know, personally, through social media, through related or industry contacts, as well as who you have in your email database. Many identify at this point that work needs to be done to bolster the size of their audience, and a commitment needs to be made to growing the “crowd” before launching. The crowd then needs to be constantly worked in the lead up as well as during the campaign for pledges of support or investment, and regularly asked to help spread the word to their networks and beyond.