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Aug 06

The Essence of Crowd Funding – Getting The Crowd To Follow

Crowd funding is seen by many to be the next development of social media, achieving a deeper of level of engagement whereby the crowd not only says they LIKE you, but they are willing to put their money behind you to assist in “making it happen”. Getting the crowd to support you is the essence of achieving success, and achieving this is built around a simple formula. 21% of crowd funding campaigns receive no funding at all (not a single cent) due to project creators not planning and then not “working” their project. Realise that this is about the activity you undertake in planning and execution, and you are already ahead of many in the pack.

Project supporters are motivated to pledge their support because they like you, they share the passion for your project or the outcome, and they want either one of the cool rewards on offer or the kudos they get from being seen to pledge. Recognise this as the key motivators, and you can start to plan a successful campaign.

When it comes to rewards, many project creators leap before they think. Put some thought behind the rewards, using the teachings of the global industry. Campaigns with a $25 reward raise 30% more in funds than those without a reward for this amount. Keep the tiers of rewards simple and concise. It is best to perhaps have an entry level ($2) reward, a $25 reward, a $50 reward (this is the most commonly pledged amount), and a $100 reward – in most cases that’s plenty.

Make sure that you clearly define your project in your project description. Many projects that are initially submitted to iPledg have some great wording, but don’t actually say what it is they plan to do with the money they raise, thus failing to engage the crowd as they just “don’t get it”.

With authenticity being key to a successful campaign, your chances of success will be greatly boosted by having a video in your project description. Shoot a quick video (it doesn’t have to be a full scale Hollywood production – a 60 second clip shot on your iPhone is fine). Campaigns with a video raise 122% more in funds than projects that do not have a video. Have people in it (not just shots of your product or plan). The crowd wants to see (and fund) your passion and that of your team and closest supporters. If you can include a couple of endorsements in your video from potential customers or beneficiaries from your project, then that will add to its effectiveness.

The most common misconception about crowd funding is that you just need to post your campaign on a platform and the money will magically come. To be successful you, as the project creator, need to spread the word and reach your network. That us, you should be aiming to get your message in front of every single person you have had contact with in recent times.

You need to reach 25% of your funding target (typically) before strangers start to take note and start supporting your campaign. To achieve this, prime your closest networks first, even before your launch, getting them ready for you to start your campaign. Effectively this will give you a rolling start and you won’t be held up while you build your initial momentum. In preparation for your campaign, build your Facebook network as figures show that it is the top referrer to crowd funding platforms.

Also in the preparation phase, make sure to build your team of advocates. Have a team that will push the message to their networks as well, effectively giving you more angles from which the crowd will be approached, and more networks to whom your message can be sent. And if you or anyone in your team knows a celebrity, ask them to make a few shout outs on your behalf.

Once your funding campaign is underway, don’t just ask for blatantly ask for money, but continue to inform people of what you are doing. It doesn’t always have to be about the money. Make sure you don’t beg, but maintain the interest of the crowd and continue the attraction (build it, let them know, and they will come). Another great topic about which you can make shout outs regularly during your campaign is thanking people and letting them what their support means. Single people out and give them that social kudos that means so much.

Be sure to also make updates through the site on which your campaign is being run. Regular, on-site updates allow you to double your money according to the stats. Tell the crowd what you are up to, both with the funding campaign as well as project itself.

Celebrate milestones as you meet them. Let people know when you hit the half way mark or the first $1,000 raised. Who could go past Amanda Palmer’s celebration of her crowd funding campaign hitting $1mil by appearing in social media pages, bare chested and with the words “One F*&#ing Million” painted on her semi naked body. No, perhaps you don’t have to go to such extremes, but the message is the same – celebrate loud and proud, and the crowd will share (and spread) your joy.

Make sure you do the big count down towards the end of the campaign. Even if you have already met your target, counting down to the end of the campaign will further engage the audience to conform to the urgency and pledge within the remaining time.

Afterwards, once the dust has settled, be sure to follow up everyone and welcome them into your “family” and into a long term relationship created through this wonderful form of e-commerce and the new, deeper social media engagement tool that is crowd funding.

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