When a close friend says, sorry you’re only 1% of the way to your crowdfunding goal after 2 weeks, it makes me smile. Many base success on first reactions, rather than realizing it’s a process to roll out anything, crowdfunding included.
UPDATE: I’ve stepped up to run the Campaign, after the first campaign was adapted to a new one, where funding is only raised if the total amount is raised. Will share more soon.
While Think and Grow Rich – The Movies on Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign is just getting rolling 2 weeks into it, they now have 30 days to complete a 60 day rollout.
” Crowdfunding allows founders of for-profit, artistic, and cultural ventures to fund their efforts by drawing on relatively small contributions from a relatively large number of individuals using the internet, without standard financial intermediaries.” (Read this educational paper, The Dynamics of Crowdfunding: Determinants of Success and Failure)
Basically you can go direct and appeal to get funding for a business, creative, or nonprofit initiative. So with so many choices from Kickstarter to Indiegogo, the challenge is not where to raise the money, but how to connect and explain what you’re doing in plain, simple language that allows people to join in.
In a new media world where attention is short, time is limited, and results are all that matters, people rush themselves instead of taking the time to do it right. Let me share the 3 Essentials to Crowdfunding I’ve discovered, watching this unfold over the past two weeks.
1. Use a Video to tell your story, and do this early
This is common sense advice, right? Look at videos on crowdfunding sites, and you’ll see a hodge podge of confusing messages, amateur graphics, Powerpoints…while you don’t have to be a pro, you need to really care about the video.
For the Think and Grow Rich the Movies project, several videos were released, here’s the latest from Indiegogo’s page; notice how you get to meet the producer and director, with a simple video shoot, excellent graphics, and brevity – less than 2 minutes preferred.
Smart approach is to create 2-3 videos, and get one out immediately for a few weeks before launch. You have to plant seeds to get things done. Those expecting something to pop up immediately better have star power (see Veronica Mars on Kickstarter), or high tech sizzle (see Kreyos’ SmartWatch on Indiegogo.com) to get noticed, and even then they all use video.
(DISCLOSURE: I”m helping on the project as a volunteer and friend, the company doing the crowdfunding launch is amazing and I’ll keep quiet about their identity until the crowdfunding campaign is over. You should visit Think and Grow Rich – The Movies on Indiegogo page just to witness the process – though you’ve missed a ton if you’ve missed the first 2 weeks.)
Essential 2. Pre-Launch on Social and Get Opt Ins
Before launching the crowdfunding campaign, a Facebook Page was set up as the primary contact point.
Visitors are also invited to join the email list for updates to the campaign, and the mobile app planned to go along with the movie. Over 8,000 people Like the Facebook Page as of today, with a huge majority of them opting in for email updates, so Think and Grow Rich The Movies can connect with them outside of Facebook.
Building your list and your Facebook Page following are critical,
and during pre-launch, they took a few weeks to get it going.
I see this as a 60 day rollout – 2 weeks or so on social media release, followed by 45 days of Crowdfunding. Just like launches I’m familiar with, this crowdfunding launch builds up a following over 2-4 weeks, because it takes that time to get noticed, both to spread the word and from a PR/promotional perspective.
Essential 3. Crowdfunding over 45 days instead of 30
Here’s the first thing I notice, and see the most complaints about on crowdfunding sites…running out of time and not getting the money. Most people think of everything in 30 day segments, and set up a 30 day campaign.
Now you can do that, but you better spend a month on prelaunch to give yourself time to get noticed; even if you have a following, getting them to take action requires a bit of awareness building at first.
Think and Grow Rich – The Movies on Indiegogo began with a 47 day launch, which in the long month of July allowed them to begin planting seeds for 17 days until the 30 day countdown begins. While only 1% has been raised so far, this is a classic example of promotions being a marathon, not a sprint.
Most campaigns are tired and ready to quit at this point, when the real push comes in the middle and closing of the crowdfunding campaign. It’s human nature to procrastinate. While those doing 30 day campaigns would face a 2 week, impossible deadline, Think and Grow Rich the Movies now has the whole 30 days rolling, backed by the first 30 days of getting it started and pre-launched.
What I especially like about the campaign is that the first 2 weeks of heavy work and connecting, relationship building, givse time to then stage in the final 30 days with some momentum.
Building momentum is essential to any promotion, especially crowdfunding. If you simply remember these 3 essentials — using video to explain your message and doing it right, pre-launching on social before going live, and giving yourself more than 30 days to complete a campaign, you’ll see the entire process really takes 60 days.
Then it’s usually another 30 days or so before you get the actual funding, so plan on 3 months. Even if you don’t do crowdfunding, there’s wisdom in doing this for your business, living in 3 month chunks to get a significant campaign rolled out, tested, and then scaled up to the results you want.
I’ll update this post periodically during the launch, if you have any questions about crowdfunding, I’m not an expert, but am learning alot from this campaign and others. Be sure to read the educational paper, The Dynamics of Crowdfunding: Determinants of Success and Failure), referenced above and which though in academic speak, has tons of good advice.
The concluding 20 pages in particular yield insights of what works, how much is raised, and how to get access to capital for a business, create venture, or nonprofit. Definitely worth reading to get your feet wet, and it’s free.