You have a great idea, and now you want to present it to the general public to get market validation and funding! Here’s ten pointers that you should keep in mind throughout your crowdfunding campaign:
1) Statistically 25% of projects don’t even get approved – the first official step to starting your campaign. How can you avoid being in the bottom 25%?
Read, read, read the rules. They’re laid out very specifically for you on the crowdfunding website. Be sure to also make your project very personal – something that you believe in. The crowdfunding community is a community of people after all, and they want to know your story behind the product.
2) What should you prepare before you launch your campaign?
First and foremost, you need a team that is as dedicated to the project as you are. You need to think about the long run and whether or not these team members are going to stay on-board with you. As time goes on, you will undoubtedly run into more problems with your project, so you need a solid team to always be there to fix them. Once you have your team, start planning. Find a manufacturer for your project. Get a quote. Estimate shipping and handling costs for all the parts to your project. Plan for the shipping costs of all the rewards you’re going to have to ship out eventually. There’s a lot to take into account, so planning months prior to your launch is absolutely crucial.
3) There are many components when it comes to successful product promotion. However, what’s THE most important aspect of my product page?
THE VIDEO! The video showcases your product, your story, and most importantly, yourself, the creator. People gravitate towards the video first because this is where you’re able to visually display your idea. Be genuine in the video. If people see your enthusiasm for the project, they will resonate with you and the idea.
Make sure people see your video though — this means getting a serious amount of press. Contact every blog, press service, news group, and family member to spread the news. Get people pumped!
4) I think I have an innovative idea that might take off. My family loves it, but then again, my family loves just about everything I do. How do I effectively promote this to the general public?
Get connected to your target market! Don’t be afraid to approach people and see if your product is something they would see themselves using. Put prototypes in as many hands (that are in your target market) as possible! Make a 10 question questionnaire with the key questions: would you recommend this to a friend, how would you rate this on a scale of 1-10, what is the one improvement you would make to the product if you could.
Lastly, be yourself. This might sound cliché, but in the crowdfunding community, your passion has to shine through. Keep it real and don’t fake anything. The community will appreciate your honesty, and your enthusiasm for your project will be sure to attract backers.
5) Generally, projects lasting 30 days or less have a higher success rate, but there are obviously more factors that lead to a successful project than the funding time. What should I go with?
A month is about as long as you want to work with. If you fail, you fail fast. If you succeed, you succeed fast. You’re able to get feedback from the community if your project appears to be failing and restructure according to the community’s feedback. A lot of projects skyrocket within the first few hours or days of release, so the funding time is irrelevant in those cases. Tip: Make sure to get 30% of project funded in the first 24hrs in order to be featured on the front page of the crowdfunding platform. Indiegogo has algorithms in place that if you start to peak early on they will bump you to the front. So it is important you focus on pre-order and building out your email list early on to account for those sales. If you get 100% funded early, then great – you now have a whole month to relax and work on shipping costs for all your backers.
6) So I’ve decided to put my project up for everyone to see… but there’s still no way to know if it’ll be funded. However, I do know that if it reaches or even surpasses my funding goal, there will be countless rewards that’ll need to be shipped out. How should I deal with all this monetary and physical stress?
Prepare, prepare, prepare! If you’re confident about your project, start small and figure out how much it would cost to ship out products with, for example, 100 backers. It’s also good to analyze what would happen if the number of backers climbed to 500, 1000, or more. Set up a plan for not achieving your goal, hitting your goal and far exceeding your goal. Getting more backers adds a lot of work, but it’s also a great problem. If you were aiming for a $10,000 project and ended up getting $100,000 — you’ve done it! But prepare, prepare, prepare. There is too much involved in fulfilling your orders to work on it at the last minute. Your operational infrastructure should already be figured out. See this post on the Dirty Secrets of Crowdfunding for more information.
6) An idea’s great, but I need to find a manufacturer to turn it into reality. How should I go about doing this?
Spend time developing relations with people in the field. It’s as simple as that. Talk to other hardware startups and see what they’ve done. Do plenty of research online.
But as you know, we here at Berkeley Sourcing Group take care of all your crowdfunding needs when it comes to developing, manufacturing, shipping, etc. all the components of your project. So if you’re looking for a manufacturer to develop your product correctly and efficiently, look no further!
However, it’s important to begin the due diligence process early on because under perfect conditions it can take anywhere from 6-9 months and maybe more to produce a manufactured product. We go over a rough timeline in this post when crowdfunding your project.
7) My project doesn’t look like it’s going to reach the funding goal. What do I do now?
Just because your project didn’t reach its goal doesn’t mean it’s a bad product. It could mean that you just didn’t get the media attention that you needed. It could be that a similar project to yours received more exposure and overshadowed yours. There are a multitude of reasons why your project might not have reached its goal, but many of them can be overcome through research and diligence. Most crowdfunding sites allow you to resubmit your project with a new goal, so don’t be afraid to start again with an identical project.
8) How do I know that other people won’t steal my idea once I share my idea on a crowfunding site?
Being able to view others’ ideas is an essential, if not the most essential aspect of crowdfunding. If you’re not prepared to have your idea out in the open, then you should focus on the tools needed to protect your idea sufficiently for you to feel comfortable. Provisional, design, and utility patents can offer a lot of protection for new ideas. Also, developing a hardware project is incredibly difficult to execute. Many people have ideas but don’t have the resources, time or know how to even pull of such a feat. Lastly, most major corporations will have you spend the money and time developing your technology to see if people will actually buy it. Once you prove market demand, they will either decide to compete or could possibly acquire you for your technology and customer base.
9) What is the best crowdfunding site to launch my product on?
The answer to that is that if you do things right, it doesn’t really matter too much. While there will be some traction for your campaign from the site itself, most of the eyeballs that come to a campaign for a successful campaign were brought there from outside sources. I think the current statistic is 10% of traffic comes from crowdfunding websites. A good review from an influential reviewer can easily increase funding by ten times! The more important question is in the fine print. Read the rules and know how the crowdfunding site works to understand what is most important to you. The biggest difference between the two largest sites, Indiegogo and Kickstarter is that with Indiegogo you get to collect the funds (if you want to) if the project does not get fully funded whereas with Kickstarter your project must get fully funded in order to collect.
10) I want to hear from successful project creators — what are their biggest pieces of advice?
We have interviewed a bunch of successful project creators, and here are a couple of the recurring themes.
Plan ahead! Do your homework and study the site. Learn how it works, so you’re not caught off guard when you put your project online. Find out why some products sell and others don’t. Get feedback from other people (not including your family and friends) about your product. If you’re coming into crowdfunding needing anything more than money, then you need to prepare some more. Here’s why. If you figure out in the middle your campaign that you need something that wasn’t in your initial calculations, you probably won’t have enough time.
Here is a post we recently wrote for Crowd Supply on this very topic.
Be genuine. Be human. Be real. Crowdfunding is unique in that you don’t see huge business moguls walking around. This community is supported by people just like you and me. This is an “everyperson” site. Therefore, relax, in your video, product description, and especially in your personal responses to backer messages, you’re among friends. From interviewing these fine project creators, I can honestly say that every one of them has been incredibly open and receptive. Make an impression on people by being honest. Be yourself.