Having launched multiple successful crowdfunding projects I’ve learned a thing or two about what works.
And it still blows my mind how much bad “advice” there is out there on crowdfunding. And not just bad advice …there are some full-on crowdfunding myths being passed around!
But it gets worse…
Because crowdfunding is so new, then most of what you read is by people who have never actually run a project. They just seem to be repeating exactly what the next website said – and it’s really starting to grind my gears!
But don’t worry, ‘ol Magnus here is gonna set you straight.
I’m going to provide you with some rock-solid information on crowdfunding from my own in-the-trenches experience.
Let’s bust some myths…
Myth #1 – “You Need a Following Before You Launch Your Project”
Here’s a secret not many people will tell you…
If you do enough research and you’re not stuck to one single crowdfunding idea – then you don’t need any “followers” or “fans” for your project to be a success.
How do I know this?
Because I had a total of ZERO people ready to back my project (well, not including a few family and friends …but I can count on one hand how many of them backed me).
This first Kickstarter campaign was a titanium pocket-tool and it went on to raise over $16k*.
The reason it worked so well, without any sort of following, is because it’s something that’s popular on Kickstarter. I had done my research. It really isn’t too much more complicated than that.
If you don’t already have some sort of following (or don’t like the idea of having to create one) …then just do some research. Identify what works. Do something similar.
(*=The project was in British Pounds – this is the USD equivalent)
Myth #2 – “People Want to Help You”
The cold, harsh truth is:
“Backers”, “Supporters”, “Funders” or whatever you call them really aren’t too fussed about you (or your project).
Yes, you can call it being cynical …but I prefer to call it accurate thinking.
There’s a boat-load of people out there creating crowdfunding campaigns who really don’t get this.
Take a look at most of the listings on Kickstarter (or any other platform)… many, and maybe even most, of the project descriptions start with things like:
“We’re trying to start a new…”
“Help me get a…”
“We’re passionate about…”
People either want to receive something when they give you their cash …or — and this is less popular — they want to know they are making a difference (which, when you boil it down, is the same thing …they are receiving the “feel good factor” in this case).
Myth #3 – “Video is the Most Important Part of Your Campaign”
This is a weird one…
I’m not sure how this started – but pretty much everyone (even if they’ve never actually run their own crowdfunding campaign) seems to repeating this over and over like a parrot!
It makes no sense.
On a higher, more strategic level then your idea is the most important part of your campaign. But, on a more practical level, the written part of your “pitch” is the most important.
I’ve heard no one else say it – but I’ve been banging on about it for as long as I can remember.
The words, photos and graphics on your pitch page are more important than the video. Period.
Myth #4 – “Don’t Be Too Pushy In Your Project Pitch”
Like it or not, but…
Launching a crowdfunding project is just selling. It’s no different.
You’re offering something in exchange for someone giving you their hard-earned cash.
Hundreds of thousands of businesses around the world spend trillions of dollars trying to sell their products and services.
Some crowdfunding projects will take-off just because of what they are (an incredible new product or a project where the Project Creator already has a loyal following for instance) …but in most cases you need to know how to pitch your crowdfunding project.
Myth #5 – “Just Tell Your Story”
This one is partly true…
Your “story” is important. People think in terms of stories – it’s how our brains work.
But, here’ the thing:
Your story shouldn’t be your entire “pitch” – it should be just a part of it. Your story (if it’s a good story of course) will help you connect with your potential Backers …but on its own your story ain’t going to get them reaching for their wallets to give you their cash.
You still have to sell them.
Myth #6 – “Before You Launch Your Project You Should Show it to Your Family and Friends”
For the most part this isn’t really a myth – it’s not going to make much difference to most projects.
However, let me give you a personal example where it did make a difference…
My first Kickstarter project was for a titanium multi-function pocket-tool. I never let anyone (not even family) see the pitch page before I had launched.
#1 – I knew more about Kickstarter than any of them.
Yes, I know this sounds arrogant – but I had been studying Kickstarter for many, many months so knew a decent amount about what works and what doesn’t (this first project raised about $16k+ so I can somewhat justify this).
However, pretty much all my family and friends had “heard of” Kickstarter …but that was about it.
#2 – Your friends and family are not likely to be the type of Backer you’re targeting.
Most likely you’re going to be targeting a specific type of person (or group of people) with a particular interest in your crowdfunding project.
And it’s unlikely your friends and family are going to fall into this group. You could use them for checking spelling or grammar errors – but, personally, that’s where I’d stop.
Myth #7 – “Too Many Updates During My Campaign Will Annoy Your Backers”
The more Updates you do the better.
But, here’s the “tricky” part…
The Updates need to be interesting. The Backers should want to hear what you have to say …whether it’s written, audio or video.
Your Backers were emotionally invested enough in your project to hand over their cash – so why wouldn’t they want to get more than just the Rewards you’re offering when you get funded?
Okay, that’s enough “myth busting” for today.
Hopefully this post has given you a different perspective on what works, what doesn’t work and what makes no difference whatsoever.