How to Crowdfund – 6 Steps for a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

Pritam Nagrale

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One of the common questions from people nowadays is how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign? Honestly, there’re no simple answers to such a question.

That’s because collecting money for almost any activity has become difficult. Most people suffer from something known as ‘donor fatigue’- a syndrome that triggers when people give away money for various purposes but get nothing in return.

Therefore, the only way to raise money from crowdfunding is to run a unique and attractive campaign. This may sound simple but can prove fairly complex. And there’re good reasons why it’s complex.

Crowdfunding Campaign

Reasons Why Crowdfunding is Complex

Firstly, let’s comprehend that crowdfunding isn’t a new way to raise money for anything. Since ancient times, people collect money from others to help a worthy cause or create something. For example, cooperative banks and societies are also an excellent example of crowdfunding.

Nowadays crowdfunding is complex because of the sheer number of organizations that’re seeking money from the public.

On one hand, we have crowdfunding platforms collecting money for some cause such as building schools, providing meals and clothing or even helping an individual pay for expensive medical treatment.

In such cases, crowdfunding is purely for charity and hence, donors or funders don’t expect any returns. However, the number of such causes is rising exponentially. And donors are at loss to know which one to support.

On the other hand, there’re countless crowdfunding platforms where startup founders ask money from the public to seed or finance their venture. In such cases, funder expect something in return.

For example, it could be stakes in the new enterprise or freebies worth the amount of money. However, given that 60 percent to 90 percent of startups flounder and fail within the first five years, makes people worry whether their money would fetch returns.

How to Run Successful Crowdfunding Campaign?

Here’re where things get a bit tricky. To overcome this reluctance of people to part with money, you’ll need to run an amazing crowdfunding campaign. There’re quite a few elements that go into running a successful crowdfunding campaign. Here we explore the most important ones.

1. Create a Brand Around a Story

Since times immemorial, people love stories. And this attraction to stories continues till today. Therefore, the first step to run a successful crowdfunding campaign is to create a brand around a story.

By this I mean, write your personal story about how you came across the idea of this startup or enterprise and why it’s important to you. Also mention how the startup would help make lives better for customers.

The more compelling and authentic your story, the greater your chances of running a successful crowdfunding campaign. That’s because people tend to identify with your story.

If you can provide them this personal touch, a crowdfunding campaign can become a runaway success. However, ensure that you don’t exaggerate or make any tall and fake claims in your story.

2. Create Website & Blog

One more important element to run a successful crowdfunding campaign is online presence. This can be easily done by opening a good website specifically for the crowdfunding campaign.

Nowadays, a website is available for as low as $9.99 per year, which includes domain name and hosting with other necessary resources. And yes, starting a blog is easy.

You can use this website to create brand awareness. And write excellent blogs about the venture, yourself, success stories in the same industry as well as market outlook among others.

It’s worth remembering that people look for specific and exact details before parting with their money. A website serves as an excellent online resource to create brand awareness and reach the masses.

3. Use Social Media Extensively

Social media is everywhere. With over 2.5 billion Monthly Active Users or MAUs, Facebook remains by far the most popular social media platform. And we have others too such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and a few others.

Social media is extensively used by some of the largest brands in the world too. And it helps you to reach audiences for a fraction of the cost of conventional advertising.

Create a Facebook page, Twitter handle and get cracking on Instagram and Pinterest, among other social media platforms. That’s because each social media platform has a particular kind of audience.

For example, Facebook is popular among women and men between 30 and 50 years ages while younger folk prefer Twitter and Instagram. You can find demographics for each social media platform easily.

Since people check social media during spare time, they’ll have ample time to check your crowdfunding campaign. If your social media campaign is attractive, you’ll definitely run a successful crowdfunding campaign. People will decide on the spot to fund your venture, albeit for smaller amount of money.

4. Create Videos for Various Platforms

Videos are one of the best ways to reach the masses. And most people nowadays tune into YouTube, the single largest video sharing platform in the world. If they find an interesting video, they also share it through Facebook and other social media accounts.

Videos allow you to impart that very important personal touch to your crowdfunding campaign. Instead of sponsoring or funding a vague cause or personality, they get to see you and hear you and your story.

There’re various ways to promote your YouTube channel too using social media. You don’t need to invest much upon opening a YouTube channel: all you need is a video camera such as the one on your smartphone and basic video editing tools.

Other popular platforms where you can share videos include Pinterest and Instagram. Nowadays, TikTok is also making waves across the world as a video sharing platform. You can pitch short and long videos on all of these to run a successful crowdsourcing campaign.

5. Email Marketing

Most people falsely believe that email marketing is redundant or thing of the past. Far from that. In fact, email marketing remains relevant even today, as any large or small company will testify eagerly. Email marketing is a highly cost effective resource to run a successful crowdsourcing campaign.

You can develop an email list from your blog, website and video channels. Offer people something exciting through emails. Unless people find value in your emails, they won’t part with their email IDs.

Obviously, because nobody wants spam in their email boxes. You can also respond to individual queries by email and provide crowdfunding account links for people to deposit cash.

6. Use Excellent Crowdfunding Platform

And finally, enlist the help of an excellent and respectable crowdfunding platform to run a successful crowdfunding campaign. That’s because people who want to crowdfund a project will look for something worth their money on these platforms.

If your campaign material including the story, videos, text and other public outreach material appeals to their senses, such people will willingly deposit money on the crowdfund.

Here it’s also important to bear in mind the cost of a crowdfunding platform. They will host your crowdfunding campaign and charge a small percentage of the amount you collect.

Therefore, ensure that fees are reasonable and affordable. Also check their terms and conditions and clarify in person, should you have any doubts.

Specify clearly what the funder gets in return for investing their money on your project. It can be anything from a small stake in your venture to free subscriptions or the first release of a product or service. It depends on the nature of startup you’re planning to open. However, mentioning returns does work wonders.

Closing Thoughts

If you follow these six steps, it would be fairly easier to run a successful crowdfunding campaign. An important thing to remember is also the timing of your crowdfunding campaign. Look for dates and seasons when people are more willing to put their money.

Crowdfunding isn’t something that really works round the year, unless the money is for a medical emergency, national disaster or a worthy charitable cause.

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