Filmmaker Jaime Jacobsen turned to Indiegogo to raise money to cover post-production costs for her documentary, “Finding Traction,” which follows ultra runner Nikki Kimball’s quest to break the record at Vermont’s 273-mile, Long Trail.
For those who have run a crowdfunding campaign, the title of this Indiegogo project, “Finding Traction,” recalls a familiar concept — getting the word out there, bringing in those early contributions, and putting the ball into motion. For some campaigns, this could be anything from sending an email to old friends to posting on Facebook — but sometimes, it can pay to think outside of the box. Given that Indiegogo is a global platform, it’s likely that there are people out there who will also be passionate about a given idea — it’s just a matter of finding them and helping them fall in love with the idea.
Jaime and her team have worked tirelessly on and offline to spread the word about their project and connect with potential audiences. Below are some of the creative ways they have been building momentum for the campaign. Whether running a film campaign or not, these could provide great inspiration for crowdfunders looking to raise awareness:
Trailer Screening – A popular sports retail store in San Francisco, Sports Basement, holds regular movie nights. In front of a sold out crowd, Jaime presented the trailer to “Finding Traction,” and the film’s star, Nikki Kimball, was on hand to answer questions, sign autographs, and spread word about their Indiegogo campaign. This connected the campaign directly with an enthusiastic and like-minded audience.
Q4 Code on Flyers and Stickers – Knowing that their team would be sharing their campaign offline and in public, Jaime’s team created flyers and stickers that, after being scanned like a bar code, would take people to their Indiegogo page.
The North Face Store – Given that Nikki Kimball is a North Face athlete, they decided to reach out to The North Face Store in San Francisco’s Union Square to have them share flyers and stickers about the Indiegogo campaign at their store.
Podcast – Again seeking out audiences that might be passionate about their campaign and documentary, Jaime and Nikki recorded a podcast with Don Freeman and Jimmy Dean of Trail Runner Nation. Don and Jimmy had discovered the trailer for “Finding Traction” on Twitter and invited them on to their podcast, which usually gets between 8,000 and 11,000 downloads.
Website Call to Action – The “Finding Traction” team manages a website for their film that’s separate from their Indiegogo page. Still, they include a link to direct traffic back to their Indiegogo page and drive contributions.
New Perk – As the campaign entered its final stretch, they added a low-cost and runner inspired Kokopelli tattoo (to give their contributors some extra luck) as well as a “Finding Traction” sticker.
Wanting to find out more about this team’s strategies and share them with current and future crowdfunders, I got the opportunity to speak with Jaime about the campaign:
What drew you to crowdfunding?
We thought starting an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign would be a great way to create a sense of community and rally support for the project. The trail running and ultra running communities are very tight knit and supportive. It’s been wonderful to collaborate with them to make this film happen and to spread the word about Nikki Kimball’s inspiring story.
Why did you decide to use Indiegogo?
A colleague of mine from National Geographic Student Expeditions used Indiegogo recently to fund one of his photography projects. I checked out his campaign and thought the platform was very professional and easy to use. The fact that it is international is awesome, too!
This is our first time crowdfunding for a documentary, so the flexible funding option was very appealing to us. We wanted to make sure that we wouldn’t lose the support we generated in the event the campaign was a few dollars short of its goal. That would be tragic!
What’s been a non-monetary benefit of your campaign?
We’ve loved making a personal connection with our fans and seeing firsthand how our film is inspiring people. It’s been incredibly meaningful. We’ve also been able to forge new and unique partnerships with companies and organizations in the running, outdoor gear and media industries to raise awareness about the film and our Indiegogo campaign. Highlights include recording a new podcast with Trail Runner Nation, interviews with TrailAndUltraRunning.com and Running Free Magazine, and a new article for Trail Runner Magazine’s digital publication.
Can you take me through your marketing strategy?
We’ve used a multi-pronged approach that combines social media outreach, email and direct appeals through individual meetings and community events to spread the word. The Finding Traction film team has worked hard to join forces with corporate and non-profit partners in order to spread the word to their followers to increase our reach. Every day I am shocked by how much I’ve learned about community outreach and marketing through this campaign. It’s a great (and highly necessary) skill for independent filmmakers to have to get their dream projects off the ground.
How have you promoted your campaign “offline?”
Recently we collaborated with Sports Basement Presidio in San Francisco to organize a movie night in conjunction with the North Face Endurance Challenge. We sold out the event and were able to share our trailer and Indiegogo campaign with over 300 runners, race directors and Bay area community members in attendance. Undergoing this type “offline,” in-person outreach to share our campaign re-energized us and solidified our resolve to make this project happen. Our fan base continues to grow and we can’t let them down.
What’s your best piece of advice for future crowdfunders?
I think the best advice I have actually comes directly from Dave and Steve at the Indiegogo HQ! They suggested creating a calendar to outline who you will reach out to each day and actions you will take. This strategy has been very helpful in organizing marketing and outreach activities and planning out an effective strategy. Once the ball starts rolling with the campaign you need to be very organized in order to stay on top of everything! For example, every day we get requests to bring the film to new cities. Our latest request is from Go Trail in Pennington, South Africa!
What’s next for you and your team?
Finishing Finding Traction and embarking on a national community screening tour. We are excited to send Nikki on tour with the film and to bring the extraordinary feats of professional female athletes into the limelight. We want to encourage a new generation of young women to chase their dreams and inspire people to run, hike and be physically active through this story.
To find out more about “Finding Traction,” check out the campaign!
Interested in running an Indiegogo campaign? Find out how here and start today!