You’ve spent months planning your crowdfunding campaign, and now you’re prepared to launch your campaign. Everything you’ve worked hard to put in place – email lists, marketing strategies, events and more – will finally come to life. Whether you’re raising money for a new tech gadget, a creative film idea, a social innovation cause or any other idea that matters to you, these are the steps you need to take to launch and manage a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Launching Your Campaign
Divide Your Email List
Remember all those emails you collected through social media, networking events, landing pages and word-of-mouth? You already selected the core group of supporters (your host committee) and have been actively keeping them updated with your progress. Now it’s time to divide the remaining emails into groups for your email blasts during the campaign. One method you can use is bucketing your email lists into different types of groups based on how likely they are to support your campaign. For example, friends and family not in your host committee, networking and event contacts, industry influencers, etc. This will help you create your email outreach strategy after launch; you can create tailored emails for each group and send out email blasts throughout your campaign to keep momentum going.
A soft launch occurs before your official launch, takes place over a 1 to 2 day (up to a week) period and is reserved only for your host committee and early supporters to help you reach at least 30% of your goal before the official launch. Having a strong start before the public sees your campaign will create a sense of ease and comfort for others when considering contributing. You might choose to host an official soft launch event, or you can coordinate it all online. If you choose to host an event, remember that this should happen only 1 or 2 days before the public launch. You can use this event to collect email addresses, offer exclusive perks or even fulfill any available perks at the event to get people excited. Regardless of which approach you choose, your goal for the soft launch is to reach out to all of your early supporters and encourage them to support you, whether with dollars contributed or by sharing your campaign with their networks. Once you feel comfortable with the results of your soft launch, you can officially launch your campaign for the world to see.
If you chose to do a soft launch, ideally it will have gotten you to at least 30% of your funding goal. Campaigners typically find more success converting new backers from the Indiegogo community after they have already received social validation from their own community by hitting at least 30% of their goal. Once you hit 30% of your goal from your own community, you’re ready to start reaching out to the crowd. During your public launch, plan to send out an email blast to the group you’ve identified as the folks on your entire contact list who are most likely to contribute to your campaign. Create social media posts that are exciting and encourage people to donate. You might consider posting countdown social posts to rally your community, like how Solar Roadways did:
After the launch, continue updating your social community with announcements and milestones.
You might also consider posting an update after the first full day with a personal message.
Continue reaching out to your network and social community to drive awareness for your campaign throughout the entire day and watch the contributions come in!
You might have heard that 42% of funds are raised in the first and last 3 days of a campaign, demonstrating the importance of having a strong launch and strong finish as well as a mid-campaign strategy to maintain momentum. A few simple tactics you can use to maintain momentum include replying to comments, keeping your campaign page updated and sending out thank you emails.
Replying to Comments
There’s no question that keeping an open and clear line of communication with your customers is important for any type of business, and communicating with your backers during your crowdfunding campaign is no exception. Oftentimes, contributors will leave comments on the campaign page to provide feedback – sometimes positive and sometimes negative. Regardless of the sentiment in these comments, it’s your duty as the campaign owner to respond to these comments in a timely fashion. We suggest checking your campaign page and responding to comments daily to show your backers that they can trust you to be honest and forthcoming throughout the entire lifecycle of your campaign. Oftentimes when someone is taking the time to leave a comment, they have invested time in your campaign and are often the folks that can be most easily converted into evangelists.
Campaign Page Updates
The easiest way to send a message to all of your backers at once is via a campaign page update. These updates get automatically emailed to everyone who has contributed to your campaign and are visible on the campaign page itself. Updates are a great way to promote a sense of community, announce milestones and set expectations for after the campaign. As you continue to keep an eye on the comments on your campaign, social media and elsewhere, you’ll be able to gather feedback and get a sense of what your audience truly wants. Posting a campaign update acknowledging the feedback and offering a solution, like The Cove did, is a great way to strengthen your community. Always include a call-to-action in each update so viewers will know how they can help you and your campaign.
Thank You Emails
As contributions come in and your audience begins to voice their support, you might consider sending out thank you emails for a nice, personal touch. Thanking your community for their support, both via contributions and sharing your campaign, demonstrates to your audience that there is a real person behind the campaign and that their support really does matter. Sending out individual thank you notes, social media posts or campaign updates are a great way to show your appreciation for all of your supporters.
Reaching Out to the Press
By this point, you’re already pretty well-versed in how to draft press releases and which media contacts you should reach out to for coverage. If your campaign hits 40 to 50% of the goal within the first few days, draft a story with a catchy headline to distribute to the press. If you reach any other milestones or have any major announcements, you can continue reaching out to the press throughout the duration of your campaign. Sometimes, certain media outlets might not be interested if you hit 50% of your goal, but hitting 75% or 100% might be more interesting for them. Keep reaching out to the press with your achievements throughout the campaign.
Perks and Referral Contests
Maintaining momentum with a mid-campaign strategy is key to your success. Two great tactics involve perks and referral contests.
Oftentimes, your audience will provide feedback on what they really want from you in terms of perks. Gather all of this feedback and determine what kinds of perks and stretch goals are feasible for you to provide for this campaign. Launching a new perk mid-campaign is a great way to maintain interest and drive contributions. Whether you choose to create discounted bundles, add accessories and add-ons for upselling or create new perks entirely, make sure you price them strategically so that your earliest backers are incentivized to buy early to receive the best discount. Emphasize the savings for each unique perk and build a sense of urgency (“limited time only!”).
In addition to adding new perks, you can also hold flash sales to create an even stronger sense of urgency. Offering a flash discount is most effective for accessories, secret perks and upselling. Secret perks are typically discounts and exclusive offers for a specific target audience to maintain momentum and drive contributions. For example, you might reach out to your earliest backers with a message like:
“I’m writing to let you know about a special secret perk we’ve made especially for [TARGET MARKET]— we’re offering our [PRODUCT NAME] at [DISCOUNTED PRICE] just for you. Just go to our campaign, enter the [SPECIFIC AMOUNT OF MONEY] and click the pink “Contribute Now” button. For every [SPECIFIC AMOUNT OF MONEY] you contribute, we’ll send you one [PRODUCT NAME].”
One great example of using flash sales to drive contributions is the Oomi campaign. They ran several flash sales to upsell contributors with add-ons to their smart home system such as multi-sensors, wall dimmers and additional package deals. If you want to run a flash sale, we suggest you discount accessories or secret perks, not perks that have already sold out of the early bird special.
Another excellent mid-campaign strategy is to run a referral contest. Remember that sharing your campaign to extended networks worldwide will allow you to get in front of new eyes and potential new contributors. Offer unique incentives for your referral contest, such as discounts, free perks and add-ons. Campaigns tend to have the most success with referral contests when they are launched either around 30 days into the campaign or when 60% of the total funding goal has been reached. This way, you already have a contributor base to activate and engage, and the contest can serve as one of the final boosts to get your campaign to your goal.
Your campaign is coming to a close, and ideally by now you will have raised the majority of your goal, if not more! Finish strong by making sure all the logistics are sorted and making one final push to raise funds at the end. Enter your bank account information in your campaign, call your bank to confirm details and learn about when you’ll receive the money.
Next, think about which tactics worked best for your campaign. You might have held events, sent out multiple email blasts, tried Facebook ads, ran flash sales and more. Do a little bit of analysis to determine which methods drove the most contributions, and consider using them again for your final push. Regardless of which tactics you choose, make sure you include final countdown updates in your timeline. We suggest sending both 48 hour and 24 hour countdowns to your entire audience via campaign page updates, email outreach and social media posts.
Flow Hive chose to share a personal, heartfelt message with their community in a video on social media.
Once the campaign officially ends, send a Thank You update to all of your contributors and supporters, reply to any additional comments, send final thank you emails and post to social media.
Congrats! You’ve officially run your very own crowdfunding campaign to bring your idea to life. No matter what kind or how large your campaign was, crowdfunding is no easy feat and you should be incredibly proud of your efforts. Regardless of how much money you raised, you’ll always be able to take valuable insights you learned from your campaign and use them to run another campaign or start your own business.