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Shorter is Generally Better – Components of a Good Crowdfunding Campaign 6

alarmIt might seem that a longer campaign is a better idea as it gives more opportunity for funding but this is very rarely the case. A sense of urgency and time pressure is generally helpful for all concerned. The principle of “the burning platform” works well in a campaign where you will experience a lull and a drop in momentum.

You also need to bear in mind that running a crowdfunding campaign is tremendously demanding so how long can you keep up that level of focus and commitment? That is carried through in the amount of good quality material you will need to have to maintain the sense of freshness and urgency of a communication campaign. People can rapidly become bored unless new and vibrant updates are available. Trotting out the same message repeatedly over a long period will certainly begin to seem thin, dull and potentially annoying.

Many platforms only actually offer set time frames fro campaigns to remain live. Not all by any means, and if you are running a DIY campaign it is up to you. Typically equity campaigns can take longer. This can be for a number of reasons: the sums raised can be larger, the process of registering as an investor often takes longer, the evaluation process in deciding to purchase can be a longer cycle, and the scope for “advertising” an offer is more regulated and constrained.  But even here momentum, awareness and freshness is still important and it hard to sustain these over a longer period.

As we have said in a previous post, you should run your own campaign, so how long can you be away from your day job? You cannot afford to neglect your key role in the organisation. Maybe for a short period and maybe with good reason, but you cant extend that too far without having an impact on your role. When you factor in the amount of time required to prepare for a campaign as well as the time running the campaign you begin to see that crowdfunding is by no means “easy money”. It takes effort and commitment so you need to balance that effort effectively.

So, don’t lose the urgency and imperative of a campaign by making it unnecessarily long. Use your focus and energy effectively by channeling it to a shorter campaign to keep the energy and enthusiasm high.

This post is one of a series called Components of a Good Crowdfunding Campaign. Other posts in the series can be found here

Monitor, Respond, Update – Components of A Good Crowdfunding Campaign 5

RecycleIn our continuing series of advisory blogs on how to run a good Crowdfunding campaign we address three key activities in any campaign – Monitoring, Responding and Updating

Monitor

It is important to understand what is going on in your campaign so that you can amplify the positive aspects and tailor any aspect to any emerging patterns. So, in simple terms, keep doing what seems to work well and don’t flog a dead horse. To help you with that many of the platforms offer quite sophisticated dashboards that can provide insights on your project. Traffic rates, engagement, referrals etc., and a good analysis of this can lead to continued stream of actions and tweeks designed to improve the campaign. But the platform is not the only mechanism for monitoring the campaign. If you are using multiple communication channels then it is important to review what is happening there and monitor the results of your efforts. Using too many channels will be time consuming and using channels that are not being responded to is a waste of effort. So, for example, if you are sending email campaigns then use a tool that will provide specific insight about its impact. This might show how many people opened the mail, how many clicked on links, or forwarded it, the time of day these things happen. Create tracker tokens for links and see who is sharing and using them. All of this can help you tailor and enhance your campaign as you go. It may even be possible to find the time to compare different approaches and arrive at the best approach from a number of different messages. Build a monitoring framework and keep to it. Set yourself targets and benchmarks in order to measure progress. And be sure to act on what you discover.

Respond

If you are asked questions respond to them and do so quickly. Be open and friendly and take account of what is being said. If people are confused about something then clarify it in your response and check to see if the message needs amending elsewhere. In a reward campaign you may need to amend change or expand the range on offer as you go based on feedback. Platforms have varied rules on these matters but honest amendments responding to community demands are usually okay. In most cases, on reward platforms you cannot change the specifics of a reward once one has been purchased.

Update

Keep people updated. It might seem obvious but one of the great strengths of crowdfunding is that it establishes, or it should, a high touch relationship with your funders. Keep in touch with them and keep in touch with your community generally. Not everyone invests immediately, get them back to do it. Updates make your investors feel engaged, valued and involved. This sense of direct engagement in a project is a key motivator and one of the main principles of digital empowerment so it is a good principle to respect. By doing this you also maintain momentum which is key to a campaign. But this is demanding and time consuming so you should plan some distinctive trigger points prior to your campaign for releasing prepared material. The majority of what you publish will be responding to events, but having materials to hand to keep the campaign alive is essential. An important part of your preparation campaign is to prepare a publishing schedule for your project. This will include scheduled communications and publications, and material prepared ready for specific times, which might for example include announcements about hitting a specific target. Clearly bombarding people endlessly with repetitive messages will become annoying. Be creative, inclusive and informative and do be careful to avoid crossing the “irritating” line.

Remember this process can be prepared for and structured but, in many respects, it is an art not a science and never forget the old adage – we are given two ears and one mouth so listen hard to your crowd!

If you would like to attend one of our Preparing to Crowdfund workshops or some individual advice on your campaign then get in touch

Get off to a Good Start – Components of a Good Crowdfunding Campaign 4

sprintblockAfter a short break we can continue with another in our series Components of a Good Crowdfunding Campaign. This time we focus on the importance of a getting a good start.

Good starts aren’t just a matter of chance. You can prepare for them and build expectation and anticipation for a campaign so that at the point of going live a burst of activity can attract attention, build confidence and carry through to success – the statistics bear it out.

Momentum builds confidence in all campaign participants. It gives energy to the project owners and confidence in a campaign’s potential for success is an important motivator for investors. A key indicator for that is a campaign that gets off to a good start has a much higher chance of success than one that launches flat.

If you can reach 30% of your total in the first week of a 30 day campaign you are very likely to succeed. On one platform with relatively low overall success rate, every single one of their campaigns that made it to 35% funding actually completed successfully.

The prospect of success conveyed in a good start often encourages media channels to pick up on it. Many crowdfunders will tell you that their attempts to garner media coverage for their campaign often only finds a welcome reception when the campaign looks like it will succeed.

The use of stretch goals has also become aligned with this idea. So a success point is passed, this in turn gets media coverage – as they like good news stories – and this in turn develops into a useful stretch gal. But its all underpinned by a good start.

So build a sense of expectancy before the campaign actually goes live. Don’t only start promoting the campaign when you go live. No, have a running start. IF you know people that do want to invest get them cued up and ready for launch time. This is not underhand or dishonest it is simply marshaling your resources effectively for maximum impact in the period a campaign is live.

Get influencers aware of your impending launch, and use your PRs and high touch communications wisely in conjunction with your launch date.

In other words plan for a good start, dont leave it to chance. As we said in an earlier post in this series – its all in the preparation and if your ground work and preparation slingshots your campaign away from the starting blocks, even with a typical slow mid race you are more likely to break the tape in the lead.

If you would like to attend one of our Preparing to Crowdfund workshops or some individual advice on your campaign then get in touch

Get the Messaging Right – Components of a Good Crowdfunding Campaign 3

twitterIn the third of our series on running a good crowdfunding campaign we focus on Messaging. Messaging is absolutely crucial. Your proposition must be compelling. If its not then why would anyone choose to fund your campaign when there are so many to choose from? So having a message that inspires, clarifies and explains exactly what your campaign is about and why someone should invest in it is key. A clearly defined goal or project that conjures a vision for investors is very important. But don’t be fooled. This is not a simple process and getting the messaging right, clear and understandable and engaging is hard and precise work.

The messages or calls to action, as some refer to them, need to be tailored to the audiences you are approaching in the first instance. So this may mean different approaches, different styles and different types of appeal. This can be necessary as each may be addressing a different demographic through a different channels and with an alternative perspective on your campaign. On the subject of channels your choice of communication channel and having messaging appropriate for that is important. At its most basic, consider that if twitter is a key tool in your campaign can you craft a good call to action that converts to 140 characters?

Whilst social media are powerful and commonly used tools for a crowdfund they are by no means universally applicable. a social lending campaign for example is less likely to draw on twitter as say a reward campaign, and it is important that you understand what are the best channels for your initial outreach. But, don’t forget the power and importance of weak links and make it easy for connections of your connections to reach out through their channels too.

Messaging is conveyed in the copy of any communications you produce be it written, video or otherwise. It is not uncommon for successful crowdfunders to test their messaging on focus groups and samples of their intended audiences prior to launching a campaign. If you do this ensure you use appropriate non disclosure agreements. This type of thorough preparation will significantly help your campaign.

If you would like to attend one of our Preparing to Crowdfund workshops or some individual advice on your campaign then get in touch

Components of a Good Crowdfunding Campaign 2 – Preparation

bubbleThe second post in our series looking at best practice in running a crowdfunding campaign and today we look at a key component – preparation.

Preparation

It is impossible to emphasize enough the importance of thorough preparation for a crowdfunding campaign. As a rule of thumb you need as much preparation time as campaign time. So if its a 30 day campaign you will spend a minimum of 30 days preparing. Those 30 days might be spread over a longer period and may be shared across a group of people but it will most certainly take that time. However the benefits of doing so are enormous. So many projects fail because they encounter difficulties that could, and should, have been identified and ironed out prior to launch. Once a poorly prepared project is failing in the live campaign time, its very very hard to turn it around.

twintangibles developed what we refer to as the TAMP process and this has been used by many successful campaigns. It is a four stage process that helps someone considering a crowdfunding campaign properly asses their options and, once a commitment to proceed is made, prepare an effective and comprehensive plan for success. The TAMP process includes an assessments of Targets including sums, time frames and intentions. This ensures that a rounded and thorough examination of the motivations, constraints, intentions and fit of the crowdfunding project are well understood. An Audit follows examining what assets, skills and resources are available to run a campaign. This helps us understand what we have to use in a campaign but importantly highlights what we have not and how these gaps might be closed. The Method step follows where the type and nature of the crowdfunding you wish to pursue is defined, along with platform selection. Then we Plan, developing a thorough publishing plan, build our monitoring process, identify our communications channels, tribes, targets and influencers that we wish to reach. Develop and our messaging, prepare our media and allocate resources and responsibilities.

We will look at some of the things in much more detail in the coming weeks but from this brief over view of the process you should see that preparation is a demanding and time consuming thing. But if you do it well you will significantly increase your chances of success.

If you would like to talk to us about the TAMP process, our workshops, coaching and training services then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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