Crowdfunding campaigns seem easy to launch, requiring only a brief description, perks, and publication on a crowdfunding platform. In reality, though, they take a great deal of planning. Most of the work is undertaken before the launch of the campaign, often months ahead of the actual publication. Though there is a fair amount of work to do during the campaign and at the end of a successful campaign, pre-launch planning is important.
Here are 14 things you need to do before you launch your crowdsourcing campaign.
1. Choose a platform. Kickstarter is no longer the only option for crowdfunding. Platforms like Causes.com, Fundly, Pubslush, and Indiegogo have entered the market with a variety of offerings. Research crowdfunding platforms, review the terms, and select the one that works best for you.
2. Chose a project management app. This will help to keep you and your team on track by organizing tasks. It will be easy to see who is responsible for each task and whether or not the assigned tasks have been completed.
3. Set up your business framework. Be sure to set up a bank account and link it to your campaign. Ensure that you have all necessary documents for your business.
4. Read up on crowdfunding tax laws. Do the research ahead of time so you know what to expect. The IRS is watching, and it is always best to know the requirements so there are no sudden surprises.
5. Perfect your elevator pitch. Clearly communicate your offer, identify your target market, and make sure your summary holds your audience’s attention.
6. Determine your budget. Use a crowdfunding budget tool to determine the cost of your campaign. Include promotional expenses, shipping expenses, etc.
7. Set a realistic timeline. Be honest with yourself as you create your timeline. Give yourself some cushion time to allow for unexpected delays to ensure you can deliver on time.
8. Research past campaigns. Have a look at previous campaigns and learn all you can from them. Take note of what worked and what didn’t work for campaigns similar to yours and adjust accordingly.
9. Prepare your campaign page. This is the audience’s first impression of you, so make it great. Tell your story, inject your personality, and gain supporters.
10. Determine rewards. Offer a wide range of contribution levels and rewards. Have fun with your rewards, and your audience will in turn have fun choosing one too. Think about your target audience and give them opportunities you know they would want to invest in your idea.
11. Plan the fulfillment process. Figure out when, where, and how you will produce the rewards, how you will ship them, and which company you will use. You need to know how long it will take to produce and ship the rewards, as well as how much it will cost.
12. Create contact lists. The first people to see your campaign should be your family and friends. Plan to send them an email to invite them to check out your campaign and support you.
13. Make a marketing plan. Create a list of bloggers, journalists, and influencers who can help you to promote your campaign. Reach out to them so they can support you by spreading the word.
14. Create your community. Get active on social media. Create a Facebook page and Twitter account, build your audience, and let them know about your campaign.
When you’ve checked every item off your pre-launch task list, you’re ready to generate buzz about your campaign and engage with your backers. At the end of the campaign, thank your backers, deliver rewards, and establish your online store for the people who missed out on your campaign.