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How to Create a Successful Crowd Funding Campaign That Will Get You the Money and Investors You Need
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Wouldn't it be great to be able to raise the money you need to launch that new product or service? Imagine what you could do with your vision if you only had the capital to actually make it a reality. Thankfully, for entrepreneurs, there is a solution that has only recently come onto the scene and that is changing the face of business today.
Crowd Funding is one of the most innovative and powerful tools to ever become available to small business people. It allows you to raise small or even fairly substantial sums from everyday people like you and the best part is, the Securities and Exchange Commission has given it their blessing.
What is Crowd Funding?
In brief, Crowd Funding allows entrepreneurs to raise up to $1 million per year in seed capital from what are known as "unaccredited" investors. These are just regular working people who make below a certain income and who have a limited amount of funds to invest. Because of Crowd Funding, the average person is now allowed to invest several thousand dollars of their own money into startup businesses where before, this opportunity was very limited.
How does Crowd Funding work?
When you want to raise money for your project, you go to a Crowd Funding portal such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo and create a campaign. These sites provide guidelines and tell you about all the information you need to prepare to make your campaign legal and above board. Once your plan and financial documents are in place, you can then promote your campaign. People will find you through a variety of ways and on the portal itself. Investor members of your chosen CF portal can invest their money and when your investment amount is reached, the portal releases the funds to you and you're off.
How does it REALLY work?
It's not quite as simple as the last section makes it seem. Aside from the legal information that you have to put together, there is the matter of getting your Crowd interested and excited enough to give you their money.
The legal documents are easy. Easy in the sense that what is needed is laid out for you and you only have to gather the information and fill out the forms. It's the second part of Crowd Funding that is really vital and more difficult.
You must entice the people checking you out to buy in. How is this done? The way it's always done, with compelling, interesting and professional copywriting. Of course, the copywriting part is the core. It will make all the steps more effective. Let's now examine a few points that you can focus on to drive a successful CF campaign.
Give them a reason - No matter what you do in life, or in Crowd Funding, one of the most important things to remember is that people will only do something for you if you offer them a compelling why. So, in every piece of information you create, from your CF portal page to your Facebook page, from your website to your press releases and your YouTube videos, present yourself and your idea in a way that both gets the potential investor excited and provides them with a good reason to give you their money.
Think about it from their point of view - Going along with point 1, what would make you want to invest $100 or $1,000 in a stranger's idea? Is it the 10% return? Is it the opportunity to be a part of something new? Is it the potential future earnings? In fact, it should be all of this and more. Whenever you attempt to communicate with others, do so from their perspective and you'll see far better results.
Be aggressive - Don't just set up your Indiegogo page and sit back and wait for them to pour the dollars into your coffers. You must reach out and draw them in. This is done with marketing through the web. You can write press releases, create a website, write articles, blogs and forum posts and of course, create a short and compelling YouTube video. As with any business, the go-getters win.
Pay attention to detail - Don't let the fact that this one is at the bottom of the list fool you. It's critical. Make sure that before you offer a Crowd Funding opportunity that you've got all your ducks in a row. You should have a good idea of how things will go once you're funded and how the investors will get their money back. But there is another somewhat hidden point here. When you decide on the amount of money you need, build in those extra costs such as the portal's fees, reserves and marketing budget. One of the biggest killers of any business is being under-funded. When it comes to Crowd Funding, this is especially true. You are, after all, the steward of someone else's money, so the details matter.
A full course on successful Crowd Funding would really fill an entire book. The purpose of this article was to give you a broad idea of how to proceed with a Crowd Funding campaign. There's a lot to it and the best advice that you can get is to secure assistance on those parts of the campaign that you may not be good at. This might mean hiring a professional copywriter, a website designer, a video editor or even an accountant. The point is that in order to succeed, you have to really create a well-rounded opportunity. Crowd Funding is rapidly growing in popularity and there is a lot of competition out there. If you want their dollars, you're going to have to stand out.
About The Author
Scott's long experience with business development and his professional copywriting skills can provide the fuel that skyrockets your next Crowd Funding campaign. Not only does he understand from personal experience how to build a business, but he also happens to know the SEC Regulation CF rules inside and out. This blend of experience, skill and the ability to create information that will sell will vastly increase your chances of success. Come and visit his company website to learn more and see how Scott and his firm have helped others.
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So the chances are you've heard about Kickstarter. You probably have a pretty good handle on the basic pros and cons of this platform as well, but in the interests of being thorough, let's cover our bases and start at the beginning.
Today, crowdfunding is mostly synonymous with Kickstarter. It's the biggest crowdfunding platform there is. It's also got a bunch of metrics that are happy to sing its praises: Kickstarter campaigns have already raised over US$2bln. It's hosted 95,000 successful projects, has a total of 9.7million backers - of which one-third support multiple campaigns. Over 100 (132 actually) have broken the US$1 million mark. A further 2355 campaigns have raised over US$100k. Need I go on?
This crowdfunding Goliath boasts 15 campaign categories. The film and video, music and publishing categories are the most popular (you'll find the majority of campaigns registered in one of these), but it's the games, technology and design categories that really excite backers. These last three are the most funded groups on the site (as a side note, Wednesday afternoon is the time when most backers put their hands in their pockets).
Impressed yet? Well, you might be a little less so when you learn that all those impressive stats only account for 36.69% of Kickstarter campaigners. The rest (over 60%) fail to achieve their goals.
But don't get disheartened, Kickstarter still has a few aces up its sleeve. With a reputation for launching whacky, innovative and down right marvelous ideas, Kickstarter gets a fair bit of coverage from the media and bloggers. One well placed article could win you a place in that top 37%.
Initially focused exclusively on independent films (hence the name) Indiegogo started accepting projects from any category a year after its launch. Established to provide more opportunities to backers than Kickstarter, Indiegogo is usually perceived as a less strict platform. It is available in over 200 countries and provides more categories (24 vs Kickstarter's 15). It also gives backers control over whether they want fixed (all or nothing) or flexible (creator gets whatever amount they collect) models.
It might not be winning in the PR stakes, but Indiegogo certainly has more campaigns than Kickstarter. At any given point it has around 10,000 live campaigns (Kickstarter has 6,000) and hosts an average of 260 new campaigns every day. It also isn't all that fussed with metrics (you'll struggle to find the kind of statistical data Kickstarter is happy to publish), but you will come across the odd estimate or three.
If Kickstarter reckons around 37% of its campaigners are successful, then the digital world puts Indiegogo's success rate somewhere between 8-9%. It sounds terrible, but it does have a few other things going for it. Its flexible funding scheme allows you to get the funding without necessarily reaching your goals, plus our successful Indiegogo campaigners also tell us that the customer support is second to none (not something Kickstarter campaigners tend to agree with). Add to that the fact that pledges are non-refundable, so the creator knows exactly how much they've raised (Kickstarter campaigns tend to drop 5-7% of backers - more on this later), and Indiegogo starts to look like a very attractive option.
It's also worth noting that the culture of the different crowdfunding platforms varies somewhat, so it's important to clearly understand your audience. If they're more likely to opt for one platform over another, then you need to take that into consideration. Familiarity breeds confidence, and makes visitors more open to pledging.
So how do you know which platform is likely to be a better match for your audience? Generally speaking, you'll tend to find more artists, musicians, filmmakers, geeks and techy gadget makers on Kickstarter. You'll see more small businesses, controversial ideas, NGOs and mass manufacturing at Indiegogo.
The demographics between the platforms also vary. Indiegogo has a more female friendly audience and gets more traffic from Facebook than Kickstarter.
So, before your decide which platform to choose, carefully examine you project's category, marketing strategy, costs, appropriate funding schemes and goals.
Important to know
About The Author
Remember that the platform will not do the job alone and you have to put the work in if you want to be successful. Explore our Blog to find out how.
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