Today, let’s talk about crowdfunding.
I’m sure most, if not all of you are familiar with what crowdfunding is. Over the past few years, several sites have appeared, giving variety and choice to anyone looking to raise funds through the generosity of the public at large.
Simply put, crowdfunding consists of an idea that is posted on a crowdfunding site with the intention of raising funds through connections, connections of connections, and the public at large. Sounds simple, right?
In theory, yes it is. However, just like every other form of marketing, planning and appropriate strategy around the delivery of your project is crucial to your success or your failure.
I actually had a different topic plan for today, but was asked to check out a crowdfunding venture for a friend of mine on Indigogo. At first glance, the project seemed to have followed a plan for execution. But, unfortunately, I believe the project has executed itself before it really got off the ground.
I know we all think that our ideas are brilliant and that our project can’t fail. Indeed, we ask, how did the world survive without it? And this is why it is so important to create a focus group to test the viability of your concept before you invest too much time, energy and money into it.
This particular project I critiqued today is based on finding an outlet and a solution for the dissatisfaction of voters with their elected officials between elections. The release of the project was timed very well, coming out just after the Canadian federal election and prior to the American election in 2016. The project has a fairly well done video that introduces and explains the concept behind it, and has its rationale clearly outlined as well. The biggest flaw, at least in my view, is that even if it was used as intended, it still doesn’t offer any real solution to voters outside of those which already exist.
It’s not my intention to “dis” this person’s project, but rather to point out just how important it is to make sure that you have developed and created an appropriate strategy for your concept. And, of course, recognize that there are times that your idea will truly gain no traction in its current form, and that you must “murder your darling”.
So, if you are looking at crowdfunding for your project, remember to follow these 4 steps:
1. Take your idea before a focus group. This can be an informal group of friends and family, but make sure that those people whom you invite to your focus group will give you an honest opinion and not just agree with you so they don’t hurt your feelings.
2. Develop your marketing strategy. This includes things like how you will present your idea as well as who you will present your idea to in order to gain support and referrals.
3. Create your materials. Remember that video is worth 1000 words. The creation of a two or three minute video that explains your concept clearly and concisely to prospective supporters is practically a must. Additionally, ensure that you have outlined the key features and benefits of your product in text form. And link back to a website or landing page that has been properly, clearly, and cleverly constructed.
4. Set reasonable goals, timelines, and targets. Don’t ask for $1 million in two months if you can expect realistically to raise $50,000 within that same time-frame. Remember that people like to back winners, and if your project is getting little traction, it will translate to little hope of success.
Keep these things in mind and don’t be afraid to give crowdfunding a try. Just remember that crowdfunding is simply another approach at marketing your product, concept or service.
Until next time…
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