Crowdfunding provides great opportunities for entrepreneurs to have their business startup projects funded. It is definitely the best option for many who cannot manage to get funds from traditional sources like banks, venture capitalists (VCs) or angel investors. But that doesn’t make crowdfunding an easy way of getting all the funds you need for your startup because you still have to work hard for it. Indiegogo and Kickstarter are the two biggest crowdfunding platforms, but you don’t just launch your campaign there and sit back to wait for the money to come in. crowdfunders that have made that mistake before are part of the 60% campaigns that fail to get funded successfully. One of the best crowdfunding secrets to avoid such a mistake is to know the importance of building a community and actually doing it.
A community is more than just a target audience
Building a community for your crowdfunding campaign should go beyond the usual audience targeting methods most academic classes like to talk about. To get someone funding your project is more difficult than selling any ready product or service. A higher level of trust from your potential backer is necessary because you have nothing with immediate gratification to offer in return for the donations you will be asking. If you promise to give any reward like a finished product to your backer, that will only happen if you get funded successfully and it may be months later. The level of trust required can only be possible if you have a community built around your crowdfunding project. Your efforts in building it should start months before launching your campaign on Indiegogo or Kickstarter. That’s during the crowdfunding pre-launch stage which helps to build the necessary momentum and following. Like most startup entrepreneurs seeking for opportunities to get funded, you don’t have big advertising money. So creating a community that cares about your project is the only option you have and your efforts should begin early enough. Where you can’t afford to spend a lot of money, you must be ready to spend enough time instead.
Communication is key to building community for crowdfunding
You identify your target audience and platforms where they hang out, so that you can begin communicating to build a community that will feel part of your project. Valuable relationships must be established with media reporters, bloggers and key influencers even before the launch of your campaign. You must contact them directly via email, phone calls, direct messages on twitter or Facebook and so on, to tell them more about your project. You must also have resources providing more detailed information to share with them, so having a website in addition to social media accounts is a great idea. You must make every effort to provide information that is of value to your contacts in the media, bloggers and influencers. That gives you an opportunity to get in front of their big audiences.
When that translates to more than just Facebook likes, you should be prepared to start engaging with your online followers. Update them frequently and monitor their conversations to know if they care about you project and what you should say to them. That will build momentum and when you finally launch the crowdfunding campaign will likely start with a good number of funders. Communicate with your initial backers to erase any fears they might have with more information, but don’t miss an opportunity to constantly reach out asking them to share your campaign messages with friends and other people in their networks. That should help to keep your community growing, even after your funding goal is met because you might as well want to get business partners or additional funds.