Don’t forget about the importance of research in your crowdfunding campaign. Check out Zerply’s Creative Crowdfunding – Part 1 – go on, we’ll wait…
Find a producer
Good news? You are a fantastic artist. Bad news? You are not a fantastic producer. (Sorry.) One of the biggest mistakes that artists make when going into the crowdfunding process is thinking that they can handle the artistic creation process and also manage all the schedules, finances, shipping and business-y type things required to run a successful campaign. Unless you have a production management or MBA background, your best bet is to rely on someone to wrangle all the moving parts.
Build your team
Depending on the scope of your project, you may need to bring in a team of other artists. For instance, if you’re crowdfunding an animated short, you will likely need a hand in finishing the project. That means you will either have to call in some favors or budget some money to cover their costs for the duration of the project. You may also want to consider bringing in someone to handle the PR/Advertising aspect of the process. Think of it as if you’re mounting your own mini production studio. (Which incidentally, is another reason why you need a producer.)
Make it visual
These days, mounting a successful crowdfunding campaign without a video is as rare as a mint-condition Action Comics #1 (for non-nerds out there, that’s super rare). Creating a video that tells a story is paramount in ensuring your campaign is successful. Who are you as an artist? What kind of project are you selling? Why should people give you money? What will they get in return? Connecting with your audience is absolutely vital.
Oh, and don’t forget to keep the video quality as high as possible – especially the sound quality. Try to avoid sitting in front of a webcam which, as we all know, it is not the most flattering. Rent a tripod and a nicer camera if you have to, but just keep in mind that you aren’t just asking people to back a project, you’re asking them to back you as an artist.
Set a realistic funding goal
This idea goes hand in hand with making sure that your reward tiers are realistic. (I’m still looking at you $15 bookmark level rewards). Let’s run a hypothetical. Say that you have a video game that you want to produce with a small team of artists. It’s a small game, but you figure you may need around $900,000 to be able to finance the production. As an individual contributor, that appears to be a tremendously high threshold to hit. Even if it is a completely accurate goal based on your financial predictions, it seems unattainable. As a result, people think “it will never make it. Why should I bother?”
Everyone loves to be a part of a success story, so when they see that a project they’ve backed has surpassed its funding goal, they know they have contributed to a hit. Don’t underestimate the power of group think. Think like a backer – if you see a project that’s at 27% fulfilment versus a project that is at 1027% of their funding goal, which do you deem more successful?
You have to be judicious, but consider lowering your funding goal to a level it’s more likely to hit. Then, incentivize your backers to continue sharing and contributing by offering stretch goals. (More on that later…)
Have something ready beforehand.
People are impatient. When you have a portion of your project already in progress at the time you start your funding campaign, it communicates two things to your potential backers. First, it shows that you are dedicated to the project and not just in it for the money. Secondly, it is essentially a proof of concept. You can utilize the footage, images or whatever excerpt from your work as a way of proving the quality of what you’re trying to accomplish. Knowing that something is already underway equates to less of a wait time for the final product, which in turn equates to a bigger reason to pledge money.
Get people excited.
This is the stage when you really need to have a strong handle on your social media outlets as you prepare for the big show. You’ve got all of your materials ready and you’re just waiting to pull the trigger on the campaign. Reach out to your entire network – don’t be ashamed. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Instagram are filled with people who are all potential backers. Think like a marketer – show teases of work, glimpses behind the curtain. Your goal before this thing goes live is to build up some buzz so that your campaign hits the ground running.
NEXT ARTICLE: The Main Event. What to do DURING your campaign.