Your Comprehensive Guide to Crowdfunding & Online Fundraising
About L&C Media HB
Are you searching for support to fund your next venture?
L&C Media s Your Complete Guide to Crowdfunding!
We are a promotion and consultant company specializing in fundraising on crowdfunding platforms. The explosive growth of the crowdfunding industry has created unprecedented opportunities for people who are unable to generate funding using traditional methods. Whether you need to start a community-based project, fund a small business venture, publish a book, or help a loved one pay for medical bills, L&C Media will help you prepare, promote and manage your fundraising campaign.
The Media Buzz program will increase your campaign’s reach, generate more traffic and attract potential backers who are truly interested in making an investment in you. There are absolutely no hidden fees when you start an account with L&C Media. The upfront cost that comes with the purchase of any one of our seven promotion packages is the only charge you’ll see. This fee will cover all of your professional crowdfunding counseling services and any promotion costs involved. All funds will be transferred quickly and securely through PayPal.
“Our services are specifically designed to drastically increase your chances of reaching your crowdfunding goals by enhancing the visibility and effectiveness of your campaign.”
Are you ready to attract more supporters for your crowdfunding project?
L&C Media is ready to help you succeed!
Table of Contents
What’s inside the guide?
Starting a Project
- Tips and tricks on how to make your campaign successful
- The factors that could potentially destroy your campaign’s success
- Pre-launch setup
- Creating the video
- The project description
- Final prep before going live
Sharing Your Project
- Tips for sharing your project online
- How to share your project using social media
- Newsletter or Email
- Spreading the word to your personal network
- Advice for handling both a successful and an unsuccessful crowdfunding project
Starting a Project
Before starting a project there are some important questions that you must ask yourself:
- Will people be interested in what I am offering?
- Who would my target audience be?
- Can I express my idea in a simple and exciting way?
- How would I be able to get others to spread the word?
- How will I earn contributions from people outside my personal network?
- Do I have something tangible or visible to present to my contributors?
- Do I have the confidence to reach out and connect with potential contributors?
- Do I have the time to post numerous status updates on my project?
- Do I have a detailed budget demonstrating how I intend on spending the funds?
- Am I positive that I can fulfill all of my campaign promises, including deadlines, communication with potential contributors, development of my product or idea, and perks?
- Do I have an inexpensive perk that would be incentive enough for people to contribute?
- Am I prepared to commit to my project and put in the effort it takes to earn 100% of the funding I need?
- It is a lot to think about, but it is necessary knowledge to have before you invest the time and money into your project. A successful crowdfunding project starts by answering “yes” to these questions and following through on your commitment.
Tips and Tricks on How to Make Your Campaign Successful
Crowdfunding provides an excellent platform for gathering support to: jumpstart marketing efforts, expand customer base, or reach out to friends and family for additional funding. We at L&C Media , have helped hundreds of entrepreneurs with successful fundraisers for a variety of different goals. We have taken our extensive experience and knowhow and developed nine necessary strategies to launch a successful crowdfunding project.
Here are some tips and tricks we’ve learned from our experiences in crowdfunding:
1. Make Sure Your Pitch is Genuine
A crowdfunding pitch is not the same as a sales pitch. You don’t want to come off as pushy or arrogant. People will donate because they believe in you and truly want your project to succeed. Potential backers will be excited to support your venture if you show sincere passion for your project.
2. Use Your Fan Base to Spread the Word
It helps to pad your campaign with some initial donations to establish legitimacy. If potential backers see that other people have already donated, it will build trust. Share your campaign privately with your fans, followers, friends, and family first. They already know and trust you. Their contribution will inspire others to believe in you as well.
3. Keep Your Backers in the Loop
Update the crowd proposal and communicate with your backers as often as you can. This way, everyone who is involved actually feels like they are involved. Even once the campaign is over, you still need to be actively talking to your fans, because they’re more than your fans: they’re your investors; and they deserve to be kept in the loop when it comes to the product they have invested in.
4. Factor in All Costs when Setting Goals
When setting a funding goal for your campaign, you need to consider everything that will be involved to complete your project. Make sure to factor in the cut that the crowdfunding platform takes, as well as the cost to produce and deliver perks. Even once you’ve taken those things into consideration there still may be unexpected costs. Make sure that you double your figures before you set your perks and goal, since it is harder to ask for more money once you’ve reached your goal.
5. Be Transparent about Your Spending
It’s not unusual for people who don’t have experience in a certain field to be unsure about the costs that go into producing a product. That is why you need to be very transparent about why you’re asking for that specific amount of money and how it will be spent. Transparency will help earn your backers’ trust in your venture while reassuring them that you’re not spending their money on things like fancy dinners and vacations.
6. Ask Fans for Perk Suggestions
Before settling on your perks (the rewards you give your users in return for backing your project) it is a good idea to check with your fans to see if they’re actually interested in what you’re offering. Some physical perks cost a lot more money to produce in small quantities than they would if you placed a bulk order. If you think most people will want a specific perk and it turns out that only a few are interested in it, it could end up costing significantly more to produce less.
7. Try Offering Free or Inexpensive Perks
Just because your backers are paying money doesn’t mean that your perks have to cost a lot of money (or any money at all). Try to come up with inexpensive or free perks to reward your backers. You may even be able to come up with some free options that are actually more valuable to your fans than something they could purchase with their own money.
For example: A Skype meeting or “date” with your fans or a live-stream where you talk to your backers.
You’d be surprised how much money fans will be willing to donate for a chance to meet their idols, whether it’s in person or via video chat.
8. Avoid Perks that Require Shipping
Stay away from offering physical objects for perks as much as possible. For instance, if you’re raising money to make a film, offer digital downloads instead of DVDs. This will save on both money and manpower. It costs more to produce those physical items and on top of that it will cost money to mail them. Packages don’t mail themselves and it can take hours, days, or weeks to ship out perks depending on how many backers you get.
If you do need to ship out perks, make sure to double-check addresses before you send them out.
9. Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Fulfill Perks
Give yourself lots of time to fulfill the perks. You don’t want to have to put off actually working on your project because you’re too busy fulfilling your perk requests.
The Factors that Could Potentially Destroy Your Campaign’s Success
Running a successful crowdfunding campaign is literally a full-time job. Approximately 60% of crowdfunders do not meet their monetary goal.
These factors play a critical role in projects not reaching their funding goals:
- Not enough time devoted to planning and promotion
- Project owner did not successfully engage their personal network
- Project owner did not develop and promote press relationships
- Campaign funding threshold was set too high
- No compelling video included in the presentation
- Project owner had little or no background to support their project
If you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail.
You didn’t jump into your business without ample research and you shouldn’t rush into your crowdfunding campaign either. In order to achieve the most successful start to a crowdfunding project with L&C Media , you will need to do some initial planning.
Here are a few things you should try to accomplish before starting your project:
Do Your Research: Make sure to thoroughly research which campaigns are the most successful. You will need to crunch the numbers, evaluate marketing tactics and learn how to best utilize social media. L&C will help by enhancing your campaign’s exposure with our promotion services, but you must make sure you are also involved in the process.
Define Your Goal: Everyone that you are working with and pitching to should have a clear picture of your final vision. They will also need to know what makes you so passionate about your project.
L&C Media Tip: If possible, aim for a low goal amount the first time, so that your campaign is more likely to hit the 100% mark. Make sure your project goal is realistic. If your project is a physical product, be sure to factor in the cost to produce or purchase it, as well as the cost to ship it. Don’t forget to factor in platform fees when you are deciding on your budget and setting a fundraising goal.prepared
Create Lists: We cannot stress this one enough. Create lists for everything. Before you start your project, create lists for who you will contact (mailing lists, local newspaper, friends and family, neighbors, local businesses, interested customers, etc.). You will also need to create a list of perks/rewards that you are able to offer at each contribution level and a list of specific goals that you wish to achieve for your project with deadlines!
Know How to Get Popularity Rankings on Your Crowdfunding Platform: It’s crucial that you understand how to get your campaign listed and featured using the crowdfunding platform. You need to know what factors will make it popular and use them to your advantage.
Indiegogo: Your campaign begins at 0 Gogofactor when your campaign goes live. The higher your Gogofactor, the higher your campaign’s popularity rating goes up.
Help Getting Your Gogofactor to Go Up: L&C Media estimates that roughly 50% of your Gogofactor comes from popularity generated via traffic. This includes any direct traffic, indirect traffic, referral traffic, and shared traffic that comes from social media. Your individual input and private traffic are also essential factors that will contribute to raising your Gogofactor. Make sure you can convince your private network to fund at least $1 each. This will help gain credibility in the community while raising your Gogofactor.
For Indiegogo, you have only one week once your campaign goes live to raise your Gogofactor higher than the average Gogofactor threshold at the time. If you manage to stay ahead of the average Gogofactor, your project will stay on the “Popular Now” list and you’ll have a higher chance of receiving direct traffic from Indiegogo and potential backers.
If you fail on the first week, you will need to work harder to receive the necessary backing and traffic to stay listed on the “Popular Now” list. If your campaign is not listed on the Popular Now list, it will not be visible to anyone unless searched by name on Indiegogo or seen in a referral link. You will only have one other chance to be visible on Indiegogo’s page via the “Final Countdown” list once your project is almost over.
Understand the Platforms Features: Kickstarter and many other Crowdfunding platforms have similar systems. The key to success is figuring out how you can use these tools to your advantage.
Budget: This may be the most essential component of your fundraising project. Not only should you set yourself a detailed budget, but you should allow your fans and audience to see your budget. The more potential backers know about your project, the more willing they will be to contribute. Transparency is what makes crowdfunding great. Never forget, potential backers are investors, not shoppers. You are trying to sell your idea to investors for backing.
Campaign Duration: The length of the crowdfunding term can affect the success of the project. Generally projects between 30 to 60 days are the most successful. Shorter campaigns tend to lose out on potential traffic and backers, while longer ones tend to drag on and lose people’s interest.
Engage with Fans Early On: Begin engaging with fans before the project even begins. Allow friends, family and social groups to know that you will be starting a project and where they can find it. A successful campaign needs a core group of supporters.
The Key to Success: Don’t be afraid to venture outside of our promotion network. You never know who is willing to help you out. The key is to establish trust and seek out opportunities to pitch your campaign. You can get more visibility through your personal contacts.
It’s time to prepare for your big launch!
Before you create your pitch, make sure to check out some prior campaign pitches. Take note of how the more successful projects created their pitches. This is one of the most important parts of your project. The pitch should be professionally executed because it is generally the first time users will find out who you are, what you do and what your project is all about. Make it as effective and informative as you can. Sometimes, a pitch can be quirky and off the wall, while sometimes a pitch can be serious. Use the tone that suits your project, but make sure that it is interesting enough to grab the audience’s attention.
Creating a Video
We strongly recommend that all campaigns have a short and compelling video. You must grab the attention of your audience within the first 10 seconds. If they weren’t interested in the first 10 seconds, they won’t suddenly become interested. They will close out your video and move on to the next one. Try to keep your video length between 2 to 3 minutes long, and make sure your tone is genuine and that the audio is clear.
Who you are, what you are doing and why you need funds, should all be explained in the pitch. Explain why this project is so important and anything else that could convince them to offer their support. Pitches do not need to be professionally made unless you are intentionally trying to showcase your videography skills (for example, if your project involves making a movie, the video pitch should look professional).
Even if you need the funding for a project that is not related to video development, it is just as important to make sure the video quality looks and sounds good. If you do not have a video camera, you can use an app on your smart phone.
The Project Description
The project description is just as important as the project pitch. If potential backers are willing to contribute their money, they will want to review as much information as they can about your project.
Here are two important elements to consider when you are developing your project description:
Who You Are & Team Profiles: Create a short and interesting biography of your past work experience, your personal passions, who you will be working with, their background, and any other information your audience might be interested in knowing about the people who will be working on the project.
What is the Purpose of Your Project: Let the contributor know all of the important information about the project. Be transparent and give them all of the details. The contributors are investors, not competitors who want to steal your idea. If you don’t plan on being transparent, crowdfunding is not the right avenue for your project. Make sure to mention how your funds will be spent. Contributors have the right to know their funds are not being used for expensive dinners and vacation.
Final Prep before Going Live
Use Eye-Catching Headlines and Images: Catch the user’s eye right away. Make sure you have compelling images and headlines, so that your audience wants to continue reading and make a contribution to your campaign.
Be Personable: Don’t be entirely technical. Connect with your audience on a personal level. Describe why you’re passionate about the campaign and why they should be too.
Be as Descriptive as Possible: The more information that your audience has about your goals, the higher the chance you will earn their donation.
Express Your Gratitude: Never act like you deserved the funding. Let users know that you are thankful for their help whether it’s a contribution or a positive comment. Always be appreciative and humble.
Double Check for Errors: Ask a few different people to read over your writing, check your images, and scan the page to make sure it is visually appealing.
Prepare for Going Live: Create a clear plan for going live. How you execute your project post-launch is crucial to success, so you will need to be prepared. Don’t forget you only have a limited time to reach your funding goal.
Marketing & Advertising are Crucial: You have to raise awareness to people who would be interested in contributing funds and sharing your project with others. If people don’t know about your project, how can they contribute to it? Choose one of our Premium packages and we can help your project reach more potential contributors!
Use Social Media: L&C Media created a short guide to help you use social media to its full potential. We included various tips and tricks to ensure you receive the best feedback for your work. In addition, once you sign up for one of our crowdfunding promotion packages, we will help promote your campaign to our own social media partners
Keep Users Updated: Make sure that you are constantly updating your audience with the current status of your project. Investors want to be a part of your inner circle and know how their money is being used.
Show Your Thanks: After the goal is met, an important step is thanking everyone who shared, contributed, or participated in the project
Prepare Your Perks in Advance: You don’t want your contributors waiting on perks to be distributed, so prepare them ahead of time.
Interact & Engage Users: It’s very important that you are constantly engaging your users and potential investors. You need to build credibility before someone will be willing to contribute funds to your project. Don’t expect people to look at your campaign and blindly invest without any effort on your part.
Tap Into Your Network: Utilize your friends, family, colleagues and anyone else who may be interested in your venture. If you own a business, tell your loyal customers about your project. Ask them to help spread the word and let them know how important this project is to you. You may feel uncomfortable at first, but there is nothing wrong with asking for a small donation. Your friends and family want to see you succeed just as much as you do. They usually give the first 10% – 30% of a crowdfunding project’s contributions.
Sharing your Project
Tips for Sharing Your Project Online
Here are a few quick and effective tips for sharing your project online.
Videos Attract Investors: Videos are a very powerful way to get people interested in your project. A project with a video typically results in about 115% more funding than those that don’t.
Use Your Personal Contact Base: Typically, the first 10-30% of the funding you receive will come from your own personal network (social groups, email lists, clients, family and friends).
Take an Active Role: Make sure you are using every resource available to attract new contributors.
- Email lists and social media groups, clients, friends, family, etc.
- Participate in online forums
- Join organizations that share a common goal
- Share it with the local newspapers, trade publications and colleagues
- Contact friends and the friends of your friends
Once you start receiving contributions, it is important to keep in contact with your donors by regularly sending short updates explaining your progress.
Sharing Your Project via Social Media
Start your campaign by posting a status update on your business or personal Facebook page. Make sure to explain your project, what it offers, why you created it and why you need funding, as well as a link to your actual project.
To get better results, repost the project multiple times a week at various times of day. Late night hours tend to get more views, but don’t limit it to only the peak hours between 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. The key is to switch it up, so as many people as possible have the opportunity to see it.
- Create a fan page specifically for your funding project
- Post updates regularly that encourage fan participation
- Sunday is your best chance of being seen, followed by Saturday, Monday and Tuesday
- Keep an eye out for replies or “Likes” from other users
- Always reply to comments
- Link your Facebook profile to your business website
- Use striking images and compelling videos in your posts
- Ask your fans to caption a picture to inspire more interaction
- Tag any photos you can with your followers, so their friends and family can also see your fan page
- Use emoticons whenever they make sense, since they improve the chance of your status being noticed
- Include calls-to-action encouraging users to “Like” or “Share” your content
- Ask questions that inspire people to respond
You should also send a private message to Facebook friends and family about your new project.
Send them a personal message to tell them about your project and just ask if they are interested in investing in it. Be honest, be passionate, and keep it informal.
Post in Facebook Groups: Find Facebook groups that are relevant to your project and actively participate in them. Don’t just sell your campaign, but provide meaningful content as well. Comment on other people’s posts, answer questions, and submit your own posts. Using the right keywords to search for groups can really help gain exposure. Provide a short, personable explanation of your project and how it pertains to that group. Always make sure to provide your link so they can visit your crowdfunding project.
Tweet to your followers as often as possible. Unlike Facebook, the best times to post to Twitter are weekdays between 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Since traffic is lighter in the morning, it may also be beneficial to Tweet between 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Make sure to post at various times throughout the day, so you can reach a broader audience.
- The most Twitter activity happens on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
- Try to tweet at least a few times a day
- Make sure that content is interesting and engaging
- Though there are peak hours for tweeting, tweet at different hours of the day because there will be a different audience on Twitter at different times
- If you want to tweet to a specific person, use the (@) symbol. For example, “@twitteruser Check out my page”
Use hasthtags (#) before specific words to place your tweet into that specific topic. For example, you can say #garden to put your tweet into the garden topic. This means that when someone searches for “garden,” your tweet will show up. You can use multiple hashtags in the same tweet such as “#Purple #Teapot in #Mediabuzz.”
Make sure to post a link to the project in your tweets. Twitter only allows 140 characters, so you can shorten the link to your page using www.bit.ly.com. Simply copy and paste the URL into the box, and paste the shorter version into the tweet box. Tweet fun or creative photos that will keep your followers engaged. Some websites that will shorten the URL are Twitpic.com, instagram.com, and tweetphoto.com.
Keep Followers Engaged
If you have a video on YouTube for your project, you can paste the video into your Tweet. Connect others and keep them engaged. Once you start engaging in what others have to say, you become more credible. Answer questions, re-tweet interesting stories, reply to others’ tweets and stay relevant. Be provocative!
Develop a New Network
Make sure to promote other people’s projects. An easy way to accomplish this is to be the first to re-tweet and “favorite” others’ tweets. This will most likely get their attention and in most cases, they will promote you in return. Don’t be too shy to ask followers to re-tweet you. You should finish every post with the following ten characters “Please RTH.”
Every Friday, figure out who your most faithful followers are and mention them in a #FF tweet. #FF stands for Follow Friday and gives you the opportunity to do a shout-out to your community.
LinkedIn is unlike other social media networks. You will need to be personable and informative. Do not engage in sales pitches or behave as if you’re pitching an advertisement. Maintain a conversation by answering questions, asking your own questions and providing (or linking to) various content that pertains to you and/or your project.
LinkedIn can be seen as a more professional social media platform than Facebook and Twitter. You might want to spend more time working on posts and discussions due to its different demographic of users.
Build a Business Profile
This will differentiate your business from your regular user profile. LinkedIn has many company profiles and a large list of professionals who can help cater to specific business needs. Make sure that you have rich content if you are describing your business, your project and yourself. LinkedIn has a search engine which scans the website to bring users the most relevant information.
Join in any relevant conversations and be an expert in your field. Make sure to participate in discussion forums and include links to your website and your project. LinkedIn makes it easy through their networking system to connect to friends, as well as friends of friends. Although some websites may limit you with their searches, LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to grow your network to people outside of your typical social network.
YouTube is the second largest social media platform and has over 800 million users. You should start your own YouTube Channel to promote your project. Make sure to think long term when you are naming it, so it’s not limited to just one project. Think about a vision, brand or theme that will be the umbrella to your future initiatives. Post any videos that you or your organization has made on YouTube. Many people would be more inclined to watch your video pitch than read your pitch.
When making a video for your project, you do not need to use a professional service; however, that does not mean that you shouldn’t try to make it look professional.
- Be personable and natural
- The quality of your video should be clear
- Use good lighting
- Clear audio is essential
- Test your volume for sound, static and background noise
- Use humor if it suits your project
- Keep the message simple
- Multiple short videos are better than one long one
When uploading the videos, be sure to label them as clearly as possible and include keywords that will help enhance your SEO (search engine optimization) efforts. Make sure to title your video, thumbnail it, and add a description with relevant information about your project.
Promote your video on all other social media networks, as well as your website. Pressing the play button on a video link is a quick and simple option for users that are interested in your project. You can also embed your video on your website.
Newsletter or Email
Sign up for a newsletter source like MailChimp.com to market directly to investors. It’s terrific for keeping your lists and mailings organized and consistent. It will also spell out your campaign success rate to see if your newsletters are being opened, read or ignored.
Make sure to mention the project in a visible section of your newsletter or dedicate a portion of the content to specifically explain your project. Tell your followers what it offers, why you created it and where the money will be spent. You can also personally email users who you feel comfortable approaching directly. Always be sure to provide a link to your website and your crowdfunding project.
Spread the Word!
Your personal network is perhaps the most effective marketing tool of all!
Talk to people at your favorite coffee shop, hair salon, yoga class and church about your project. Ask them to tell their own friends and family. Make sure to first share the project with own your family, friends and colleagues, since they are generally the first to contribute to projects.
Additional Social Media Platforms:
- Google+ has approximately 500 million users
- Flickr has approximately 51million users
- Tumblr has approximately 45 million users
- Pinterest has approximately 32 million users
- Vimeo has approximately 65 million users
- Reddit has approximately 1 billion page views every month
Fulfill Perks: Fulfill your perk promises in a quick and orderly fashion so that you can maintain a happy user-base of contributors.
Be Thankful: Make sure that you thank all users for taking the time to contribute to your project.
Talk to L&C Media: If your project was a success, we would love to feature your success story on our website. This will build additional publicity for your project and make even more people interested in your story.
What if your project is not successful?
Talk to us and we will work with you to help make your next project a success. Remember, you can always change your pitch and try again.
Now it is time to make the magic happen.
Use that money you raised to accomplish your goal!
© 2013 L&C Media HB
All content contained in this guide is Copyright 2013-2014 by L&C Media Handelsbolag. ALL RIGHTS
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