By Evan Varsamis, founder/CEO at Gadget Flow
With years of crowdfunding experience, from campaign management to fulfillment, I’ve noticed a pattern when it comes to the teams behind any crowdfunding campaign. Essentially, there are two types of teams. The first is a team that has already set up their online business and is only using crowdfunding to raise funds for their latest launch. The second team, however, is the one that is just starting out with its product line via crowdfunding. Almost everyone in the latter category either starts out on their own or has a single partner to help carry the entire promotion and marketing plan.
Considering the amount of work that goes into planning and launching a crowdfunding campaign, let alone a successful one, walking the path alone can be daunting. However, with a proper plan in place and by leveraging the right resources, it is possible. Here are some tips and tactics to help you plan a crowdfunding campaign, even without a team.
Use a planner to map out your activities.
From pre-launch to launch to post-launch, the key to a successful crowdfunding campaign lies in the way you organize workflow. Since there are so many activities that need to be executed while planning a crowdfunding campaign, it’s important to use a planner. First, outline all the tasks that need to be done and determine which ones are beyond your abilities. This will help you decide whether or not you’d like to outsource some of the tasks.
Consider getting help from crowdfunding services.
There are various crowdfunding services that can help you plan and execute your crowdfunding campaign for maximum results. Evaluate your budget to determine if you can afford to outsource. However, there are some tasks that I don't recommend outsourcing -- you need to focus on interacting with your backers and social media audience yourself.
Once your campaign is over, don’t forget that you also need to plan order fulfillment. Look for a fulfillment company that has a proven track record for delivering all orders on time.
Use online tools to complete your work in advance.
For tasks such as social media posting and email newsletters, enlist the help of online tools to stay ahead. Tools such as Buffer and Campaign Monitor help you schedule your posts and newsletters in advance so you can remain relevant and consistent when sharing information about your campaign. While planning a crowdfunding campaign is enough work on its own, it’s important to promote it via your social media channels and newsletters. This will not only help you communicate with your potential backers, but it will also build credibility for your campaign.
Make your story catchy and powerful.
You have to have passion to make a crowdfunding campaign get off the ground on your own. In my experience, most of the people who do so have inspiring stories that illustrate what led them down this path. It’s important to make your audience realize how crucial the campaign is for you and what led you to launch it by yourself.
So, take the time to prepare an engaging draft for your campaign page that narrates your story and what the campaign means to you. This might include personal details about your backstory, your family or a struggle you faced. This will help your potential backers connect with the campaign even more.
Outsource any activities outside the scope of your expertise.
If you are uncomfortable with any task, outsource it well in advance of the launch. Whether that’s copywriting or social media or graphic design, look for skilled freelancers who can get the job done for you. Sure, you could spend hours learning a new trade, but outsourcing for efficiency is worth every penny. This will not just help you prepare an outstanding campaign draft but also save time for other tasks that are equally important -- and at which you excel.
Reach out on crowdfunding forums for help.
Kickstarter Forum is a popular online forum for crowdfunding campaign creators to reach out with queries. You can also find a lot of Reddit threads with discussions on the topic. These forums are filled with people who have been there before and who would be happy to answer your questions. In fact, I encourage you to participate in other threads and give your views on areas where you’ve gained expertise. Considering you’re doing the entire campaign on your own, it’s always good to give back and perhaps find company from fellow campaign creators who may serve as sources of inspiration.
No matter who you delegate your tasks to or how many services you choose to outsource, the campaign is yours at the end of the day. The smarter you plan ahead, the higher your chances of success.
Evan Varsamis is an entrepreneur and founder/CEO at Gadget Flow, as well as an investor and marketing advisor at Qrator Ltd.