By Evan Varsamis, founder/CEO at Gadget Flow.
As you might already know, the crowdfunding process consists of three very clear stages: pre-launch, ongoing and post-launch. While pre-launch is a phase where your sole focus is on generating initial buzz, the ongoing campaign focuses on seeking as much promotion as possible. But, the real struggle begins after those first two stages are over. The next step is about transforming from a crowdfunding campaign into a mainstream business. It's about getting your product out of the crowdfunding space and making it a part of the e-commerce industry.
The Pre-Launch Phase
When you are in the pre-launch phase of crowdfunding, your primary concern should be grabbing the attention of your potential audience. You can either choose to do this via social media or blog posts (but remember to provide a link to a landing page where people can stop by and enter their email to subscribe your newsletters). This way, you'll be able to announce your launch date to your subscribers. You could also use this list of subscribers as your potential first backers by offering them special super early-bird deals. Other than this, the pre-launch phase is about spreading the word in a way that will be enough to generate buzz without leaking campaign details.
The Ongoing Campaign Phase
This phase of your crowdfunding campaign is crucial because it tests your project's popularity in the crowdfunding world. If you are able to get over 50 percent funded in the first 48 hours, the chances of your campaign trending on your respective crowdfunding platform increases exponentially. Spread the word during this phase of your campaign and regularly post on social media. You can use tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule your posts in advance. But ensure you have at least one or two posts going live on your Facebook fan page, Twitter and Instagram. These three social networks play an important role in spreading your message during your crowdfunding campaign phase. Regularly communicate with your backers and respond to queries or comments in general on your campaign page as well as social media.
The Post-Crowdfunding Phase
For many crowdfunding campaign creators, building a website is often not feasible right after your campaign is over. It's expensive and requires a lot of attention. Nevertheless, if you want to continue taking pre-orders (or direct orders for that matter), there are three ways you can do it. You can either choose to go for Indiegogo InDemand phase, the Amazon Launchpad or set up your own online store is via Shopify. If you have the capacity to take more pre-orders, opt for the InDemand solution on Indiegogo to take your campaign to the next level. This solution instantly bridges the gap between crowdfunding and e-commerce. Amazon Launchpad, on the other hand, is a great place to boost your crowdfunding sales once your campaign is successfully over and you have enough production capacity to get into the mainstream selling space. With Shopify, you will get a fully customizable website along with your online store and blog. With a decent monthly fee, that sounds like a great option to switch to your personal store just after your campaign phase is over. But, if you are well-versed with WordPress, going for the WooCommerce plugin will help you set up your store within your established WordPress website.
Always remember to update your crowdfunding campaign page with your new selling website post-launch. Initially, the chances of people stumbling upon your campaign page will be higher than your website. Remember to ship the rewards for your first batch of backers before taking on the set of orders. Delaying delivery is not a wise option.
Evan Varsamis is an entrepreneur, founder/CEO at Gadget Flow, investor and marketing advisor at Qrator Ltd