A smart first step in planning a crowdfunding campaign is to study the crowdfunding websites and identify the elements that are common in the successful and the unsuccessful campaigns. A recent review of various dog-related campaigns showed some clear best practices.
Indiegogo has a system that from the beginning allows campaigns to become social enterprises. A cause, either personal or nonprofit, has no platform fees. But being a social enterprise alone does not imply a better outcome. A good example of an excellent and successful campaign is Tearribles on Kickstarter. They are for-profit and making a single product- a dog toy that is indestructible, in three sizes. They had a goal of $15,000 to manufacture the toy. Close to the end of the campaign, they have $107,572.
The product has been designed and tested, and is universally cute. But beyond having a good product, a toy that can be pulled apart by a dog and put back together again with Velcro, they made a short video showcasing the toy and starring dogs. Dogs acting normal and lovable and reminding us all that we love our dogs. All over the world, we love our dogs and buy them toys. The short video, 1:47, doesn’t have a human narrator but uses humor and captions, and lets the dogs star. The product description uses humor as well, and suggests a product and company that doesn’t take itself seriously, and is happy. All the world likes dogs, and all the world likes happy. Continue reading
Crowdfunding has changed since the first exciting days, and several new trends show the maturing industry. Projects rooted in sustainability remain popular, such as hemp fiber glasses frames and window blinds with integral solar panels. There is an emerging trend in remaking classic equipment using new lighter and less expensive technology, such as a large format camera with a lightweight wooden body, and a turntable with all-in-one functionality. Fashion and design projects remain popular, with a move toward minimalism and simplicity in clothing, shoes, and accessories such as watches.
Running crowdfunding campaigns has also matured. Those who invest in new product development have come to expect a degree of sophistication in the marketing of a campaign as a sign of business maturity. Common best practices have been identified, such as video marketing, a strong mail campaign before the crowdfunding (CF) campaign opens, contests to build up the mailing list, and access to products from the first production run at below cost. This last is a critical piece for companies with a working prototype, and allows the crowdfunding campaign to be used to estimate demand, take first orders, and form a customer base.
Some companies are also using multiple CF-campaigns through the course of their business growth. Expansion, new product development, and opening new branches or outlets are all reasons for a second or third crowdfunding campaign. Companies that have had success with crowdfunding are turning back to it as a method of funding business growth and expansion.