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Backers: A Crowdfunder's Most Valuable Asset
© Image: Outgrow.me
editorial

Backers: A Crowdfunder's Most Valuable Asset

Editor's Note: The following comes to us from Sam Fellig of Outgrow.me, a marketplace for crowdfunded products. Fellig explains the thought process behind someone backing a crowdfunding project and tells us why campaign managers must do all they can to keep their backers happy. To keep up with the latest, make sure to follow @outgrow.me on Twitter. 

There’s been a lot of talk about how to properly communicate with crowdfunding project backers, but there isn’t much discussion about the final moments of a crowdfunded project: delivery.

After 10 months of patiently (or, more realistically, impatiently) waiting for a project to go through all the steps of production, backers finally receive word that their rewards have shipped. I’ve backed quite a number of Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects myself, so I know the experience fairly well.

I anxiously check the mail every 15-20 minutes for the next 3-5 days, until I finally open my mailbox to find a small manila envelope. I rip the envelope open, and something that is unmistakably cool falls into the palm of my hand. Instead of taking a moment to check out the project I backed almost a year ago, I hold the envelope open and shake it once again, hoping for something else to fall out. I’m hoping for a Thank You! that’s never there.

Pre-ordering a product is not a new concept. Quite often, the latest tech becomes available for pre-order in the months or weeks prior to a full product launch. Self-proclaimed “techies” like myself are biologically hardwired to be the first to place a pre-order, and we go out of our way to tell friends and family about this new technology we just came across. However, there’s no intimate connection between myself and the product, and certainly not with the product’s designer, that leads me to have a vested interest in the product’s success. Of course, no one wants to keep buying tech “losers,” but that’s more about the technology itself becoming adopted than any particular brand becoming successful.

Crowdfunding is a very different model.

Backers of a crowdfunding project also go out of their way to tell friends and family about the latest gadget they came across, but, as anyone on Facebook or Twitter can tell you, backers are far more vocal about getting friends and family to also support crowdfunded projects than they are about regular pre-orders. It’s clear: backers develop an intimate connection with a project and project designer that leads backers to feel like they have a vested interest in the product and designer’s success.

The trouble is that, for some reason, many project creators are not taking advantage of this incredible connection they have with their backers. Projects can have thousands of backers who are enthusiastic about a brand’s success, and project creators seem to cut the cord as soon as they mail out the backer rewards. This has to change.

Backers are more than just customers. Your backers are the ones who believed in your project first. They’re the ones who put down money to make your dream a reality. They’ve shared your project with friends and family, and they’re enthusiastic about your project’s success.

So instead of sending just their backer reward, send a thank you. In that final moment, let your backers know how much their support is appreciated. Get them involved in further growing your brand. The next time they hear from you shouldn’t be for your Black Friday sale.

TL;DR: Your backers are your most valuable asset. Treat them that way.

We wrote about Fellig's site back in September. For those interested in finding out more about it, the article is here

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