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Editor's Note: The following is a guest post from Sarunas Daugirdas, a Chicago-based videographer, producer, and writer. You can follow him on Twitter @SarunasDaug.
If you’re thinking of crowdfunding your project with Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Fundable, or any other of the top platforms, then you’ve likely contemplated the way potential backers will interact with your campaign page.
An ideal page setup would grab visitors and magically transmute them into big cash donors, right? But how? Is this sort of transformation even possible? Lucky for you, it is possible and there’s a specific way to make it happen. Come along, and we’ll explore how to impress your audience with concise, engaging content, and an immersive experience.
I’ll begin by introducing the hospitality analogy that we’ll use throughout this post. Think of your project page as your home or restaurant and of your potential visitors as guests. Is everything tidy and in order, or is your place a mess? Remember, you want people to step inside your page, like what they see, and ultimately decide to pledge some cash. Here are five crucial tips for designing the ultimate campaign page experience. Let’s jump right in.
Have you ever driven up to a friend’s house and wondered, “Wait, is this the place?”
“I don’t know, what does the address say? Check the house number,” your co-pilot pipes in.
“I have no idea, I can’t see any numbers. I don’t even know if we’re on the right street,” you reply.
Avoid losing initial traffic to your page by clearly labeling your project with a solid campaign title. A good title will let visitors know that they’ve arrived at their intended destination. In the past, successful projects have used titles in the following format: the name of the project followed by 3-4 words explaining what it is. For example, “DropCatch – Magnetic Bottle Opener” is a strong title that clearly labels the content to follow. Seem simple? It really is.
So what’s next? Once visitors have parked the car (at the correct address), they’ll be coming to the front door to ring the doorbell. How you answer the door will determine the success of your campaign. Let’s discuss why the first impression is so critical and what you can do to be as inviting as possible.
You need a video. Why? Two reasons. First, the statistics show that Kickstarter projects with videos are 66% more likely to reach their target fundraising goals. But stats aside, look at it from a human perspective. Imagine your valuable guests stepping through the front door of your home with no one to greet or welcome them in person. Leaving your donors unattended at the door is both bad hospitality and a huge fundraising blunder. What an opportunity to make a positive first impression! The welcome video is the critical point where visitors will either feel welcomed, excited, and eager to venture inside, or neglected, bored, and ready to hit the road.
Here are a few tips for making an impactful first impression in your video:
If you have limited experience in making videos, it’s a good idea to seek help from videographers who specialize in promotional media. They can help create an authentic, inviting, and professional portrait of you and your project that viewers will actually enjoy. Moving on, let’s talk about the third vital element of your project page — the written description.
The project description is the place to convince your potential backers that you’re going to make good use of their donations. Do you have a business plan mapped out? What are the specific expenses that you need the money for? Can you provide a forecast of what direction the project will take once it’s successfully funded? Try to be as honest and forthright as possible about your vision, goals, and concerns; visitors will appreciate transparency.
Another important point regarding your project description: use text sparingly. You’re leading your guests from the front door to the dinner table through the hallway here. Don’t just run your mouth the whole time; provide visitors with pictures, product sketches, and infographics. If you bore them, they will leave. Avoid the long-winded encyclopedia entry and spice it up a little, make it visually engaging!
Once you’ve created a project description that you’re proud of, run it by a friend or two and ask them to highlight the boring bits and the areas where “you lost me.” Then, fix these parts or cut them out. The ones reading your description in full are the guests who are sitting on the fence. They’re practically asking to be nudged over, so don’t miss your chance and lock in their support! Provide them with the persuasive and confidence-inspiring content they’re looking for.
Zipping right along, let’s tackle the fourth successful campaign page element: the rewards.
While you might have the most engaging project page up to this point, you can quickly ruin the experience by offering crummy perks. Imagine sitting down to dinner and realizing that the only thing being served is steamed spinach and carbonated water. Yuck. Your guests were having such a nice time until they sat down and opened the menu…
The point is, offer your visitors rewards that are fun and enticing in return for their support. What would you want to receive? Donors often back a project simply because they’re promised an innovative product, a unique one-of-a-kind gift, or some kind of VIP treatment in return for their support. Also, when setting up your rewards, don’t be afraid to offer high-level perks in addition to your more affordable options. You'll never know whether someone will donate $500 for an hour-long Skype interview with you, the creator of the project, unless you offer that option in the rewards. It’s certainly happened before.
So now that we’ve covered four of the five campaign page essentials, what can possibly be left? Well, nothing motivates a potential customer to make a purchase like a sense of urgency. Let’s talk deadline.
We’ll keep this section short and sweet. On your page, next to the video and above the rewards is a boxed area that includes information on the objective goals or your project. It shows how much you want to raise in how much time. In effect, it’s the clock on the wall of your dining room. Depending on how you set it, it can either tell your guests “Act now! Limited time offer!” or “Take it easy, you still have 59 days.” Which do you think is more persuasive? You know the answer.
Kickstarter recommends 30 days as the optimal funding period. Any longer and… well, that’s a lot of time for people to put off donating and forget about your campaign. Make potential donors feel like time is running out. As for setting the fundraising goal itself, ask for how much you need plus a little extra, but don’t overdo it. Make sure your supporters view the amount as reasonable and achievable. At the end of the day, people are more likely to donate when they believe the campaign they are donating to has an excellent chance of success.
So there you have it. The trick to converting casual visitors into committed donors is actually quite straightforward. Wow them with the video, engage them in the project description, and entice them with some great rewards! Make your project seem like the greatest thing since sliced bread and then give them the opportunity to hop on board. If you do it right, they will. Good luck!
Sarunas Daugirdas (@SarunasDaug) is a writer, videographer, and producer based in Chicago, IL. He works with his brother, Kc Daugirdas (@symbiotic_sound), a musician and film composer based in Los Angeles, CA. Together, they operate www.elevantproductions.com, a crowdfunding and Kickstarter video production service. Sarunas enjoys meeting strangers, eating bagel sandwiches, and making you look good on camera.