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Make Sure Backers Know You Give a S#*&

Make Sure Backers Know You Give a S#*&

Editor’s Note: Thinking about starting a crowdfunding campaign but don’t know where to begin? Check out the advice column below from Rose Spinelli, a crowdfunding campaign consultant who runs The Crowdfundamentals and was named as a top 100 crowdfunding thought leader. Rose is answering questions from the crowd about raising cash via rewards-based crowdfunding. You can submit your own questions to Rose via tweet, Facebook or Google Plus comment, or leaving it in the comments below. You can find her previous tips here.

The question, via Facebook:

Joey Peden: hello, i was told to reachout to you for help with my crowd funding my comic is my heart and soul and no one seems to wanna help me can u look and see what im doing wrong please like and share Night Shift my new comic 

The answer:

Hi Joey, First the good news: your funding goal is very modest and you have almost two months remaining on your fixed-funding campaign. Though starting out strong with 20 percent secured within the first week of launch is as good an insurance policy as any crowdfunder can hope for, you may still have some time to get back on track. And if you don’t reach your goal, you can walk away without any out-of-pocket perks expenses. Now let’s look at various problems and some solution suggestions.

Communication Problem
I contacted Joey on Facebook twice in response to his request but got no response. I hope that was just an anomaly and not a pattern of ignoring your audience.

The number one rule in crowdfunding is that you have to be prompt in responding to any questions potential backers might ask of you. In case it hasn’t been said enough, when done well, crowdfunding should be taking up lots of your time.

Planning Problem
That 20 percent I referred to should have come from funding commitments you secured before launching. Crowdfunding, we’ve come to learn, is a slight misnomer; the majority of funding comes from family and friends — not strangers. So if your approach was to launch, wait, and see, that attitude contributed to your slump.

You’ve got to be super-proactive by informing your loved ones of your launch date and directing then to your campaign page so they could help you kick things off by kicking in some dough. This will create a bit of buzz and gives your outer circles more impetus to give, too.

Language Problem #1
Language is one of your most vital tools in crowdfunding. Take a look at the language you used in your correspondence to me. Now, put yourself in the place of those reading it. Notice anything slightly off-putting? To me it comes across as a little disgruntled and annoyed.

In crowdfunding (as in life), no one owes anyone anything. Those who are rewarded have many things going for them, and one is an upbeat attitude. Any time you write publicly about your campaign, make sure to keep it positive. Whatever you do, avoid like the plague sounding like a victim.

Language Problem #2
Though graphic novels hang on their images rather than the words, it bears repeating that crowdfunding hangs very much on your communication skills. Please take a look at the words on your campaign page. The text is full of typos, incomplete sentences, free-form capitalization, punctuation omissions, and improper spacing. Maybe it doesn’t matter to you, but it does to a lot of people, and they simply won’t take you seriously if you can’t take the time to write coherently.

If this isn’t your strong suit — and given your art form is visual, it’s no surprise that it isn’t — simply get a proofreader to fix these things pronto.

Video Problem
Have you heard the statistic that you’ll raise on average 114 percent more if you have a video? But that doesn’t mean just any old video will do. For a highly visual project it is doubly important that you show off your artistic skills to viewers. Let’s take a look at the way it looks currently.

Your campaign would benefit greatly by improving your video. Here are several ways to do so.

  • As the project creator, you should appear in your video, if even for a token amount of time, so that the crowd gets to know you
  • Rerecord your voiceover and put some enthusiasm in your voice
  • A little music wouldn’t hurt. Try something that would add to the tone of your comic book in order to bring viewers into the experience
  • The video just cuts off without a proper close. No thanks yous; no call to actions; and most importantly, throughout the video we get no real visual sense about how your voiceover fits with the images we are seeing on the screen. Fix that.

Good luck!

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  • Guest Joseph Hogue Nov 29, 2014 05:58 pm GMT

    Great post Rose. Some of the problems are not so obvious but others are kind of surprising. It has become so easy to start a crowdfunding campaign that a lot of people fail to approach it like a business. Even creative campaigns have to be professionally managed like it were your part-time job. Too bad, sounds like this comic book project is pretty cool. I hope he takes your advice.

  • Rose Spinelli Rose Spinelli Dec 01, 2014 01:05 pm GMT

    Thanks, Joseph. I hope he takes the advice, too. I'd like to make the point. though, that it takes courage to put yourself out there--asking for money AND advice--so I really respect all who take the risk. With time we will hopefully all get better at crowdfunding.

  • Bill Huston Bill Huston Dec 13, 2014 02:04 am GMT

    Great post Rose thanks for providing problems and solutions. The communication issue is real, and prompt engagement is vital to any crowdfunding campaign. I have seen campaigns with 8,000 Facebook likes, but no conversion. Thanks for shining your light of wisdom on the issue of communications in crowdfunding!!

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