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How to crowdfund successfully : tips and secrets from SeedingFactory

SeedingFactory has helped dozens of projects in Montreal & North America for the past two years. We had our share of failures, as well as successes, for a total amount of more than $1.2 million.

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We want to share now the insights and wisdom we gained in the past two years to help creative and tech entrepreneurs raise more for their projects. Here they are:

Tip 1: Have an amazing project

People need to be wowed when you share them a project. Perhaps you’re doing something completely new, clever, courageous. Who knows. But one thing is clear: it cannot be an incremental innovation.

Tip 2: A collection of features does not make an amazing project

Are you putting together nice-to-haves? Or you’re asking everyone what they would like the project to be? It’s better to focus one single characteristic of your project instead of collecting dozens of average nice-to-haves.  A collection just “dumbs down” the project.

Tip 3: Bring emotion

A successful test is when you see emotions when you share the project : either love, excitement, anger, happiness, etc. Emotion is one of our primary driver, it makes people move and act. Either share, contribute, or maybe try to get bloggers write for your project. And this is where it gets interesting, right?

 Tip 4: It needs to be tangible

A successful crowdfunding campaign is not just words. You need to have a tangible product, or at least proofs validated by third-parties that you can make it. Otherwise, it’s just bland PR.

That’s also the main reason why hardware or creative projects work so well compared to social networks or software projects! At least you can see pictures of the prototype

Tip 5: Everyone you know should know about the project !

Have you share on Facebook your project? Have you met them? Have you asked for feedback about the project, to as many people as possible? Did you take into account the feedback? Have you started a blog and sent the articles to the community? A successful crowdfunding campaign is kickstarted by your first network and if they are not on your side (or worse, they do not know about it), then you are off to a wrong start.

So if your personal name is not synonymous to the crowdfunding campaign, then don’t even think of launching the campaign

Tip 6: Work on social media

Facebook gets 56% of contributions dollars. If you do not have more than 600 followers, your chances are practically null. More stats are available. They all can be summed by: grow a BIG facebook and twitter community, engaged every day. Drive likes, comments, messages. Get people to interact and love what you are doing. Throw in the occasional fun, but also the serious studies and articles written by the press about your project.

Tip 7: Create a good permission-based list

Having a base of 400 email addresses from family, friends, fans, coworkers who have given explicitly permission to receive email about your specific project is in most cases enough to guarantee success. You can build a dedicated landing page for this project, or you can just email your contacts one-by-one, which may take time, but guarantees more contributions.

Tip 8: A few articles on niche blogs is worth more than being on big media

Forbes, Wired, Globe & Mail etc. They are all great to build your branding and let the general public know that you have a crowdfunding campaign starting but chances are nobody will actually contribute. Niche blogs that cater to your sector, who understand what you are doing and can communicate more precisely and with emotion on your project will bring in less traffic, but will however push more people to actually contribute.

Which means you have to take the time to find the bloggers you want to talk to & cherish so that when the day comes, they will be excited and share enthusiasm to their readers.

Tip 9: There is no magic secret to get rich instantaneously through crowdfunding

There are many ebooks, workshops or blog posts that share processes on how to get $50,000 in two days with crowdfunding. But they only work for very specific products, or it’s because they have a product that had two years of research and development. Sorry to break the myth. There is no magic secret!

or rather: the magic secret is to spend hundreds of hours, be passionate about your project, hustle like crazy, improve your idea as much as possible and at the same time get the backing of the community.

Tip 10: Do not let consultants communicate on your behalf

It’s tempting to pay consultants come with a magic package where they would write your video script, write your pitch or talk to journalists. You are in early-stage, you have the passion, you are the entrepreneur, and we believe it’s impossible for consultants to properly communicate about your project. They will make it appear as something else. They will miss the emotion. What you can do though :

  • Get technical help on how to shoot a video, such as which camera to use, what type of lights, revise your script, or have someone give advice on art direction
  • Get a cameraman, audio person and editor to shoot the video
  • Get a freelancer to work on your graphic design
  • Get someone to advise on your PR strategy and social media strategy
  • If you have the budget, pay a PR professional to get you covered on major publications
  • Pay a website designer to work on a good landing page exposing your project – if you can’t do it yourself
  • Get a copywriter to “enhance” the pitch you’ve written

Make no mistake though, it’s crucial that you are the person emailing, calling, pitching and spending the most time getting people’s attention!

If you want to talk to us in detail about your project, you can contact us on clarity.