You launched, CONGRATULATIONS! Now what? – 8 steps to crowdfunding success
After all the hard work you put into creating your campaign page, it is finally live and can accept contributions. Now what?
We know that your first instinct might be to post your campaign on Facebook or blast your email list but STOP! WAIT! … That is not the best way to start your campaign. Read and follow the steps below to learn how to properly launch your campaign so that you achieve the greatest success. This method of launching your campaign is based on the research and experience we have gained since the launch of Jewcer.com in March 2012. This method is the reason why more than 70% of the campaigns on Jewcer reach their crowdfunding goal.
Step 1: Your Inner Circle
When a coffee shop owner opens the store in the morning, they take a few dollars and put them in the tip jar. Why? People tend to give money when they see others have already given. If you blast on social media, what will the people see when they come to your campaign page? … NOTHING. Your campaign has no funders and people would just walk away.
During the first few days of your campaign, we urge you to contact the people closest to you, whom you know are already familiar with your initiative and are inclined to give without much convincing. You should contact one by one in a direct and personal way (email, facebook message, text message, etc.).
How many should you contact? That depends on your goal amount. We typically recommend 100 people per $5,000 you are looking to raise. Make a list of these people in advance and when the campaign is live, spend your time doing only one thing, personal messages to these people. No mass email and no social media public posts.
When is enough?
We recommend you continue to contact your closest friends and family on an individual basis until you reach 20% of your goal and about 20 funders per $5,000 you are looking to raise.
Step 2: Explosion on social media
If you want to be a crowdfunding “ninja”… then in step 1 you ask people to contribute and to not share. The reason for that is that now, after you have a few dozen funders, you contact them all and ask them all to share now!. The way social media works is that if an item (i.e. your campaign page) is shared by many people in a short period of time, the system will promote it to even more people. You will create a BUZZ.
Step 3: Expanding Your Circles
If you are ready for step 3, it means that you have exhausted your inner circle. You should now begin to expand your methods of communications to reach a larger group of people. The people you should begin to contact now might not know about your project, but they should know you. This is your second circle. You can start by posting on Facebook / Twitter but we recommend to spend as much time as possible on more direct communication lines, such as individual emails, mass emails, and individual Facebook messages. You should not only be informing people about your campaign, but asking them to participate and share.
Step 4: Recruiting Ambassadors (NOTE: THIS FEATURE IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE)
Jewcer has a very unique feature that allows you to recruit people to help you crowdfund. This is done through “ambassador pages”. Look for the “Ambassadors” tab on your campaign page. Anyone can sign up to be an ambassador for your campaign (or any other campaign, no registration is required). Your ambassador can create a banner with a title, image and a short description about what makes them passionate about the campaign they want to help. Then, they have the option to choose a goal for the amount of money they want to help your campaign raise.
The ambassador receives a unique URL they can now share with their own networks and friends. Contributions received through the ambassador’s unique URL are credited on the ambassadors tab and also added to your total funds raised.
At this stage of your campaign, after you’ve tapped into your inner and second circles, is a GREAT time to start recruiting a few ambassadors to help you expand your reach and get a wider group of people participating in and sharing your campaign.
Step 5: Sharing is Caring
By now, you should have hundreds, if not thousands of people aware of your campaign. Some of them have contributed, but all of them know you and your campaign. Now is the time to ask for their participation again. Even if they haven’t contributed, they can help you by sharing your campaign URL.
To successfully get people to share, start with your inner circle. It shouldn’t be difficult to convince them to share. Then move on to your second circle and to the people who have shown interest in your initiative. Your goal is to get these circles of people talking about your initiative and sharing your campaign.
Take a look on your Jewcer campaign page. You should see counters near the Facebook / Twitter share buttons:
Monitor your progress on these social media networks through these buttons. In this example, there were 661 shares on Facebook, and 478 on Twitter (this was taken from a large campaign after 1 months of operation). You should aim to have more than 100 shares on social media. As your sharing increases, so should your contributions, especially if people are compelled and moved by your campaign.
Step 6: Updates
Now that you have quite a number of followers and contributors on your campaign page, it’s time to start getting them feel part of a very special group of people, these are your funders! These people believe in YOU, not necessarily in your idea as much as they believe in YOU. You must make this relationship bidirectional and stay in touch with them.
The Jewcer system allows you to download your whole list of funders (login and look in your Funders tab). Take those e-mails and strategically contact your funders. We recommend that you spend more time on those funders who contributed more, perhaps with a personal message. No matter what strategy you pick, you should keep updating your funders periodically.
Updates get your current campaign participants continually excited about what you are doing and reminds them to share it with their friends. You should periodically use updates to keep your followers engaged and get them to share.
Step 7: Blast Away
It is time to blast your campaign in every direction. At this point, many people have contributed and shared information about your initiative. It is time to do what you have been waiting for…
- Make sure you periodically post on your Facebook timeline. If you are not into posting it on your own wall, crowdfunding is not for you. People need to see you believe in your idea.
- Are you part of groups on Facebook? Any of them related to your initiative’s core idea? Great! Start posting there and any other groups you may find.
- Search Facebook, as well as Google, for initiatives who would connect with your core idea. Let them know about your campaign.
- Break out your giant email list and send out a short, yet engaging email about your campaign.
- Don’t forget to share your URL in the very first sentence! In case people stop reading, they have the most important information at their fingertips.
Step 8: Rolling Out the Big Guns
Now that you have demonstrated some success, and have gotten people behind your initiative, it’s time to activate or find influencers. An influencer is a person (or organization) that has the ability to engage a large audience, and activate a crowd. When they send out an email or post on Facebook / Twitter, they reach many people and their following responds. Influencers are easy to spot, but can be hard to get on your team, unless they are a close friend or family member. If you have an influencer in your inner circle, invite them to coffee and activate them as an ambassador or supporter. However, if you don’t have an influencer in your immediate circle, but have identified someone who likes other initiatives similar to yours, you can contact them directly because you’ve already demonstrated some success in your campaign (you should not contact them before you’ve completed steps 1-6).
- Organizations with large distribution lists
- Facebook fan pages with large followings (5,000 or more)
- Twitter handles with large followings (5,000 or more)
- Newspapers, prominent bloggers
Please note that some influencers could be outside the list above, don’t be limited to what we recommend. You are looking out for different ways to reach many people with little effort on your part (you did all the work already in the previous stages). Of course, it will require some effort to convince the influencer to help you. Be courteous, respectful, and friendly. Praise them for their work, and for supporting other initiatives. The best strategy when approaching an influencer is to find common ground between your cause and their passions.
Be Creative and Keep Pushing
Crowdfunding is hard, and time consuming, but don’t get discouraged. Keep thinking of out-of-the-box ways to reach people. Go out into the streets, talk with people, arrange for speaking opportunities at the local JCC or your family’s synagogue. Don’t stop promoting and sharing your campaign. If you work hard, have a good idea, and continue to use your passion as a driving force, you will succeed.