I think we can all agree launching a successful crowdfunding campaign is a ton of work and requires a kick-butt marketing strategy.
In this post, I have created the ultimate crowdfunding marketing plan that you can use for your Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign.
It’s chock-full of helpful tips and tricks to make sure you reach your funding goal. If you are interested in me creating a follow-along workbook, please drop a comment at the bottom of the article.
Pro Tip: The first half is focused on strategy and planning. The second half is on promotion.
The second half is on promotion. If you are ready to launch or if you have already launched I recommend skipping to the second half of this article that focuses on promotion.
This high-level guide will help you define your crowdfunding marketing strategy in a clear and easy to understand action plan.
When you are finished with this guide you will have:
- A step-by-step marketing plan
- An understanding of your priorities
- The most important metrics to track
- How long you should budget for each task
- An action plan to reach your project funding goals
Crowdfunding Marketing Plan Chapters:
- Why You Don’t Need An Executive Summary
- How To Define Target Customers
- Complete a Competitor Analysis
- WTF is a SWOT
- Develop a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
- How to get More Backers by Setting Project Goals
- The 80/20 Rule for Crowdfunding
- Pricing & Positioning
- Create a Memorable Brand
- Create Content that Gets Noticed
- New ways to Promote Your Campaign
- Critical Action Items & Project Managment
The issue is, who is this report for? Is it for you or a boss at a major boring corporate.
I’d rather spend time helping you develop a strong, actionable plan than a stiff and boring executive summary.
Instead of the executive summary, I want to work on a positioning statement.
A positioning statement will help condense your campaign into an understandable statement.
When you talk to people about your campaigns, it’s a great way to explain what the heck you are doing.
Don’t worry if you get stuck on a section. I will show you how to develop this in more detail below.
Crowdfunding Positioning Statement Template
Our Company __________ (company name)
Is for ____________ (target customer)
who ____________ (statement of the need or opportunity)
our (product/service name) is ____________ (product category)
that (statement of benefit) ____________ .
Sample Example for Crowdfunding
Here is an example I created if I had a Kickstarter that was selling a new pair of headphones that never became tangled.
Our company NoTangle, (bad name I know)
is for hip young urbanites,
who are frustrated their headphones are always being tangled,
our product is a set of noise canceling headphones,
that use rare earth magnets to keep your headphone wires from tangling.
Wow look at that, it’s clear and easy to understand what you are doing. If you struggled with any of those parts, we will go into more detail below. Specifically, how to name your project, define your target customer, what problem you are solving, and your unique value proposition.
Let’s jump right in with defining your target customer!
Okay, time to figure out who your target backer its. Often when I worked at a marketing agency and we asked our clients, “who is your target customer.”
They would sit there, conveniently take a sip of their coffee to stall time and then say,
“Men and Women between the ages of 18-64 with an income between 20k and 100k who live in the United States.”
Wait, what? You just listed basically everyone.
The point of defining a target customer group is to specify exactly who is your target audience.
This allows you to design your campaign in a way that it appeals to a very specific person.
One of my favorite faculty members who taught at Harvard used to say,
“You can not be everything to everybody – if you do this you will be stuck in the middle.”
Without a clear message that is targeted to a specific group your message will get lost in the onslaught of media.
A Political Example
Think about messages that candidates give. They appeal to multiple groups but are focused on one specific set of people with shared needs, wants, frustrations, and aspirations.
They wouldn’t be successful if they tried to get every vote. They have to choose a position and advocate that group that they are the best choice.
This also pisses a lot of people off. But it’s okay to also tell your supporters who you are not for. This just re-enforces to your supporters that they are in the right place.
Here are a few examples of statements that clearly say who they are for (and not for):
- We’re a smart watch company for teens, this isn’t your grandpa’s calculator watch
- Our sunglasses are for people with wide heads – if you have a skinny head go grow a brain
- This folk music festival features artists that only play acoustic music – if you like to sing along this probably isn’t the place for you
I know those are a little silly but notice how they clearly say who they are for, and then use who they are not for to reinforce that.
Now let’s get to actually defining your target Market
Easy Steps to Define Your Target Market [crowdfunding edition]
Take a look at past campaigns that are similar and see what they did successfully and poorly. Look to improve and learn from their mistakes.
First, make a list of campaigns on all platforms that are similar to yours. Look at the following elements of their campaign and take notes:
- Rewards Levels
- Copy on the Page
You might even want to reach out to them and ask for advice. The crowdfunding space is a friendly arena and people are willing to answer a quick question.
You can get a bit of data about who is sharing on social using this cool hack. It’s also worth putting the title of the campaign into a tool like Buzzsumo to see who wrote press articles about the campaign.
USP = Unique Selling Proposition
What is a unique selling proposition (USP)? A USP is the foundation of your crowdfunding marketing plan. It is what makes your campaign unique and valuable to your target market. This is critical if you want to launch a successful campaign. Once you have your USP it’s important you continue to communicate it. It’s not enough to mention it once. Remember that visitors are coming to your project with almost no prior knowledge. It is your job to educate them. If you want to teach a concept the key to success is repetition. It is what makes your campaign unique and valuable to your target market. This is critical if you want to launch a successful campaign. Here is step-by-step how to create a killer USP.
Here is step-by-step how to create a killer USP.
- Find your biggest distinctive benefit. Map out what your competitors do on the X access of a graph. On the Y access rate each competitor on a scale of 1-5. Then rank yourself for these criteria. It should become clear where your strengths are. You want to look for areas where your competition ranks low and you rank high. For the example graph below I pretended I was starting a smoothie food truck.Pro Tip: Take price out of the equation. Your USP shouldn’t be that you are cheaper. It’s not a good strategy for getting attention.
- Answer this question: “We are the best ________”. If you know what you are the best at then you can focus on this attribute and build it into all your marketing. This very well could be your USP.
- Understand the problem you are solving. Look back to our positioning statement exercise above and see what the biggest problem you are solving. Your benefit should address this problem directly and often is your USP.
- Have more than one USP? Test them to see what matters most to backers. I’m a huge fan of running pre-launch surveys. If you have 2 or 3 USP ideas then send a survey and ask what is most important. Don’t be afraid to test early and iterate often.
- Leverage your USP for more backers. Once you have your USP put it everywhere. It should be part of the first heading on your website. In the first 15 seconds of your Kickstarter video. At the top of your press releases.
Set Project Goals & KPIs
If you want to be successful in life (or crowdfunding) you are going to need goals.
And I’m not talking about setting a funding goal. You need to set clear goals and KPIs (key performance indicators) to get there. Without goals, you don’t know what is important. And if you don’t know what is important you don’t know where to focus your time.
80/20 Rule For Crowdfunding
The Pareto principle is often known as the 80/20 rule. It says that 80% of the effects come from only 20% of the causes. If we take this to be true you can quickly see the importance of prioritizing (see setting goals section above).
I’d love to hear in the comments section what the most useful and lease useful uses of your time is as a project founder.
Pricing & Positioning
Pricing strategy is focused on maximizing the amount of profit that you get from the sale. In crowdfunding, you may need to determine the retail price of your project if you are creating a physical product.
If you are raising money for an event or movie you will be pricing your rewards. Pricing is intertwined with the positioning of your campaign.
In business, the goal of pricing is to maximize the amount of profit that you get for your product or service. In a crowdfunding campaign, your goal may be to offer your project to as many people as possible. Either way, different prices lets you target different groups.
When pricing you need to look at the value of what you are offering. A common mistake in pricing is to take the cost and then add a percentage that you will take as the profit. This is wrong.
The right way to price something on the amount that someone will pay for it. Figure out how much someone will pay and then price it. If you are unsure you can look at competitors or run surveys.
Another tactic is to create scarcity with lower prices for early backers. This means there are only 20 rewards at a super discounted price. After that, the price goes up. If you don’t pledge during the campaign the cost will go up again. Creating scarcity through this method will incentivize potential backers to support you.
There are some great articles online about the best way to price your product (or rewards).
You need to look like you have your shit together. Think about your campaign like a job interview. You wouldn’t go wearing an old t-shirt and ripped jeans with paint all over them. Unless you were applying for a job where that was the required dress code.
Long story short, look the part. Creating a brand is easy if you know your USP and positioning statement. You can easily start creating a brand by first defining intangible values. Then you can create tangible assets.
Intangible Brand Values
- Look and Feel
- Tone and Voice
- Emotions Evoked
Tangible Brand Assets
- Typography (fonts)
- Colors (color palette)
- Copy (writing)
- Video & Music
Create Your Campaign Content
The video is arguably the most important part of your campaign. It is what people will watch first, what they will share, and if you are lucky – what will go viral.
There is no perfect formula for creating a crowdfunding video but there are a few frameworks that have been proven time over time to help structure your ideas.
Below I list out three of my favorite video concepts.
You will also need to decide if you want to hire a company to create your Kickstarter video or do it yourself. If you want to create your own crowdfunding video check out our complete guide here.
When creating your video you are going to want to follow best practices. Here are a few tips that will ensure your video is a hit.
Crowdfunding Video Best Practices
- Create a script or outline
- Start with a hook
- Explain the who, what, when, where, why
- Show don’t tell – use video to your advantage
- End with a call to action
- Keep your video around 1-4 minutes
You can read all our tips and tricks for creating a Kickstarter Video here.
A Working Prototype
It doesn’t matter what your campaign is, the closer it can be to “finished” the more likely people are to donate. This means you want a working prototype. If you are launching a product this should be easy. If you are launching an album you need to get a bit more creative. Show that you have already written the songs and just need the money to book a recording studio.
Backers don’t want to fund your research and development. They want to help you get over the final hump and reach a succesful project. The closer you can get to the finish line the better. Don’t be afraid to show a working prototype in all your media.
A Press Kit (And What Goes Inside)
I will briefly touch on what to put in a press kit as we have written a full article here.
A Press Release – Some would argue you don’t need a press release anymore. But if you are planning on being successful it’s a good idea to create one. We wrote a full article on how to write a press release for crowdfunding.
If you need some inspiration make sure to check out our collection of Kickstarter press releases that helped campaigns raise over 70 million dollars collectively.
High-Quality Images – The internet is a visual place. After your video images will be most important. Images are especially important for the media as some may not embed your video. Make sure you have high-quality photos. Ask around and see if you have a photographer friend who can help take them. Remember you are asking people on the internet to give you money. Many of these people you have never met before. You want to look professional. High-quality images help build trust.
Quick Fact Sheet – A fact sheet is not necessary but helpful if you are creating a press kit. It makes it easy for a reporter to write a story about you. If you have the time create a quick one-page fact sheet. Cover who, what, where, how, when, and why.
Promotion is tough. Ideally, it starts before you launch your campaign. If you have yet to start promoting your campaign but already launched it’s time to get to work. We have put together a great resource of tips for getting more press. That should get you started.
So that’s a wrap! Let us know in the comments section if we missed anything. I’m working on a workbook that breaks down these activities in an easy to follow step-by-step manner. If this sounds interesting to you drop a comment below!