If you’re looking to launch a crowdfunding campaign then you probably understand the importance of collecting email subscribers prior to launching.
Most campaigns do not go viral by accident. They follow a specific set of steps to achieve viral growth. One of the most important factors is having an email list before you launch.
Today, I’m going to show you how to build a Kickstarter prelaunch page. I have used this exact formula to build a landing page which converted over 50% of users from Instagram.
You only need one page before you launch and it is really easy to put together.
How I built a landing page in less than an hour
I was surprised the first time I put together a landing page: I was able to put it together in less than an hour. After the first week, it was already gaining over 50 emails from just Instagram alone. I was blown away at how effective Instagram was at driving traffic to a Kickstarter.
Later in this post, I will show you what tools I recommend for quickly building a landing page. It doesn’t have to be complex but you need to make sure that you have this one key element.
You need to be clear about what people are getting in exchange for their email.
Most bloggers call this an offer. If you want your website to convert at more than 2% you need to have a compelling offer on the page.
I will tell you that your offer cannot just be “sign up for updates” or “sign up for our newsletter”.
If you have time you actually can test multiple offers and see which one converts at the highest rate.
We always recommend offering a product or one of your rewards as a prelaunch incentive. This often ties directly into the campaign and helps to build excitement.
If you can build a list of people who are interested in getting your reward for free, a percentage of those subscribers are also going to be interested in paying for it.
Every good landing page as a headline and byline.
You want to make sure that the copy on the headline matches the copy of the promotion to that page.
For example, imagine you are running Facebook Ads and the advertisement text says, “Never lose your keys again”. When the reader arrives on your landing page, the main headline should also say “Never lose your keys again”
This is important so users know they have landed on the correct page.
The byline should then describe the benefits of your campaign. It should be clear and someone should be able to tell a friend what your campaign is about after just reading the headline and byline.
If you are struggling to condense your message to two sentences, you need to work on your value proposition.
When writing a headline make sure you convey the benefit of the campaign to the backers. Remember that people are selfish. They want to know what they are getting out of the exchange. If you are going to enter someone into a contest to win a reward, tell them that.
Don’t make it difficult for users to understand what the page is about. If you are looking for advice on how to write a headline, here is a great headline grading tool.
What to put above the fold
On a newspaper, the top half of the front page is called ‘above the fold’. Even though websites do not have a physical fold, ‘above the fold’ means the part of the website you can see before you scroll.
This section is the most important part of your website as it is ensured that everyone who arrives at your page will see at least that content.
For this reason, landing pages like Facebook all show the information above the fold. This organization ensures that users read all the essential information and cannot miss a section.
Notice how Facebook uses bulleted lists and bold text to make it easy to consume information. The buttons also have clear action statements attributed to them.
The further down the page you put information, the less likely people are to read it.
It is so important to put your email capture above the fold on your website. I also like to add an additional email capture at the bottom of the page. This ensures if someone gets to the bottom of the page then they will also be able to put their email in.
Remember, the entire goal of this page is to collect emails before the launch of your campaign.
It is also good to put an image above the fold. Ideally, this image is easy to understand and shows what your campaign is about. It is important that the image reinforces the headline.
If you don’t have high-quality or professional photography, I really suggest investing in it. Photography is the second most important visual asset after making a campaign video.
Make your page load fast
An important element of your landing page is that it loads quickly. Ideally, you are using a website builder that is built for speed.
Amazon found that it was able to increase its revenue by 1% for every hundred milliseconds of improvement and load time.
Even if you don’t have time to edit a bunch of code to speed up your website, there is one quick trick which will take care of a good portion of loading issues.
The easiest to solve and often the largest reason for slow load time is large images. If you have beautiful, high quality images, it probably means the files are really large, and this takes some time to load.
There is a easy, free way to reduce image size. Go to the website tiny PNG and upload your images.
Their compression is much better than that of Photoshop and you will find the images are 60 to 90% smaller. You can see in the screenshot below the results of a few images which I uploaded for this article.
4 Important elements of your landing page
Now, I’m going to walk you through the four main elements of a landing page.
Further down, I will show you exactly how to build this site using inexpensive software. I have an option for users already on WordPress and for users who do not have a website yet.
Above the fold
We already spoke a little bit about the above the fold section. In addition to the above elements, you also can add a video here.
If the video does not fit in this section, it’s great to use it below. If you don’t have a video for your campaign yet, that’s okay you can add it later.
You may be surprised at how few items are on the page. This is done on purpose as the main objective is to get users to input their email in. You do not want to create a lot of distractions on your page. Everything should drive the user towards the one act of giving you their email.
Show me the benefits
If users have not given you their email after the above the fold section and they continue to scroll, this action means that they are not convinced. We need to continue to build the case for them.
In this section, you want to provide a ton of value to the reader. Don’t tell them the features of your campaign, but tell them the benefits. Not only the benefits to them as a backer but the benefits to the greater community.
Use individual stories to make the page more personal. If you did not put a video in the top section the benefits section is a great place to use a video.
Remember to keep your video short. Users do not have a long attention span. The entire page should be easy to scan in less than a minute. You don’t want to make your video longer than 2 to 4 minutes.
When listing benefits it is important to think about the users on your site. There may be different types of users that you are targeting. Make sure you craft a message that is appealing to the different groups.
Notice how at Etsy uses different pitches for different groups:
Show me the proof
Social proof is one of the most important parts of a landing page. People inherently like to follow the actions of others. If you see a bunch of people waiting in line for one restaurant, and the other restaurant totally empty, which one do you think is better?
This is how social proof works.
We assume if one person has made a decision then they took a lot of time into making that decision and we can follow their lead.
You can use social proof in your campaign and on your landing page. If you already have hundreds of people who have signed up let people know that. You can use copy such as “Join hundreds of other backers today”.
The image below shows logos designed by other designers in the featured program. This visual shows a tangible benefit that others have received from signing up.
Social proof is also easy to show through authoritative figures.
If you have a celebrity or brand that has endorsed your campaign, put them on your page. This will help build trust in your campaign by showing them others who are reputable have supported you.
Social proof can also be shown through social media stats. If you have thousands of followers on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, then leverage that audience by highlighting the stats on your page.
Sign Up Goal Again
You don’t need to beat a dead horse, but you need to make sure people have enough opportunities to take the intended action.
We know the purpose of the landing page is to get users’ emails so we can market to them once the campaign kicks off.
Don’t be afraid to put another lead capture form at the bottom of your Kickstarter pre-launch website.
This means once the user arrvies the bottom there is nothing left for them to do but give you their email or leave.
Ideally you have made a persuasive pitch and at this point they are ready to trade their email for something.
Don’t forget to give them a tangible benefit of why they want to give you their email.
Send Users to the Site
Once you’ve built your site, it is time to get users to come. There are dozens of ways which you can attract visitors to your new site. After reviewing hundreds of campaigns, we have found the most effective techniques.
Currently, we have found Instagram to be the most effective source of new donors to your campaign.
The second most effective source is through the press. Today, there is a lot of misinformation online about how to get press for your Kickstarter campaign. We suggest following these tips for getting more press for your campaign.
Another tactic which is also undervalued is leveraging your existing supporters for more social backing.
You can use your existing list of friends and family to share your campaign. After that step, you will want to encourage backers that are more distant to share your campaign. You can do this by directly asking them in an email or you can make it extremely easy for them to share your page.
Many of the website builders offer social sharing buttons. If you are looking to add social share buttons to your website I would recommend using Shareaholic or WP Social Sharing.
Pre-Launch Infographic [scroll down for How to build]
How to actually build one of these pages
You now have the knowledge what content goes on a high converting landing page. But, you are probably wondering, “how the heck do I build this…?”
Most website builders have a specific landing page option similar to the ones which I have shown above. If you have yet to start building a page or looking for a new solution, I would recommend two technologies.
If you are using WordPress, I suggest Thrive Leads.
If you are not yet using a website builder, I would look at using Strikingly. They also have a free option which makes it attractive if you are really bootstrapping your campaign.
Thrive Leads is a WordPress plug-in which allows you to quickly build landing pages. They have a large selection of prebuilt templates which are easy to customize.
You can use the plug-in in conjunction with your existing theme. It does have a one-time cost but if you are running a landing page for a few months then it’s probably worth it.
You can easily create one of their landing pages in less than an hour.
They also offer a slew of great email integrations. This feature is lacking in Strikingly, as they do not have good integration. You will have to manually download the emails and upload them to an email client.
Strikingly is a no-frills email site builder that still looks sophisticated. The best part is you can quickly build a landing page and host it without a domain. Though domains only cost $10, it can be good to use a free landing page if you’re in the early stages of testing an idea.
If you already have a domain, you can connect it to Strikingly and pay for their service monthly.
The screenshots from the landing page above were built on Strikingly. Their editor is easy to use and I have included the modules which I used to build the landing page above.
What to do with your emails
Once you collect the emails you need to make sure that you are nurturing them. If there are weeks or months before your campaign kicks off, make sure to keep your potential backers updated. About a week before your campaign launches, be sure to announce to your supporters the launch date.
The sad truth is not everyone will open your emails. Don’t be afraid to send multiple emails once your campaign has launched.
The entire purpose of building an email list before launch is so you can quickly build momentum on launch day.
I hope the editorial has been helpful as you create a landing page for your crowdfunding campaign. These strategies will work on IndieGoGo or Kickstarter.
Let me know in the Comments section if you have any thoughts or recommendations that others can use.