Crowdfunding is a whole different animal than it was 10 years ago. Not only is it a place to put some rad new ideas out to the world, but it’s a place to prove a concept, to get funding, and to create a community that supports you for life. Crowdfunding is evolving and the products that are featured on crowdfunding campaigns are doing the same.
Coalatree is a company that has done some impactful work with their own crowdfunding campaigns in the past. This guide highlights exactly what the brand has done to create 10 successful crowdfunding campaigns that have raised more than $4.8M million in funding.
In order to have a successful crowdfunding campaign, you should focus on 7 key aspects prior to launch. These 7 aspects are what Coalatree has focused on and the method that has proven to be successful.
The 7 keys to crowfunding success
1. Build a brand, not a product.
2. Build a team.
3. Do the dirty work.
4. Reach your funding goal quickly.
5. Tell a story
6. Send regular updates
7. Fulfill on time
Build a brand, not a product
This mindset is something you need to take with you into every crowdfunding campaign you run. You are not running a campaign to build one product, you are crowdfunding to build a brand. Crowdfunding platforms, like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, are places where people will learn and grow with your brand as you treat them right, so do so. Don’t be a one and done kind of product. Continue to evolve and push your brand to better places. Your crowdfunding community will follow you as you do.
Build a team
“Together Each Achieves More.” As you prepare to run your crowdfunding campaign, you will need to make sure that you have a solid team in place. Individuals who complement your weaknesses and strengths. Individuals who bring new ideas to the table. And individuals who are hyped and stoked about your new product and brand.
The crowdfunding model allows you to keep your team a lot more lean than you otherwise would be able to. At Coalatree, we have a core team of about 10 people now that work in the office – some part time, some full time, that really help with a lot of the day-to-day nitty gritty.
But with crowdfunding campaigns, you can outsource so many of the tasks that you'd otherwise need internal resources for. So for us, that means working with professionals who specialize in marketing crowdfunding campaigns. We use a third-party press agency to go out and actually pitch to media ahead of the campaign. We work with a lot of freelance video and content creators on everything from the copyrighting to the graphics. It truly is a team effort. And because we've been able to pull off so many campaigns by now, we have an entire team we can turn to.
Do the dirty work
Crowdfunding is a great place to launch a new product, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. There is a lot of effort you'll need to put in, especially before the launch. You will have to create your video, create a community that is stoked about your new product, gather emails, and create graphics that showcase your product's features!
Reach your funding goal quickly
There is a lot of good that happens when you reach your goal quickly. Backers get more excited about your product, because they see that it is almost funded and start telling their friends. Your campaign can rise to the platform’s front page which will lead to free traffic. Your product builds legitimacy, social proof and new customers will be even more eager to back your campaign.
Tell a story
“The Power of the Narrative.” Humans have grown up hearing stories and they long to hear the originality, heartaches, and triumphs of your brand. Don’t be shy of telling them the truth about where your brand and product came from. The more honest and real you are with your backers, the more honest and real their feedback will be to you.
Send regular updates
Once funded, you will want to give updates to your backers to let them know what is going on with the product as well as your company. Use these updates to let them in on inside secrets, your employees, and when they can expect their product. Backers love the feeling of knowing what is going on with what they have just backed. And if you are telling them stories or secrets that only backers know, it will create a stronger community and loyalty to your brand.
Fulfill on time
We live in a society where we can order something today and get it within two days time (which is remarkable if you really think about it). With crowdfunding campaigns, it's a little different. Products can take up to five months to be received after backing. Which is why updating your backers about where their product is and fulfilling it is even more important. If you fulfill your first campaign on time, the community you worked hours on creating, will come back to you for future campaigns and products. This is one of the last chances you have to impress your backers, so don’t mess it up. Under promise and over deliver.
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The campaigns that got us here
Now that you know what's in the secret sauce, check out the campaigns we've run in the last four years below.
If you really want to know what a successful crowdfunding campaign looks like, I highly recommend watching the videos and look through the landing pages. Pay attention to the details – things like the style, music, and script, so as you go to create your own campaign, you'll have some examples to base yours off of.
The Compass Backpack
The Compass Backpack, our latest campaign, has raised more than $20,000 since launching on August 4th. It's a slash-proof, lockable, commuter backpack made of recycled plastic bottles.I said slash-proof, right? So what's more powerful than showing a video of a knife running along the fabric and not making a mark?
Visuals are so important for your crowdfunding campaign. Don't leave people guessing – show your backers exactly what to expect when they get their item.
The Switchback Travel Shirt
The Switchback Travel Shirt raised $120,516 on Indiegogo and $116,652 on Kickstarter. Made from recycled coffee grounds and plastic bottles, our innovative shirt is built to keep you cool and fresh.
And again, visuals are key. Don't just say it's made of stain-resistant fabric – show people what that actually means.
The Kachula Blanket
The Kachula Blanket, our first campaign ever, raised more than $250,000.
The Trailhead Adventure Pants
The Trailhead Adventure Pants raised $424,466 on Kickstarter and $504,454 on Indiegogo.
The Puffy Kachula
The Puffy Kachula raised $146,259 on Kickstarter and $174,591 on Indiegogo.
The Kachula 2.0
The Kachula 2.0, a packable, multi-use adventure blanket, raised $257,304 on Kickstarter and $314,338 on Indiegogo.
The Trailhead Adventure Shorts
Trailhead Adventure Shorts raised $228,441 on Kickstarter and $290,053 on Indiegogo.
The Camper Hooded Jacket
The Camper Hooded Jacket raised $329,369 on Kickstarter and $374,181 on Indiegogo.
The Evolution Hoodie
The Evolution Hoodie, our highest-funded campaign ever, is made with recycled coffee grounds. It raised $558,796 on Kickstarter and $643,473 on Indiegogo.
The Whistler Windbreaker
The Whistler Windbreaker raised $126,551 on Kickstarter and $130,551 on Indiegogo.
Takeaway: You get way better with every launch
These are 7 aspects we have tried perfecting over the last several years running crowdfunding campaigns. We haven’t been perfect by any means, but we have gotten closer with every campaign we've run. And if you're feeling stuck, the best thing you can do is learn from other successful campaigns. Use them to inspire your own crowdfunding successes.
This article originally appeared in the Privy blog and has been published here with permission.