Crowdfunding Checklist: Step 8, Time to Launch Your Campaign!
It’s the big day!
After weeks (or, more likely, months) of hard work and preparation, you and your crack team of badass product and marketing pros are finally ready to officially launch your crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
Are you ready to become one more of the 147,000-plus successful campaigns Kickstarter has hosted since it was first created, or one of the roughly 80,000 successful campaigns run through Indiegogo in its history? Let’s hope the answer is “yes,” but there’s never a guarantee that things will go the way you want.
Before you begin the final countdown, you should run through the previous steps in our comprehensive crowdfunding success checklist, to make sure you’ve done all you can to set yourself up for a successful campaign:
- Step 1, Validating Your Idea
- Step 2, Creating a Plan
- Step 3, Building an Audience
- Step 4, Putting Your Team Together
- Step 5, Market Testing
- Step 6, Preparing for Production
- Step 7, the Pre-Launch Checklist
At this point in your efforts, you should have nearly all your infrastructure and communications in place. Your audience should be primed and ready, and your promotional materials polished and professional.
Once your campaign goes live, there’s no going back. That’s why it’s absolutely essential that you nail your efforts on the campaign’s first day or two of activity. Indiegogo has highlighted the first 48 hours as the make-or-break period in its campaign planning guide, and there are several questions in Kickstarter’s community-based “Campus” FAQ area on optimizing the first 48 hours of your campaign.
The key to success
Why is Day One (and to a somewhat lesser extent, Day Two) so important?
One word: momentum.
A crowdfunding campaign that gets off to a hot start, with many backers jumping in to pledge at higher reward tiers, simply looks more compelling and more viable than a campaign that’s only generated modest interest in its first day. You should focus on the lead-up to launch on messaging your audience and/or community, promoting the tiers that will bring in the most money in the shortest time, and urging as many people as possible to pledge, pledge, pledge. Create a sense of urgency however you can. Tightly limiting the availability of higher-priced reward tiers (many top crowdfunding campaigns have a number of high-priced reward tiers with only 25, 10, or even fewer available pledge spots) is a popular and effective way to drive early revenue.
Activate all your marketing channels in the week prior to launch. Limited-quantity reward tiers can serve as the centerpiece to your pre-launch marketing, driving interest and enthusiasm and compelling your audience to be ready to dive in as soon as the doors open on your campaign. These tiers don’t need to be extremely high-priced. They can simply be discounted versions of your core offer. A board game that would normally be available for a $29 pledge can be made available for only $19 to the first 50 or 100 backers. Marketing pros have proven time and time again that scarcity is an effective tool in creating interest, so make scarcity work for your campaign.
Keep that momentum going
Once your campaign launches, you should have a plan to sustain interest and visibility for the first few days. Influencers in your industry, whether it’s board games, food, consumer technology, art, or anything else, can be a very useful way to extend your reach. You should try to get influencers with large followings to help promote your campaign -- organically if possible, but with payment if you can afford it and can’t secure organic commitments.
In tight-knit communities, a single influencer can generate tremendous interest in your campaign with low effort and at minimal investment. An influencer who loves your idea enough to back your campaign is as good as gold, so make sure to communicate actively with your audience to find engaged influencers. Don’t throw yourself after everyone with a million Twitter followers, though. Your time and energy are limited, and you have a very short time to make the most of your campaign’s first days.
If you’ve generated interest and attracted significant pledges from your audience, you may be well on your way to your campaign goal within the first two days. This can often lead to Kickstarter or Indiegogo featuring your campaign on their main page and/or on their social media channels, which can provide a massive second wind and push you past your goal with time to spare. Early success creates additional visibility, which creates more success. It’s a virtuous cycle that you should do everything in your power to initiate.
Everything you’ve done so far has led to this. If you’ve laid the foundation and diligently built out the framework for a successful crowdfunding campaign, you should be able to storm out of the gate to a strong first day. That will help you build towards greater momentum on day two, and day three, and so on, until you’ve smashed through your goals and are well on your way to
becoming one of great crowdfunding success stories.