From the outside, crowdfunding seems like a remarkably simple way to fund a project: present a coherent, convincing case for your idea, offer incentives, and wait for people to commit money. After all, with billions of people online, a tiny percentage of the internet’s users could fund your idea in minutes. Good ideas will always appeal to enough people.
However, in the past few years, the crowdfunding field has become, well, crowded. Millions of people, from successful artists to homeless people looking for help, have set up crowdfunding pages on various platforms. For anyone to actually ever read your pitch, you need to put in the work.
But there are some basic mistakes you should avoid if you want your crowdfunding to be a success.
Don’t rely on the charm of the platform alone
Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Crowdfunder and the rest all have intuitive interfaces that allow for quite a lot of strong content. You can make your case with text, images, audio, and video. You can also make all the different tiers incredibly clear. All of which may be enough to convince some people to commit.
But your task only begins on the platform itself. In order to find funders or patrons, you need to market your idea on a number of different platforms.
First and foremost, you need a website. Few people will take you seriously if you don’t have an attractive, professional website. Having one is a basic indication that while your idea may not have been produced yet, the business behind the concept is feasible and doable. Even if there’s only one person— you —behind it so far, it shows you’re taking this seriously.
Part of having a good and credible website is smooth, uninterrupted user experience. A website that crashes or is regularly offline can be worse than no website at all, especially when you’re trying to convince people of the effectiveness of your idea. There are plenty of hosting providers, and while the best ones may be expensive, several hosting coupons are available to lessen the financial blow and help you start your product or concept website.
Don’t be ashamed of asking
Far too many crowdfunding novices make this mistake: feeling ashamed to ask for money. It shows in the way they apologize for asking in the first place, and meander to the point. They hesitantly put forward their request, before hiding behind their screens.
Alternatively, they overcompensate and act entitled to funding. This is usually a defensive reaction to feeling vulnerable about asking.
But successful crowdfunders remember that they are not asking for money. They are offering a product or service, which they believe will make a difference to people. Why would they apologize for that?
As musician Amanda Palmer says in The Art Of Asking:
“Asking without shame says that you are in collaboration with the world. Asking with shame says you have power over me. Asking with condescension says I have power over you.”
Remember that crowdfunding is, in essence, equivalent to selling your product or service. You’re simply doing it before that thing exists, on the shared belief in your ability to create something worth having.
Crowdfunding can be an excellent way to get your project off the ground, but remember that you are never begging. The world deserves the chance to enjoy what you have the potential to create.
(Featured image by fizkes via Shutterstock)
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