To succeed in crowdfunding, you need a crowd
In crowdfunding, there is no greater asset than the people who get behind you and lend their support.
But more than that, you need to know who your crowd is
I’ve talked about how you might find your crowd, but it has really left the question open: who is your crowd, and where do you find them?
There’s a trick to this. It’s normally one of the first stages of any marketing course: knowing who you are selling to.
That is, you need to define your Ideal Backer, and you need to do this as early as possible.
Knowing who your Ideal Backer is helps you to find them
If your ideal backer is a busy mother with a child aged under 2 years old, you’re probably not going to find them on Reddit.
Well, you might, but it’s going to be a lot harder to find them on Reddit than it will be to find them on mothering.com.
And the earlier you start finding them, the greater your success will be
If your ideal backer is psyched and gagging for your product, then your project is going to start with a bang.
And that’s how you go on to massive crowdfunding success.
So who IS your Ideal Backer?
Well, you’re going to have to do some thinking, and some work. But I’m going to make it a little easier for you. The best way to go through this exercise is to grab the Ideal Backer worksheet below.
We’ll start with the basics.
Think about one person in particular. It’s harder to define a group of people than it is to think of one individual.
Make sure the person you’re thinking about is someone you WANT to back you. When you’re talking about crowdfunding it’s easy to think “I’ll take anyone who will give me money”.
But this kind of thinking means you are setting yourself up for failure. You will be creating a crowd of people who run the risk of turning into an unruly mob if things start going wrong.
In an ideal world, you are going to form a life-long relationship with these people, so try and consider what kind of person you want that relationship with.
With this in mind, fill in Section A of the worksheet now.
What does your Ideal Backer want?
Do you know how to sell an idea to someone?
You sell them something they want. You convince them that they have to have it. That it would be a huge mistake to miss out on this opportunity.
When it comes to crowdfunding, I have news: this is not about why you need money, it’s about why your backer should give it to you.
Think about that person you described in Section A.
Now consider, what is it they want? What is it about your project that means they need to get on board and back you right now?
Go back to the worksheet and fill in Section B.
What questions will your Ideal Backer have?
There are some questions you should always answer when it comes to your crowdfunding project, like:
- What are you doing?
- Who is involved, and what is their level of experience?
- What will you do with the money?
But your Ideal Backer may have questions about your project beyond these generic ones.
It’s likely that your Ideal Backer has specific knowledge about the industry or creative genre your project belongs to.
Come up with 10 questions they would want answered before they pledge their money to you.
Fill in Section C of the worksheet.
Put yourself in your Ideal Backer’s shoes
Section C is probably the most difficult, and most important part of this activity.
It forces you to look at your project from the point of view of the person who is actually going to give you the money. And it makes you consider their motivations.
It’s also pretty handy for avoiding a trap known as The Curse of Knowledge
Your backers are the cornerstone of your entire project. Without them, this can’t happen. So it’s worth considering who they are; why they’re going to back you; and what they want to know before they do.
Doing this up-front – before you have invested time and money in developing your crowdfunding project – means that all the planning you do from here on in is focussed entirely on your backer.
And this, ultimately, increases your chances of success.
Start building your team now for extra credit
There’s a really good chance you know a few people who you might consider your “Ideal Backer”.
And even if you don’t know any, your friends or family might.
One thing I will refer to again and again is getting feedback from your Ideal Backer: knowing for sure that this is something there is demand for, and that you are providing it in the optimal way.
So start building your crowdfunding team right now and enlist those Ideal Backers as your “Official Feedback Givers”.
Here’s what you do:
1. Send a personal message
Reach out via direct message or email.
Explain that you are working on something really exciting and you were wondering if they would be interested in helping you out as you get ready for launch.
Hit them with your 2-sentence pitch.
Sweeten the deal with a freebie or trial if you can.
2. Ask social media
You’ve got extensive networks at your finger tips!
Post one of these messages on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Use an image for extra impact.
“I’m working on a brand new super-secret project and I need your help! Do you know anyone [describe your ideal backer – e.g. age, gender, geographical location] who is interested in [your project’s general category – e.g. golf, gardening, ballet]? I’d love to talk to them! Tag them below or share this post to help something truly magical come to life!”
“Are you a [describe your ideal backer – e.g. age, gender, geographical location] interested in [your project’s general category – e.g. golf, gardening, ballet], with 10 minutes to help me with some feedback? Please RT!”
3. Specialty groups and niche websites
Make some contacts and friends in Facebook groups or forums dedicated to your niche. Ask them if they’d like to be involved.
You can also try reaching out to bloggers in your niche early on and asking them for their feedback from the get-go. Feeling like an integral part of the team will mean wonders for their support during the campaign stage.