Last updated on 07/13/2022
Several companies have approached me for advice on how to begin a crowdfunding campaign, specifically on Kickstarter. Surprised by their lack of knowledge on the campaign, I decided to write an article that focuses more on the acquisition side of things but also covers how to navigate your crowdfunding project more broadly.
I’ve done a couple of crowdfunding campaigns for Xiaomi ecosystem partners. Our most successful campaign raised 8.8 million HKD in 15 minutes, a 1000 percent increase over the initial goal.
Choosing the right crowdfunding platform
Choose your platform carefully; it will have an impact on the whole campaign.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert in crowdfunding operations; I am only giving you my expertise from a traffic acquisition and community building point of view.
There are still techniques to get events from Facebook that I will mention later in the article, but Indiegogo makes it easier to optimize.
Creating a strong, engaged community of Backers first.
You’ll have to rely on word of mouth to make your campaign successful, especially if you don’t have a large marketing budget.
This will necessitate a significant investment in the formation and management of your online community.
Because a crowdfunding campaign is prepared well before the page is live on the platform, the metrics that you must analyze daily before the official launch of the campaign, yes, because a crowdfunding campaign is prepared well before the page is live on the platform; successful campaigns are fully funded just minutes after they are officially launched.
And it’s all because to your efforts in establishing a community in the first place.
For the formation of your community and its long-term growth, the following metrics should be examined and followed:
- The number of email addresses you have
- The opening rate of each email you send
- The number of interactions (comments, likes, and shares) on each of your communication on all social media
- The number of people in your private group or on your private channel (discord, Slack, Facebook, WhatsApp)
These indicators offer you a sense of your community’s engagement and allow you to communicate with them.
The group is primarily made up of “early adopters,” or those who enjoy new and inventive things and want to be the first to know about new trends, innovations, and other developments. However, be aware that they are also abrasive, frequently asking a slew of technical questions regarding your goods. They could be experts in the same field as you. You must be able to respond at any time and be knowledgeable about your subject.
Decide if you will use an agency specialized in crowdfunding or not.
If the crowdfunding agency isn’t specialized in specific types of projects, don’t waste your time with it.
The agency has a number of advantages, including data that can be used to create unique audiences on Facebook, allowing advertisers to target the appropriate people from the start. This is critical in order to save money and time, both of which are typically scarce in a crowdfunding campaign.
The agency has accumulated data on their Facebook pixel or even email lists of people that they may employ in the form of Lookalike Audiences because they have worked with prior projects on crowdfunding platforms.
These firms can handle the complete campaign, from the establishment of a specialized landing page outside of the crowdfunding platform to collect emails, to community management, Facebook and Google campaigns, visual asset production, advertising videos, and campaign operational administration.
Verify that you have full administrator access and that it is associated with your ad account and the agency’s pixel.
Acquisition strategy for crowdfunding campaigns
Depending on your budget and the nature of your project, there are a variety of advertising tactics that can be effective.
I’ll demonstrate some that worked for us and discuss best practices and pitfalls to avoid.
Combining three separate acquisition sources as a warm-up is the most fascinating.
Sponsored Content with Key Opinion Leaders
Send your product to industry professionals who will test it, review it, and provide a video or photographic review on their digital platforms (Instagram, Youtube, Twitter).
This will help you to reach an audience that is interested in what the individual is discussing, so increasing the visibility of your project.
Before choosing the correct KOL or Influencers, be sure to get audience insights and analytics and keep an eye on the engagement rate.
You may either ask them to talk about your product naturally or offer them guidelines and compensate them for it.
Instead of opposing it, they should encourage it.
You want to gain attention so that you may begin to establish a community around your initiative. Choose a few specialist media outlets to send your press release to in order to reach people who are interested in the topic or industry you are covering.
You can try medium-sized specialty blogs if you don’t have enough money.
Ascertain that the individual in charge of the blog posts on a regular basis and provides you with statistics.
Your main acquisition funnel, in my opinion, should focus on acquisition via social media and Google, depending on the project.
If you have a very good video, YouTube Ads can be extremely interesting. If your product is related to current events and a megatrend, Twitter Ads can also be very interesting.
My acquisition strategy on Facebook Ads
Your funnel acquisition is a bit different from traditional campaigns.
There are different techniques to have more chances to succeed.
1. Before the crowdfunding campaign is live.
With a customised Facebook Form, start a Lead Generation campaign.
Don’t be afraid to advertise a special offer reserved for members of the Facebook group you create in this Facebook form.
After visitors have completed the form and provided their name and email, the call to action and redirect link can be found on the Facebook group you created to invite them to join or on a landing page you created to collect emails and describe the project.
I recommend creating a redirect in the Facebook group to allow individuals to access the app. When people join the group, they’ll be able to view all of the posts you’ve made, and if the group is active, it’ll entice them to read more.
2. During the crowdfunding campaign with Kickstarter (no pixel allowed)
Run Traffic or Conversion campaign with retargeting and lookalike audiences.
Here you have 2 options.
1/ You drive traffic on a landing page where you have a FB pixel; you trigger a custom event which is a Button Call To Action such as ‘Add to cart,’ and when people click on the button, it fires the Facebook event pixel.
The call to action on this landing page redirects to your Crowdfunding Campaign page.
So this is a conversion campaign optimized for Add to cart events. Your ad set within your Facebook campaign must be optimized for this custom event, ‘Add to cart.’
2/ You drive traffic with a traffic campaign on your crowdfunding page campaign. Less efficient, but you have more clicks. It is random, but the algorithm will work and improve on the CPC and Creative.
With a good lookalike audience and retargeting audience, it works well.
I advise you to keep running your Lead Gen campaign to grow your FB group members and stay active while the campaign is live on KS. Backers used to be in FB groups or Whatsapp groups. (a Facebook group is better because you can retarget them 😉)
Manage your online community
As I previously stated, your top priority should be to build an engaged community and manage it on a daily basis.
You can send them a series of emails with project specifics, crucial dates, the exclusive offer that will be reserved for them if they order within 15 minutes of the project becoming online, and so on now that you have their emails via the Facebook form, which you gather and insert into an emailing program.
You should also educate members who are less comfortable with crowdfunding by explaining the principle of crowdfunding. Private groups are a great way to do this.
You can pin posts that educate members about crowdfunding.
Usually, early adopters or early fans of your project interact a lot and ask questions. You will also need to moderate the group as you are not immune to being trolled.
This community is your future customers, fans, and followers; they are the most important asset you have during your project because they bring the social proof you are looking for.
In a nutshell
If you run your campaign on Indiegogo => you can add your pixel and run the campaign as usual.
If you run your campaign on Kickstarter => no pixel allowed.
You need a solid strategy to BUILD YOUR COMMUNITY first before thinking of conversion. You should have someone that constantly answers your future potential backers’ questions at any time.
Your backers are the most important metrics. The number of people their engagement in your project will determine the success of your launch.
If you don’t have experience running FB Ads campaigns or answering comments on social media, get help from a crowdfunding agency specialized or freelance with this experience.
If you know FB Ads:
Start your campaign 1 or 2 months before the launch of your crowdfunding campaign.
Run Lead Gen campaign to capture emails, and at the end of the FB Form, invite people to join your private FB group to get a special offer.
Run Traffic or Conversion campaign with retargeting and lookalike audiences.
Don’t make false promises you can’t keep.
It is normal to have delays in sending; backers are used to it.