You’ve spent at least the past two months building an audience, sharing your vision, cultivating your community and getting your followers excited about your project. It’s time to prepare for a great launch that will get your audience excited to contribute on day one. In this chapter we will discuss your soft launch, hard launch, launch schedule and best practices for pre-launch outreach.
Use a soft launch and a hard launch
When launching your campaign, it’s beneficial to approach it in two phases: a soft launch and a hard launch. The difference between a soft launch and a hard launch is the audience. During the soft launch, the goal is to engage your inner network. These supporters help build momentum and spread excitement beyond your close friends and family. The hard launch occurs when you are ready to share your campaign with everyone in your target audience. Think of it as your grand opening—and everyone is invited.
THE SOFT LAUNCH
Rally your close connections in the first 48 hours
These initial two days are critical to a successful campaign. Reach out to your inner circle and thank them for their awesome support by offering special access to early inventory and other perks. Your soft-launch efforts will help create a fundraising foundation before you officially share your campaign with the rest of the world.
THE HARD LAUNCH
Build on a strong foundation of early backers
Once you collect the first 30% of your goal from your inner circle, cast your net wider to capture more influencers and target-audience members. Be sure to include the media in your hard launch. Use press releases, social networks and buzz created by early supporters to help increase your exposure and attract more backers. New supporters will be more likely to contribute once they see that you have momentum and a solid base of donations, so this is where the hard work building your audience will pay off.
You may not need to wait 48 hours before kicking off your hard launch. If you hit your funding goal quickly (nice work!), open your campaign and begin your hard launch to take your funding beyond 100%. Once you have a solid foundation from your inner circle, you’re ready to put your campaign into the spotlight.
Ramp up to your launch day
By creating a launch schedule you will be prepared to successfully optimize the enthusiasm you have spent months generating, and will be well on your way to meeting or even exceeding your goals. Be sure to plan your launch schedule in advance and follow this recommended timeline:
One week prior to launch
Send an email to your inner circle of backers to let them know that your launch is one week away. This is your chance to explain why the project matters to you, and to let them know that something exclusive will be available to them if they contribute early.
Three days prior to launch
Send another email to your backers revealing the specific day and time of your campaign launch. Encourage them to celebrate the big launch with you and to join you on this exciting new journey. This is the time to share additional campaign details through emails and social media posts. Fill them in on specific offerings that will be available and be sure to highlight the early-bird perks available to the first group of supporters.
You’re finally ready to see your idea come to life. Send a launch day email to your followers to remind them that you’ve reached the big day. Keep your message succinct and include a strong call to action that will motivate recipients to contribute early. Include a link to your campaign prominently in the text of the email. Remind recipients about the importance of contributing early and the early-bird perks that await their support.
Match great content to an eager audience
Create an engaging subject line
Stand out in crowded inboxes by writing email subject lines that emphasize action and opportunity. For example, “Early backers: Be the first to claim your perk!” is a strong subject line that encourages immediate action.
Imagery is impactful, especially when launching something innovative that your audience has never seen before. Whether launching a product, campaigning for a cause or releasing a film, include a picture that tells the story of your project or your team. Crowdfunding is ultimately a shared journey between you and your backers, so think of your photos as an invitation to engage more deeply.
Segment your audience
As we discussed in chapter 3, remember to customize your messaging for each of your main target audiences. The email you send to your close friends and family members should include a personal note explaining why your campaign is so important in your life. These are the people who know you best, so your email should read like a personal message to each and every recipient. For supporters who signed up for updates via your website, their interest lies in your project and how it will benefit their lives. In your email to these supporters, emphasize the perks they will earn for supporting your launch.
Smooth out the planning process with our official prep calendar
Stay on track with our 120-day calendar and checklist
Expert guidance for every step, from pre-launch to post-funding