You have launched your campaign! Think of all you have accomplished. You started with an idea. Now you have fans, feedback and a digital presence to communicate progress. The key now is to maintain momentum. In this chapter we’ll teach you how to actively engage with your audience, generate buzz, identify new backers and use strategies that will help grow your funding each day.
Keep up a steady pace of updates and replies
You spent weeks identifying audience members who share your passion. Now that you have their attention, keep it! Your backers are craving updates. They want to know if you have taken their suggestions, when the first products will be shipped or where your movie will premiere. As we learned, successful crowdfunding campaigns are built on the foundation of personal relationships—and email is typically the most efficient and direct way to provide the updates your fans are craving.
Reach out to quiet fans
Send personal emails to individuals who initially showed interest but have not yet backed your campaign. Greet your fans by name and send a personal email explaining how their contribution could impact your project. Update them on your progress and what perks are still available. Most importantly, end your email communication with a strong call to action: “Contributing now will have the most impact on our campaign!”
Create a Customer Support Response System
If you have launched a campaign with an aggressive financial goal, we recommend creating a dedicated support email address or email alias to be used when responding to inquiries. Whether your customer support system is simple or sophisticated, it’s essential that your responses are both timely and personalized. You’ve worked hard to earn your audience’s trust, so be prepared to work just as hard to keep it.
Whether you are building a new product, generating support for a social cause or producing a film, you are now officially an entrepreneur and founder—and customer support comes with the territory. Take, for example, the customer service model of The ONE Smart Piano. After launching a piano with light-up keys and mobile connectivity, The ONE Smart Piano team realized they had two distinct communications challenges: maintaining backer engagement and responding to support inquiries.
Their solution—a new support email alias—was as simple as it was effective. By making first-rate support a priority, the team successfully converted many inquiries to contributions on the way to reaching 1,818% of their funding goal.
Pro Tip: Create an email support alias
Simply create a free Gmail account specifically for answering customer questions. If you’re already up and running with your own domain, Gmail also has an option to create a new alias separate from your main email address. If the scope of your campaign requires a dedicated customer support interface, Zendesk offers a simple tool to help you prioritize and respond to inbound requests and inquiries.
Design your perks to grab attention and build momentum
Grab the attention of potential backers with new perks
A great way to recapture the attention of potential backers is to add new perks to your campaign after you launch. It not only helps you to stimulate more contributions, it can offer exciting new ways for your audience to engage with your campaign. At Indiegogo we have found that the most successful campaigns add, on average, 15 post-launch perks.
Upsell with add-ons and upgrades
One successful strategy for adding new perks is called upselling. With this strategy, you offer perks that add additional value to an existing offer. The PlexiDrone campaign is a fantastic example of using upselling techniques to add new and exciting campaign perks.
The project team raised nearly half of their funds from useful add-ons, such as extra propellers. As a result, their campaign earned over $2.2 million, funding their original campaign by over 1,000%.
Use stretch goals to push beyond 100%
Now it’s time to push your campaign even further by using stretch goals. The basic idea is to introduce new incentives and perks after you hit your funding goal, which can help motivate your audience to stay engaged and push your project to new heights. Of all the tools at your disposal, stretch goals can be one of the easiest ways both to maintain overall momentum and to encourage repeat contributions or engagement.
Use the “unlock” approach
Try using an “unlock” strategy—using higher and higher fundraising milestones to make new perks or features available—to keep your backers engaged. Announce to your audience that if they collectively help you reach your new goal, they will all benefit from access to an exciting new perk. The extra incentive may be just what they need to promote your project and motivate someone new to contribute. The Crystal Maze, a London-based game show with an activity-course theme, promoted a series of stretch goals to continually earn new and repeat backers. The perks were specifically geared toward making their activity course more exciting for participants and fans.
As stretch goals were reached, The Crystal Maze team unlocked unique perks including inventive additions to the course and even additional cameras within the maze for enhanced at-home viewing. The strategy was so successful, fans propelled the campaign all the way to a fourth stretch goal, earning £850,000.
Be realistic and stretch gradually
If you’ve reached your original campaign goal you have every reason to feel confident, but be strategic when it comes to your stretch goals. Just like your main goal, stretch goals should feel challenging but attainable. Make sure every stretch goal (and every unlocked incentive) adds meaningful value for your backers.
Join the conversation on social media
Don’t forget about the power of social media. Social media drives about a third of most campaign contributions, which is why it’s important to spend time planning and executing a social media strategy.
Use pictures and videos to generate buzz and encourage sharing
Update your fans with photos of new prototypes or clips from your movie. Also consider engaging with supporters by promoting limited time events, like digital hangouts, AMA sessions on Reddit or live Twitter chats. Offer your backers real-time interaction or the chance to peek behind the scenes and they’ll likely reward you with new momentum for your campaign. The Drumi campaigners were extremely successful at utilizing social media to generate interest and contributions.
Drumi’s popular YouTube video, which demonstrates the effectiveness of their foot-powered washing machine, proves that even the simplest of video footage can spur thousands or even millions of shares. Thanks to their social media engagement strategy, contributions doubled in the final week of the campaign and the project finished 225% funded.
Spark new interest with a referral contest
Give backers an incentive to share your campaign by stimulating a sense of healthy competition. At Indiegogo, the most successful contests typically include rewards for many levels of engagement, from tweets to hashtag shares and beyond. This type of thoughtfully structured reward system typically outperforms contests that award only the top referrer with a single prize. Give your audience more chances to win, and they’re more likely to compete.
The entrepreneurs behind the Geek Pulse audio system rewarded their backers with better and better tiers of perks for referrals. During their campaign, Geek Pulse offered backers whose referrals contributed a total of $1,000 a free headphone amplifier. From there it went from good to great: Backers whose referrals contributed a total of $2,500 earned a full Geek Pulse audio system, and backers whose referrals contributed a total of $5,000 earned Geek Pulse’s ultimate “High-Rez” setup.
Gaining the attention of prospective backers and earning their trust is essential to a successful crowdfunding campaign, but it is only through the development of true, lasting relationships with your audience that your campaign will go the distance. Remember to keep your supporters engaged through every available communication channel. Offer backers news, perks, rewards and engaging contests. In the end, the ultimate tip is perhaps the simplest: Make your campaign’s success their success.
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