Exploding Kittens, a Kickstarter-funded card game, recently made the list of the highest invested crowdfunding campaigns, garnering a surprising $8.78 million dollars. Others to make the crowdfunding “hot list” is The Pebble E-Paper Watch ($10.2 million), the Ouya open-source game console ($8.5 million), and The Dash, the world’s first wireless smart in-ear headphones ($3.39 million).
So how did these creators raise millions from the general public? Well, they hustled like P-I-M-P’s (although it wasn’t easy). You can do it too by following in their footsteps. No need for a cane or a minx coat. Just lay down a few of these crowdfunding hustling tactics to help you rule your territory.
1. Gather Your Team
First things first: you need to assemble the best team possible if you want an edge over other projects. You need people who know the streets, the back alleys and the ins and outs of your industry. If you need to hire a social media manager, a community manager, a videographer or a graphic designer, make sure they understand your specific demographic as well.
2. Mark Your Territory
Understand that not every hood is best for your business. There are over 1,000 different crowdfunding sites, and some are better grounds for hustlin’. For example, there are reward-based crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Rockethub, while there are also different donation-based sites like GoFundMe, Causes, Razoo and GiveFoward. Platforms like CrowdCube, Seedrs, and Fundable give backers equity in the project. According to a recent infographic, equity based crowdfunding raised the highest amount of funds per projects compared to donation-based and rewards-based sites.
3. Pay Attention to Your Community
First, know your clientele, whom are not only your product demographic, but also those who are likely to take risks. Statistics show 24-35 year olds are more likely to back campaigns than those in the 45+ age bracket. Also, men are much more like to invest in your product.
Secondly, attract your community in appealing ways (without the cat-calling). This means using video, providing constant status updates and keeping them engaged. The creators of Exploding Kittens made a game out of the crowdfunding process, allowing the sum of their backers to “unlock achievements”, such as helping the company become the most-backed game, helping them reach 50,000 twitter followers or even uploading 25 photos of bearded cats.
“You have to watch the community,” says one of the co-creators, “You have to provide them with things to do every single day. We said we would give them more things to do every single day. We put up our stretch goals, tied to an achievement system. We created achievements and asked them to take pictures of themselves as cats. We made these requests for audience members to do without contributing more money. But it was fun and contributed to the community.”
Staying around the same block for too long bores clientele. A longer campaign doesn’t necessarily equate to more backers and a higher success rate. Although a campaign can last up to 60 days, studies show projects lasting less than 30 days have the best results. According to Kickstarter, "Shorter projects set a tone of confidence and help motivate your backers to join the party."
Hit up the homies
According to Kickstarter, most funding originates from people you know. So hit up your bros (or parents, exes, co-workers, and pizza delivery boys). Create buzz. Utilize those connections to spread the word that you’ve got what they need. Then, as soon as possible, hit a 20 percent funding benchmark. Research shows that 80 percent of projects that raise 20 percent of their intended goal reach their full budget. Tweet this stat!
Hit up your homies’ homies
Use of social media is an absolute must for effective crowdfunding, but this part of the hustle needs to start before the campaign actually starts. Since successful campaigns are short and sweet, you won’t have time to establish pages and followers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram once the campaign is well underway.
Establish a core list of contributors early on, and put some advertising dollars behind your initial posts. Then, develop a posting schedule to keep contributors current with your whereabouts. Whatever you do, don’t ignore comments and interactions or your clientele might move their businesses to a different playa’.