There Are No Crowdfunding Secrets

I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about crowdfunding strategies and, judging by the number of “Secrets of Crowdfunding” posts and expert talks out there, I’m not the only one trying to figure out how to crack this nut. (I’m one of the few, however, who’s trying to make a business of it.) A few examples: Venture Beat wrote a “Secrets of” post a couple days ago based on a talk given by Adam Chapnick of Indiegogo; RockThePost ran a how-to session last week; and Scott Steinberg did a “Secrets of” Q&A way back in May (he’s also written the “Bible”)

If you’re thinking of doing a campaign, you should read at least two but no more than four of these “Secrets of” posts. (If you’re a person who learns by listening, you should go to one “Secrets of” talk.) While it might feel like you’re working on your campaign by reading/attending more than four of these, you’re probably procrastinating. The dirty secret of crowdfunding is that, like most things, the key is to execute on whatever plan you come up with.

That means spending serious time researching campaigns in your vertical. Dan Misener’s Kickback Machine is a very helpful resource, especially if you’re doing your campaign on Kickstarter.

That means thinking deeply about who your project’s stakeholders are — hint, it’s not just your end user — and figuring out how to engage them as supporters and message amplifiers. The gold standard here is still join.app.net and Ouya.

That means designing compelling rewards and making sure that the economics of each one makes sense — another hint, the time you spend organizing/packing/shipping is money.

That means figuring out what the message of your campaign is beyond that you want money to do something. For Neighborhoodies, the message was ‘we want to initiate some local economic stimulus’ and not ‘we want to make high-end hooded sweatshirts’.

That means designing a strategy to maintain momentum throughout your entire campaign. One idea: Hold back a killer reward and announce it half-way through.

That means figuring out what skills you don’t have and that don’t make sense for your to learn and getting people on board who can help you. Before the crowd comes the team.

Crowdfunding is a public act and by studying the state of the art (and reading a couple “Secrets of” posts) you’ll have a decent idea of what to do. The true challenge — and the problem that I’m trying to solve with SeizeTheCrowd — is doing what you know you’re supposed to do.