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Before You Launch a Crowdfunding Campaign, Do These 6 Things

February 25, 2014
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/231730

Launching a crowdfunding campaign will probably be some of the craziest days of your life. You’ll either blow it out of the water and drown in all the attention or you’ll struggle to push towards your funding goal. Both scenarios are a wild ride.

There are three essential stages in launching a successful campaign: pre-launch, actual launch and sustaining your launch. The most crucial part is by far your pre-launch stage, as it entails a lot of planning to reach your goal. If you want to seriously knock your goal out of the park, you should be aiming to become funded within your first day.  Set your goal lower than your intend to raise -- around $10,000 or $15,000 -- but aim for a much higher mark.

For instance, in my Kickstarter campaign for Yes Man Watches, we reached our initial $15,000 goal within three days. We started our pre-launch stage about four months in advance, creating our website before we even had a prototype. Though most of our traffic was initially through our peers, activating our network was essential to our success.

Related: Your Crowdfunding Cheat Sheet (Infographic)

Through a friend sharing our website on Facebook, we were contacted by the biggest watch blog in the world. They were interested in a full-fledged interview. We didn’t even have physical prototypes and this editor wanted to interview me, a sophomore in college.

Within a day of our interview going live, our social media pages saw a huge spark, gaining almost 800 likes in a week. (Keep in mind social media pages like Facebook and Twitter are the main ways to drive traffic to your crowdfunding campaign and there is no reason not to launch your pages months in advance.)

For those looking to kickstart their crowdfunding campaign, it is never to earlier to start focusing on your pre-launch stage. Here are six tools.

Create a landing page. A landing page should direct potential supporters to take no more than three actions: Share on Facebook, tweet and watch the campaign video. With three simple clicks, people on your landing page should be able to make a difference. Need a little inspiration? Check out how it is done at Beayesman.

Related: 3 Ways to Create More Engaging Website Landing Pages

Mailchimp. Start compiling your mailing list sooner rather than later. Always have a way for people to submit their email on your website or Facebook page. Utilize Mailchimp to then email your first 2000 subscribers for free.

Boomerang. Remember the key to launching a successful campaign? Planning. This tool is a free Gmail plugin that enables you to schedule emails in advance for free. Quick tip: Schedule your emails for the morning, as this is the time most people check their messages.

ClicktoTweet. This tool makes retweeting a breeze. Set up a free account on ClicktoTweet and then make a link that serves as a tweet you’ve written for people to send to their followers.

Bit.ly. No one likes long links. This tool offers a free service to cut your links. Simply paste your link in their toolbar and it’ll be shortened. You’ll also be able to see the click-through-rates on your links.

Basecamp. This application makes collaboration amongst your team easy. Basecamp is a great way to delegate and manage tasks with your campaign team.

There is somewhat of a science behind crowdfunding and it is focused upon your pre-launch stage. Though keeping your supporters happy is essential, you won’t get attention if people don’t know what you are doing. My advice is to activate your network to expand your reach. Having your friends, family and acquaintances share your page on Facebook and Twitter seriously makes a huge difference. You’ve got nothing to lose, so give it a shot.

Related: 6 Tips to Create a Top-Notch Crowdfunding Video