Crowdfunding is one of the most effective ways of getting needed funding for startup projects. Popular crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo help entrepreneurs generate capital by allowing users to donate to the planned venture.
Kickstarter has reportedly funded more than 117,000 startups backed by the contributions of an estimated 12 million people. These platforms receive thousands of startup campaigns every month. Each campaign competes for funding from users. So, how can you make your campaign stand out from the rest of the competition?
The power of video content
According to Kickstarter, 33 percent of campaigns are successfully funded without videos. But the percentage increases to 66 percent when the campaign includes an explainer video. That’s a significant success rate of 50 percent.
Indiegogo’s statistics on the use of video mirror the same conclusion. Campaigns that include explainer videos generate 114 percent more funding than campaigns without videos.
There shouldn’t be any surprise to any of these data because the use of videos for marketing and promotional purposes has been proven to have many quantifiable benefits:
- Videos transmit a large amount of information in a short amount of time
- 92 percent of B2B customers watch videos
- Conversion rates increase by 80 percent with the inclusion of videos
- 30 second video ads have a high 88.3 percent completion rate
- 81 percent of executives use videos as part of their online marketing strategy
A crowdfunding campaign is essentially an appeal to potential investors to place their hard-earned money on your startup over others. Videos are effective because they use sight and sound to deliver content in a way that emotionally connects with the viewer in a short amount of time.
But not just any video will do. It should capture the attention of a viewer so he or she wants to see the whole video. A video has to be intriguing, but still get the message across. It should be worthy to win any crowdfunding video contest and have a viral potential. When it comes to a crowdfunding video, its content must compel viewers to respond to your desired call-to-action: investing.
Here are five smart ways to create a great crowdfunding video that people actually want to watch.
1. Identify your brand and positioning strategy.
Before anything else, you should have an idea of how you want your product or services perceived by potential investors. Investors want to know:
- What is it all about?
- Who are the end users?
- How will it address the needs of the target market?
- What are the product or service differentiators?
- What is its unique selling proposition, or USP?
- Why should the market patronize it?
- Why should we invest in it?
The answers to these questions determine your brand and how you plan to position it in the market. Your branding and positioning strategy will give viewers an idea of your direction.
Without that branding strategy, investors may view your venture as a ship without GPS, blindly navigating into the open sea where icebergs lurk in the dark.
2. Tell a story.
Storytelling is a powerful way of conveying your message. There are several benefits to storytelling but at the heart of it is one irrefutable truth: everyone loves a great story.
The first step is to determine the purpose of your venture: Why did you pursue this business idea? Was there a previous experience that compelled you to take action? Was there a deeply-rooted and meaningful advocacy that inspired you to move forward with this idea?
The second step would be conceptualization. How would you want the content to be presented to the viewer? A great story grabs the viewer by the collar, pulls him inside the content and places him (or her) vicariously behind the lens. If you have a storyboard artist, you can plan out the panels on paper before you proceed to put your story on video.
3. Set the tone of the video.
The tone of the video is essentially the mood or level of emotion you want to extract from your viewer. Will you deliver content in a funny or serious way? Do you want to produce a heartwarming response or one of triumph and inspiration?
The tone would depend on the type of product or service you are offering. Generally it should elicit the desired response. It must remain honest and sincere.
You should consider having a content writer on your creative team and draft a number of scripts. Run the drafts by your friends, family and associates to see which one garners the most positive responses.
4. Capitalize on the first 30 seconds.
According to a 2015 study by Microsoft, people have an attention span of eight seconds -- one second lower than that of a goldfish. What this means is that you have to deliver your message within the first 30 seconds of your video. Remember the earlier stat: 30 second video ads have a completion rate of 88.3 percent.
Ideally, you should be able to put out your value proposition during the first 10 seconds of the video. You must answer the question “Why does the viewer need to help make my venture a reality?”
This is the biggest reason why you have to work on your branding proposition before anything else. The branding proposition encapsulates everything the viewer needs to know about your business. You may lose your viewer if he or she has no idea why it's worthwhile to keep watching your video. For a video to be effective, you must keep it under two minutes. Drive the message loud and clear during the first 30 seconds; then bring the investor "home" in the final 90 seconds.
5. Be yourself.
This is the single most important advice crowdfunding platforms, venture capitalists and prospective investors will give you. When they invest in a business, they are investing less on the idea and more on the personality behind it.
We’ve talked a great deal of the value of establishing purpose of your venture. Among the five “W’s,” purpose is represented by “why.”
If you can accurately state your purpose, you bring the viewers closer to the most important “W” of them all. The one that establishes the strongest point of emotional connectivity is “Who are you?” In the end, people want to know who you are; what kind of person are you? What motivates you to bring this idea to life?
The idea of purposeful marketing was first conceptualized by Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman who theorized consumers were more concerned with who you are than what your product does.
Whether you hire a team of professionals to shoot the video or simply use a smartphone with the help of friends, it should never lose sight of its most important element -- you.
A great crowdfunding video does not have to be an elaborate production number. You don’t need expensive equipment to shoot a good, effective video. Getting crowdfunding support is the result of running a successful marketing and promotional campaign. At the core of every marketing campaign is content.
Even with the medium of videos, content remains king. If you want to draw serious interest from prospective investors or donors, you must spend more time and resources in fine-tuning your message. Once you are able to do that, the payoff will come in the form of donations that will make your vision a reality.