5 professionals To Leverage During Your Crowdfunding Journey
Your crowdfunding campaign, especially if it is your first, should be a DIY (do-it-yourself) project for the most part. I know that might sound like a bold statement coming from a service provider who, like you, lives in a world of done-for-you services. But as a crowdfunding coach and mentor, I strongly stand by this opinion for a few specific reasons.
A few weeks ago I onboarded a new client and in the course of getting to know her and her brand a little better, she told me that she had crowdfunded a few months before and the campaign was unsuccessful. After a little more digging, I found out that the person who ran my client’s previous campaign had never done it before and wasn’t even willing to talk to her about the process. I then looked up the campaign and was astonished at what I found in terms of the campaign page and other information provided by my client.
So I arrived at the same conclusion as I always arrive at, which is, project creators need to be more hands-on and in control of their campaigns from start to finish. I will get into the whys of that subject in a different post.
For now, let’s take a brief look at the types of professionals you should consider working with during your crowdfunding journey and the professionals you should avoid in the initial stages. Keep in mind that I still think that the project creator should be in the driver’s seat while working with these professionals. You, the creator, are the conductor – they, service providers, are there to offer their specific expertise.
1. Crowdfunding coach, consultant, mentor
This type of professional is there to guide you to the best practices and keep you on track during this journey. They have likely crowdfunded and have coached or mentored others in their journey. Therefore, they have a lot of valuable insight. They’ve seen many of the scenarios you are likely to encounter and they can offer a lot of support and direction when you need it most.
It’s important to be aware that a coach isn’t there to take over and handle the campaign for you. That shouldn’t be your goal nor theirs. If you feel like you can’t do it or don’t have the time to do it properly, then maybe now isn’t the time to try to raise funding.
Crowdfunding has a lot to do with the “crowd” i.e. people and those people are going to be your future customers, fans, supporters. They need to engage with you, your story, your vision. And nobody can communicate those elements the way you can. A coach can help flesh those things out and guide you on how to crowdfund effectively.
In addition, crowdfunding is a huge undertaking and shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you are crowdfunding correctly, you will spend several weeks, or most likely months, preparing for your campaign and executing it. The good news is, the more prepared you are the better your chances are for success. And I promise every time you crowdfund it does become more manageable from a perspective of understanding the processes more thoroughly.
Protip: You should interview your coach and make sure they are the best fit to work with your specific project. Crowdfunding in its nature is very diverse because of the literally thousands of projects types and categories. Make sure you have very specific questions about how a coach can help you and what their services do and don’t provide. Be wary of anyone promising to make your campaign viral or completely run the entire campaign for you.
There are NO guarantees in crowdfunding, business, market, or life for that matter. Don’t trust people who offer guarantees even with proof of successful campaigns.
2. A social media manager
A social media manager could be useful in handling the manual tasks of posting your content and making sure all of your channels stay fresh and up-to-date during the campaign. You will still need to create content or at the very least have a very detailed content plan to guide this person and make sure they stay on message and on brand, especially if any of the content is related to marketing the campaign.
Of course, if you are skilled at creating content and/or willing to learn, then you can manage this task during the campaign by planning logistics and content beforehand. Once again, be wary of anyone making grandiose promises about how many leads they promise to get for your campaign. At the risk of being cliche, I remind you, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
3. A graphic artist
A graphic artist can come in handy if you need mockups, drawing, and other graphic designs created but you aren’t skilled at doing this work. There are awesome sites like Fiverr.com or Upwork.com where you can find skilled freelancers to create some of the elements of the campaign pitch. This is an area I wouldn’t skimp on.
Protip: Be clear on your overall concept before communicating it to an artist to ensure you get what you’re envisioning. Also, make sure you are getting this work done in ample time to make sure you have time for revisions if needed.
4. Public relations specialist
I added this professional to the list because I know many of the huge Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaign creators work with PR firms. But in my opinion, RP professionals should be engaged when your campaign is trying to raise very large sums. Also, if the campaign has very unique elements to it and you want to ensure it is covered by news, media, etc. Otherwise, I think you may be able to crowdsource for information like what blogs, forums, podcasts you can reach out to and introduce your product, service, or idea to. In short, crowdsourcing can be a great way to increase your reach.
Protip: Make sure you reach out well in advance of your campaign and try to schedule appearances and blog posts close to or after the launch to ensure you maximize the exposure. If you choose to work with a PR professional make sure you are engaging them well in advance of your launch so they can become familiar with what you’re doing and outline the best PR strategy for your campaign.
5. Facebook/Google ad manager
Crowdfunding campaigns can benefit greatly from using paid advertising in the overall marketing strategy. But I warn you, this shouldn’t be the entirety of the strategy, nor should it be the first line. Unfortunately, I see far too often project creators launch their campaigns and share the link on social media and when there is no response, they start paying for ads. I understand why people reach out to ad professionals, but the reality is that there are many other steps you should take before considering paid advertising. Think of it this way, you want to figure out what works and then amplify it through ads.
Protip: Engage your friends, family, and audience in organic ways first to gain some traction in your campaign, then consider using ads. It’s smart to plan your strategy before launch, but the entire strategy shouldn’t be paid advertising.
I hope this has been helpful. As you can see there are professionals who can help you and greatly enhance your crowdfunding campaign via their services, but the goal shouldn’t be to completely hand the entire campaign over to these professionals.
I would love to know how you feel about this topic. Have you crowdfunded in the past and hired professional help? Did the services enhance your campaign experience or not?