Meet the Guy Who Ran 8 Crowdfunding Campaigns
Singaporean Alphonso Ngiam’s ran eight Kickstarter projects, which reached their funding targets as quickly as 2 hours. The campaigns collected up to 2,800% of their targeted amounts.
This is the ideal crowdfunding dream – except Ngiam is quite possibly a statistical anomaly. On Kickstarter alone, less than 40% of projects ever attain their funding targets, let alone surpass the target by such a large margin. In fact, 13% of all projects on Kickstarter have never received a single cent in funding. Furthermore, achievement of a funding target is not a definite measure of success. There are no shortage of projects that have failed even after attaining their funding targets, such as the Coolest Cooler – one of the hottest projects that went cold among its backers.
Crowdfunding is a lot more difficult than it looks, because it is not the means that ends all else. It is in effect merely a sale channel – and you need to focus on marketing, to drive people to this channel.
So, what are some secrets to increasing your chances of a successful campaign?
Know your audience
In crowdfunding, you’re offering a promise to the community.
The promise must be something that they can relate to, and one that can fill a void in their lives. You need to be able to immerse yourselves into their lifestyles, and learn what motivates them or puts them off. Only then, will you be able to tailor your idea to fit them. Anecdotal evidence can only get you so far!
There are more incentives to know your audience beyond that of product. You need concrete statistics that reflect the community if you’re to mount a compelling narrative to draw in backers and perhaps even gain the attention of bigger investors!
Know your product
In this case, we’re talking about the technical aspects – not just the idea of it. When planning your campaign you need to take into account the production costs, how you intend to distribute it when it’s completed, among others.
There are no shortage of projects that attained their funding targets only for the creators to then discover that they had grossly underestimated the amount needed. Developments like this can quickly sour the founder/backer dynamics and potentially even open the doors to legal action as backers seek to recover their money.
Make a video
A video is essentially a must for a crowdfunding, with numerous successful campaigns more often than not accompanied with well-produced videos. 33% of successful campaigns did so without a video, but the success rate doubled when a video came into play.
After all, it’s only natural for people to want to know where their money is headed to. A video provides backers an avenue to showcase your idea in a tangible form. The only thing more compelling than a great idea, is one that you can see. There are a whole slew of other benefits associated with videos, so be sure to get some made.
Have good incentives
Incentives are a great way to get your backers involved in your project beyond just funding. Get them involved in the creative process, or a special thank-you gift if their contributions are especially big – it’s up to you to decide.
The other kind of reward is in the form of milestone achievements. For instance, if your idea is a Windows game, you can arrange for a macOS port if the funding exceeds a certain threshold. Regardless of your incentives, make sure they are all worth it for your followers. After all, they have come together to support you despite the inherent risk involved, and decide on the fate on your campaign. Here are some ideas.
However, make sure you’re able to fulfil your incentives! The basic principles of humanity still apply. Don’t make promises you can’t keep!
Listing your campaign
The nature of your project affect the platforms you can place the project on. Many platforms have rules about what can be listed on their platforms – for instance, it would be strange to put your idea onto a social crowdfunding platform like GoFundMe. Platforms also have additional requirements – for instance, regions that they operate in.
Do check out our guide on the most common crowdfunding platforms in Singapore!
Crowdfunding isn’t just a place for you to sell your idea – you need to listen to your customers, who have valuable insights for you. After all, they will be the judge of whether your idea will be received well. Crowdfunding isn’t just a place to collect funds – it can in fact serve as a tool for validation and feedback. There is much to be drawn out from the community. You just need to know where to look.
Keeping your donors updated
Transparency is important. After all, these donors are part of your project, and have parted with their own money for a good reason. Make sure they have a good reason to retain their faith in you and your project. Keep them updated on what’s happening, but refrain from spamming lest your subsequent updates get ignored! A good guideline is to push out updates when funding milestones are reached, or whenever a major development occurs.
This includes bad and rough times when things don’t go the way they were supposed to, and you need to break the bad news. Clear communication is crucial here – be honest, let your communities know your planned course of action. Most of all, listen to them, and allay their worries while staying true to your (campaign) path.
Learning from past successes… and mistakes
As the saying goes, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.” Despite the best efforts of many creators to promote their campaign, sometimes for one reason or another the project just never manage to achieve its targets.
There are a multitude of reasons to why projects don’t see the light of day. Perhaps the marketing approach was wrong, or the idea was not meant for the right audience. It is important to take stock of campaign developments. Even in a successful campaign, we should take stock of what went right. What worked for one campaign may not work for another. These insights and learning points can help to take another campaign to success – or to finally be successful in seeing a campaign to its completion.
Crowdfunding is more than just “ask and you shall receive”, as project creators like Ngiam have found out. Crowdfunding is rooted in tons of preparatory groundwork and community building which begins long before the actual campaign actually materialises. It never stops there – creators need to keep the momentum going, remaining accountable to their backers at all times even after the campaign has ended.
Fortunately, numerous support resources (including us) exist to help any crowdfunding user navigate the sea of alternate financing options. Additionally, platforms like Kickstarter have dedicated user guides to help creators get started with setting up a campaign.
In AsiaOne’s crowdfunding interview, Ngiam sums things up with this quote: “If you are looking at Kickstarter as a cash cow, turn away.”
Indeed, it’s a ton of hard work, but it’s the only way that pays off!
How was your experience with crowdfunding like? Do share it with us!
Additional resources for you