How to succeed at crowdfunding: Day 1 Backers

There are three key groups of people – VIPs – who make the difference between success and failure for your crowdfunding campaign. Your VIPs are:

  1. Day 1 Backers,
  2. Influencers, and
  3. Benefactors.

Because they’re so important, Influencers and Benefactors each get their own post. This post is about the first group of your VIPs: Day 1 Backers.

Your Day 1 Backers are important, because there is a powerful psychological negative embedded in a campaign that has “$0 / 0% Funded” plastered across the top of the page. Every campaign starts at zero. And an almost unbelievable 13% of Kickstarter campaigns – over 27,000 – end at zero, too, without a single person ever backing it.

zero pct funded

How does this happen? It’s an explanation similar to the house that has had the for sale sign in its yard too long. At a certain point, the public starts thinking there’s something wrong with your campaign, just by virtue of the fact that no one has yet backed it. This inertia becomes harder and harder to overcome as each day passes.

So, have a handful of people lined up who consider it an honor to back your project on Day 1. These are the friends, family, fans, and colleagues who have known about your project since its early days. They can’t wait to have a copy of your book or album or a ticket to your show in their hands. Make sure they know months in advance that your Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign is coming.

They might pledge a little; they might pledge a lot. The role of your Day 1 Backers isn’t about the money. Their role is all about early momentum – they don’t require any extra convincing to support you. They’ve already bought into your idea, and they want you to succeed. They will convince other people who don’t know you or your project jump onto the bandwagon when they give your project that all-important boost from 0% to not-0% on Day 1.

Day 1 Backers are VIPs, and we treat them like VIPs. Every campaign is different, but some of the special benefits Day 1 Backers may receive include:

  • A sneak peek at crowdfunding campaign drafts. These people are excited about your campaign – so they get a back stage pass  to tour it before it goes live to the public. Their advice is requested on video, copy, design, and rewards. Their voice is heard and reflected in the campaign.
  • An invitation to be on your team. Creating a team is a big enough topic to get its own post, but in brief, these people are excited about your project! Why not ask them to join your team?
  • A VIP soft-launch invitation. This topic gets its own post, too, but to summarize: Let’s assume we’ve been promoting October 15 as the day your campaign goes live. That’s the day we’ll broadcast publically. But what the public doesn’t know is that we’re actually going to quietly launch it on October 14. Your VIPs get an exclusive invitation to the soft launch, and first rights to special  rewards.
  • Private bonus rewards. Almost always, there will be draft copies of your project: proofs of books, rough cuts of films, play dress rehearsals. Your VIPs get first rights to these benefits. These will be the people who start that word-of-mouth spark when your project – not your crowdfunding campaign, but the actual project you’re funding – goes live.

If you’d like a free analysis of your crowdfunding plans for your project, please fill out our Artist Questionnaire. We typically respond within two weeks. We look forward to hearing about your project!

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