How to succeed at crowdfunding: Launch Day

You want to make a big splash on your crowdfunding campaign’s Launch Day – it’s the biggest day for pledges. Here is some data from Kickstarter, showing the typical U-shaped pledge pattern for a campaign:

pledge pattern graph
Pledge pattern data from Kickstarter.com

Backers do pledge throughout, but most activity happens right at the beginning and the very end. Early birds and procrastinators!

Because success breeds success, we recommend our clients take every measure to maximize Day 1 of their campaign. In fact, we have an entire post dedicated to one group of your campaign VIPs, Day 1 Backers. These are approximately a dozen people you’ve been having one-on-one communication with in the months leading up to Launch Day, so they are primed to jump right in as soon as your campaign goes live.

However, we want to encourage people beyond this privileged dozen to take the plunge on Launch Day. Here is how we do it:

  1. Dedicated Launch Day email*. We craft a short email with an irresistible subject line that communicates one topic: an invitation to visit Kickstarter (or Indiegogo) and pre-order a copy of [project] today! While pre-launch communication has focused on VIPs for months, this email goes to everyone on the project’s mailing list. We typically include at least three links to the campaign sprinkled throughout the email, the key project image, and suggestions on how else to help (forward the email, share the campaign on social media, and wish us luck). In the post-script, we include detailed instructions on what crowdfunding is and how to do it – not everyone is familiar with Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Yet.
  2. Launch Day phone campaign. Plain and simple, people respond to individual attention. Follow up on the email with as many phone calls as you can muster on Launch Day.
  3. Influencer synchronization. Your Influencers are people with an audience and a mechanism to communicate – we have an entire post dedicated to them. Ideally, your conversations with them over the months leading up to Launch Day mean their article, podcast, radio interview, or other press hits near the beginning of your campaign. (But not before – potential backers give up easily if they try to find your campaign and can’t because it is not yet public. They won’t come back.)
  4. Limited edition Early Bird rewards. Anything that creates urgency and prevents a potential backer from putting off pledging is a plus. Having a great deal on special rewards for a limited number of backers can prompt visitors to your campaign to pledge on Day 1.
  5. Social media blasts. Normally more than 2 or 3 social media posts a week is overkill – but not today! Have great images ready to roll for breakfast, lunch, and bedtime posts. Give updates like “wow! already 10% funded!” throughout the day. Ask people to like, comment, and share. And always, always, always, include the link to your campaign – and check to make sure it’s working.
  6. Launch Day event. It’s a lot of extra work, but several of our clients have had success planning a party on launch day. It could be cocktails, a concert, a picnic, an art opening, a murder mystery dinner, a house party, or any other kind of soiree – what matters most is that you have the chance to announce several times at the event that this is the launch party for the crowdfunding campaign, hand out postcards with enticements and instructions on how to pledge, and celebrate passing funding milestones. Bringing the campaign from the intangible world of the internet to the real world can be very effective in boosting participation.
  7. First 24 hours Thank Yous. Once the first official 24 hours are up, it’s a great time to post a “Thank You” campaign update and share it on social media, contact your early backers individually with a thank you, and spread thank yous around on social media. Not only is this good manners, it’s a good way to encourage backers to continue supporting you, and in the case of email and social media, a gentle way to remind people who have yet to back to come on and join in!

*Many of our clients start under the misconception that social media and email are interchangeable. This is not the case. Exact numbers vary, but you can safely assume that, if you have a mailing list of people who want to be on it, a double-digit percentage of them will read the email, and a significant number of those will click through to your campaign. Only a single-digit percentage will see a Facebook post, and only a small number of those will click through. You may get 25 pledges from an email to 100 people, but only 1 pledge from 100 Facebook followers. This is why email comes first.

For a free crowdfunding analysis of 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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