Tag Archives: kickstarter communication

How to succeed at crowdfunding: Communication During Your Campaign

Regular communication with your prospective backers is the difference between success and failure for your crowdfunding campaign. Follow up on your pre-launch communiques with a fun, consistent communication program during your campaign to maximize your chances of success.

Many of our clients find it hard to share their message more than once – or even just once. But it’s important to stick to the discipline. It’s based on one of the central tenets of marketing: effective frequency, or “the rule of seven.” Most people need to hear a message 7 times to act on it.

blog images- effective frequency

The typical communication program during a client’s crowdfunding campaign looks like this:

  1. 6 Weeks of Monday Drafts. Starting the Monday before launch, and continuing each Monday through the week after the campaign closes, we craft the draft communiques for the week. These include:
  2. 6 Weeks of Tuesday Social Media Posts. People respond to images – and especially faces. We usually do a combination of the key campaign image, and photos of the artist at work and on location. We consider milestones (e.g., “Already half funded!”) and relevant events. All posts contain a caption of 100 words or less (tweetable, with room for the retweeter to add comments), and ALWAYS contain the link to the crowdfunding campaign. We aim for at least one and up to three posts per week. The best times to post are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, at breakfast, lunch, and bedtime. Here’s an example from a children’s book campaign by Marc Boston:
  3. 6 Weeks of Wednesday Email Newsletters. It’s easy to write a long email, and hard to write a short one. But we try to keep emails short enough that they can be read without scrolling. These are often expanded versions of the Social Media Posts, complete with images, event invitations, and fun milestones. We include the campaign link at least three times: at the top, in the middle, and at the close. The newsletters also contain two additional pieces of information:
    1. How else to help the campaign. We invite readers to share the link on social media, forward the email to friends, and send us good luck wishes.
    2. What crowdfunding is, and how it works. Lots of people know what Kickstarter and Indiegogo are – but lots don’t. We provide a short sentence of background (these platforms have been around for years and have raised over a billion dollars), and then step-by-step instructions on how to pledge, complete with images.
  4. 6 Weeks of Thursday Campaign Updates and Social Media Posts. Both Indiegogo and Kickstarter have a blog function, where you can periodically post new information and other fun tidbits for your backers and visitors to your campaign. This is usually a remixed version of the Wednesday email. Updates get their own unique web address, so we usually post the update to social media as well.
  5. 6 Weeks of Friday Phone Calls. Each week we identify a key group of people to contact. These can be your Day 1 Backers, Influencers, and Benefactors; but we also reach out to the less tech-savvy people in your network to see if they need help navigating the pledging process, and we try to get in at least one phone call to everyone in your network.

Every campaign is different, but there is a fairly reliable pattern to what we are communicating by week.

  1. Week 1: Countdown, LIVE!, and 24-Hour Thank Yous! Launch Day is the most important day of the campaign. We remind your Day 1 Backers and Benefactors that they are invited to the exclusive VIP Soft Launch the day before the official launch, we do a public social media countdown for launch day, and after the first 0fficial 24 hours, we do a big Thank You message (which doubles as a nudge to anyone who planned to pledge on launch day, but didn’t get around to it). We craft a special series of images to use on social media, in emails, and in the campaign update. blog images - launch countdown
  2. Week 2: Event Invitation. We shouldn’t just say the same thing over and over, so this is a great time to focus on a mid-campaign event in the real world (dedicated post coming soon).
  3. Week 3: Event Recap. And, one of the great things about an event is that it gives all kinds of great new photos and video to share.
  4. Week 4: Milestones, Previews, and Stretch Goals. This can be an ideal time to share progress, and preview what’s coming next. Often, this is a good time to share a sneak preview of another chapter, a new song, a film scene, or anything else that makes it feel like this campaign is propelling your project to success. If the campaign is fortunate enough to have surpassed its initial target, this is also a perfect opportunity to show off stretch goals (dedicated post coming soon).
  5. Week 5: LAST CHANCE! We mirror the Week 1 countdown to launch with a countdown to the deadline. Campaign funding tends to be U-shaped, with most pledges coming in on the first day and the last day (deadlines motivate people!). This is another opportunity for serial social media posts that remind prospective backers of the approaching last chance to participate.  blog images - deadline countdown
  6. Week 6: Thank You! and What’s Next? Finally, we follow up after the campaign is closed to thank backers profusely, let people who didn’t get on board in time know what they can still do to get involved, and let everyone know what to expect next from the project – further steps until completion, when to expect the finished product, and when their perks will be delivered.

It bears repeating: our clients find this hard. The key to making it work is picking a discipline, and sticking with it. You know your prospective backers need to hear your message 7 times to act on it. Use all the tools at your disposal and when the going gets tough – and it almost certainly will – dig deep, hang in there, and keep up the good work. Your campaign depends on it.

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!

How to succeed at crowdfunding: Pre-launch Communication

If you wait until launch day to start telling people about your crowdfunding campaign, it’s too late. On average, a person needs to hear a message 7 times to act on it (what’s known in marketing as “effective frequency” or “the rule of 7”). That’s why advance communication makes or breaks a campaign – there’s not enough time to get your message in 7 times once it’s launched.

blog images- effective frequency

We typically work with our artists for a minimum of three months prior to campaign launch on their communication strategy, which contains the following elements:

  1. Key project visual. Your album or book cover, play or film poster, or another key image coupled with your campaign dates and Kickstarter or Indiegogo logo is something you will use time and again. A picture truly is worth a thousand words. If there is one area that I encourage my clients to spend money prior to their campaign, it’s on a designer. A small amount spent on a professional draft is an investment that pays off. (More on this on our post on Campaign Design.)
  2. Elevator pitch. You only have 135 characters – about a dozen words – to hook someone’s attention. You will use this pitch again and again – including as the headline of your crowdfunding campaign – so this is a bedrock of your project’s success. Writing a blurb is hard. Get help. Brainstorm. Write. Rewrite. Distill your project down to its irresistible essence.
  3. Day 1 Backers. We craft a 1-2-3 script for your Day 1 Backers: 1. Inform. 2. Engage. 3. Ask. Your Day 1 Backers are VIPs. They don’t get a mass email that starts “Dear Friend…”. They get invited to coffee, a Skype, or a phone call. In the first meeting, you share your key project visual and your elevator pitch. This is a good practice audience because they are already cheerleaders of you and your work. The next meeting, you request their feedback, advice, ideas, and input, and you consider it seriously. The third meeting, you ask them to be a Day 1 Backer. With an exchange of texts, messages, and emails in between, you’ve racked up your “7,” so your D1B’s are ready to roll come launch day.
  4. Influencers. We craft a 1-2-3 script for your Influencers, as well. Just like your D1B’s, these are VIPs who require individual communication. These folks have a large platform for communication – and almost certainly a schedule. You’ll want plenty of time to get them images, interviews, samples, descriptions, and whatever else they will need to support your project launch.
  5. Benefactors. And, we craft a 1-2-3 script for your Benefactors. These are the quintessential VIPs. They’re helping produce your project at the $500+ level, so they, too, will require individual attention.
  6. Email list. People open almost 100% of their emails. Facebook and Twitter may be sexier, and they’re helpful for awareness, but social media generally does not prompt action. People only see approximately 5% of what is in their feed – and they are typically just scrolling through, commenting, and “liking.” Email prompts action. Most of our clients start out with their email address book scattered across multiple accounts, written on scraps of paper, in a stack of business cards stuffed in a desk drawer. For fast, effective group communication, this needs to be organized. It can take a while. Getting all email addresses correct, correctly labeled, and all in one account – or on a service like Mail Chimp – is a big undertaking. Start early.
  7. Social media. This comes into play closer to launch. Social media is blurb and image driven – and it’s called Facebook for a reason. People respond to faces! So in the months leading up to your campaign, get plenty of pictures of your smiling face doing your project, and craft catchy captions. T/W/Th before breakfast/during lunch/before bed are peak times. It’s easy to burn out your audience on social media, so plan out 2-3 posts per week. We’ll be doing a separate post dedicated to social media.

Realistically, how much time does this take? If you have twelve weeks between now and launch, you have 30 VIPs, and they each get three hours of your time, one for each 1-2-3 meeting, that’s 30 x 3 / 12= 7.5 hours per week. Add to that, time to work with your designer, time to work on your elevator pitch, and time to draft mass email and social media materials, and you’re realistically looking at a 10-hour per week commitment for the three months leading up to your campaign. Sound like a part-time job? It is! That’s how you make money.

A note on how effective communication feels while it is happening: Most of our clients feel message fatigue several times leading up to, and during, their campaigns. Many of them express that this is the hardest part of the crowdfunding process. They feel self-conscious promoting their own work. They feel like they’re shouting into the wind, saying the same thing over and over again, and meanwhile, nothing is happening. It is very hard to trust the cumulative effect of sharing your message 7 times. It is very hard not to take it personally when it feels like no one is listening. It is very easy to give up. When our clients are burnt out, we encourage them to take a day off, go do something fun, and forget about their project for a day or a week–to regain the perspective that life is, of course, about far more than a crowdfunding campaign. The artist can then come back to their tasks with renewed energy,  with more focused attention to the process and not the outcome, and the ability to keep up the good work.

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!