Mario Armstrong, Digital Lifestyle Expert, is an Emmy Award winning, tech commentator for the TODAY show and CNN, and the host of a tech talk radio show on SiriusXM. An entrepreneur by nature, Mario made his passion his career by quitting his day job and founding Mario Armstrong Media. Follow Mario at @MarioArmstrong. AT&T has sponsored the following blog post.
Crowdfunding is taking off in a big way—every day I hear success stories from entrepreneurs who have found ways to fund their dream business ideas using these platforms. But for every success story, there are those who fail to meet their funding goals. While sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo make it easy to start a fundraising page, running a successful campaign is far more difficult. Before you begin, be sure you can answer these 3 questions.
1. Can you produce an outstanding video? Your video is the best way to sell your product. Because they appear at the top of your fundraising page, the video that explains your project is the first thing most visitors to your fundraising page will look at, and often the only thing. You have a only few minutes to convince someone to commit their hard-earned cash to your cause, so you need to make sure you have the resources to put together something spectacular. On the other side, consider this—if you decide to run with a poorly produced video, why would potential customers decide you have the skills to take your idea and turn it into a finished product? They won’t.
2. Do you have a large network you can leverage? All successful crowdfunding projects are built first on a solid network. In the early days of your project, you’ll need to rely on those closest to you to get the ball running. This means tapping close friends and family for early contributions. Beyond that, however, you’ll need to have a network of people who will support you. Are you ready and willing to bust out the Rolodex to find backers? Do you have a large enough Twitter, Facebook, or other social media following to rally? Are you friends with influencers who will be able to convince their own followers and friends to support your project? Before you begin, be sure to sit down and map out a battle plan—who will you contact on which days of your campaign? When will you follow up? How will you convince those outside your immediate network to contribute?
3. Are you prepared to spend every day working? Once you’ve set a crowdfunded project in motion, you need to be prepared to work every single day until your funding window closes. Crowdfunded projects rarely take off on their own, and the promotion and management of your project requires that you’re reaching out to supporters and potential supporters, leveraging your social media, and just generally doing everything you can to get the word out for at least a few hours every day. Make doubly sure that you’re completely free for several days after the start of your project and leading up to the closing date, since those are the busiest times when you’re likely to see the most money raised. And remember, since you can’t change the deadline or your fundraising goal, once you’ve started there’s no going back. Be sure you’ve planned your availability and can stick to it before you even start.