Pre-launch crowdfunding is the longest and most important stage in crowdfunding, follow this crowdfunding checklist to make sure you get started right.
In my book, Step-by-Step Crowdfunding, the pre-launch steps cover the majority of the total process. Of the 17 steps from start to finish, you need to hit 11 steps before your campaign even goes live on a crowdfunding platform. I’ve put together 24 points in this crowdfunding checklist below as a reference for the most critical parts in each step in the process.
Today’s post is the second of four crowdfunding checklists I’m publishing. Last week, we looked at a checklist of items crowdfunding consultants look for when analyzing your crowdfunding campaign page. We touched on everything between how to keep people on your campaign page to how many reward levels you should offer. Next week, we’ll cover the remaining two crowdfunding checklists on promoting your crowdfunding campaign and what to do after the campaign.
Pre-Launch Crowdfunding Checklist
Follow the crowdfunding checklist below to make sure you hit the really important points in your pre-launch crowdfunding. The list is meant to be completed in order though there are some points that you can do whenever. Try not to neglect the more difficult points in the pre-launch crowdfunding checklist, each is an important step to raising more money and getting the exposure you need.
A Crowdfunding Checklist for Shaping your Idea
- Understand your customer and the person most likely to buy or pledge to your crowdfunding campaign. These may be two distinct types of people, especially if you are planning a social cause campaign. You’ll need to understand your market’s needs and where supporters hang out to find them in outreach.
- After you’ve developed your idea, check over your plans with friends and family. If you can’t build enthusiasm from at least a few from your closest network, you need to work on the pitch before you put it in front of strangers.
- Get at least two team members from your existing network. Having a team that is passionate about the project is an absolute must and will give credibility to the project. Link all your social media profiles like Facebook and Twitter together using a social media tool like Hootsuite. Through the online tool, you’ll be able to send out messages and manage your social media marketing from one page. This is a great tool to cut down on the time it takes to build excitement and to manage your crowdfunding campaign.
A Crowdfunding Checklist for Campaign Research
- Find at least three prior campaigns that were similar to your planned crowdfunding campaign in product or topic. You can’t know what to expect unless you look at a few examples.
- Compare how much campaigns were trying to raise, how much they raised and from how many people. Compare their video, message and each part of the campaign page that’s listed on the Crowdfunding Campaign Checklist.
- Contact the owners of prior campaigns. What were the major challenges they faced? In what forums and online groups did they find potential backers? Did any particular marketing strategy work well?
A Crowdfunding Checklist for Campaign Goals
- How much can you raise from your network before the campaign launches? Compare this to your budget. I suggest you choose a crowdfunding campaign goal that is no more than four or five times your pre-launch pledges. This will make it achievable and help get you over 20% funded in the first few days.
- Detail your budget and timeline for your crowdfunding campaign. Review and revise them with the team.
Crowdfunding Checklist: Rewards
- Do you have any rewards that appeal to the ego of backers? Offer naming rights, special recognition or development roles.
- Do you have any rewards that get your backers involved in the product or campaign? Engaging backers through rewards is a great way to make them feel a part of the project and get them to go the extra mile.
- Do you have any “swing for the fences” rewards? You should have at least one or two rewards that you may not get but really offer the moon for a large chunk of your funding needs.
- You should have about 10 reward levels with the minimum at $5
- Have at least three stretch funding goals and three stretch rewards. These are special reward levels that will be applied to other rewards if you meet your stretch funding goals. This goes a long way to motivating the community to keep contributing even after that first pledge.
A Crowdfunding Checklist for Outreach
- Email or phone contact for at least 50 bloggers, journalist or social media influencers that have talked or written about your campaign’s topic or product-type.
- Process for building a relationship with the outreach list above. You will need to work them into the community through email contacts, social media sharing, questioning and other contact points over a minimum of a month before the crowdfunding campaign.
- Enlist one or two more people from your friends and family network. You will want a minimum of three to five people on the team before the campaign starts.
- Having your own website for the campaign, your small business or cause will go a long way to outreach and developing your community. It’s extremely easy to put together a simple website through BlueHost WordPress Hosting. Post to the site once a week and you’ll start to draw people from Google search and build a name as an expert.
- Develop a relationship with at least two organizations that can be involved in the project, whether through a related topic or related customers. Organizations already have their community established and will help tremendously in building yours. Check out this post on a fundraising outreach strategy to get organizations involved in a joint-contest.
- Contact previous campaign owners again to recruit them to the campaign or ask if they have contacts that would like to be involved.
- Actively engage the community on at least two online forums or affinity groups. Become a part of their community then invite members to your campaign’s community.
Crowdfunding Checklist: Marketing
- Throw a launch party with at least ten of the most active in your community. Talk to two or three team members ahead of time to cover talking points, how to work the crowd and how to ask for the pledge. Carry around pledge cards during the event and get a commitment for at least 10% to 15% of your funding goal.
- Ask at least two team members to update their social profiles with information on the upcoming campaign. Add email signatures that link to a webpage or blog that talks about the campaign.
- Create profiles and pages for your campaign. Devise a social media sharing strategy between yourself and two team members that will actively market the campaign through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and potentially Pinterest.
- Produce at least three videos, one of which you will use as your campaign page feature, to share on YouTube and across social media.
- Check out the complete list of crowdfunding marketing ideas for your campaign.
As a crowdfunding checklist, this is just a brief summary of the points you need to hit in your pre-launch crowdfunding activities. Check out the book, Step-by-Step Crowdfunding, for more detail on each point in the crowdfunding checklist as well as a few steps that will boost your chances. Join us next week for our crowdfunding promotion checklist and the most important steps in getting your message across.