I recently talked to Jamie Alimorad about the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to launch his new album with music legend Gino Vannelli. Jamie is building off the success of his first album a few years ago and is more than half way to his crowdfunding campaign goal of $20,000 to pay for recording, mixing and duplication of the album. Through our interview, Jamie provided some of the best pointers I’ve heard yet from a crowdfunding campaign and I’ve no doubt that he’ll reach his goal.
First, tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Jamie Alimorad and I’m a singer and songwriter. I’ve been performing and playing instruments since I was in elementary school, but I didn’t start my career until towards the end of college. Since then I have released two albums and have toured the country several times, having the pleasure of playing with some of my idols and performing in legendary venues such as the Whisky a Go-Go and singing the National Anthem at Fenway Park.
Being able to show prior success is key in any crowdfunding project but especially in crowdfunding music. You have to be able to show campaign visitors that you are more than some kid straight off the bus in Hollywood. Jamie does a great job of talking about his success and has some pretty impressive accomplishments.
Did you try to raise funding before crowd funding?
I’ve been working hand-in-hand with Kickstarter by reaching out to several potential private investors. The momentum from both has been working very well and I continue to promote to get more people on board.
You absolutely need to get that offline support for your Kickstarter campaign before you launch the crowdfunding page. Your crowdfunding campaign is only on the site for a month or two, not enough time to really reach out to people and bring them in. By talking to people early and lining up pledges for the first couple of days, you really build social proof to show other visitors that your campaign has the support from the rest of the crowd. One of the most popular posts on the blog is my review of pre-launch crowdfunding strategy, how to build that community before you go live with your campaign.
One of the biggest factors in Jamie’s crowdfunding success has been his massive community before the campaign. Building that community over the last several years has led to more than 16,000 Facebook likes and 68,000 Twitter followers. This is a virtual army that will help reach his crowdfunding goal. Check out a prior post, Building Community in Crowdfunding, for ways to build that crowd around your campaign.
Have you ever done a crowdfunding campaign before?
I have once before and it was successful. Great opportunity to get connected with fans.
Jamie hits on likely the biggest benefit of crowdfunding, even more than the money. Your crowdfunding campaign is an entire page dedicated to your message and it’s absolutely free to put up on a site that gets millions of visitors a month. Not only is it great marketing exposure but crowdfunding backers feel a special level of loyalty to the campaigns they support. They helped make it all possible and feel committed along side the campaign to making it a success. This sense of community goes on well after the crowdfunding campaign.
What did you do before starting the campaign to get ready?
I did a lot of research on what other artists were doing across various crowd sourcing websites. I saw the packages they were offering and what their goals were. I also read a lot of case studies on buyer tendencies and promotional approaches.
Communication from the artist to the backer is really important. I determined Kickstarter was the right place for me. I put together a ton of packages that I feel offer a lot of bang for their buck. I want people to get a lot when they become a backer. They deserve it! There’s something for everyone!
Jamie went into his campaign with a level of research that I haven’t seen in many others, especially artistic crowdfunding campaigns like crowdfunding music. Your pre-crowdfunding campaign research is crucial to help you know what to expect. Reach out to other campaigns to get their input and how they are marketing their campaign. Crowdfunders are extremely open and will usually share everything you want to know. Besides campaign information, I talk about how to find where your most active supporters are hanging out online in a previous post on crowdfunding campaign research.
Can you take us through your process of crowdfunding music?
When it came time to putting together the various backer levels, I thought, “What would I want in a package?” and I went from there. Looking at it from the consumer side made so much sense.
Jamie has ten reward levels from $1 to $1,000 with the most popular reward at the $25 level. This is pretty typical of most campaigns though some start rewards at $5 or $10 to get a little more out of the casual backers. Jamie also uses some limited-quantity rewards which are great for building that sense of urgency with supporters. He also offers a few rewards that really make backers a part of the recording process, a great idea for those higher-level rewards.
I immediately liked the fact that Jamie set his crowdfunding goal a little lower and made it to cover specific stages in the music production process. Let backers know that they are helping you to reach specific and achievable goals and they will really feel like they are helping to accomplish something. He then lists out three stretch goal levels up to $65,000 to pay for other production and marketing costs.
The one thing I would have suggested would have been to set the stretch goals a little closer together and closer to the initial goal. You want to meet your initial goal as early as possible, arranging around 15% through pre-launch crowdfunding, but then you want your stretch goals to be close enough to keep the community motivated. Build a story around each stretch goal, how great it will be to reach each one and what it will mean for the final product. Build in reward add-ons at each stretch goal level so backers know they are getting something extra as well.
What has surprised you most about running a crowdfunding campaign?
Honestly the thing that has surprised me most has come from a personal side. I’ve been blown away by the sheer volume of messages I’ve received supporting me and this project! It’s been incredible! A lot of people have really gone above and beyond in their support and I can’t thank them enough!
Jamie does a great job bringing his community into the campaign and making them feel appreciated. Read through the campaign page and you get a sense for how tight the community is and how it is a team idea rather than simply asking for money.
How many hours a week do you spend on your crowdfunding campaign?
I treat it like a full-time job. It’s hard to keep track of how many hours a day I’m doing something for or about the project. It has to be easily 80 hours a week working on it. I believe in it so much and I know it will be successful!
Wow, 80 hours a week is really putting in the time but it shows. Most personal crowdfunding campaigns report between 15 and 20 hours of work while those crowdfunding their main business spend a little more time.
How much have you spent on your campaign?
The budget for advertisement and promotion has been several hundred dollars. It’s been getting out to a lot of people and it’s important to reach as many as you can. I’ve paid for advertisement on several social media platforms but that is about it.
Crowdfunding marketing can really be done on a shoe-string budget, a strategy I talked about in a prior post. The crowdfunding process can be nearly free if you spend enough time before you campaign is live in that pre-launch crowdfunding community building. My Step-by-Step Crowdfunding eBook is just $7.99 and takes you through the entire process from pre-launch to rewards fulfillment.
What is the biggest mistake you’ve made so far in crowd funding?
Underestimating just how much it would consume. As I said before, it’s become a full-time job. I knew that I would spent a good portion of my day working on it. I just didn’t think it would be 10 or 11 hours!
The campaign got just over 10% of its goal on the first day but has slowed since except for one day that accounts for another 25% of the goal. He might want to consider doing some one-day crowdfunding ideas like offering a special reward to backers or finding a group of supporters to match any pledges received on a specific day. This can really help to keep supporters motivated and contributing throughout the campaign.
What do you think is the thing you’ve done really well so far?
Communicating. I’ve sent out messages, done a bunch of interviews and have gone out to talk to people about this project. My goals are clear and I want people to be as excited about this as I am! I want people along for the journey!
How are you reaching people on an emotional level?
I love the creative process and I think most people have some interest in it in one way or another. I want backers to be a fly on the wall during this whole process. I want you to be a part of it! We’re all working together here to make this goal and I want you along for the ride!
How are you building community with crowdfunding supporters?
I send out weekly updates and there are backer only updates that are a bit more detailed and give you a deeper behind-the-scenes experience. It’s like a special little club. I think that creates a sense of community that we’re all in this together. Room for plenty more!
Is there anything else people should know about raising money through crowdfunding?
Expect the unexpected and be prepared to work your butt off! It’s a lot, but it’s so worth it! Just do your thing, stay focused and believe in yourself.
What’s next for you?
We’ll be getting into the studio and recording this album! I have some shows I’m working on and I’m focused on making this the best that it can be. It’s an incredible process. I really feel even better about it since I launched this Kickstarter campaign. It’s opened my eyes to a lot of great things! I hope you’ll all join me on this journey and check out my Kickstarter. Every little bit counts and I appreciate the support.
I want to thank Jamie for a great campaign review. He really went all out sharing his experience crowdfunding music and there are a ton of great points here for others looking to crowdfund their dreams. Check out Jamie’s Kickstarter crowdfunding page and his website at jamiealimorad.com.
If you’ve got a crowdfunding campaign you’d like featured or just have some advice you’d like to offer other crowdfunders, drop me an email or contact me through the blog.