21% of crowd funding campaigns fail to raise even a single dollar. One in five project creators just don’t seem to sync with the crowd, despite some of these having great project descriptions and fantastic rewards. How you engage the crowd, and (more importantly) how you bring on your first followers is key to achieving your funding targets and meeting (or exceeding) your crowd funding goals.
It is a well documented fact that strangers are unlikely to pledge their support to a crowd funding campaign until it reaches at least 25% of its funding target. The importance of engaging the crowd and doing so early cannot be overstated. A project creator needs to ensure that their “nearest and dearest” (family, friends, neighbours, workmates, etc) are primed before the campaign starts, ready to jump on board as soon as the campaign goes live, giving it momentum right from the start, and putting the campaign onto the radar of strangers very early in its funding timeframe.
Over 2 million people are familiar with The Shirtless Dancing Guy – the You Tube video that explains so graphically (and in a fun way) in less than 3 minutes how to create a movement, and engage your first followers. The lessons are simple and so very true when the parallels to crowd funding are explored:-
- Make yourself easy to follow (your project description needs to be clear and simple), and a video helps to convey your message
- Engage your first follower early, as they will show others how to follow, and just how easy it is to do so
- Embrace your first followers as an integral part of your campaign, and ensure that people see it is as much about the followers as it is about the campaign itself
- Underscoring the importance of getting to 25% of your target before strangers will jump on board, you need to start to build a crowd (of followers), as a crowd is news. A movement must be public
- Outsiders need to see more than just the leader (or project creator). Everyone needs to see the followers, because new followers emulate followers, not the project creator
- As more people jump on board, it is no longer risky to follow. If they were on the fence before, there is no reason not to jump in once momentum has reached its tipping point
- Once momentum is achieved, followers will be part of the “in crowd” once they follow. In fact, there becomes a point where they will follow purely so that they don’t get left behind
Just like when we were kids and headed off to our favourite swimming hole. We would all stand on the side, urging each other to jump in, with the promise of following close behind. Not until someone actually jumped in did the swimming actually begin. And not until a few of the gang were actually in the water was it no longer cool to be left standing on the edge, and everyone was in. The trick was to get everyone primed on their way to the river so that we didn’t waste too much time standing on the rocks. Otherwise swim time was over with people left standing on the rocks when it was time to go home.
As with any movement, a crowd funding campaign involves the early engagement (or even priming beforehand) of advocates and “super-fans” – those that will jump on board early, and show others it is alright to do so, as well as validate your campaign. It is the first followers that are very much the key to your crowd funding success.