At Shade, we have had an exciting journey with our crowdfunding campaign: We have campaigned for 60 days and have raised more than $400,000 with the support of more than 1,000 backers. Our campaign is one of the most successful ones in Denmark so far, and we reached our initial goal of $50,000 within less than 20 hours.
How did we make this happen? Was it just luck? A great product? The right team? In this blog piece, we want to share some of our experiences with you on running a successful campaign to bring your product to market!
If you are interested in why we chose to do a crowdfunding campaign in the first place, feel free to browse through a blog post we have done about this.
Doing a crowdfunding campaign is quite a task and cannot be done overnight. It requires a lot of preparation, hard work and of course passion for the product or service you are trying to introduce to the market.
What we started out with, was of course coming up with a sensible plan. What needs to be done in order for the campaign to get started in time? Which materials, resources and assets do we need? How many people with which expertise do we need on our team to make this work?
We have been preparing the campaign for around 3 months with around 3-4 dedicated people working behind this. For us it was always important to be very transparent on what we are doing and to bring our vision and passion across. A big part of this, is to bring your message across visually. Hence a lot of work hours went into the preparation of visuals to present the product from every different angle, for every situation.
Of course, we also needed to have a strong and convincing campaign video as it is the first thing people will see and base their decisions on. Our campaign video included many work hours of our own team members and we additionally had some professional help to support us in showcasing the product in the right light.
Choosing the right platform
The next question we asked ourselves is which platform to use for our campaign. We have been using Indiegogo as they seemed to be the right platform for our start-up at the intersection of design, tech and entrepreneurship. We also found the tracking options to be quite nice with this platform (you want to get data out of it such as how your backers and potential buyers found you).
Additionally, we also found it beneficial to make our sales in USD as it is a more universal option that goes well with our global sales strategy. Either way, other platforms have similar and great offers as well, so make sure to dig into the pros and cons of the alternatives before you choose one.
Indiegogo provides you with a contact person that will help you to coordinate the process and is at hand every time a question arises - and they will :-).
Building up a community
We also focused on building up a community and excitement around our product before we launched. You don’t want to stay quiet and all of a sudden launch the campaign when there is no one who is excited about your product yet. Therefore, we aimed to engage our followers as they also helped to spread the word about our campaign. We kept them updated, provided them with insights from the team, had a launch party - our community is key!
We have always put a lot of focus on transparency and always tried to be as openly as possible about what is happening at Shade. We also made realistic promises as we did not want to get hopes up and disappoint anyone in the end.
Also, don’t underestimate the amount of responses and inbound messages you will receive once your campaign launches. Even though you might have done a good job at communicating many aspects about your product and company, people will have many questions. Make sure to plan in enough resources for that beforehand, prepare an internal Q&A document to use for user requests and get back to them as soon as possible. Keeping a soft tone always helps – even if sometimes you might be faced with criticism or even trolls who want to test your resilience :-).
PR and communication
Before and during the crowdfunding campaign we have sought external support in terms of press and media relations. This might be a deciding factor for the success of your campaign as well. We will provide more insights on PR and Communications in one of our upcoming blog pieces, so stay tuned!
Know your backers
You want to know who the people are who have decided to support you, so make sure to keep in constant touch with them. In order to understand who they are and why they decided to make a purchase, we have sent out a survey to our backers to get more details. We also included a comment section where they could let us know about any questions or comments they might have for us. This was very viable for us as we got to understand what is important to them and what we need to consider and incorporate in the development process. We also shared these backer insights we received and published the Q&As as they can be very helpful for your audience.
We also came up with a world map to see where our backers come from. If you are engaging in social media advertising, this might be a helpful tool for you as well.
Work doesn't really get any less after finishing a crowdfunding campaign (sorry!) :) Our focus now is finalising supplier negotiations, to keep the development process going strong as well as plan the production for the products.
For us, it is important to keep our backers updated about the development process by using the Indiegogo function or an external provider such as Mailchimp. Many other crowdfunding campaigns fail to keep their backers in the loop and they are left disappointed. They are your customers and you will get to learn a lot from them, so make this a priority!
We hope you found this article helpful and – as always – if you have any questions or comments for us, shoot us a message to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Best wishes from the whole Shade team in Copenhagen!