Should You Crowdfund Your Next Video Or Album?
It’s stressful. Talk to almost anyone who has run a crowdfunding project, and they’ll tell you that running a campaign isn’t easy, and that it’s usually filled with unexpected ups and downs – even when successful. On the emotional roller coaster scale, think Space Mountain… not the kiddie rides.
Plotting successful crowdfunding ventures demands a different kind of preparation than traditional product pitches. You’re reaching out to end consumers, not professional investors – a completely different and far more diverse audience. This may require knowledge of consumer marketing, social networks and social marketing techniques in order to converse with these customers, as well as some familiarity with customer acquisition and conversion as well.
It puts you and your ideas out directly in front of the public – and, potentially, the line of fire. Crowdfunding isn’t for the faint of heart or the terminally bashful. There’s also no opportunity to operate in stealth mode, meaning that competitors may be able to capitalize on public knowledge of your company or product.
Success requires investing tireless effort into ongoing social marketing campaigns, and constant self-promotion, throughout the entire duration of the fundraising campaign. If you’re shy, guarded or soft-spoken by nature, you’ll have to get over these tendencies to run a successful crowdfunding campaign – or find someone else to serve as a project spokesperson.
It requires that you be very creative about drumming up interest in your project, and it means you will be constantly looking for new ways to publicize, promote and otherwise call attention to your campaigns and surrounding efforts.
It doesn’t always work. That’s not to say that you should be discouraged about the chances of successfully crowdfunding a project, but you do have to be realistic, and prepare yourself for potential failure. This often means having to have a Plan B – and C, D, etc.
Crowdfunding requires that your project – whatever its theme, scope or contents – be something that interests a sufficient number of people strongly enough to motivate them to part with hard-earned cash. Part of the process of evaluating whether to undertake a crowdfunding effort is to take a careful, critical look at your project and assess the size of the potential audience to whom it will appeal, as well as the perceived value it will bring them. When you are executing the campaign, you’ll have to target this market specifically, and you’ll need to strategize how to engage them where they consume media, news, opinions and insights on a regular, running basis – no small task.
With crowdfunding, you assume responsibility for dealing with an often larger and potentially more diverse set of backers than under traditional investment scenarios – all of whom may have differing expectations and demands. Likewise, few examples exist thus far that illustrate the ramifications of crowdfunded products that have not been released, or where a product was pitched and funded, but a wildly different product was ultimately released. Consider the potential impact to your projects, livelihood and business.
Finally, no matter how interesting your project is, know that you will be competing against other projects – many of which may be vying for the same target audience, share of voice and pool of disposable income. And, as crowdfunding grows in popularity and notoriety, the commercial landscape will become even more competitive.