15 Hacks to Raise the Most Money for Your Indiegogo Campaign

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Indiegogo is no longer just for filmmakers. The largest crowdsourcing campaign in history was on Indiegogo… and it wasn’t a film, it was tech; Ubuntu Edge open source, a smartphone and desktop PC device getting over 12 million dollars in contributions.

There are 3 vital questions to ask when putting together a campaign;

1- Is the thing I’m raising money for a great product?

2- How am I talking about my product?

3- And the most important question – To whom am I talking to?

In this article we’ll get into how to effectively answer these questions.

Adam Chapnick, was Indiegogo’s first employee, gave a talk produced by LA Chamber’s BixeExchange, to a small group of local business owners about how powerful Indiegogo can be in launching a product.

He shared, ‘When creating a campaign it’s key to remember that people are fans of you – not the actual product, so you want to be sure to communicate your why.’

Crowdfunding is meant to be engaging. It’s a mutual exchange between two parties looking to benefit from knowing one another. Not a person standing on a soap box begging for donations.  The way to look at crowdfunding is to think of it like creating a campaign that opens up a world of opportunity and experience for viewers to tap into and be a part of.

This means when creating a campaign you need to brainstorm ways to give a personal touch to your contributors. For instance, if you are building water wells in indigenous areas, send your contributors a photo of the people your campaign helped showing them drinking the water.

‘Asking for money’ is doing it wrong, messaging is what matters. Imagine if you go to your husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, and say ‘I need your help’… no matter how much they love you, the statement naturally leads to a quick mental reaction of ‘what do you want’.

Finding something you can offer is more powerful than asking for money and additionally, finding an offer that provides people with the feeling they are making a difference in this world, creates even more of an impact. This would influence someone to eagerly want to contribute to a campaign rather than feeling they are doing you a favor.

Now that you understand the successful crowdfunding mindset let’s dive into the tips and tactics…

1. Transforming a Contributor into a Loyal Supporter.

The goal is to transform the causal purchaser into a loyal supporter. Your intent should be to monetize consumers in alignment with their passions. In simple terms; People are trading their money for an experience.

For example,  let’s say someone has always wanted to be a rockstar, but they are a dentist.  You’re a musician and want to get a quality album made using studio time. Studio time is costly so you turn to Indiegogo to create a campaign. Now, let’s say this dentist cruising your campaign loves your same style of music and it’s been his dream to be in a band. You have created a ‘perk’ on your campaign that by contributing $100 bucks that dentist can gain access to sing on your album for one song.

Point is, think about what experience your contributors desire in their lives and how you can provide that for them. Create your perks correlating to contribution amounts. $25 dollars get the album, $50 dollars have your name on the DVD cover, $100 sing on one of the tracks, etc. So in essence, people are rewarded for donating.

Another incentive is to give contribution options based on causes people believe in.  1FaceWatch did an incredible job of that in their campaign.  Each color of their watch represented a different cause; if you bought Red, a portion of your contribution went to Red Cross, Pink went to breast cancer, etc. People ended up buying multiple watches because they didn’t want to pick just one cause.  It was no longer about the watch, it was about that contribution making a positive change in this world. Test various perks on your campaign to see which ones are the most successful.

2. Blogger Outreach.

First, you must form relationships with bloggers. Blogs are a huge part of marketing. Finding bloggers online and engaging with them should start right away, not wait until you’re product/campaign/website is ‘ready’. Start reaching out to just LISTEN to what they are saying now. Follow them on Twitter, read their blog posts, if they do guest posts read those as well. Get to know your target bloggers.

3. The Value of Having a $5 Perk.

When you initially setup your campaign the automatic contribution amount defaults to $100 dollars rather than zero. This will increase money raised. Add multiple donation options so people have a choice and may give more. DO INCLUDE a $5 option because you want to think of that option as a person contributing spirit to your campaign and the possibility that they may share their spirit online with their friends in the social web means that $5 option could lead to larger donations from other contributors within their network. This ‘$5 spirit option’ ends up turning into an average of $74 dollars for each sharer referrals so YES an $5 is totally worth it.

4. Hacking the Contribution Progress Bar.

People outside of your friendship circle, i.e. strangers, will not donate until the progress bar shows 20% to 30% (this number is lower in the gadgets category and higher in causes category) — no one wants to be the first. When your progress bar is OVER 20% strangers are way more likely to give.

This means you want to reverse engineer your goal. Your action plan is to be responsible for 20-30% of the money contributed by asking your friends and family for their support first which will get that progress bar to where it needs to be, then the rest will be from strangers.

5. Soft Launch and Hard Launch.

You’ll want to have what’s called a ‘soft launch‘ and a ‘hard launch‘. What this means is, in a soft launch tell specific people, (your friends and family), you’ll be launching a campaign for this amazing project — email your close network the date when the campaign will be going live. Suggest an amount for them to give, $20 or $7, just make sure to do your math so you can plan on achieving the progress bar status you want (20-30%). Make your campaign live on that date, (for example, Sunday May 9th). Separately, but in tandem to your soft launch, prepare for your hard launch. This is where you go to influencers, bloggers, media and press, but instead of saying May 9th, tell them a later date (for example, Tuesday May 11th) and ask them to wait to publish any news on your campaign until that later date (May 11th). The soft launch will move the status bar closer to your goal of 20% raised so when the hard launch triggers and bloggers publish their stories about your campaign strangers reading the posts who visit your campaign page will be more apt to contribute since they see your progress bar is quickly move forward and they are not the first in line to contribute.

6. Perk Pricing Hacks.

Campaigns with a $25 perk raise 35% more money than ones without a $25 perk. The amount should be $25 (not $20). It’s a science. Also be sure to have an absolutely awesome $100 perk. Then throw in a $15 and $85 dollar perk that aren’t as good as the $25 and $100 perks in order to increase the value of the perks that are just a few dollars more ($25 and $100). This technique is called price anchoring.

7. How to Make Your Campaign a Safe Place to Contribute.

It’s been proven that campaigns that have more than one campaigner make more money. ‘Campaigners’ are people listed on your team and it doesn’t matter who it is; can be your Mom, best friend, team mate,  just matters how many teammates you have. When people see ‘you have all these people involved’ they feel safer about giving you their hard earned money. They use it as a vetting mechanism in order to feel that they are safe contributing and not being scammed.

Here’s what it looks like;

indiegogo team.png

8. Social Profiles.

Campaigns that have 4 or more external social links on your campaign page do best.  So be sure to set up links to your Facebook, Twitter, Website, YouTube and LinkedIn.

 Looks like this;

indiegogo social.png

9. Timeframe.

Somewhere under 47 days is where people are successful fundraising. This means to make sure to set your campaign time to go longer than 47 days.

10. Post Updates.

The more you post project status updates about the journey and progress, the more money you make — updates don’t go to the world, they only go to current contributors. By posting updates those contributors have more reasons to share your campaign with their friends who then feel inspired to become contributors as well. The sweet spot where you contribution numbers start to soar is posting 31-50 updates.

 Here’s an example;

sensibo indiegogo.png

11. Add Photos/Video.

Adding project photos and/or video increases the success rate as well. The key number is 10+ pieces of media, any combination. Can be video or photo or both. 3 minutes is ideal video time length.

12. Campaign Description.

In the first line of your description under the video have what you’re going to do with the contributions. For example, ‘for every contribution I will give X to XYZ organization’. Any photos directly beneath the video should not be product shots, they should be personal photos to humanize your product. State what you’re considering doing if a person participates in contributing, that you’ll also build/create XYZ and include that under that initial text as well. Use words like “bring” instead of the word “help”. Remember you’re not standing on a soap box begging. You’re creating a mutually beneficial experience.

13. Video Production.

Looking for someone to help you create a magnetic video showcasing your product? Check out Smartshoot which is a site of videographers ready to lend their creativity to your campaign development by crowdsourcing their ideas and services. TheSunJack, who used this resource, said to expect video production to take about a month and allow at least 2 weeks extra solely to put together your campaign.

14. Accepting Money via Credit Card.

One secret payment insight most people aren’t aware of is with other crowdfunding platforms is that money pledged is not immediately drawn from the buyers account so purchasers get pissed when they are charged a month later, or their credit card may be maxed out, or reached it’s expiration date. With Indiegogo, people get charged immediately. Indiegogo uses direct credit card processing.

15. BONUS: Hidden Money.

When you finally launch a campaign pay attention to the comments area on your campaign. You’ll discover what your future customers really want; colors, sizes, accessory types, features. Maybe you launch a necklace and people love the style, but wish they could wear it as a bracelet, it’s a cue to > create a bracelet! After all, these contributors are the people funding you to do so.

In conclusion, You’re putting yourself out there to fund your dream project by helping potential contributors live their dreams and in end a mutually beneficial crowdfunding relationship is made.

Espree Devora

*the Girl who Gets it Done* Espree created WeAreLATech which unites LA Tech founders, investors, engineers and creatives via incredible offline activities, the 1st LA Tech podcast "WeAreLATech" featuring LA Startups fueling this city to become a top destination for tech and innovation and a calendar of all the Los Angeles tech events (updated weekly) which can be found both via WeAreLATech mobile app. Additionally she produces and hosts the #womenintech Podcast and "Hello Customer" podcast. In addition to being a contributing journalist and panel moderator for TechZulu she has provided seminars in entrepreneurship and technology to many corporations and universities including CBS, SXSW, Disney and USC Executive MBA. On her blog, SaveBusinessTime.com, she enjoys curating and reviewing the best Productivity Tools for Startups

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