You've worked hard for the 30 days your kickstarter was live, toiling away over updates and social media - calling in favors from everyone in your inner circle.
Finally, it happens. Your crowdfunding campaign ends successfully, and you can walk away victorious. This is the dream most people have when they start working on a crowdfunding project, but unfortunately it's the moment when the hard work really begins. Trying to translate this windfall of cash into something that resembles a sustainable business, is the most challenging part of running a crowdfunding campaign.
It's by no means an easy feat, and few projects are more than 1 hit wonders that fade into obscurity after interest wanes. Here are several tips to ensure you have the best shot at success after your campaign ends.
Tip 1: Use Post Crowdfunding Apps To Manage Surveys And Increase Revenue
When: 2-3 weeks before the campaign ends
If the project looks like it's going to be successful, 2-3 weeks before your campaign ends is a good time to start thinking about post funding tools for completing surveys and capturing more pre orders. You've done a good job generating buzz, and you want to allow people to get in on the campaign, even if they miss it being live. Backerkit and Crowdox are two tools that manage upsells as well as surveys, and will help you generate additional revenue after the campaign is over. We used crowdox for managing our surveys and collecting late backers, and it was a huge help. Not only were we able to offer robust surveys to our backers, but we collected an additional $6,000 in late pledges and upgrades. If you are planning on fulfilling orders yourselves, Crowdox is probably the best option, but if you have a lot of pledges and are having a third party fulfillment center manage your pledges, you might want to look at Backerkit.
Tip 2: Stick To An Update Schedule
When: Once or twice a week until the pledges are fulfilled.
Sending out a well thought out thank you update is crucial, and it lets your backers know what to expect in the coming months. Backers like to see that you're making an effort to be transparent, and in almost all cases bad news is better than no news. Be open, honest, and share a peek into the actual finances involved with putting this project together. It will help build good will, and make your backers more open to supporting you in the future. Also it's important to stick to a consistent update schedule going forward. Once every week or two, inform people how to project is going, and the progress you've made since the last update. We made all our updates available to the public, and sent them out once a week until the project was fulfilled.
Tip 3: Build An Ecommerce Store With Shopify
When: 1-2 Months after the campaign.
You want to be building you Ecommerce presence while you're waiting for your goods to finish production. Shopify is best in class, inexpensive, and can scale with you as your business grows. They also offer an app marketplace to integrate all the tools you would need to promote your store, and they even have a theme specifically for crowdfunding graduates who need to get a site up quickly. To get some images and graphics for your store looking great, use canva for simple image editing. There's a lot you can do without the help of a designer or developer these days. We the store for the MonoShot over the course of a month, and while it's tempting to spend the money raised to get a really slick site right off the bat, it's important to make sure you have the basics in place first.
Tip 4: Integrate your online store with a fulfillment provider.
If your shop is successful, you'll get to the point where managing and sending out orders will take up a large portion of your day. Finding a fulfillment provider is an essential step into the big leagues, and the time it saves is worth it's weight in gold. Shipwire and Fulfillrite have strong Shopify integrations, and allow your orders to be sent out automatically from their fulfillment centers all over the world. They have plans to match any budget, and you'll sleep better knowing you're leaving shipping up to the pros.
Tip 5: Stay engaged on social media
When: unfortunately, forever
A lot of times, creators will hit social media really hard when the campaign is live, but trickly off to posting once or twice a week once it's live. Social media is an investment that might not pay off for quite some time, so the key thing here is to stay consistent, and share valuable relevant content that would resonate with your readers. It can be time consuming, but you can learn a lot about your customers. Use a tool like Buffer to take the pain out of scheduling posts, and a tool like Crowdfire to gain more followers.
Tip 6: Make friends with Bloggers
When: Once your goods are in stock
Whenyou finally have your product in stock, you're anxious to start selling them to the masses. Reserve a few dozen units to send out as press samples. Use a tool like buzzsumo to find the content that would resonate with your readers, and then reach out via email to those sites and offer them a sample of your product for review. Chasing down bloggers can be a lot of work, and they get pitched on products often, but landing a solid blog article for the price of your product and shipping is going to offer a greater return on investment than any ad you can put out there.
Building a successful business obviously is a lot more complicated than the 6 steps listed above, but don't lose the fire that you had once the campaign is live. Try to learn as much as possible in the first three months, don't give up when sales start off slow, and you'll already be ahead of the curve.