We’re all familiar with the latest startup methodology, Eric Ries and the whole nine yards of what it takes to create a successful business. But practice and principle are rarely so simple. Worse still many founders suffer from cultural norms and close-minded thinking when working to grow their businesses.
Crowdfunding is the next step in the evolution of the lean startup. Companies, entrepreneurs and inventors are flocking to sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and others at ever increasing rates as the barrierz to entry are slowly reduced to nothing. We are living in an incredible watershed moment, a new age of crowdfunding fueled innovation and creativity is coming.
But before you suppose this as yet another piece promising the greatness of the crowd, continue on. Rather than reveling in the power of crowdfunding let’s explore a much less common yet broader reaching topic: what can you learn from this movement?
As a startup you’ll need every advantage imaginable and quite a few lucky breaks to succeed. Whether you choose the path of crowdfunding for your next venture or not, it’s worth considering what the premise of this maker movement can teach us about entrepreneurship as a whole.
6 Kick Ass Kickstarter Strategies That Startups Everywhere Should Be Doing
1. Startup Personality
Consumers are tired off big business boredom. What’s the appeal of buying from a Nike, Microsoft or Best Buy other than the product?
Here’s where small startups and crowdfunding campaigns shine. They give a glimpse into the story and struggles of the company, highlighting the founders and true nature of the business for all to see.
Whether you go to crowdfunding or not, take note of this interesting evolution in what it means to build a business. Rather than crafting a corporate entity devoid of humanity, personality or passion, backers and consumers alike are more and more supporting startups they can relate to.
2. Leverage Existing Platforms
The greatest struggle any entrepreneur grapples with is audience and exposure. You’re strapped for cash, seeking idea validation and a virtual nobody in the industry…how can you get your product, service or startup in front of potential customers?
With crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo drawing millions of visitors and backers monthly, it’s becoming easier and easier to reach audiences once unavailable to bootstrapped entrepreneurs. But crowdfunding isn’t the only avenue available.
Find where your target customers hang out. Start building a base there. From Amazon to forums, Reddit to social media sites there are millions of ways to shortcut the struggles of building an audience.
3. Use Video
Think back to the last crowdfunding campaign you backed, checked out or got excited about. What do you remember? What inspired you pumped about the product, the company, the vision? Betcha it was the video!
It’s these videos that are driving the virality, sales and success of Kickstarter’s greatest creations. So why do so few startups follow suit?
Sure videos can be expensive. They can be tough and time consuming to shoot as well…but the payoff can be enormous.
Look to the Blockbuster successes of Hollywood, there is no faster, more compelling way to tell a story. This is what you and your company, Kickstarter or not need to be doing. Use videos in your business to engage, inform and captivate audiences at all stages of the buying process.
Videos are short, sweet and to the point.
4. Amazing Product Photography
The power of pictures will vary greatly depending upon your target customer. One thing which never changes…people love beautiful images.
Scroll through the successes of Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Here you will encounter stunning product photography and amazing images around every turn…obviously perfect for the artistic audiences of crowdfunding.
But even in the less sexy sales, pictures are powerful. Whether selling the Mona Lisa, a new minimalist wallet or simple pencil it pays to be picturesque. The more images you add of the product, the process or the team itself you’ll find increased engagement, conversions and success as an almost all-inclusive rule of thumb.
Looks like Kickstarters got something right.
5. Long Form Sales Pages
Got a background in copywriting, sales or marketing? If so you’ve heard of the vaunted long form sales letter. This is exactly what it sounds like, a long sales page, product pitch or opt in form where you are trying to convince the reader to take an action.
Well this is precisely how crowdfunding campaigns operate. A well structured campaign(for more see the HEXO+ $1.3 Million Crowdfunding Case Study)pulls readers in with compelling headlines and thumbnails and continues to captivate and excite as they move down the page. By the end their doubts are dashed and desires stroked and hopefully a new backer and customer for life has been born.
Born from the masters of direct response marketing, sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are proving again and again how effective these methods are.
In any industry it pays to keep these concepts in mind when looking to grow and acquire customers.
6. Multiple Options/Tiers
Crowdfunding campaigns are rarely one size fits all. Backers and buyers across the board enjoy options.
The interesting thing…providing pricing tiers actually increases sales. Not only will properly priced options encourage greater customer satisfaction, you’ll also make additional moolah.
For physical products companies two phenomenon are play: price anchoring and upsells.
To best understand price anchoring consider professional sports. While the top athletes earn 10’s of millions of dollars a year, many highly talented rookies come in earning measly millions…wait millions? And yet it seems entirely reasonable considering the scale…this is price anchoring. Everything is relative.
This is not the only benefit of tiers or options in business however. From SaaS, ecommerce and even consulting for clients its pay to offer multiple products.
Look at multiple campaign Kickstarter companies like Noke and RocketSkates. The benefits that companies like these saw from launching consecutive crowdfunding campaigns can be seen in more established, big brand companies as well.
Between releasing new versions and constant product development, brands are always working to towards growth, success and long term sustainability. And really with an existing consumer base, set of users or clientele to sell to and trusted success in the industry, why be a one trick pony?
Crowdfunding is creating a buzz in business. That much is readily apparent. Not only are innovative platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo uncovering and enabling hidden gems of the startup world and helping to launch the next wave of creativity, their also giving an incredible proving ground for powerful business strategies the rest of the world ought take notice of.
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it feels foolish when considering creative advancement and that is exactly what crowdfunders everywhere are beginning to embody.
But what do you think? What other effective techniques of the Kickstarter creators of the world have you found particularly powerful in business? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the article, ideas and how you’re planning your own post-Kickstarter companies.