Here's the truth: A lot of you are going to attempt to use Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or PledgeMusic to fund your next major project, and for some of you, it's going to be a roaring success. You're going to feel really, really good about yourself and what you're doing, and your supporters are going to be intrinsically involved in the process, making the whole thing that much cooler.
But then some of you – most of you – are going to hit a brick wall. You're going to spend hours upon hours promoting your campaign, personally messaging your dedicated followers and friends, begging people for money in the best possible way. You'll pour so much time and devotion into it only to not meet your goal and likely feel dejected and discouraged. And frankly, that's just not fair. Not with all the love you've poured into it.
So I'd like to skip the second scenario and zip straight to the first: meeting your goal, bonding with fans, and putting out a killer product that you can be proud of. I spoke to several artists and industry professionals to find out their most trusted go-to tactics to ensure a successful finish to your crowdfunding campaign.
Take advantage of Kickstarter's brand recognition
"When doing research on crowdfunding platforms, one thing I saw talked about a lot was that Kickstarter's brand is better recognized as opposed to Indiegogo or PledgeMusic. This is true. We got random backers from just seeing our image on the music section or our geographic location; the 'Staff Pick' got us a ton of traffic. Many people just troll through Kickstarter to find awesome rewards, even if they have no connection to the projects. We had a guy who's never heard our music say, 'Saw you on the front page, clicked through and noticed you had an awesome iPhone case – mine just broke.' We got plenty of backers (and subsequent iTunes/Bandcamp album buys) from complete strangers who found us via Kickstarter. Several media outlets exclusively cover Kickstarter projects and comb the site – we got podcast interview requests, press blurbs, and all kinds of attention just because people were looking for interesting things to write about." – Mike Shirley Donnelly, Curious Quail
When to launch your campaign
"Kicking off a [campaign] around 10:00 a.m. EST is a good time to get people's attention…. It's after the official start of most nine-to-fivers who have settled into their work day and cleared out their inboxes, while it's the crack of the morning for the West Coasters." – Rey Roldan, Another Reybee Production
How often to send out updates
"Email blast every four to five days to those on your newsletter list. Regular updates on your [campaign] page and a Facebook event helps to create awareness. [Send] personal emails to friends and fans who are not on your email list, but who have been supportive of your music all along. [Send] follow-up emails for those who have yet to donate or respond. Don't panic if you have a slump during the middle. Lots of folks wait 'til the very last minute to donate. Treat it like the campaign it is. You are a politician with a product you believe in, and you hope others will get on board and support you because they believe in you and your music." – Melanie Peterson, Toronto based singer-songwriter
"In terms of social networks that prioritize new activity (e.g., Facebook), if you get a steady stream of comments that keeps your initial [post] at the top, there's no need for a fresh thread. Best to post your updates in the initial thread. New posts become things to dodge for the casual Facebooker who can only check their account on breaks or intermittently during the work day. For Twitter and more 'streaming' networks, one or two tweets/posts is fine… but don't overdo it and become annoying. There is a point in which a crowdfunding campaign becomes a desperate 'money beg.' That’s the point in which you want to steer very clear. [Don't] waste too much time on Twitter or LinkedIn approaching strangers. It will be people who know and like you and the odd stranger who finds you on the [campaign] page and likes your music who donate the most. Don't say anything negative or pessimistic – keep it upbeat." – Rey Roldan, Another Reybee Production
Offer rewards that appeal to existing fans and potential new fans
"This point really depends on the size/level of your band; our reach doesn't extend that far beyond Northern California yet, and while we had a few general 'ship to anywhere in the US' fun rewards (custom Converse Chuck Taylor shoes, a custom Fender Telecaster, care packages, handwritten lyrics, etc.), most of the big-ticket items were all localized to our region. We had a lot of random Kickstarter traffic, and people sent us messages asking if we'd be adding more rewards for people farther away. It was a failing on our part: we focused on rewards that our existing fanbase would want – which makes sense to an extent as you're trying to mobilize that fanbase – but Kickstarter also served as a way to build a fanbase, and we didn't think about that. We could have changed the house show reward to a private Stageit performance or something similar, but we just weren't thinking about it at the time. You never know when some random person across the country wants to give you lots of money to support what you're doing." – Mike Shirley Donnelly, Curious Quail
In the end, the thing that's going to propel your campaign the most is your own passion and belief in your product. But hey, it never hurts to have some business-savvy techniques in your back pocket to help push that campaign through the roof!
Get more crowdfunding tips:
- 3 Great Kickstarter Alternatives for Musicians
- Curious Quail Raised $10K on Kickstarter – But Here's Why They Wouldn't Do It Again
- 5 Reasons Why You Didn't Reach Your Crowdfunding Goal
- 5 Crowdfunding Backer Rewards That Have Been Proven to Work for Indie Musicians
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the owner of Muddy Paw Public Relations. Muddy Paw specializes in working with up and coming artists on personalized campaigns designed to bring their careers to the next level. To date, we’ve secured placements on sites such as AbsolutePunk, Substream, Property Of Zack, PureVolume, Anti-Music, and many more.