If you caught our last interview in this series, you’ll know that Ran Cory is the Creative Director behind more successful campaigns than you can shake a (Magic) stick at. Silent Partner, Angel, RideOn, his list of top earning campaigns is exhaustive. So we thought it was high time someone asked him for a few crowdfunding tips to help us launch the next runaway crowdfunding success.
1. Is your idea any good?
Your mum likes it, and your best friend nodded enthusiastically when you pitched the idea, but how do you know if your campaign is good enough to get strangers excited? “You can ask the people around you.” Ran agrees, “But they have to be honest, and there’s no guarantee they will be. Before you invest money and time in a campaign, take out a Facebook advert. If lots of people click on an advert, and you haven’t spent a fortune on it, then that’s a good indication that there’s a market for your product. If no one clicks? Then it might be time to head back to the drawing board.”
It’s a great idea, but even if you’re only investing $20 in the advert, make that money work. Set up a simple web page for your product with a signup form on it and link it to your Facebook ad. Not everyone who clicks will give you their email address but, even if you only collect five people’s details, it’s a good start.
2. Is your campaign original?
“Competitor research is really important,” Ran emphasizes more than once. “You need to know what makes your product original, and why people will choose you over everyone else out there. For Angel (a wristband that measures blood oxygen, Bp and other health metrics) we were competing against Nike and Fitbit. The small companies,” He jokes. “We looked at what they were doing and realized that Nike only works with one or two apps, so we made our wristband open platform. This meant it had multiple uses and could work with iPhone and Android apps, which gave us a competitive edge – as well as a whole new market. There are 3 million developers out there, and suddenly we had a product that could work with their apps and make them money as well. Targeting our campaign at developers became a really important aspect of our strategy. These people had an incentive to invest in Angel, and we had ambassadors who shared our campaign with their networks.” The moral of that story? Do your research.
3. How long should you spend preparing for launch?
The million dollar question. From choosing the right crowdfunding platform to planning a strategy and shooting your campaign video, there’s a fair bit to do before launch. So how long should you spend tinkering before putting your idea out there? “That depends on your product.” Says Ran, “If it’s seasonal, you need to launch at the right time of year when it’s relevant to customers. If you’re launching a tech product then the sooner, the better – before someone else has a chance to come up with the same idea. If your product is innovative and different, then it pays to take your time and build up a community. There really is no right answer but, as a rule, I would say a minimum of three months.”
4. How should you prepare for launch?
There’re boxes you know you need to tick; video, prototype, social media campaigns. But what about the rest of it? “Know your market,” Ran stresses again. “Invest time discovering who your competitors are, why they are successful and what they do differently to you. A well-designed strategy is the key to success.”
If you’ve spent any time on Ran’s website, you’ll know that campaign videos are also a key component of his success. “Everyone is copying each other and doing the same video,” Ran explains. “The founder talking, a product shot that’s not interesting. You have to do something creative and innovative that keeps people watching longer than 15 seconds.”
As important as strategy and campaign videos are, when it comes to crowdfunding tips, our campaigners want to know how to build that all important community. “It is essential,” Ran agrees. “You have to work hard to find the people who will be interested in your product – bloggers, influencers, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups. The key thing is to be active in these communities. You shouldn’t be selling your product to them; you should be selling yourself. Comment and share insights and information they can’t get anywhere else. You need to build a reputation as someone worth listening to, so that when you say ‘Hey, I have this product launching on Indiegogo that’s great’ people trust you enough to click through and engage with your campaign.”
5. What makes a successful campaign?
Well, we couldn’t have one of crowdfunding’s Big Dogs in the chair without asking for the ultimate crowdfunding tip. “A good story,” Ran smiles. “Told well.”