You learn a lot of things from working with project owners. Without wanting to go over the top, I have to say that you learn from each and every project: from the ones which succeed beyond expectation, ones which succeed at the last minute and, unfortunately, we learn even more from the failed projects.
So I have noted 5 golden rules which will ensure your success...Perhaps not without fail (who can guarantee that?), but in any case will make your campaign run as smoothly as possible.
1) Your project is your showcase
Create your page with care! It’s the showcase of your idea. The confidence of your visitors isn’t acquired by magic: tell your idea like a story, try to interest your readers, to explain to them why your project is so great, so funny, so original. Avoid pathos; you are there to make your idea sparkle, not to depress people. And don't forget the most important: be careful with your spelling!
To illustrate your project, use a big and beautiful presentational picture which has a direct relationship with your project. This will appear in all the menus on the site, so choose it with care. Avoid blurry, gloomy or meaningless images. In your description, do your best to avoid big blocks of text, repetition and inaccuracies. Take care with your page layout, and be sure to add plenty of pictures (everyone likes pictures!)
Take the time to make a video. It’s the best way to explain your project and to convince people at the same time. There’s no need to make something extremely complicated, you can keep it simple but effective. Find a little idea, film yourself; be direct and smiley. As with your pictures, avoid webcams or videos which confuse more than they explain.
A well-presented project is infinitely easier to promote, so be demanding with yourself. Basically, help your supporters to help you!
2) Your campaign needs your attention and care
Once your project is online, don’t abandon it! It would be like planting a seed and then never watering it. Little chance it will flourish by itself.
The projects on Ulule always succeed thanks to the project owners themselves, through the focus they give to their ideas and by the creative rewards that they offer in return. Your funding will principally come from your network of friends, your family and your community, as explained in The 3 Crowdfunding Circles.
Without your motivation, your emails, your messages on social networking sites…without posting news on your project (they are sent to all your supporters, remember that!), basically, without taking care of your project, how can you hope to touch and convince your nearest and dearest and launch the dynamic which will lead to the success of your project? It’s one of the first things which visitors look at on your project: if you are active and really put your heart and soul into the promotion of your project, they will have faith in it too.
And I don’t mean you have to spend the entire day working on your project. A mere half an hour a day to respond to comments, talk about it on Facebook and Twitter, circulate news from time to time and send emails to your closest networks each week...the best way to see your idea flourish!
3) Communicate too much: it’s never too much
People seem to think that talking about their project is complicated. We might worry that our friends are going to consider it as advertising, spam or an attempt to delve into their purse. It's not like that. Your contacts and your friends will react very differently than if you passed around an ad: it’s about your project, created by your blood, sweat and tears. They are well aware of this, and well aware that it’s a personal project, which you are inviting them to participate in. And the more they see you promoting, the more likelt they are toparticipate and share your project with those around them…if they like you enough.
By providing regular news and information on the progress of your project, you will end up convincing even the most sceptical.
4) It’s never finished…until it’s finished
A crowdfunding campaign is above all a countdown: an amount to reach before the deadline.
Insofar as the visitors and supporters are concerned, they don’t always act with this element in mind. It’s not always the case that because you have more time it will be easier to collect funds.
Many people, including in your close circle, will wait ‘till the end of your campaign to support your project. They will wait until you have reached 50%, or will only seize the opportunity to support you because there’s only 2 days left before the deadline…we continually see projects take off like a rocket, then enter into a slow phase, and then pick up again at the last minute, until finally reaching the target.
It is thus vital not to be discouraged before the end of a project. Continue to communicate your project even if the percentage of the target is “late” in relation to the time left. A passage in a magazine, an info site (the Ulule team regularly sends reports of projects online to different media) and your funding can really take off.
5) You have the money. Say what you’re going to do with it!
So your project has finished and you have reached your target? Congratulations! You have cleared the biggest hurdle…thanks to your supporters. So don’t abandon them!
You will receive their email addresses as soon as the funding is over, so don’t hesitate to make a list so you can thank them. Keep them up to date with your progress, the advancements in your project, their rewards. Now that you have created a community of active supporters who appreciate and encourage your idea, it would be a shame to lose them.
Take the time to keep them up to date with the next stage in your adventure; consequently they will be more willing to follow and to give a helping hand. Your supporters are also potential ambassadors for your project, it doesn't take just you to continue after a successful launch!
- Be a copy cat!
Here are some examples of well presented projects which have all been successfully funded on Ulule. Feel free to take a look and copy their ideas...