Everyone who launches a crowdfunding campaign dreams about wild success. But the unfortunate reality is that most campaigns fail—about 62 percent on Kickstarter alone.
That said, if you’re launching a campaign, you need to ask yourself: If I am wildly successful, will I be able to deliver to my core supporters?
At OEN’s recent Angel Oregon Showcase, three local crowdfunding heroes convened to discuss how to not only prepare for a successful crowdfunding campaign, but also how to deliver on it if you do in fact achieve wild success.
The conversation, moderated by Lauren Wallace of Tonkon Torp, featured Ryan Grepper of The Coolest Cooler (over $13 million raised), Matt Capozzi of North Drinkware (over $500,000 raised), and Terry “Starbucker” St. Marie of Built Oregon (over $32,000 raised).
Ryan, Matt, and Terry discussed the seven essential “Ps” of crowdfunding: Pitch, Promise, PR, Premiums, Process, Performance, and Passion.
Here’s a recap; see the video above for the full-length panel discussion.
Terry “Starbucker” St. Marie of Built Oregon on pitch and passion:
The key questions you have to ask yourself are: What is the story you want to tell? What is your passion? You have to get to the essence of the pitch. What’s the problem you’re trying to solve and how are you solving it?
What we did was all about passion, a passion for Oregon entrepreneurship. We thought there were more stories to tell in this state that weren’t getting told. You really have to put that passion for whatever you’re doing on that page somehow. If you can do that, you’re going to make it.
Matt Capozzi of North Drinkware on promise and process:
We made small, medium, and large-scale plans. Our small-scale plan was to make a couple hundred glasses and pack them out of our basement. But we also had to consider, what would happen if our campaign grew to be bigger, way bigger, gigantically bigger than we could have thought?
We realized how important it was to have strategies in place before launching the campaign, and we met with third-party logistics groups in case the campaign got to a scale that was bigger than we could handle out of our basement.
What you’re doing on Kickstarter is Kickstarting a business. You might get within 30 days what you would otherwise get out of a 3-5 year growth plan. We ended up going from zero to a year 5 projection, and we had to be confident we could deliver on the promise.
Ryan Grepper of The Coolest Cooler on PR, premiums, and performance:
What I’ve found to be the most effective way to get press for a Kickstarter campaign is to first fail in an earlier Kickstarter campaign and find out what doesn’t work. Every campaign launches with an expectation that someone is going to find out about it and that’s going to be your golden ticket. But you have to prepare for other alternatives.
From a PR standpoint, we didn’t have a big enough list of supporters when we launched our first campaign. We wasted our 30 days trying to get attention. So afterwards, we went back to the basics, improving the prototype and building the biggest list of backers we could. The potential energy we could tap into on day one would have a ripple effect. You can’t control if your story is going to get picked up. You can control getting someone’s email address.
I don’t think there are enough letters in the alphabet to capture where we ended up compared to our initial A plan. We’re so grateful to the backers who supported us. From the day we crossed the finish line, on Day 2, the rest of our focus has been on over-delivering to our backers. Because you can’t make 62,000 coolers overnight, the next best thing is to share the process with your backers, so, 1) they don’t think you’re on a yacht in the Maldives, and 2) they become a brand ambassador.
We launched a site and a weekly production blog to give people a snapshot of where we are, what we’ve accomplished, and what still has to be done. As long as it’s moving, you know something is happening. The 10% of our backers who are actually paying attention are going to be our most vocal opponents if we don’t share this information.
See the full panel discussion: