After promoting more than 4,000 crowdfunding campaigns since 2012, we are now considered experts according to Kickstarter and we wanted to create a public crowdfunding checklist for anyone who is interested in launching a crowdfunding campaign either on Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Crowdfunding is not just about launching a prototype of your idea. It’s about how you get into the business of transforming the idea into a mainstream product. Although it sounds like a whole new form of raising funds for your project, it is still quite similar to any other business model out there. Our crowdfunding checklist will help you get started and plan a successful crowdfunding campaign.
You still have an MVP which is why you still need a proper business structure. This doesn’t confine to the product idea alone. It’s about how you present it to the online audience (aka backers!) and structure your marketing plan. It’s about how you plan the whole business model starting with a simple crowdfunding project. So, to keep you on track, we are here with our Crowdfunding Checklist. Take a look:
Pre-Launch Crowdfunding Checklist
1. Design Your Product Prototype
2. Calculate Your Exact Funding Goal
Next step would be to set up a funding goal. We recommend setting a budget based on the percentage that you need to raise. This would be your minimum viable goal. Check our detailed article here.
3. Do Your Research on Past Crowdfunding Campaigns
You must consider doing research on past crowdfunding campaigns and create your own crowdfunding checklist based on your findings. Gather their strengths and weaknesses and try to incorporate them in your campaign. For example, if you are coming up with a wallet, check what other wallet crowdfunding campaigns have been like and which ones were successful. Try to find out that one aspect of those campaigns that made them tick. It’s very important to realize what works for your campaign and why.
4. Chalk Out Your Task Calendar
You need to form a proper calendar based on the activities you need to do. From designing a prototype to shipping the first version of your product, the calendar should be as detailed as possible. Here’s our favorite.
5. Set the length of your campaign
We also recommend a span between 30-45 days. Once you are done with the campaign, you can go for the InDemand program on Indiegogo and keep your orders coming. Once the entire crowdfunding phase is over, you must switch your own e-shop.
6. Use Crowdfunding Services
Start planning your budget for using the popular crowdfunding services that are available online. Platforms such as Gadget Flow, BackerClub, Kickbooster and so on. You must consider using them at least a month before your campaign starts. The best way to choose which one works for your campaign is to read UGC content in the form of testimonials and forum discussions. Check our detailed article here.
7. Create Your Landing Page to Capture Emails
You can do FaceBook Ads to spread the word. Try doing this at least 1-3 months before you launch your campaign. Also, make a list of all the sign-ups and use them as your newsletter subscribers. Check how this campaign got successful with Facebook Ads here.
8. Send a Monthly Newsletter with Updates
Create a newsletter and start sending monthly updates to your subscribers (sign-ups) regarding your campaign. You can use services like MailChimp, MailerLite or Campaign Monitor. Once you send the campaigns, track the open rates and click-through rates to see how many users are interested in your newsletter and work on it accordingly. Check our detailed article here.
9. Set Up the Social Media Channels
Go for FaceBook, Twitter, and Instagram. Additionally, make sure to have an attractive cover image that highlights your campaign and where it is live – Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Add images, videos or GIFs on your social posts as they perform better than links (only). Check our detailed article here.
10. Prepare a Social Media Campaign Chart
You must be regular on these channels and post your content at least once or twice per week before your campaign goes live. Twitter is also a great platform to look for influencers. You can also tweet and ask them if they can go through your campaign or give it a shout out if possible.
11. Prepare a List of Influencers
Look for influencers based on your product niche and ask them to spread the word. You can also collaborate with previous campaigns on Instagram or other social channels. Check our detailed article here.
12. Prepare Your Visual Assets on Time
This includes good lifestyle images of the product including GIFs and a crowdfunding campaign video. Try avoiding white background images as they don’t make your product look real. Instead, go for images that show your product in the real world and how it can be used. Our statistics say that lifestyle images perform 60% better than white background images.
13. Set Up Your Reward Tiers
Start setting your reward tiers based on your main goal. Your rewards should be related to the product and not just $1 Thank-You cards or $10 T-shirts and so on. In fact, those rewards work for the backers who consider your projects on a charitable ground. But otherwise, it’s quite vague to go for that kind of pledges instead of doing your reward chart based on the actual product. Think about bundles like 3+1 free or 4 + free shipping.
14. Prepare a Draft of Your Story
Craft your story and prepare a draft for the campaign. Always remember that crowdfunding is about the story and your journey towards making the product. Narrate your story in a more engaging way. It’s always wise to hire a copywriter to go through the entire project and make sure it looks perfect.
15. Reach Out to Media for Launch-Day Coverage
Reach out to media outlets for getting coverage on the day of your launch. You can either hire a PR firm like Command Partners or Smart Crowdfunding LLC to do it for you or try your hands on them yourself. Media coverage is essential to get the word out. But you should always know where to draw the line. Don’t try to overdo the whole thing. Be more professional and stick to the features of your project. If you have a million dollar idea, press attention is inevitable. Here’s a free cheat sheet and 7 proven steps to get your tech campaign in top-tier media for launch day.
16. Plan the Fulfillment Process
17. Show Up on Crowdfunding Forums
Start showing your presence in online crowdfunding forums like Kickstarter Campus as much as possible. This will help you increase your contacts and enhance your credibility at the same time. Answer questions or ask your doubts and listen to what others in the same field have to say.
18. Get Help from the Experts
If you are planning to raise more than $100,000 you definitely need some outside help like a consultant or an agency to guide you through the entire process. Our favorite consultants are Khierstyn Ross and Ivaylo Kalburdzhiev both of them have an impressive track record. You can also check the official experts page on Kickstarter.
During Launch Crowdfunding Checklist
1. Create Your Official Press Release
Once your campaign is live, you need to make sure that the word reaches out to the media on time. It would be advisable to create an official press release 24 hours before your campaign goes live. Send it to all the media outlets you have reached out before. That way, you’ll be able to spread the word immediately after your campaign goes live.
2. Send a Dedicated Newsletter Blast to Subscribers
Use a newsletter service like Campaign Monitor, MailChimp or MailerLite to send your subscribers a dedicated newsletter blast as soon as your campaign goes live. Keep updating them with the progress after two days and then after a week. Finally, give them a final shoutout five days before your campaign ends.
3. Schedule Social Media Posts from Beforehand
Ensure to have your social media queue filled up on Buffer. Keep posting updates about your campaign across social media channels and discuss its importance through your posts.
4. Respond to the Comments As Soon As Possible
Interacting with your potential backers is extremely important. Make sure to reply to those comments on Facebook, Twitter or your campaign page on time. You can use a service like Mention for this.
5. Track Your Traffic Sources
It’s always essential to keep track of your traffic sources. Tools like Bit.ly or referral programs like Kickbooster will help you understand where your traffic is coming from. But also keep it under consideration that mobile apps are not considered here. This is because referral attributes are being stripped from mobile apps.
6. Send Updates As and When Required
Sending updates about your campaign is vital. Whether it’s a stretch goal or an early delivery, you can do your updates once every two weeks. Don’t overdo it.
7. Get to 30% of Your Goal As Fast As You Can
You have more chances to get featured on Indiegogo or Kickstarter if your campaign reaches 30% of its goal within 48 hours. In fact, you can grab that attention by securing the first 30% of your goal from friends, family, and acquaintances.
8. Set Up Special Early-Bird Perks
Coming up with special early-bird perks is always a good thing to do. As a matter of fact, you can offer free shipping or 10% discount vouchers to websites or blogs or influencers and grab more attention from their users.
9. Prep a Stretch Goal Chart
Once you start getting more attention for your campaign, start setting up a proper stretch goal chart. That way, you can grab your backer’s attention even more.
10. Highlight the Press Coverage on the Crowdfunding Page
Just getting press mentions is not enough. You need to highlight them on your crowdfunding page as well. Follow a specific structure of highlighting your most popular press mentions with quotes. This will increase the credibility of your campaign.
Post-Launch Crowdfunding Checklist
1. Be Ready With the Fulfillment Process
Once your campaign is over, you must consider delivering the first batch to your backers as early as possible. Plan the fulfillment process with services like Fulfillrite and don’t let your backers start complaining because of an unwanted delay and make sure to keep answering any questions they may have.
2. Keep Updating Your Backers of the Progress
Update your backers about the progress once in every three weeks. Let them know that your project is under works and keep the excitement going.
3. Never Delay the Delivery Timeline
Avoid a delay in delivery as much as possible. In case you can’t, make sure to explain why you are delaying the delivery to your backers in detail. But we would still suggest you avoid a delay especially if you are planning a second or a third campaign. It would be wise enough to choose a later date for delivery in the campaign than delaying your proposed date.
4. Respond to All Genuine Queries
Never miss any query from your backers that comes your way. Additionally, if you have enough budget, outsource your customer support team and make sure all those queries are answered on time. Delaying responses can lead to angry backers. Turn on notifications on your mobile phone and respond to those emails and questions on time. Let your backers know that you care.
5. Switch to InDemand Indiegogo Program for More Orders
Once your campaign is over, you can switch to the InDemand program on Indiegogo to keep getting more pre-orders. Make sure you take orders only if you can fulfill them. You need not keep all the perks open in the InDemand program. Just go for special perks you can fulfill and keep getting those orders pouring in.
6. Launch a Web-Shop if You Can
If you think you can fulfill an entire second batch of pre-orders, then launch your web-shop. Don’t make it too detailed. A simple website based on Shopify that takes up pre-orders will do.
7. Participate on Podcasts for Media Attention
Voice out your success with the help of podcasts arranged by Art of the Kickstart, Crowdcrux and similar other platforms. It’s important to do these little things and make yourself more visible in the industry. Like we said before, crowdfunding is not just about a product. It’s also about the story behind the creation of that product. If you truly have an inspirational story, it’s better to spread it out.
8. Thank Every Backer Individually
You must go for a thank you video clip and newsletter for your subscribers and backers once the campaign is over. A little gesture of gratitude always works. It adds a personal touch to your overall campaign and makes you more visible in front of your backers.
9. Make the Packaging Attractive
Once you start working on the package delivery, you can also try and add a personal note to each one of them. Always remember that since this is your first batch, you must consider thanking all those who helped you with your campaign success. It can be anything from a thank-you note to a bookmark to chocolate for localities. But whatever you do, make sure your gratitude shows up.
We believe crowdfunding can be cracked if you structure the entire process in a proper way. This checklist is not just about ticking off every point and just moving ahead one step at a time. It’s also about getting into the details of each section of your campaign and working hard to do it right.
We have had many campaign creators asking us the key to a crowdfunding success time and again. Many believe that it has to do with the product. But we think it’s also about how you do it. Think of campaigns like EyeQue or the X-Frame Mechanical Watch. They got the success because of specific strategies they had utilized during their campaign. If you do the same, there’s nothing stopping you from having a successful campaign. We hope our crowdfunding checklist will help you get along with a smoother ride. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.