|Alternative Funding Network|
There are a number of key points to consider and it should be stressed that no two campaigns are identical. There are hundreds of things that can help or hinder a campaign. Generally though, these areas need considering first:
· Vision and value
· Audit other campaigns
· Audit your platform
· Update frequency
· Channels for communication
· Video production
· PR (events, launch, press etc.)
As in any communication activity, the very first thing to consider is the demographics of your audience. Who are you trying to communicate with and why? These are some of the most basic questions - yet they can also be the most challenging for any SME.
This knowledge is really important because it serves to align the value offered through the narrative in the crowdfunding campaign with the value the crowd are seeking.
Without knowing the value that the crowd expect from your campaign you are going to struggle to gain traction. Think of it this way; any campaign makes promises to the crowd and these promises are a value proposition that need aligning.
One of the best ways to get started is to look at your existing networks you engage with and make judgements based on their preferences. Ask how the vision you are trying to create ‘fits’ with the network you have established. This is vital as you need to have a working relationship with the network before you launch - this is crowdfunding after all - no crowd equals no funds!
Audits are a vital element of the mix and allow you the time to really study the platforms and other campaigns that are running on them. Sophisticated software is not needed - a simple word document or spread sheet is enough. Capture relevant information and disregard the rest - you will quickly find you are overwhelmed if you try to capture all the information on each campaign that looks interesting.
The basic information relevant to most campaigns is:
· Category of the campaigns (remember it may appear in more than one)
· Length of time the campaign is running for and the season
· The raise (amount they are asking for)
· Communications (channels being used and frequency + what stories are being told)
· Team (who they are and how well they are connected)
· Success or failure?
Likewise the platforms audit is straightforward and needs to tell you the process of going live, how quickly you can get the funds, how easy they are to communicate with and lastly, their size. It may be that a smaller less established platform could benefit you more than an established platform with a larger following.
For many SMEs the hardest thing can be the scripts (some people like to use the term ‘content’ or ‘copy’). At minivation we tend to break this down into campaign page scripts (the main page of the campaign), update scripts (for the update page and social media) and lastly the video scripts (with basic direction cues, i.e. ‘single presenter in a library’).
Collectively these scripts tend to take more time than any other part of the process. But they are an essential part of crafting a campaign. Without a clear and concise call to action the campaign may not be understood or simply untrusted by the crowd.
Next, an SME should start to think about the frequency of the updates and the channels for deeper engagement with the crowd. Updating through the platforms own page has been proven to be an essential element of a campaigns success. Related to this are the channels you are going to use to further engage with your crowd (Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter are the most obvious examples here).
Perhaps one of the most important elements is the video production. Depending on your level of competence with this area, it is worth spending some time and money on this part of the campaign. Crowds will have very little information on you and the team behind the campaign, this information is also asymmetrical and one way to start sending quality signals to the crowd is through a good video production.
Updates on video can be shaky handheld affairs but we would always recommend the main video be properly produced and edited with good dialogue and as inclusive of the team behind the project as possible.
Finally, PR opportunities should be considered and thought through. This is in terms of pre-launch spoilers, launch, live phase and lastly post-campaign. These activities can be as complex as needed but must dovetail with the core aims of the campaigns vision.
Any serious campaign will have started six to eight weeks ahead of its launch. The bottom line here is the longer you can give it, the better the chances of success. This of course means building a coherent, cohesive and concise plan.
No matter the size of the campaign, these areas are essential if your plan is going to gain vital traction and succeed. One of the simplest methods we use with clients are timelines. Nothing more complicated than a simple arrow drawn on a big piece of paper. To this we add sticky notes to write down the things that need doing and then map them out on the timeline. It doesn’t need to be a sophisticated planning model. In fact some of the most effective solutions have emerged using simple tools - like a pencil and paper.
By Chris Buckingham