This is not just any post: rather than something to give an idea of the need for promotion in crowdfunding, especially in the many campaign proposals we receive regularly, this is a road map of everything you need to activate in order to successfully crowdfund your project. So do take some time to read it, and do whatever you need to do to put it to practice!
For these pieces of advice are part of the successful operation of a number of initiatives that have taken them to heart (although there are obviously other factors involved), such as Fixmedia, Yuwa at Donosti Cup, The Social Coin or Hackstory as well as many other successful projects. Of course, we're also making these Ten Rules available to anyone starting out on a crowdfunding project, in other places and platforms. If they find it useful, so much the better!
0. Promote, promote, promote
"No pain, no gain" (Popular proverb)
Financial, and other contributions won't come along by themselves. Much as we might publicise and promote it on Goteo, and much as other people might help promote it, it is a kind of effort that must be spearheaded by whoever leads the initiative. You must be prepared to invest time and energies in regularly promoting, throughout all the campaign. In this document, we try to compile some of the most important key points, while others might surprise you along the way, or might be very specific to the project. In any case, you need to be very proactive, insistent and you need to put your best at it (even better if it can be done in a team), or it won't come through.
Advice: Make a list of all the strong points, virtues and possibilities of the project, and another one with the kind of people and institutions who might be interested in it. Think about how and when you can communicate your project. Keep updating that list as the campaign moves forward.
1. The first days are critical
"To climb up the stairs, you need to start at the first step." (Walter Scott)
There is an initial promotional effort that must be undertaken by those of you that lead the project and your community or social circles (friends, comrades, acquaintances, family). Normally, it is only with a fundraising of between 20% and 30% that it has been proven that people attracted by the platform and other sources will take the step to contribute to the idea, following a kind of "herd effect". There are exceptions, but it's not worth it to risk becoming one.
Advice: When contacting the people closest to the project (those that you count on with definitely supporting it), remind them that it is important that they contribute as soon as possible, in order to generate an initial sense of trust, and in order to thus attract the interest of more co-financiers.
2. Combine various communication channels
"To repeat is to persuade with more detail" (Duke of Levis)
Aside from social networks, where it is important to insist regularly, varying the message, so that our friends and followers can stay up-to-date with the progress of the campaign, you also need to consider different channels, and to combine them. From a message template which can be adapted and sent by email, to conversations and even calls placed to certain people. We're campaigning. Much like the case of a real-life fundraising campaign, the more bases we can cover, the better.
Advice: Try to communicate any piece of news or update on the project simultaneously and adequately in each channel, trying to get to the point. In general, a series of brief and varied messages are better than a few longer ones.
3. Where is your community?
"If you search well, you will find." (Plato)
A campaign in Goteo is the ideal excuse to invest time in discovering or discovering new places and groups on the Internet where similar subjects or projects to the one you're promoting are talked about.</p> Try to dedicate some time to find them, contact them, and, if there is affinity, talk to them about your project and send them a link. Also, bear in mind that their knowledge and promotional skills can also come in handy, not only their financial support!
Advice: Actively search for online conversations that connect to what the project proposes. Use keywords in search engines (some have a section for searching in forums or in blogs) but also in networks such as Facebook, Identi.ca or Twitter, which have their own search engines.
4. Plan, and generate news
"If you want different results, don't always do the same things" (Albert Einstein)
Think that various parts or ideas from the project can be susceptible to be commented on in detail separately. That there are people or news that could be related. That every certain time you can do a status update on how is the campaign progressing. That there are rewards and needs that are interesting beyond their financial value. The more you share these arguments, the more visibility you will obtain. This will also happen if comments and questions are generated; comments and questions that must be answered nicely :).
Advice: The /News section of the project is like a blog, which you must take the maximum advantage of while the campaign is underway. Generate posts on new subject matter, adding images and videos, and each post will have a unique URL so that it can then be digitally promoted.
5. Find support in those that support you
"There are two ways to diffuse light: to be the lamp that sheds it, or to be the mirror that reflects it" (Lin Yutang)
In your user panel, you have access to a tool to write collective messages to all users who contribute to the campaign. Used with moderation, this tool can be used to ask for more ideas or contacts for promotion, even asking them to resend a message to their contacts and social networks. If you see support from someone interesting or important for the project, whose contact details you have, you can also contact them individually from your user profile on Goteo.
Advice: Review your email contacts and their personal or professional career in order to remind yourself of who has supported you in previous initiatives. Maybe there is someone or some institution which is interested again in what you do, and they can cofinance or open other paths for promotion.
6. Give thanks in public and individually
"Only one kind of excess is recommendable in this world: the excess of gratitude" (Jean de la Bruyère)
This item is, of course, derived from the previous one. As contributions, offers to help, and people promoting the project start adding up, you must regularly invest some time in thanking them for their help. And it would be much better if you did this in public, from the /Messages wall of the campaign, to the social networks where it is mentioned. Give thanks, whether they make their contribution explicit, or they say nothing in the end. Always show gratitude, it's free :).
Advice: From the project's Twitter account (or your own), follow the conversations and the people who show interest in the campaign. You can also use twitter.com/search with the project's keywords, and express thanks for every mention of it, either by user groups or individually.
7. Find influencers, and seduce them
"I never get angry at what people demand from me, but at what people deny me" (Antonio Cánovas del Castillo)
Often a tweet, a post or a comment in other media by a figure of authority can mean a big push for our project. Someone with a large following on social networks, or someone who works in radio or TV. A restless journalist, a new technology guru, a researcher or an expert in the field we're interested in. It's well worth the effort to send them a personalised message when the campaign is already underway to ask them for support and promotion. This obviously also applies to a radio or TV programme, and to organisations or collectives...</p>
Advice: Make the virtues of Goteo, as an open and collaborative crowdfunding social initiative, you own and the project's, in order to increase interest in the project in terms of how it is funded and promoted. If you know a journalist that might be interested, we can provide you with material to assemble a press release.
8. Follow progress
"Half of life is luck, the other half is discipline" (Carl Zuckmayer)
As different contributions to our campaign start taking place, we need to monitor its evolution: what kind of profiles support it, what messages or actions they react to, in exchange of what rewards, if they follow up on their support, etc. It is also recommendable to keep a count on how many similar people and contributions will be needed on average (weekly or daily) in order to achieve the minimum, and to thus be able to get an idea of the progress of contributions necessary.
Advice: From a certain moment onwards, it is important to incorporate an estimation of people/contributions necessary to achieve your goal in your communication. For example, "with only x people contributing x euros...", or "we're only x euros short", and recalculate this amount as you progress.
9. Don't loosen your grip
"Everything is yet to be done, and anything is possible" (Miquel Martí i Pol)
Even though they have had a good start and achieve a minimum regularity in the pace of their contributions, the majority of project achieve the final percentage of what they need in the last days of the campaign. This means that you must not give up until that moment, when the direct and clear message of what is still needed in order to achieve your goal must be reinforced to the maximum. Without appearing to be desperate, but without appearing too self-celebratory either (and, much less, remaining silent). The best proof that the project is worth the effort is that we're promoting it to the very end.
Advice: A message to emphasise in the final stretch is that of "contribute or promote", calling for a final effort in which to somehow replicate the proximity of the end of the campaign and the main goal of what you want to achieve with the project.
10. A minimum of one action a day
"Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence." (Ovid)
It can be done with varying degrees of intensity, but it is very important not to let any of these 40 days pass by without some kind of action related to the campaign, whether it is one we suggest to you or one you come up with yourself. This is applicable both in the case of there being more than one person leading the project, by re-sending and replicating each new message in a coordianted manner.
Advice: Imagining, asking and storming for ideas, channels or people that can help with promotion also count. Much of what can be done will sometimes be improvised, or will arise from circumstances, as the campaign moves forward. That's where most of the magic in the process comes from :).
If you want to download the Ten Rules of Digital Promotion in PDF format, you can do it here. There are also people like Francesc Balagué (thanks! :) who openly reflect and write on their experience leading a crowdfunding campaign, and propose some good pieces of advice. Don't miss his writings, and do make us know if you write about your own campaign.
If you have found this post useful or interesting, please consider supporting Goteo through the projects currently in campaign. With everyone's contribution, the benefit is shared!