The Crowdfunding 6-Step Pre-Launch Checklist – The Musician’s Crowdfunding Manifesto: Part Six

Another Week, Another Post

Last time, I went through six methods of getting the most out of your crowdfunding rewards and perks. This week, there’s another 6-point list that’s designed to set you on the right track when you’re getting ready to launch your campaign.

So now, you’ve set your target, you’ve picked your platform, you’ve made your video awesome, you have your site ready to go, your perks are engaging, valuable, and remarkable, …What do you do next? Launch? Well, you could, but how about remembering your 7 P’s.

Proper Prior Preparation Prevents Piss-Poor Performance!

People won’t know about anything if you don’t tell them (and most of the time, they won’t ask). You, and everyone involved in your project, will know quite a bit about what is going on. However, the average friend on Facebook, follower on Twitter or reader of your blog (You do have one, don’t you?) will not have the faintest idea what is happening unless you tell them IN ADVANCE. It is very important to promote your crowdfunding campaign before you even launch. This will get people excited about potentially being part of your next project. It really does help to have a somewhat committed online following through Facebook, Twitter, a blog, or even better, an email list, although email lists are a topic for another guide, another time.

Disclaimer: The inspiration for these next 2 paragraphs comes from Chris Gillebeau’s The $100 Startup”. He outlines some great ideas and strategies for launching an Internet campaign. I can’t recommend this book enough!

Hollywood movie studios start advertising for blockbuster movies way in advance of when they’re actually released, sometimes up to a year or more! You’ve probably seen these ads in your local cinema. You’ll sit before the movie eating your popcorn and a short ad for a movie comes on. The ad doesn’t give much (if anything) away, but it’s enough to whet your movie-loving appetite. The very end of the trailer announces, “Coming Summer 2013”. You think, “That’s so far away!” and you would be right, but the trailer has you thinking about the movie that far in advance.

What Batman And Superman Can Teach You

This system is designed so that when the movie actually opens, the general public already knows and are excited enough about it to spend their money going to see it. It can be incredibly effective when it’s done in the right way. For example, I recently went to see the final movie in the Christopher Nolan “Dark Knight” Trilogy. There were a lot of trailers before the movie, but the only trailer I remember, was one for another new Christopher Nolan movie called “Man of Steel”, obviously a new take on Superman.

Think about this for a second. The advertisers already have a captive audience. These people have paid money to go and see this movie. People who go see Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies are prime candidates to go and see a Christopher Nolan Superman movie. They are advertising directly to their target audienceThis is incredibly effective promotion.

Also, because the trailer gives so very little away, it leaves the audience wondering and wanting more. The seeds of anticipation have been planted!

I’m in no way suggesting you make epic teaser trailers for your crowdfunding campaign but you can plant these same kind of seeds to build anticipation for your crowdfunding campaign so that when it ‘finally’ launches, you can expect people to contribute.

The 6-Step Pre-Launch Campaign

1. Announce Something Big Is Coming Up

Wherever you communicate with your fans/audience, is the perfect place to drop the seeds of anticipation. Your first communication about this shouldn’t give much away, other than you are planning something big, and people should ‘watch this space’ for more information. If you give away too much too far away from the launch of your campaign, people may forget and lose interest before you’ve generated any excitement.

2. Keep Dropping ‘Anticipation Seeds’

Keep alluding to your next project. If your end goal is to record and release an album, perhaps drop hints on your social media channels that you would love to involve people in your next project. Don’t give everything up right now though! It can be very tempting to spill all the beans before they’re ready to eat, especially considering that you are probably fairly excited about your project.

3. Show Your Generosity (Optional, but Recommended)

Remember back in part two of this guide I mentioned that it looks good if you are shown to be supporting your fellow artists? Right now might be a good time to start pledging to a few other campaigns on the platform you are using. (Pledges made on IndieGoGo will not be visible to others if you are using Kickstarter for your project) Once you have done that, drop a message on your media channels of what you have just done. This will do three things for you.

Firstly, it shows that you are kind and generous enough to donate your own money to another’s cause.

Secondly, it will allow you to become familiar with the process that your backers will have to go through to donate to you. It’s always a good idea to wear your backer’s shoes for a time.

Lastly, and more importantly, is the fact that people who are not familiar with crowdfunding will be exposed to it and hopefully see its merits. You don’t want to go overboard posting about projects that you have contributed to. When the time comes for your own campaign to launch, you don’t want people to be fatigued by the concept or worse, think that your project is something that you are just advertising for someone else.

4. Pick Your Time

The time to launch your campaign should be when the most people are active and online. This will be individual to you, because nobody has the exact same social network that you do. Now you could conduct a real-time survey of your Facebook page and monitor how many of your friends are online at any given time, but that would take a long time and probably be boring as hell. Instead, take advantage of all the research that’s been done in the area of social media traffic times. According to this, and many other sources.

If you launch a project at 4AM, then not only is nobody going to be awake to contribute, but your campaign will also end at 4AM at the end of the time period you choose. This will have a negative effect on the tail end of your campaign. If you were trying, at the very end to get those few last minute pledges, you are going to have more luck when people are online and reachable

5. Announce Your Campaign

Announce you will be launching your crowdfunding site 2-3 days before you actually press the launch button. If people are paying attention to your online messages, they will know that this is what you have been leading up to – your ‘something big’. Plan to have everything ready to go by this point; the video, perks, blurb, everything. That way, even if you are running behind schedule you still have time for last minute fixes.

An often overlooked, but very important aspect of your campaign is the name that you give your campaign page. You want to make sure people searching your platform can find it. Be sure to include at the very least, your name or your band’s name and the name of your project. Make it crystal clear what your project is about and make it searchable.

Now would also be a good time to start utilizing any traditional media contacts you may have, but we will go into more detail on this subject in the next installment.

6. Launch!

Press that launch button. Stay consistent with your messaging. If you said you would launch at noon on Monday, launch at noon on Monday! If you’ve done everything the right way, you will have people waiting for the campaign to go live. You don’t want to disappoint them now, do you? Be sure that when you do go live, make some virtual noise! Get on your Facebook page, your Twitter account, your blog; anything that you use to communicate with people. Hit everything at once! Have these messages prepared with the same message worded different ways, just so people won’t get irritated reading duplicate messages. Having these things happen simultaneously will maximize your exposure to your potential backers. Be sure to include the URL of your site so people have instant, clickable access to donate.

Why is it important to have your campaign ‘explode’ all over the net? Well, getting the ball rolling is incredibly important and you really want to start strong. That initial push of pledges will ‘kickstart’ the rest of your campaign. If your campaign looks strong from the start, people will feel that you’re more likely to succeed, which means they are more likely to fund you. Nobody would want to throw money at something that doesn’t look like it’s going to work out. Having a strong start is crucial.

Keep Working!

Now you’ve done a lot of work to get to this point. You’ve launched your campaign and your funders are (hopefully) pouring in. The work, for you though, is just beginning. Next week, I’ll go over what you should be doing during your campaign.

Join The Conversation

Thanks for reading. I hope you’re getting as much out of reading this, as I’m getting out of writing it.

Be sure to forward this to anyone you know who might get something out of it. As always, if you have something to add, be sure to leave a comment down below.

Also, share on Facebook or tweet on Twitter. Stay tuned for the next chapter.

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  1. During Your Crowdfunding Campaign – The Musician’s Crowdfunding Manifesto: Part Seven | Luke McIntosh - August 29, 2012

    [...] and that means more eyes on your project, and more potential donations. This is precisely why the pre-launch campaign is important for the success of your project. Without the right amount of ‘buzz’, your campaign [...]