We’ve all heard of KickStarter by now - it is one of a host of crowd funding tools. I have worked with many creatives that have taken their projects to the public to acquire funding. It would come as no surprise if I told you that a well crafted program can help you create a profitable revenue stream. What many folks don’t realize is that it is also an amazing promotional tool, that usually offers a better ROI (return on investment), conversion and reach than most standard promotional tools.
Wait. What? How can a sales platform be a great marketing tool? I
t’s time to turn your perceptions of what is possible in the realm of crowd funding on their head.
Let me paint an example that is in the realm of most visual creatives - Let say you create a great image that you want to share with your fans. You throw up an image on your website, maybe shoot out an email from you list, shout about it on your social media channels and then…..you wait for the sales to roll in. Hopefully. Can this be a successful model for revenue creation? Of course, but is it a model that creates revenue with velocity! Perhaps.
Now, let’s say you decide to go a different route and create a project on KickStarter pitching your prints of the piece you created. You can offer various sizes, some signed, some remarqued, some variants…basically you can create a whole host of “levels” all based around the same asset. At this point, you really haven’t really done anything that you can’t so on your own comm site. So let’s talk about what is changing…
Velocity and demand - Crowd funding sites generally create velocity in sales by setting a deadline. Deadlines increase sales because there is a end in place. Once the deadline comes, your fans lose the ability to procrastinate.
Inventory Risk reduction - While you can also set up your business model as a print-on-demand business, you really take a hit in the profit margin. You get the best pricing when you can get out of the minimum order quantities (MOQ), and start taking advantage of price breaks. Crowd funding lets you take advantage of this opportunity.
and wait for it…
Marketing and Promotion - You see, taking your projects to the crowd funding scene offer you lots of business opportunities, but one of the most important opportunities are the openings that can be created through taking advantage of the inherent promotion and marketing benefits you get by playing in this arena. While most of the crowd funding sites have a number of built in promotional tools, it is the unpublished opportunities that really have the opportunity to boost your business.
Now, I’ll mention the obvious promo tools available through most crowd funding sites. You can usually,
- connect to your Facebook account (can increase your success rate by more than 10%)
- import and connect to your fans through your mailing list
- get included in the sites search so you can be seen by folks that dig on your category of projects
- opportunities to get your project featured on homepage
…and depending upon the site chosen, there are many other opportunities for direct and indirect marketing.
It’s the non-standard methods of promotion that folks really fail to see. You see, if you are just focused on the act of selling THIS project, you might miss some amazing opportunities to build your business for future successes. I see this platform as more than just a selling platform. I also see it as a business growth platform. Here are a few ideas to consider….
The $1 backer - I can’t tell you how many of the creatives that I have worked have discounted the strength of this backer level. No, you aren’t going to get rich off $1 backers. That isn’t its strength. Instead the power of the $1 backer is the ability to give fans and folks that believe in your cause the ability to participate in a “virtual high five”. Perhaps life circumstances do not allow them the opportunity to participate at a full level, but they still get the opportunity to show they love your project.
Now, let me ask you the question - what would you pay to have such a devoted and dedicated fan on your mailing list? Many companies pay good money to get a list of names that don’t have anything close to this level dedication and commitment….and you just paid $1 to add them to your email list!!
The $5 backer (or what ever minimal level you create) - There are two strengths to this level.
- This is a great “pure profit” level where you offer virtual/digital rewards. Again, you won’t get rich, but you give the backer something for their time and money. And as much as we all like to think that folks back us because we are a great guy, or because they believe in what we are up to - the reality is they want stuff. This is a great level to give them stuff….that creates a profit buffer for your project. Giving them a “high perceived value” reward can do a lot to draw backers at this level, and that leads to…
- a backer just paid you $5 to join your mailing list. If the $1 backer is a powerful lead for marketing, the $5 backer is even more powerful.
The friend I never knew I had - Social media is awesome, but according to most of the crowd funding sites themselves, a project typically only receives 20-30% of it’s funding from within your own network. That means that nearly 75% of your backers come from outside of your direct network. This is the power of promotion through the crowdfunding platform. Unlike Facebook, that wants to charge you to extend your reach - crowd-funding is founded upon the premise that it is in their best interest to help you expand your network of influence. My reach. More power. More income….and even more folks for your mailing list!
Okay, I keep harping on your mailing list, right? Mailing lists are important. This is the place where we are no longer looking at this current project, but rather looking toward future projects. You see, even if you started off with an absolutely minimal project (raising $500 -1000), you’ve done a lot of things that increase your business in many ways.
- You’ve gotten a success. Seriously, make sure you set your goals such that you virtually guarantee a first success. It is the first step in building a identity that is built upon success and value.
- You’ve grown your network exponentially, just by following a few simple marketing and promotional tips (coming in an article at a later date)
- You’ve increased your mailing list that you can use to seed your next project (that will in turn get you more contacts, and grow your list again!)
That mailing list can be your businesses most valuable and powerful tool for creating a business that supports you in the future. Don’t believe me, then check out these articles:
- 3 Reasons Why a Customer Mailing List is Important
- Why you should start building your email list now
- Why you must build your email list - and how to get started (and he misses the idea of using KS to grow your list!)
- Four reasons why your email list is your most important asset
- 7 Experts on why building your email list is so important
if you have questions about how ArtOrder can help you with your next crowd funding project, or resources for printing or manufacturing, drop us a line.