We are beginning the third day of crowdfunding for our film, THOSE PEOPLE: A Love Story.* I started this post on DAY 1, but Day 1 had some Obama-care-rollout-fiasco elements to it that made DAY 2 about catching up. So now it’s DAY 3…
If you have any artists, inventors, or makers in your world, you have probably been exposed to CROWDFUNDING, in the form of a campaign on Kickstarter, or Indie-go-go. We are using a newer dedicated-to-film platform called SEED & SPARK. (You can check out OUR CROWDFUNDING PAGE if you’d like.)
If you ARE an artist, inventor or maker not in possession of cash to pursue your dreams, you might end up doing some crowdfunding yourself. Before we began our campaign, we attended several information sessions, watched tutorials, and now (since it’s Day 3) have begun the experience and here’s a few things we’ve learned so far.
There’s a “FIRST 3 DAYS” RULE
Projects that earn ONE-THIRD of their asking budget in the first three days of their campaign, are statistically more likely to be successful. Projects that fall sort of this will have some uphill battles to fight going forward.
HOW PLEDGES WORK
On several platforms, including ours, no one gets charged until the project is mostly funded. Like an escrow account. No money changes hands until the deal is worked out. I like this a lot. I don’t love to fail, but worse would be the logistics of refunding people’s money–like having to return all the gifts if you have to call off the wedding. This arrangement saves you from that. And it saves you from the temptation of trying to “make things work” with not enough money.
EMAILS ARE BEST
Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have a return rate of about 10%, if you are lucky. Emails have a return rate of about 30%. These are individual emails, by the way. This makes sense. Even though the term is “crowd”funding, people who feel like they are one of a crowd are less likely to respond, because they assume that others will. It’s a version of BYSTANDER EFFECT.
FACEBOOK KNOWS WHAT YOU WANT — AND IT DOESNT WANT TO GIVE IT TO YOU
If you spend time on the Book of Face, you might have noticed the trend of people saying “copy and paste, don’t share” at the end of their posts. It’s irritating, but there’s a reason for it: Someone has figured out that Facebook gives posts that you’ve “shared” less exposure than original content. Anecdotally, I can say crowdfunding pages also get less exposure.
This makes sense — Facebook curates content so that people will use their product. As a consumer, what do you prefer to see on Facebook? More and more shared news items and links? Or original thoughts from people you know? Most of us would choose the latter. So, one could argue, Facebook is on our side, protecting its users.
Of course, Facebook is also in the business of selling SPONSORED CONTENT. This is where you PAY Facebook to show a specific post to more people. Clearly, most people aren’t going to pay Facebook to share a random observation about avocado toast or picture of their cat. But certain kinds of posts — for your business or crowdfunding campaign– and really need more people to see them to obtain results. So it makes sense that by WITHHOLDING these posts from people’s newsfeeds, Facebook increases the chances that people might be willing to PAY for that exposure.
So you can pay Facebook, or you can be tricksy and post other things and put the actually link in the comments, and you can fume… but mostly, you can bite the bullet and send emails.
EARLIER IS BETTER
Approach people weeks (or at least days) earlier than your campaign begins. This relates to the “individual email” thing. Because, as anyone who has tried to write an individual message on every Christmas card knows, to really do it, you need to start weeks ahead of time.
There is another reason, that I am now learning the hard way, because I only managed to write half of the people I wanted to before our campaign launched, and often resorting to groupings instead of individuals. But from this, I can say it’s EASIER TO FOLLOW UP with those folks you’ve forewarned than to reach out fresh once the campaign has begun. Once the campaign has begun, no matter how genuine your feelings for the person at the other end, no matter how much you were intending to call or write or have that coffee but didn’t, now it’s going to feel like you are just getting in touch to ask for money.
And this relates to the FIRST 3 DAYS rule. If you tell people AHEAD OF TIME, they can think about pledging in the first three days. You won’t be bombarding them at the last minute with a deadline. No one likes to be bombarded.
–That’s some stuff that we have learned so far!