Baking a cake is easy right? Yet, if that’s the case, why do so many bakers and cake decorators exist? And how can I link this to crowdfunding — here goes the analogy.
A successful crowdfunding campaign has a recipe just like baking a cake needs a recipe.
A successful crowdfunding campaign is:
1 part Strategy
1 part Creative Content
1 part Audience Psychology
Equally to baking a cake, the method of adding ingredients has to be done in a certain way. (You wouldn’t start putting on the icing before you have baked the cake would you!)
You have to learn to walk before you run!
So let’s break it down:
Cake: Everyone, young and old, knows there is a recipe to cake baking and a method to follow, usually, the first time you try something new, you follow the recipe or listen to someone who has done it before. I remember learning the basic cake recipe from my grandmother as a child. A generic cake is usually 6oz sugar, flour, butter and 3 eggs. Of course, there are many variations on this and I have since used recipe books to learn different cake recipes.
Crowdfunding: It is the same with crowdfunding. There is a strategy to follow and experts out there who have done this many times before who can give you that strategy. Just like following the recipe and order of baking a cake, there is one to follow when it comes to crowdfunding too, for example, there is no point writing emails and making a video, if you have yet to identify your target audience and KEY message.
We plan all our crowdfunding campaigns using the following method:
Building a crowd
The project page
Communicating the campaign
Everything bar following up, gets created before the launch of the campaign (you wouldn’t start adding sugar part way through oven baking would you?). Our strategy has an 83% success rate across 65 campaigns — we know it works. Just like recipes, sometimes it doesn’t work, usually that’s when people go a bit off key and start adding their own interpretations and elements. (We all know that person when it comes to cooking right? They think, a bit extra of this, or little less of that will make it taste better — and sometimes it doesn’t!)
If everyone followed the same recipe it would be pretty boring! We need variation — though we need it done well!
Cake: Maybe when cake was first invented, a sponge cake would cut it and everyone would go crazy for it. But nowadays, if everyone followed the same recipe we would have nothing but sponge cakes! We would never have tasted chocolate cake, carrot cake, coffee cake (bleurgh) or red velvet etc. All these cakes follow the same recipe but add in other elements to be creative and stand out. Equally even when the cakes are the same base cake, often they’re iced differently to stand out, e.g in UK Carrot cake has a cream cheese icing but in Brazil it has a chocolate icing.
Moreover, if you think about everyone you know, what percentage of them share the same favourite cake as you? Everyone has different taste buds, you can’t target everyone with the same cake.
Crowdfunding: Equally to above, regardless of following the strategy to succeed, your campaign needs to stand out. Think how many facebook posts you ignore, or emails you don’t bother opening. You are one of thousands of startups, social enterprises or charities looking for funding. Why should someone pay yours attention when others out there might appeal to them more as they have better videos, photos, catchier emails, more engaging content, or worse, more charismatic founders?
Even in your own industry you have competitors all selling similar products/services. How do you stand out against them? That’s your icing. Your campaign needs to look more enticing than the others, more fun, more friendly, more inviting. To make your campaign a success you will need to think outside the box in order to stand out against the hundreds or thousands of other projects all vying for the public’s cash.
Finally, you have to remember your target audience. Why target people unlikely to ever change their mind and buy into your vision? Focus on those who already want your product or are likely to buy into your brand.
Cake: Yes cake is delicious ALL THE TIME but there are some times of the year/your life when you need/want cake more than others. For example, if you’re trying to get that perfect summer bikini body* are you really going to buy cake? If it is the end of the month and pennies are tight and a £200 golden encrusted cake is being sold to you, you’re probably not going to buy it. If it is Christmas, when fruitcake is in fashion, does a Pineapple upside down cake stand a chance? No. You have to give the audience the cake when they want it.
Crowdfunding: It is the same here. You wouldn’t start your campaign in months when people are not paying all their attention to your band/technology and are preoccupied by holidays and vacations (July/August/December). You wouldn’t launch when people have no money (January). You also wouldn’t be launching your product when your audience isn’t thinking about it. E.g Ice cream in November (northern hemisphere) or winter jackets in summer. It just doesn’t make sense. You need to give your audience what they want, when they want it.
So please, when you are considering running a crowdfunding campaign. Take a moment, bake a cake, think strategically and creatively about how to actually make the campaign work for you, and if the cake baking goes wrong, consider getting an expert in to teach you or to run your campaign for you!
If you want Crowdfund 360 to run your crowdfunding campaign for you, or to teach you how to run a successful campaign, email us at email@example.com. Any emails with a subject heading related to cake, will not only make us laugh but we will offer you a discount too!