Women are organized, diligent, clear communicators, good storytellers and skilled marketers. The result: Women had a 70% success rate in reaching their Kickstarter goals vs. 61% for men. Further analysis showed that it was not women’s more modest financial goals that accounted for their higher rate of success, according to research conducted by Hebrew University. Berkeley-Haas School of Business and the Kellogg School of Management found women not only outperform men, but they uncovered why: the use of vivid and inclusive language. Women have the ability to tell compelling stories and connect at an emotional level. Crowdfunding truly is a female founder’s best friend.
- Build your network before you need it.
The word “crowdfunding” is something of a misnomer. In general, the majority of money raised comes from people who know of you directly or are one degree away. They are interested in what you are doing. Few campaigns go viral.
For nearly a year before her company’s campaign, Prevost took every opportunity she could to connect with her community by speaking at conferences and school events about the challenges parents’ face with their children’s use of digital technology. She always brought an iPad so she could add people to her e-newsletter mailing list.
- Research which crowdfunding platform is the right fit for your campaign.
Prevost confessed that she was uncertain about which platform would be the right fit for her campaign. Ultimately, she chose Kickstarter. Her reasons include:
- Its air of exclusivity. They vet products. Not everyone “makes the cut.” Torch did. The bad news was that the vetting process took longer than Prevost anticipated, which delayed the campaign launch. Forewarned is forearmed.
- Because Kickstarter has the most traffic of any crowdfunding platform, you are likely to get more attention from people outside your network.
- Kickstarter backers are early adopters of technology and Torch is a technology product.
- Rewards matter.
Prevost had an intern research the types of rewards that work best for the most successful campaigns ‒ those that reached the multi-million level. The most successful crowdfunding campaigns:
- Skip the “atta girl” type rewards that you offer for a few bucks or less and concentrate on higher level rewards that include the product. Low-level rewards result in very little money. Higher rewards require fewer sales to reach your goal.
- Include time-limited rewards. Torch’s early early bird special sold out in a week.
Check out the Torch’s Kickstarter page to see its rewards.
- Put the “Why” into your story.
“When you’re trying to influence, persuade or convince people, nothing is more powerful than a good story,” according to Donna Cravotta, CEO of Social Sage PR. Crowdfunding campaigns rely on generating attention through social media and Cravotta is an expert on social media. She was one of my advisors.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,” says Simon Sinek, speaker and author of Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. Your story and your passion make you stand out in a crowd and help you connect with like-minded people, the kind of people who will support you even when times are tough. Watch Sinek’s video on the topic.
“People want to be part of something bigger,” said Prevost. Her son was born to be a techie. He loves going online and exploring. She wanted to steer him away from the bad stuff and toward the good stuff. There were no experts to advise her on how to do this. Not even the American Academy of Pediatrics or schools provide guidance. The market had a hole. She recognized the opportunity and filled the hole.