By Holly Sharp – Purple Spread Crowdfunding
So you’ve decided to dive into the world of crowdfunding.
Googled lots of “how to crowd fund articles” – check
Looked at other successful campaigns – check
Started designing your video and page – check
Started thinking about how people will hear about your campaign – check
Now is the time when you are likely starting to get overwhelmed by all of the different tools and products that are available to you to help guide you along your path. There are literally hundreds of articles, blogs, software programs and agencies hoping to help you along the way.
We asked a few of our favorite thought leaders in crowdfunding and entrepreneurship to share with us their thoughts on “must have” tools for teams at this stage to help you cut through the clutter of everything out there. Getting to know these tools now can you help you save time, be more organized, have a better campaign and stay motivated along the way.
Become an analytics guru
“Kicktraq helps you get amazing data, help you reach similar campaigns, set realistic expectations and demystify successful fundraisers.” (Salvador Briggman)
Consider this like Google Analytics for Kickstarter. Learn this early and use it often. We love this site because it not only provides a source of data, but it also helps potential backers find you.
Design like a pro
“The Easiest Graphic Design Tool You’ll Ever Use. If you don’t have the Adobe Creative Suite or something similar then you should definitely check out Snappa. Every campaign will need to manage its collateral (graphic design content) and Snappa makes it super easy to do.” (Freshprenuer)
This is a huge pain point for a lot of teams. Great idea, great prototype – no designer to really do justice to the look and feel of the campaign. Your campaign does not have to look perfect, but we do believe that the more you are hoping to raise, the more professional you need to present yourself.
Take charge of your social media planning (Hootsuite)
“Obviously, scheduling your social media posts for a crowdfunding campaign is very important. HootSuite is a great tool for scheduling Twitter and Facebook posts far in advance, so you do not have to add those tasks to your already busy schedule during the campaign itself.” (Kendall Almerico)
“In order to raise money on a crowdfunding site, you need a solid social media strategy. If no one knows about your crowdfunding campaign, they can’t contribute money to it. Some crowdfunding sites even require you to first raise money from family and friends before they open up your campaign to other backers. Business owners are busy, so instead of spending time every day creating Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts, try an auto post scheduler like Hootsuite.” (Fit Small Business)
Our panel loved this one so much, it came up more than once. We also like that inside of this tool (the paid version) you can search for influencers by the size of their following and words or hashtags that they have recently used.
“When you are trying something new and a little scary, it can be good to keep a strong mindset around achieving success and a regular dose of Tim Ferriss helps me and my network of entrepreneurs stay focused and motivated.” (Tim Denning)
We could not agree with this one more. All of us at Purple Spread are Tim Ferriss junkies. Crowdfunding is a marathon, not a sprint and if anyone in the podcast world can take an hour of your time during your daily commute to keep you motivated and pressing forward, it is Mr. Ferriss.
“I love Seth Godin’s blog as a resource for entrepreneurs. There’s more free content on there than ten books. He’s been blogging daily for years, and his work reads like a manifesto to step up, make something that matters… and most of all; make a ruckus. Essential reading to keep founders on track, focusing on what’s important.” (Peter Shallard)
We love this guy so much, we actually named our company Purple Spread after his book “Purple Cow”. Need we say more. We. Love. This. Guy. Like Tim Ferriss, his content is broader than crowdfunding, but as inspiration for our agency name, the principles he teaches apply just as much, if not more, to crowdfunding given that you are selling you and your idea – not an off-the-shelf product.
Build your following early
“With Krowdster, you can build a pre-campaign Twitter following, and also reach out to their database of crowdfunding journalists, and former crowdfunding campaign supporters. Krowdster is easy to use, and affordable.” (Kendall Almerico)
You see companies in this space come and go, but this one has stood the test of time. It is a paid service, but started early enough it automatically starts following quality users that are using selected hashtags and welcomes them when they follow you back. You can use this audience to help gain attention for your campaign when you go live.
Focus on building your inventory (Kickfurther)
“A different type of crowdfunding that help you get money for your next round of inventory” (Tim Denning)
If you are crowdfunding to help build inventory this might be an alternative to the big guys worth looking at. Users find brands they love and help finance their next round of inventory. Then you pay users back instead of a bank.
Optimize your landing page
“OK, awesome graphics, check. Responsive email, check. The pain for most comes with web traffic. One of the tools I use to help drive web traffic is – SumoMe, a one-stop-shop for creating calls to action on your website.” (Freshprenuer)
The most critical part of any landing page (that is a MUST HAVE in order to build a fan club prior to going live) is the call to action. Sign up or share us!!!! This tool can help you place and track effective call to action on your site.
And a few from us!
Stay on top of your game
There are many different tools you can use to stay organized, right now we are loving Asana. They tool what we love about slack and integrated it with a to-do list tool/calendar. So, right inside of your task list, you can have easy to track discussions. Our one wish is that they would add a dynamic planning tool so that as deadlines move around (and we know they do) that the dependant tasks would move with it.
Find and track influencers (Buzzstream)
There are a number of sites that do this, but right now we are loving Buzzstream. You can find influencers and Buzzstream will input as much information about them as they can scrape from the internet, you add what’s missing and you can easily track the status of your outreach to each one. The full value is from their full service, but for a process that can be overwhelming, it is helpful to have it clean and organized in one place.
For more insight into crowdfunding best practices and tools join our newsletter or visit www.purplespread.com
We also want to recommend the tools and services of our contributors. We asked them, because we love their content and between them have a wide range of focus to help entrepreneurs:
– Sal is a respected blogger and podcaster in the crowdfunding space. He is the founder of CrowdCrux (www.crowdcrux.com), one of the largest crowdfunding blogs and just launched a new youtube channel – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8evTah1fO4
– timdenning.net- Tim Denning is a thought leader in the personal development, entrepreneur and startup fields. He is most well known for his blogging on Addicted2Success.com
where his articles are some of the most shared on the site. Each week he interviews successful people in the fields of tech, personal development, entertainment, sport, and business, and then shares their stories in his articles.
Peter Shallard – http://petershallard.com/blog
– “The shrink for entrepreneurs” – his articles address the mental challenges and blocks many startups have
. Check out: Commit Action (www.commitaction.com
) an accountability coaching service for productivity. It’s built to be like “personal training” for entrepreneurs, helping small business owners and startup founders get clarity, follow through on their best ideas (quickly!) and build rituals of tracking and maintaining high levels of personal output.
Kendall Almerico – https://twitter.com/KendallAlmerico
– Kendall is considered one of the top crowdfunding and JOBS Act experts in the United States. He was ranked 17th on the list of 800 Most Influential Leaders in the Crowdfunding Industry by VentureBeat. He has a unique focus on equity crowdfunding and was among the first to venture into this less known territory.
Fit Small Business –
Priyanka Prakash is a business analyst and writer at Fit Small Business
with a focus on small business finance. Her areas of expertise include small business lending, credit cards, credit scores, and other aspects of small business finance. Before joining Fit Small Business, Priyanka served as in-house counsel at a startup. Email her at email@example.com
or tweet at @writepriy.
– Justin has a fascination with those who achieved their dreams via crowdfunding. On his site you can be inspired by others, promote your campaign or even sell your products. www.freshpreneur.com
Purple Spread www.purplespread.com
– We are devoted to helping makers create a more remarkable world by lowering the barriers to crowdfunding through education. We hope to make crowdfunding simple and easy to understand in order to fill the world with great ideas.