No one really talks about the transition from crowdfunding to life after crowdfunding.
It’s kind of like winning the gold medal after the World Cup and then fading into oblivion.
No one wants that.
The other day I was listening to a podcast on Side Hustle School (shoutout to Chris Guillebeau and Side Hustle School, you guys rock) and he talked about an entrepreneur whose project isn’t doing so well off crowdfunding.
The project raised $100,000 during their crowdfunding heyday, but failed to produce any traction after closing down on the crowdfunding platform.
It’s a shame that a project that raised $100,000 struggled to carry on its momentum after crowdfunding. To be honest, the creator probably didn’t plan ahead for their time after the crowdfunding campaign. They probably just expected to ride the wave of success to more success.
But the truth is, just like any crowdfunding campaign, success AFTER a crowdfunding campaign requires a lot of planning and preparation.
What is life like after crowdfunding?
Entrepreneurs often forget to think about what happens after their crowdfunding campaign.
They think, hey, I’ll launch this product on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, raise $100,000, get 1,000 backers and BAM profits will continue to soar.
I hate to break it to you, but there’s a lot more planning that needs to be done for life after crowdfunding.
When you’re crowdfunding, you benefit from the platform-specific traffic that gets sent to your campaign.
Channels like Indiegogo and Kickstarter have very specific algorithms to push people to your campaign. Discovery and Search functions, as well as post-purchase recommendations are crafted to send the most relevant traffic to your campaign.
These platforms have built up social media channels that draw eyes and attention from those surfing the web and send them directly to your campaign – all without you spending a dime.
Even if you have a channel like a website at the ready after crowdfunding, SEO is a long process. It may take some time to work your way up the Google ranks.
In the beginning, your website may get lost in the endless pages of a Google search. And really, whoever looks at result number 125?
Until you are able to update your content and get your rank up, your crowdfunding page is going to rank pretty high (much higher than your new website). This means that you’ll need to plan extra hard to get those eyes away from the crowdfunding page and to your brand new site.
Build traffic to your site
As of September 2018, Kickstarter has 48 million unique visitors each month. That’s a tremendous amount of traffic. And they send the most relevant traffic to the most relevant campaigns.
48 million visitors.
If you’re only getting 0.1% of that, that’s 48,000 unique visitors to your page per month. All without you having to do much work at all.
Think about what this is like after crowdfunding.
Your campaign has been removed from their algorithms, which are reserved for new and hot campaigns.
It’s like the faucet of site visitors immediately gets turned off. Zero.
You now have to find and pay to send 48,000 unique visitors to your page, just to match what the crowdfunding platform was doing.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
To be profitable and continue growing, you’re going to have to find and send a lot more traffic.
So even if your campaign was a success, the post-crowdfunding world is much different. A lot of the time products struggle because it is hard to maintain the buzz and awareness.
What to do after crowdfunding
There are a few things we’ll go through today to get you in the right mindset for what to do after crowdfunding. You’ll have to position yourself as top-of-mind for people, ensure that you stay relevant and engineer a system that continues your momentum from the campaign.
1. Establish Credibility
Most of the time, crowdfunded products are new, unestablished and relatively unknown to the general public.
The company is completely new with no brand recognition in the marketplace.
The first thing you’ll need to do after crowdfunding is to establish credibility.
It’s a process that you should begin during your crowdfunding campaign so that you remain relevant after your campaign closes down.
So what can you do to establish credibility?
A lot of the time establishing credibility is all about getting the right people to talk about you to the right people.
It’s not that you need everyone to talk about you. It’s not that you even need the big tech names like TechCrunch and Mashable to be talking about you.
Sometimes it’s just the right influencers or thought leaders in your arena who should be gabbing away about your product and who you are.
That, my friends, will establish your credibility in no time.
Think about it for a second.
If Elon Musk gives a Twitter shoutout to a crowdfunded product that helps more efficiently convert sunlight into energy, that’s going to propel you to top-of-mind status incredibly quickly. Probably more so than a little writeup on Mashable.
2. Be Part of a Community
Throughout your campaign (and even before) you should aim to be building out your community.
Your community is more valuable to you than any of your previous dollars raised, especially if they’re engaged and active.
While crowdfunding, you shouldn’t view backers as just numbers, they are individuals- they are your target audience.
Crowdfunding provides a platform for these individuals to share comments, opinions and likes and dislikes; make sure you listen to them.
Because your company and product are so new, you need to highly value this feedback. In business, rarely again will you get the opportunity to receive this type of feedback from your target market.
By having that conversation and strengthening those community ties, you’ll be poised to transition off the crowdfunding platform and into your own channels for marketing.
3. Continue Taking Pre-Orders
There is usually a significant lull between taking pre-orders and being able to successfully take orders online.
The funding that you get during your crowdfunding campaign will go towards things like mass manufacturing and/or preparing your product to ship to backers.
There’s undoubtedly going to be that time lag between successfully crowdfunding and getting your factory up and running and your logistics squared away.
When that’s the case, be sure to pursue one of these two avenues so there’s no lost opportunity to earn revenue for your product or idea.
Take pre-orders on your website
Often times, a crowdfunded product doesn’t have an eCommerce site up and running when the campaign ends.
This takes a lot of time and effort to do so prepare your eCommerce website early! You’ve probably heard of Shopify, but for those new to online business, I’d recommend Clickfunnels. The interface is simpler and much more intuitive to set up everything from the checkout page, to product page to checkout integrations.
Don’t let the buzz around your product die between the time your campaign ends and when your eCommerce site is ready.
This happens far too often that companies are not ready with their eCommerce site. Momentum dies and it’s hard to pick back up.
Instead, go ahead and plan your website early so that it’s ready immediately after your campaign ends. Keep the buzz going and continue taking pre-orders.
Take pre-orders through Indiegogo InDemand
Sometimes an eCommerce site just takes too long and too many resources to build.
Indiegogo noticed the transition issue for a lot of its creators and built up an alternative to eCommerce websites. It’s called Indiegogo InDemand. It’s meant to be a transition tool as products and brands build up their own channel, rather than a full eCommerce offering for products.
Just like the crowdfunding side of Indiegogo, the company will charge a fee for ou to use it. But the benefit here is that you will get money from your orders as they come in.
With InDemand, you’ll continue to have access to Indiegogo’s promotional channels.
If you’ve decided to use InDemand, you can continue taking pre-orders there. The great thing about InDemand is that you can turn this marketing channel off as you bring your website to life. That’s what a lot of creators choose to do.
When to plan for life after crowdfunding?
At the end of the day, you want to start planning for life after crowdfunding early.
The sweet spot is 3 weeks before the end of your campaign.
This will give you enough time to plan and build. Get things ready in order to continue the momentum, taking pre-orders and earning revenue towards your idea.
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