After launch, there are 3 things you have to keep in mind in order to keep your project chugging along.
Of those three things, one of the main ones is how you keep your backers engaged. One of the best ways to do that is to send out crowdfunding updates to your backers throughout the duration of the campaign.
What Are Crowdfunding Updates?
For the newbies out there, a crowdfunding update is a notification to your backers about the project that you’re running. These updates will only be sent out to those who have backed your crowdfunding campaign. The update will be posted on your campaign (there is a specific tab on both Kickstarter and Indiegogo for it) and also automatically emailed out to your backers.
The mechanics of an update are the same, with some minor differences between Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
Here’s what the Kickstarter dashboard looks like:
On Kickstarter, you have the option of sending out an update to everyone or to backers only. If you send it out to everyone, then people who have not backed your project yet can also have access to the update. They can scroll and browse around your updates tab, reading what you’ve been writing to your audience, and then decide if they want to back you or not.
If you send an update and restrict it to just backers, then only backers will be able to view it and it will show up as a “locked” update to those who do not back your project yet.
With Kickstarter, you can also send updates to a limited segment of backers. For example, you might want to send an update to backers who contributed funds to your $119 tier, but not the $89 tier.
Before you send anything, Kickstarter also allows for a message preview.
Although Indiegogo updates do not allow segmentation, it still allows you to send information to your backers just as well. Each update also triggers a corresponding email to your backer’s email inbox.
As with Kickstarter updates, you can also preview the update before you actually send it out. The cool thing about an Indiegogo update is that you can also send an email preview of the update rather than just take a look at it from the Kickstarter dashboard.
Why Send Updates At All?
You don’t want to seem like a creator who gets on crowdfunding, gets funded and then just ghosts. You want to develop and maintain that trust, and the key to any trusting relationship is open communication. That’s where updates come in. There are four reasons you should send updates to your backers.
1. Keep Backers Engaged
The first, and most important, reason is so that you can keep your backers engaged. As a backer, they have the opportunity to refund your project at any time during the 30-60 days. In these updates, you need to show your competency as a founder, create trust with your backers and foster as much of a relationship as possible.
2. Master The Popularity Algorithm
The second reason is that since people get sent back to your page, updates are very useful to keep you on top of the crowdfunding platform algorithm. Both Kickstarter and Indiegogo take into account the amount of traffic to the page in order to determine project popularity, which is important when you send people (even if they have backed) to your page.
3. Announce Project Plans
The third reason you should send updates is it is a place where you can announce plans and get your backers to continue supporting your project. This can come in the form of referrals to friends, family and others in their network or even support the project through upgrading their order to a different pledge or adding more to their overall order basket.
4. Recover Failed Pledges (Kickstarter Only)
On Kickstarter, backer credit cards are charged at the end of the project. However, about 3% of those credit card charges typically fail at the end of each campaign. As a creator, you can use Kickstarter-specific features to recover those failed pledges and retain as much of your backing as possible.
How Often Should I Send Crowdfunding Updates?
As a rule of thumb, you should send an update at least once a week during your campaign. This will quickly keep your backers abreast of any developments and let them know that you’re still around.
Beyond your one-update-a-week cadence, be sure that you’re ready to celebrate the different milestones that you reach. People love knowing that they’re part of something bigger, so let them in on your wins and get everyone to celebrate together.
Keep in mind, though, that there’s no hard and fast rules so take this recommendation with a grain of salt. If you want (and your backers are interested), you can even send an update every single day to your backers.
If you need ideas of what kind of updates to send, I’ve written another article that takes you through the seven most effective crowdfunding update ideas.
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