I recently received a message from an acquaintance who worked as an actor. She is starting the process of producing a short film and has been looking for tips on how to promote a film and raise money for production.
When I asked for advice from industry professionals, everyone offered to take advantage of crowdfunding. Iquo B. Essien, writer, director and entrepreneur, shared the story of her first successful crowdfunding and gave the most specific tips on how to set up a successful crowdfunding campaign.
“I started my first successful campaign as a student, and none of my classmates signed up to help me. I had to hire a team, but I didn’t have the money, ”says Essien. “I launched a fundraising campaign (Indiegogo, a stock investment, a campaign to write letters to friends and family, and financial sponsorship) and raised $ 15,000 in 4 weeks.”
She did it all with what she describes as “a sadly small online presence, no list of email addresses, few subscribers on social media and no idea if it would work and how”.
As difficult as it was, Essien says the experience was positive. “It unleashed a passion to share that feeling with other artists and entrepreneurs,” she says.
She launched Crowdfund Your Dream and created two courses designed to help entrepreneurs finance their business ventures. Here are her “Four Ms” for creating a successful crowdfunding campaign.
“Before you do anything, you need to calculate your budget, choose a fundraising strategy and develop a campaign plan,” says Essien. “I also encourage people to identify their target audience, write an oral statement that you can share with everyone you meet, and Google what successful companies do.”
This includes developing a plan that covers how to manage your social media pages, graphics and video creation, email campaigns and email writing; donation platforms such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo; and rewards performance, she says.
“The main mistake of most failed fundraising companies is that they lack a reliable marketing campaign,” says Essien.
“Remember the saying, ‘If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, does it make a sound?’ If no one knows you’re running a fundraising campaign, they can’t give you the money. So running a marketing campaign with your fundraiser is key – and in almost all cases you want to start advocating long before your fundraising campaign is launched. ”
“Because crowdfunding platforms typically calculate how much traffic your page will receive in the first few days to predict your success potential, and it affects how your company will be represented or not represented on the platform,” Essien says.
Defining campaign metrics that you can use to measure how well your fundraising is going is important because it allows you to customize things as needed and improve your success, Essien says.
“How can you test different items on your site to see what leads to more clicks and donations? How can you track and capture people who visit your site and show them social ads online to contribute to your campaign? ” Essien asks. “Tools like Bitly, Facebook Pixel, Mail-chimp (for speeding emails and clicks), Instagram Insights and Google Analytics can really help you optimize your campaign.”
Ultimately, she says, to succeed with any crowdfunding company you need practice and a willingness to learn.
“Learn how to raise money, practice by starting your first campaign, and wash and repeat until you get it right,” says Essien. “I think fundraising is a really natural, organic process that we all always do on some level as artists and creatives. But the biggest trap people make is that they don’t learn to plan for success. ”