The popularity of crowdfunding continues to rise – with $34.4 billion raised through this medium in 2015 alone – and as such, the competition is only getting stiffer. Crowdfunding platforms, too, are becoming increasingly saturated; for instance, some sites feature thousands of live projects at the same time.

This doesn’t mean that your crowdfunding campaign can’t have an impact, however. By thinking carefully about your strategy and considering the tips below, you’ll be on the fast-track to success – with a comprehensive campaign that is optimised for meeting your goals.

1. Fail to prepare and you’re preparing to fail…

Crowdfunding isn’t only a brilliant medium through which to raise funds, it’s also something of an education: you can gain a great deal of business acumen by running a campaign. That said, a live campaign is not the best way to validate your ideas – and you could damage your credibility with your intended audience if it’s felt that your concept isn’t fully proofed.

Our acclaimed Sandpit tool provides an immersive crowdfunding experience, allowing you to take risks and test ideas in a simulated, real-time environment, before you put your campaign into motion. By undergoing this process you’ll ensure that your campaign is fleshed out and watertight before you go to market, giving you the best chance to attract funders.

2. Research the competition

Most crowdfunding platforms (like Kickstarter) leave campaigns on their site after they’ve ended – whether successful or unsuccessful. A wealth of information exists for budding entrepreneurs, therefore, and all for free! With a little bit of time and effort you can build a comprehensive databank of crowdfunding intel, tracking what worked, what didn’t, and identifying your competition.

3. Be smart with social media

Social media can seem overwhelming, so it’s best to start small. Whilst you don’t need a presence on every single platform, you may reap huge rewards if you maintain a good level of activity only on the network(s) that best suits your particular campaign (according to your marketing strategies and intended audience). If you’re planning to publicise your campaign on several platforms, don’t be tempted to shoot for a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach: though this can save a little time, each platform is different, and you’re far more likely to be successful if you customise your campaign to each.

4. Produce a great video – and shoot two endings

A video is a powerful marketing tool: at once providing the ability to give a behind-the-scenes look at your project and team – uncovering the personal story behind your product – as well as offering a more dynamic and appealing medium through which to sell your concept. High-quality videos require time and expertise, however, so don’t be tempted to rush: if you’re not skilled in this area – and don’t know anyone who is – enlist the services of a professional. Whilst there’s a place for rough, ‘in the moment’ style videos, a crowdfunding campaign requires a polished finish: you’re trying to convince backers to part with their money, after all.

Don’t forget that a campaign is a living thing; as such, it pays to have more than one video in your marketing arsenal – or, alternatively, the same video with two different endings. The first video can be used for before your campaign launches, in that important period where you’re assessing interest and trying to create a buzz about your project, encouraging potential supporters to sign up to your newsletter or follow you on social media for updates about your campaign launch. The second can be used when the campaign is live and should encourage people to donate.

5. Communicate, communicate, communicate – and keep it personal

Whatever progress you’ve made – whether the steps taken have been big or small – supporters and potential supporters want to know about it. Regular updates show that you are engaged with your audience and that investing in your project will have rewards that go beyond the financial. Let your supporters know more about the team behind the project, check in whenever you hit a target (whether that’s to do with funding or the development of your product/service), and inject your messages with personality.

These updates should continue long after the campaign ends – after all, that’s when the real work begins!

At Crowdfund Campus we believe in the power of the crowd, and are proud to support students and universities seeking enterprise education. Our innovative Sandpit tool and live marketplace provide the perfect method by which to introduce crowdfunding into your classroom. For more information, please contact us – we’d be delighted to help you get started!