In early March, Ruiven launched a crowdfunding campaign for its palm-sized drone — Kudrone. The goal was $50,000, and with 21 days still left to their campaign, the Kudrone team found that they had reached 1445% of their crowdfunding goal, meaning that they had raised $722,382 with about 6125 backers.
To anyone who is now, or has ever, thought about crowdfunding, those numbers seem unreal, the stuff of our wildest dreams. How on earth can a crowdfunding campaign be so successful in so little time? It almost sounds like a marketing scheme more than anything else. Indeed, for most of us it seems like you can’t achieve those kinds of stats unless you have some crazy tricks up your sleeve. We beg to differ.
There are some basic steps you can take to make your crowdfunding campaign remarkably successful. Maybe you won’t make it to 1500% but 500% (still not too shabby) but, either way, if you follow some of the guidelines we’ve discovered, your odds might turn out to be really, wonderfully good.
To get some real insight into the Kudrone campaign, we actually interviewed their team about how they prepped for their campaign, as well as how things are going now.
For some crucial tips, keep reading
Real quick, we should give you a little background about Kudrone. The team that developed Kudrone had noticed that there is a “lack of consumer-friendly drones on the market that people could not only afford, but use during any activity or adventure to capture quality images and videos.” To remedy this gap, they set out to design the perfect pocket drone that would be affordable for most consumers. Thus Kudrone was born.
It must be noted, of course, that Kudrone is a project by an established tech company, Ruiven, so the team was embarking on their mission already armed with manufacturing expertise and connections to the right supply chain partners. Perhaps even more importantly, when they launched their campaign, the Kudrone team had a beta version of their drone ready to go, and so they were seeking funds to get their gadget into production and on the market, rather than to build their product from scratch.
This is a crowdfunding setup that is extremely common and also highly effective. It’s best to go into crowdfunding with a functioning prototype that’s already gone through the main stages of development. Basically, you want to show potential backers that you have already thought through the details of your product, and you just need their help to get that carefully planned project off the ground. More on this later…
Doing Your Homework
First of all, we wanted to know why the Kudrone team wanted to use Indiegogo for their crowdfunding campaign, what was it about the platform that made it a preference. After all, there are numerous platforms out there that could have worked just as well.
“We chose to launch our campaign on Indiegogo because it is a trusted platform that we knew would be a great tool to reach consumers and prosumers that will love using Kudrone to capture their memories. We were confident Indiegogo was the best platform for us to reach consumers and prosumers,” said a Kudrone team member.
If you’re wondering what a “prosumer” is, well it’s a buzzword that identifies a consumer who creates media, a consumer who is ultimately also a producer. Evidently, Kudrone chose Indiegogo because it was the platform where they could best reach the audience that corresponds to their product. They knew that they needed to connect with prosumers, and so they chose the best platform for that audience. Knowing who you’re marketing to and where that person spends his time online is vitally important in crowdfunding.
Finding Early Backers
A lot of naive crowdfunders believe that if their product is good, then it will sell itself to backers. There is no assumption as dangerous or wrong as this one. Because, believe it or not, there are a lot of campaigns out there, and no matter how special your offer, it’s not going to stand out unless you give it an early and well-calculated boost. How do you do that?
The Kudrone team “shared Kudrone with our inner network before the campaign” in order to gauge the response. Getting a large base to commit to your product before the launch is key, and we’re not just talking about sharing your project with your personal network. Crowdfunding is still a pursuit of traditional funding, and so it often requires reaching out to investors who might pledge small but effective anchor donations. This way they don’t engage with a lot of risk, but they also provide great speed to the growth your campaign—it’s a win win situation.
Once their campaign had launched, the team at Kudrone said that they were “blown away with the support from their contributors and have found that so many audiences want to use the drone.” Building up momentum before the campaign launch played a huge role in that success.
Positioning Your Product for Pre-Ordering
Going back to the idea of launching a campaign for a product that’s already in its beta phase… well, it simply a matter of good marketing. A lot of young tech startups go by this model because it enables users/customers to engage with the release of a product. Consumers like to feel that the products they buy are correlated with their personal identities and lives. When you invite users to take part in the final step of a product’s release, they feel more invested in that product and will thus join in on your campaign with a lot of enthusiasm.
There’s also the issue of trust. If you’re going into crowdfunding with just a basic blueprint for some idea, then your pitch is too abstract—very few people will be able to identify with it. Moreover, how can they be sure that you’ll get your project off the ground? There isn’t a lot of security in your offer. If you pitch a prototype with all the minutiae already figured out, however, then your backers have a clear sense of what they’re attaching themselves too, and that’s a good sell. When you position your campaign as a pre-ordering opportunity, then consumers feel that they are actually buying a product rather than throwing money at a campaign that may or may not be successful—and that makes all the difference.
Kudrone went into their Indiegogo campaign needing just that final bit of funding to get their drone into its production phase, and they did position their campaign as a pre-ordering opportunity. They had a clear and well-defined product to market to customers, and they got those customers by promising them that their personal investment would make this gadget a reality. Obviously, it worked.
Once your campaign has launched it’s easy to want to sit back and watch the numbers go up. Of course, that’s not how it works—those numbers won’t go up unless you remain “very active on social media” and engage your “network of peers.” Moreover, it’s by no means easy to do this.
During their interview the Kudrone team admitted that the greatest challenge they faced during the campaign was to stay organized and plan their campaign in a way that the Kudrone story resonated with backers. “We worked hard before the campaign to makes sure we were ready for the campaign and are continuing our efforts to makes sure our contributors are updated on our efforts and stay excited to receive the first Kudrone units.” Keeping enthusiasm high for your campaign is important, and the best way to energize your backers is simply to be energetic yourself.
We asked the Kudrone team if they had any advice for anyone who’s leading an up-and-coming crowdfunding project. They insisted that it’s very important to “plan ahead and make sure you are prepared to update your audience on the campaign page, through social and email updates.” As with most things in life, in crowdfunding communication is key.