Crowdfunding your project through sites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo can be a great idea for many businesses. Your website, in addition to your crowd funding page, can be a great way to bolster support for your business and/or product.
In this article, we will go over some of the reasons you should make sure you have a website of your own detailing the project you plan to bring to Kickstarter or Indiegogo, in addition to the project page on the platform itself.
For a lot of startups getting in to crowd funding, proving that you are a reputable company is a key component to any fundraising strategy. Not only do you have to compete to get the word out about your project, but you have to compete with a multitude of reasons many potential backers are wary of backing a project form a company they have never heard of before.
This is where a website can come in handy. Not only does it give you a place where you can showcase your company and its work, but it gives the backer a bit more peace of mind knowing that you aren't just in it to get their funds and go. You have put in some effort, and have invested your time and energy into creating a site that showcases the project.
Kickstarter agrees. On the official Kickstarter FAQ, the organization outlines key things to look for before pledging your money towards a project:
If a creator has no demonstrable experience in doing something like their project or doesn't share key information, backers should take that into consideration. Does the creator include links to any websites that show work related to the project, or past projects? Does the creator appear in the video? Have they connected via Facebook?
It's obvious that having your own site can indeed help with putting potential backers' minds at ease.
Kickstarter and Indiegogo give you a lot to work with. You can put up a video, send out project updates to backers, and even update your pitch page and pledge rewards as the funding phase of the project progresses.
What it doesn't give you is a support platform, a way to communicate back-and-forth with your backers (and potential backers), and they won't let you go into any great detail about other projects your company has or plans to work on in the future.
Once funding has been achieved, all this page is good for is proving that you met (or failed to meet) your funding goals for that project. You can still send notices to your backers and send out information requests, but not much else.
Meanwhile, your own site gives you virtually unlimited flexibility. You can host live chats with your backers, make forums available where people can discuss and share feedback about the project's progress, and more.
When InXile Entertainment raised over $2 million for its Wasteland 2 game, it offered backers the opportunity to redeem their rewards by joining their website. This turned the over 61,000 backers into InXile customers, not just Kickstarter customers. This made it easier for the company to spread the word about other games it was developing to this giant segment of its community.
Speaking specifically to flexibility, you don't have to raise 100% of your project's funding through these platforms. You can do pre-sales directly from your site, with no additional rewards required! You can also use your site as part of your introduction to potential investors.
You should never depend on a third party to act as your primary platform of brand development. A lot of companies today rely on Facebook, Twitter, and even crowd funding sites as their home page until they've released their first product.
This can work, but creates a problem that is difficult for a new brand to overcome. You become associated more with Indiegogo or Kickstarter than you do as your own stand-alone company.
With companies that rely on their social pages as their primary virtual home, this can backfire very quickly when the platform itself changes its rules, decides to delete your company's profile for whatever reason, or simply stops being popular. All the work you put in to creating and distributing information on these platforms becomes much less valuable as soon as the masses stop using them. Meanwhile, your site will endure.
Think of these platforms as part of your marketing strategy, and not part of your brand identity. This will ensure that your company's momentum can last long after the funding phase has ended.
Crowd funding is a great way to generate pre-sales for your next big project. It's also a brilliant tool for marketing, if you can leverage it properly.
By bringing your backers to your own site which you control, you have a lot more flexibility to not only provide them great customer service, but to get them on board with your next big project.
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