When my client, KellyMarie, first came to me, she was really excited about recording her first EP but…
…she was a bit nervous because we were a few months out and she only had a third of the money.
She wasn’t expecting a big windfall anytime soon. She knew that she would have to raise some money to do her project right.
Some artists at this point would make an EP of lesser quality or maybe opt to do it themselves. KellyMarie was different. She knew that successful artists are not only great performers but that they’re also great at business. And part of having a business is raising money to do things right.
She announced to me that she would be doing some crowdfunding, but she didn’t know how to start.
She wondered, “Should I go with Kickstarter, Indiegogo, PledgeMusic, or something called Patreon? How much should I ask for? Will people think that I’m being greedy?”
Thankfully, I have an answer to all these questions, and as close to a scientific process as you can get for running a crowdfunding campaign. In fact, when KellyMarie started her project she literally had less than 100 ‘likes’ on her Facebook music page, a personal Instagram account and no email list. With my help, she raised over $10,000 in 45 days.
Before we even get into the specifics of running a crowdfunding campaign, understand this:
The Reason You Should Crowdfund Isn’t To Raise Money, It’s To Engage Fans.
Crowdfunding gives your fans an opportunity to buy into your creative vision and build something with you. This is why I would suggest that you crowdfund …even if you can afford to fund your record out of pocket.
It’s psychologically very different to give someone $10 for an album versus giving someone $10 to make an album. For instance. My friend, Scott Arick, is a budding filmmaker in Austin, TX. He used Kickstarter to fund his new movie, Magnets.
I saw his post promoting the Kickstarter page on Instagram, and I immediately clicked on it. I saw how much he was trying to raise, and my first thought was not, “Oh my gosh! That’s so greedy. How dare he ask for that much money?”
My only thought about the goal was, “Well, I guess that’s how much it costs to make a movie….” I didn’t think about it again.
I read about all the people that would be involved in the project. I heard about how cool the movie would be and what I would get if I gave him some money. I couldn’t get my credit card out fast enough to donate to the project.
A Few Days Later When He Hit His Goal, I Felt Like I’d Accomplished Something.
And then a few months after that when the film was finally done, I was so excited to see it and so happy for my friend. I’ve even recommended the movie to some friends of mine.
This is how your fans will feel when they give to your crowdfunding campaign. They will:
- Feel like they’re a part of your tribe.
- Become raving fans.
- Spread the word about your music to all their friends that didn’t have an opportunity to give on the Kickstarter.
- Excitedly wear the free T-shirt that they got from donating.
- Listen to the music.
- Come see you play shows. …and if they get a chance to talk to you, they might even mention how cool it was to be a part of your crowdfunding campaign.
Now you realize it’s more about engaging your fan-base and less about asking for money.
I hope you also realize that…
It’s Not At All Wrong To Ask For What You Need To Make Your Vision A Reality.
The only one who’s feeling any resistance to the big number on the screen is you.
(Of course, you don’t want to become some greedy horrible person, but that’s why you’re going to take this money and put it into your project, and not into a Tahitian vacation.) Onward…
How To Run A Successful Campaign.
Step one, have some skin in the game. Don’t ask people to give you money if you haven’t put in a single dollar of your own. I would recommend that you put in at least 20%, much like a down payment on a house.
Step two, before you launch your campaign, you want to personally approach all the people you know are going to donate. It’s probably your closest family and friends. Coordinate with them so that they give to the campaign on day one.
Here are the reasons why:
- The crowdfunding platforms (especially Kickstarter), will be more likely to feature your page if, after one or two days, you’re already close to 50%. They’re going to put that on their homepage so people can see it, which means you might get some extra donors that you weren’t expecting.
- People like finishing things. You need your campaign to look like it’s going to reach its goal as soon as possible.
Imagine going to a page and it’s 29 days in. They’ve only raised 14%. You’re probably not going to give to it because you’re thinking there’s no way they’re going to reach their goal in the amount of time allowed.
Whereas if you go to a campaign that has raised 51% in 48 hours, you’re thinking,
“This one is going straight to the top – this is a bandwagon I want to jump onto!”
Now you know that you need skin in the game, and you need to make sure you coordinate your donations so that it looks like you’re going to reach your goal as soon as possible.
The last thing is: you need to make sure that when people come to your page, the copywriting (not copyrighting. I’m talking about the words on the page) is all about them.
The times that I’ve seen crowdfunding projects bomb, if you read the words on their page, it’s basically this, “Hey, I want to make a really cool record. Give me money please.”
No one wants to give to a campaign about that.
Remember, Your Fans Only Care About Themselves.
The way you should write it is like we wrote it for KellyMarie‘s page. To sum her page up, it was basically this, “Be the first to hear Kelly’s project and get a lot of cool stuff. Oh, and by the way, we’ve already put in a third of the money, and we just need you to help us complete it.”
That’s a very different message and has a profound effect on the reader.
In fact, on her page, we only had a few brief lines about who she was and what the music would sound like. It was all about what people would get from being a part of the project. Here’s what KellyMarie has to say about working with me.
I’m so thankful to have worked with Chris Jacobie while recording my first EP. He was so helpful every step of the way and really made it feel as stress free as possible. Working with him was fun in the studio and he helped make all my songs even better. He took my vision, lyrics, and melodies and helped make an album that is true to me. During my Kickstarter campaign, Chris provided feedback that lead to reaching my goal. I loved working with Chris and hope to have him produce many more albums in the future! – KellyMarie(McKinney, TX)