Crowdfunding is still pretty new, and can seem complicated and scary if you’ve never tried it before. In many ways, crowdfunding is the easiest way to raise funds, yet at the same time it is hard for ordinary business owners to know how to do it right. Making crowdfunding work often takes a fair bit of planning and effort. Here at TravelStarter we want to make the process as easy as possible for you.
Here are the 17 secrets to successfully getting your tourism project funded using crowdfunding.
1. Prepare your business plan
You might think that crowdfunding lets you off the hook when it comes to drafting a business plan and fully costing your project. However, those backing your project want to feel confident it will be a success. If your business idea seems completely unviable, people are much less likely to fund your project.
2. Plan a social media strategy
Social media can make or break a crowdfunding campaign. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are often the driving force behind successful crowdfunding campaigns, so it’s vital to think about how you plan to use social media before launching a campaign. If you don’t have a strong following on social media yourself, you could team up with someone who does who can help promote your campaign and direct people to your own social media profiles.
3. Make an amazing video
A funny, entertaining or moving video is one of the best ways to convince people to fund your project. Video is arguably the most powerful medium, so the more effort you put into your video the better. Ideally the video should be short and sweet, giving the viewer a clear idea about what your idea is and why they should care.
4. Prepare a press kit
Journalists are notoriously lazy, and will stereotypically choose to write about whichever story is easiest. A press kit for your crowdfunding project provides journalists with everything they need to write a story about you and your idea. A press kit should include a brief summary of your project covering the five W’s (and one H) of journalism (Who, What, When, Where, Why and How). This can be sent to not just regular journalists, but also travel bloggers.
5. Wear your heart on your sleeves
Nobody wants to fund a soulless crowdfunding project run by a faceless businessman. Though it may not come naturally to everyone, baring your soul and letting people know about your struggles and dreams will make a big difference in convincing people to fund you. If you can explain how much your project means to you personally, it will resonate with others.
6. Know why people should care (and be able to explain it in 5 seconds)
There are thousands of crowdfunding projects online, so you need to be clear about why yours matters. Beyond the still small world of crowdfunding, there are billions of other webpages on the internet, so if someone visits your crowdfunding page you need to grab their attention fast. Try to distil the essence of what you’re trying to achieve and why other people should care, and make sure this comes across whenever you write about your project online.
7. Achieve Perfect Clarity
Part of being able to quickly explain your idea, is keeping things simple. You might be trying to do a thousand different things in your business, but with your crowdfunding campaign you need to have a laser focus on just one clear goal. People have short attention spans, and don’t want to hear all the details about your business. For this reason, it’s really important to be able to keep your message clear and focused.
8. Use Great Pictures
High quality, professional photos will tell people more about your business than you ever could in words. Poor quality photos, by contrast, will put people off funding your project. It will almost certainly pay off to invest the time in taking amazing photos or paying to hire a professional photographer for a few hours.
9. Offer a range of rewards
You want to make sure nobody has an excuse not to fund, so you should offer rewards at every different price point. You should also think about the different sort of rewards that would appeal to different people, so that as long as someone believes in your project they can find a reward that appeals to them.
10. Offer good value rewards
When people crowdfund a project they are willing to pay a little extra to support something they believe in. Having said that, they still want to feel like they are getting something valuable back in return for what they have funded. Be sure to strike the right balance when it comes to offering rewards that make your backers happy without putting you out of pocket.
11. Tell your current visitors
If you’re already running a tourism or hospitality business, your current customers could be your greatest assets when it comes to promoting your crowdfunding campaign. Let your visitors know about your crowdfunding campaign by directing them to your crowdfunding page or social media profile.
12. Give regular updates
Once your campaign has launched, keep people up to date regularly. People who have already funded you will appreciate this, and potential new funders will see that you are taking your campaign seriously and that you will appreciate their help.
13. Team up with influencers
People often feel like they should be able to do everything on their own. However, teaming up with others can make everything much easier and more impactful. Identifying some influential bloggers or social media influencers in your niche could bring your idea to a much bigger audience, multiplying the number of people who fund your project.
14. Be different
Not every crowdfunding project has to be wacky and offbeat, but if you can find an angle that marks your idea out it will certainly help. If you want the crowd to fund you, you first need to set yourself apart from the crowd.
15. Be inspirational
The crowdfunding campaigns that do best are often those that make us feel inspired and suggest to us that anything is possible. You don’t need to be trying to change the world, though if you are it will certainly help! As long as you can convey an inspirational message through your crowdfunding campaign you will set yourself up for success.
16. Promote your campaign offline
It’s easy to think that the online world is all that matters when it comes to promoting your campaign. However, print media is still highly influential, and can help you reach a larger audience. Local newspapers and industry magazines are good places to get exposure for your crowdfunding campaign.
17. Don’t give up
Once you’ve launched your crowdfunding campaign, don’t despair if the funds don’t come flooding in straight away. A large percentage of funding usually comes right at the end of a campaign, so it’s important to stay confident all the way through the process. Though it can be easy to get stressed out, we’re certain that crowdfunding your project will be fun, exciting and (if you apply these 17 tips) very profitable. Crowdfunding is a process of discovery, as you learn more about what matters to your customers, how you can promote your business, and what your business really means to you.
If you have an interesting idea and choose to apply these proven techniques for effective campaign promotion you can have amazing success with crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is the perfect way to get your tourism project funded, while raising awareness and promoting your business at the same time.