But while thousands of people have benefitted from crowdfunding campaigns, many thousands more have reached the end of their campaigns empty-handed. What makes a crowdfunding campaign successful?
There are a lot of variables but, according to Kickstarter, project with videos succeed at a much higher rate than projects without (50% vs. 30%), and more than 80% of projects feature some kind of video pitch. If you don’t have a video, then, you have a 70% chance of failing at your crowdfunding campaign.
Creating a crowdfunding video is easy enough that anyone with access to a smartphone can do it, but difficult enough that a lot of people get it wrong. If your video is bad, people will assume that your product will be bad, too—and no one wants to fund a bad product.
Here’s how to do it right:
Plan (More Than You Think You Need To)
The majority of your effort (yes, before you pick up a camera) should go into planning your crowdfunding video. You might be tempted to wing it, but your lack of prep will show. Before you start writing, sit down and watch as many crowdfunding videos as you can find (especially ones similar to your own idea). Make note of what grabs your attention, and what makes you want to close the tab.
When writing your script, remember that you want your audience to:
- Understand who you are.
- Understand the story behind your project.
- See how your rewards (and your product) could benefit them personally.
- See how your product could benefit other people, once it’s created.
- Give you money.
As an example, you could address each of these points by:
- Letting your personality shine through, and briefly talking about yourself and your passion.
- Talking about what lead you to this moment in time—previous successes or failures, moments of inspiration, the hours of hard work you’ve put in.
- Discussing some common pain points that are relatable, and demonstrating how you address these pain points.
- Talking about your vision for the future of your product, such an an expansion.
- Explicitly asking for the viewer’s support (this is very important, and should be the last thing in your video).
Shoot Your Video
You don’t need to drop a stack of cash on pricey equipment—if you have a smartphone, you have a camera. Since your video will be viewed on your Kickstarter page (or on Vimeo, YouTube, or another video hosting/crowdfunding site), it doesn’t need to be shot with the same caliber of camera you’d use to capture video for the big screen. If it has a good camera and you have a way of keeping it stable, your phone will do just fine.
You should, however, spend a few bucks on a microphone. As with any video, the audio is essential. You’re explaining to your audience why they should give you money. If they’re having a hard time hearing what you’re saying, their wallets will stay shut. Get a lavalier (lapel) mic, a handheld mic, or spend a little extra for a shotgun mic.
Make sure you (and your product) are well lit, ideally using natural lighting. Choose a background that matches your campaign—your buddy’s grungy garage is fine if you’re launching a smartphone-controlled garage door opener, but not if you’re trying to sell people on a curated snack box subscription.
Don’t forget to explicitly ask for money. It may feel awkward or unnatural to ask for financial support, but asking directly is the best way to call your viewer to action.
Edit Without Mercy
Time to start cutting clips! You’ll probably feel pretty attached to every second of video you’ve shot, so consider asking someone else to help you identify what’s unnecessary.
Your video can be a few minutes long, but your audience will make up their minds in the first ten seconds whether or not to continue to engage with your video. Put your best and most relevant footage up front, show your product, and capture their interest before they move on to another tab.
Using background music is a good idea, as long as you take the steps to do it correctly. Sites like Kickstarter are very strict about enforcing copyrights, so make sure you have the rights to whatever music you choose. Don’t let it overwhelm your video—keep background music levels low enough that your vocals can be clearly heard. You can increase the volume when no one’s talking.
Once you have the bones of your video together, add captions, video annotations, and title cards to give your audience more information about yourself (or your company) and your product. For more information about adding captions and other text to your video, visit the WeVideo Academy.
The Most Important Takeaways
For your best shot at crowdfunding success:
- Make a video to increase your odds of success (50% vs. 30%),
- Write a script which showcases your personality and the benefits of your product, and rehearse,
- Get a decent microphone,
- Shoot in a well-lit area that matches your campaign,
- Get to the good stuff within ten seconds and keep your video short,
- Add supporting text to your video, and
- Explicitly ask for financial support.