Project Page - why design is everything
Today we are going to look as project pages and how to build your page. The big thing about getting an upscale look are two things - color and design. And interestingly this is what is most difficult with the Kickstarter and Indiegogo editors - they can’t support custom fonts or columns, so what we recommend is to use a different program like Canva to make your iconic brand elements available through the page. Using Section headings is a great way to introduce interesting color and font onto your page. So I recommend going through your production document, and try to come up with headlines, before you start to write the story.
From each of the main points: challenge, features, insights, background, future, and call to action, look at the phrases - can you develop a 3-5 word headline to describe your project and help orient the page? There are two ways headlines are used: to organize the readers mind through your pitch, and also to create big, bold, and emotionally evocative language for them to feel energized and inspired. What is the envisioned future for your project? What is a one line description of the life-altering benefit the reader receives when they pledge.
Now, write down four organizational headlines and four evocative headlines, and we’ll go to Canva and choose a font for our slider, then export slider images for each of the headlines.
The next most important component of the project page are images. You need the “hero image” for your main project, and a handful of colorful images to be used on the page. There are three ways to get this. The first is to take a photo of your product. If it is more community based, think of what imagery “implies” the content of your project. Look back to the intro segment for doing a competitive analysis and see what kind of hero image your competitors used. Can you create a photo that looks similar for your industry?
The other important thing to include are PEOPLE - beach more than selling a project, you are really selling a humans experience of the project. So either using stills from your video, or taking some sample shots, or tinding professional photos from the free stock photography links that were in the useful design and image apps for the lesson. Try to have at least to photos on your page of a human enjoying the result and envisioned future of your project.
When you have selected enough images, now drop them under the appropriate heading.
Finally, there is one remaining thing to do with canva - create your project timeline and your reward tiers - look at this example, but you want to use interesting font and shading to demonstrate to people when and how the project came to be, adn when they can expect shipment.
Then, you want to make the table with shows more details for the various rewards. Use a square image template from Canva and try to choose 5 featured rewards to spec out, and clearly show the pledge amount needed for each project.
Now that your imagery and headlines are in place, time to think about the interstitial text. Try to make paragraphs with whitespace … use a double gap between paragraphs to make it easy on the eye, use selective bold to make certain statements stand out, and voice paragraphs that are longer than 3 or 4 lines tall. This ensures that your reader doesn’t get alienated when they look at your text.
Now, copy paste the whole heading from your production doc: try to drop the most important content on the page, and then start editing.
Finally, make sure to confer that it is “all or nothing” and that you really do need everyone to chip in to reach the goal in order to complete the project as described.
I hope this has helped you see the steps we go to to create a nice looking project page. When you are done with your first draft this is your time to share this with someone close to you and have them proofread and offer edits.
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Perks, Rewards, and Early Birds
Now we’re going to discuss pricing - this is a crucial element to drive momentum for your project, because it is the final gateway that someone needs to fee inspired by before pledgeing. Anyone who pledges to a project first needs to select a “pledge level” , and then out to feel really inspired and happy about what they are getting.
So, we recommend creating a spreadsheet to lay this out and to practice editing.
First, choose the pricing. For general fundraisers, creative projects and or music
You might have a $25 option, a $45 option, at $75 option
For products you need to price yours according to the actual retail cost, and to develop numbers so that people who are early can receive extra discount.
Say I was making a new kind of biking glove. I’ve competitively priced it at $149. For kickstarter, I would create early bird tiers. I would sell the first 50 for $99, then the second 50 for $109, then the third 100 for $119, then the fourth 100 units for $129, then the rest for $149.
Because early bird pricing often can take up a lot of real estate on your page, you want to be careful how many options and different rewards you offer. What you want is for the rewards to be simple enough so that your backers spend more time thinking “am i in or not?” verses “which one do I want?” I recommend having no more than two versions of your main reward, and focus on delivery just one or two rewards with good quality.
The higher pledge levels also are useful, because there might be a group on your list who you know is really well off financially. For fundraisers and creative projects, this is where you think about how to increase the “personalization” of an experience - signed copies, invitation to special events, personal online time with you, a deluxe package with added components.
For the products, this is where we see bulk pricing for the main reward: pack of two, pack of three and pack of four. These can also have early bird, for the product I mentioned about I would have the first 25 of a two pack available at $175, then then next fifty would be 2 for $199, then the next hundred would be two for $220. This way people see savings.
So you can see, if you are launching a project, and you have a product with four early bird pricing tiers, and a 2 pack with three pricing tiers, that is already 7 rewards for people to choose from.
No mater how you spec it out, we recommend not having more than 9 rewards for people to choose from, and the sweet spot is better 6 and 7 reward options.
Sometimes rewards have unique details that aren't able to fit into the reward description. This is where you use the pricing table on your main page to add more details. For projects with multiple options per reward, such as color or size, make it just one reward and then explain you will collect peoples desired color option during the email survey after the campaign.
Once you have detailed all the rewards, then input the data into your crowdfunding platform, and now is a good time to send it to a friend for feedback to make sure this all makes sense.
Once your project page and the rewards are all done and have been reviewed by at least one other person, this is when you send the “Can You Help” email campaign, offering the preview link and asking advice via email from everyone whose contact info you have.
Get Feedback (and apply it)
So now that you’ve warmed up your contacts via social media and a “hi how are you” email campaign, and you’ve finished your project page, it’s time to send the next in the series. We like to have the subject of this message: “Can you help”. Remember that it needs to be only a few lines so that if feels personal enough. Something like: Hi John, the project is almost ready! Here is your preview link :
Can you take a few minutes reviewing this page and let me know andy thoughts or edits you have? Your help is so appreciated!
In the tier one email document that was provided in the introduction you’ll see another example of this “can you help” example, .
So, go ahead and draft your outreach email with the preview link, and send it to everyone whose email you have access to. Remember to do separate campaigns for different audiences, because the template you send to a blogger or someone who you’ve never met will be different than how you talk to a friend, family, colleague, or coworker. Finally, the send method we recommend is via SerialMailer, MixMax, or Easy Mail Merge, because you want to increase the level of personalization attributed to you message in order to maximize the replies.
Once you send this out to all your qualified contacts, be responseve as people write backa nd do what you can to integrate their edits. you don’t have to follow everyones advice, but it’d good to collect all the feedback of your preview page in a single document, and then after a week or so you can review and apply the changes that you rans are recommending.
Finally, as the email come in, make sure to have good customer service and reply back to everyone who writes to you.
For bigger campaigns: Recommended PR & Ad Strategies
Okay, so you’ve exhausted your list of existing contact, ad you are buzzing on Facebook. But you ask - how do the bigger campaigns get 80k, 200k, 300k? Well, the answer is about strategic partners and also putting together some budget for ads and PR.
I’ll start with strategic partners, we covered this in an earlier lesson regarding the launch team, but a strategic partner is a little expanded. This is the only free or somewhat free way to get traffic that you don’t already have yet. The thing you do it craft a very specific pitch to someone who has influence on social media, someone who works at blogging and has an interest in your industry, or someone who has their own newsletter list, either though blogging or having an online business. The last kind of strategic partner is a student who is part of school groups or organizations that study your topic, or people who run meetups, conferences, festivals, and competitions in your industry. You want to list out everyone who could meet these qualities who you know, and go in search of people you can talk to about this and pitch your partnership idea.
For facebook you can use the intel-sw facebook search tool to find people who “like” your industry. Add their friend, and if they add you back then say hello online and give your pitch
One additional thing you can do is go to upwork, which is a platform to hire global freelancers, and search for people who are skilled in verified lead generation & research. You can hire someone to search the internet and get contact info for people in your industry who might be interested in the project. $350 can get you sometimes up to 1000 additional useful leads to reach out to. As a reminder, cold calls to people return at a much lower rate than people who you have been introduced to or people who you connect to gradually with social media, so a research list from upwark is a great addition, but it cannot be depended on in the same way as your personal email contacts.
So, you’ve found everyone in the industry, you’ve been connected to local business owners with lists and you’ve had your friends introduce you to influencers they know. And you’ve sent your pitch about the project and see if people write you back.
If no one is writing back, or if you want a higher octane way of driving “people who don’t know you” to your project page, then you need to employ “the system”, which costs money. To be in business and drive awareness outside of the networks you already belong to, project often choose to get PR and Ads partners.
My disclaimer - I have worked with the agencies mentioned below with good results, but results always vary. Do not do PR or Ads for less than $2,000, there is absolutely no way you would get a valuable real partner to pitch you anything below that price.
For ads, you can hire a PPC firm to manage the ads and you will pay for the ads on top, or someone like funded today can drive traffic to your page just with a test fee and a significant equity share of your company.
For client who want to raise $100k - $200k, this is an absolutely essential investment and I highly recommend working with a professionala press person who can help you arrange the day one.
Whoever you get, the most important part is to make sure that they agree to post on a specific day and time - 12-24 hours into your launch day - so that you have a better shot at gaining their favor and building a team of links to go live about your project on the launch day.