First and foremost, crowdfunding is an alternative way to raise funds to support or start-up a cause, project, or product.
Beyond this ultimate goal of gaining capital, however, crowdfunding also provides campaigners with the unique opportunity to gauge if there is interest and demand for their new project or idea. A crowdfunding campaign can act as the sample test to validate a concept, testing the waters and even winning potential future customers.
Here is how to ensure your crowdfunding campaign is useful as a tool for idea validation:
Share Your Vision
Inspiring your crowd with a strong vision is already a deal-breaker for any crowdfunding campaign, in order to compel your audience to support your idea. Even more so, where the end-product is not yet tangible or readily available, sharing with them a clear vision of what you hope to achieve is beyond essential.
Although campaigners themselves may believe that they are doing something that will truly benefit their crowd, if all they are selling at that time is a vision, then the crowdfunding campaign is an ideal opportunity to establish if people really do want it, and want it enough to donate their own funds to it, now and in the future.
Highlighting your overall vision and core principal of your campaign will give you a real perspective of what the crowd needs, wants, and is prepared for.
Any crowdfunding campaign is only as successful as the marketing strategy that was carefully created before it was launched. As well as how you will promote the product via social media, emails or word-of-mouth, your marketing plan for the campaign should also include how you will use the campaign to carry out some fact-finding about your idea.
Likewise, the buzz created throughout a crowdfunding campaign for a concrete idea, product, performance or project can also help you to plan a pre-sale strategy, later in the process.
Work Your Interactions
Having created a clear-cut and thorough marketing plan for your campaign, you can then learn a great deal about your idea by following your marketing material closely, and keeping tabs on the reactions, comments, interactions and feedback from your crowd.
Consider noting the age demographics or locations of those showing most interest in the idea, for example, as well as any feedback you receive about the idea itself, using this valuable market knowledge both in your constantly-updated marketing plan, and in the next stages of your project.
By regularly acting on the feedback you receive about your idea and the campaign itself, and tweaking it for the positive, you boost the chances of achieving both a successful crowdfunding campaign in the short term, and long-term success for your project.
Use Failures to Build Success
Whilst a crowdfunding campaign that does not achieve its funding goal may be considered a failure, from the perspective of idea validation it is still an extremely useful exercise.
Despite the shortfall in funding, through the campaign you will have received a lot of feedback and valid market research data with which you could enhance your idea to better appeal to the crowd, improving your promotional materials, clarifying your message, or conveying more passion regarding what you hope to achieve.
The bottom line here is to never give up on the idea, focusing on improvement of your project and crowdfunding campaign, and then trying again.