Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites have been a huge help for many musicians in terms of getting a nice cash injection in their music careers. These platforms make it possible to raise quite a bit of money in a short time – an often essential need when you're trying to take your music career to the next level.
A Kickstarter however, is not a guaranteed road to success. There is a high level of competition, which means you have to give plenty of thought to planning your campaign before you jump in. You'll also have to work your butt off before, during and after the campaign.
The following six rules will help you raise the money you need from your crowdfunding project. While there's no sure fire way to guarantee any Kickstarter campaign succeeds, the below tips will make success a lot more likely.
Note: This is a guest post by Dixie.
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Choose An Appropriate Goal
When you start a Kickstarter campaign, one of the most important choices is your monetary goal. If you don’t reach this goal, you end up with nothing. That’s why you don’t want to make your goal too high.
At the same time, you don’t want to set your number too low, as you want to make the potential rewards worth all effort you put in to raising these funds. The money also needs to be able to do some real good and help you progress in the music industry.
Set a number that’s realistic, yet high enough that it will enable you to accomplish your objectives.
Important: When coming up with your monetary goals, take into consideration how much money you will put into your campaign. This includes:
- Expenses for creating a demo of what you're raising money for, e.g your new album or a set of music videos,
- Making a video to advertise your campaign,
- Promoting the campaign,
- Merchandise and any rewards you give away,
The last things you want to do is raise say $5000, then find out you've spend that money across the campaign so haven't moved forward financially at all. So be sure to project all expenses before hand.
If You're A New Musicians, Don't Start A Campaign Just Yet…
It is tough to launch your music career when you only have one song for fans to listen to. Similarly, it's tough to launch a successful Kickstarter campaign when you have no existing fanbase or media mentions.
Don't launch a campaign unless you feel your current fanbase can cover at least 25% of the money you're requesting. Yes, Kickstarter shows your campaign to people already browsing their site, but only if your project already has momentum. If it doesn't, don't expect KS to help get your promotion out there.
So build up your song list (if you are an aspiring rapper, you can use resources like Three P Beats as they allow you to purchase rap beats to use in your songs) as well as your fanbase. Both will help you gain more traction.
No matter your style, be sure you have a solid few songs and fans ready to go before starting the campaign so that you don’t leave visitors underwhelmed.
Create A Professional Video
Your intro video will be the main tool that communicates your message to the world. It will be placed near the top of your Kickstarter page. Since you are raising money for a music project, you obviously want the look and sound to be great.
Choose one of your most popular or “catchy” songs for the background music of your video. The visuals and overall production quality of the video should be impressive. It is now possible to create a good looking video without spending much money, so get creative with your tactics – just make sure that the video is high quality.
A good idea is looking at other Kickstarter music projects which have hit their funding goals. See what they've done well, and borrow some of those ideas for your campaign. Don't outright copy anyone though.
When you create your Kickstarter campaign video, it's vitally important you do this next thing.
Be Personal And Authentic
The most successful fundraisers on sites like Kickstarter are those who know how to tell a compelling story. People don’t contribute simply because you need money or even because they like your music, though the latter certainly helps. It’s important to share your unique history with the public.
Tell people how you or your band got started, and reveal some of your musical influences and long term goals. This will make your campaign more personal and compelling. You can include this in the content on your campaign page, in the video, or in social media posts as you promote your campaign. Although this is a business endeavor, you still want to show people that you are human and passionate about music.
Offer Appealing Rewards
The rewards you offer donors can peak visitors’ interest and help you to receive more contributions. Kickstarter allows you to set up a rewards system that has multiple levels. This gives backers the incentive to contribute as much as possible in order to get a higher level of rewards.
You could get band t-shirts and posters printed up to offer as lower-tier rewards. Other rewards could include CDs or VIP seating at one of your concerts. You might need to get creative with higher-tier rewards, but things like personalized covers of people’s favorite songs, or personal concerts at people’s homes or functions are fun rewards when possible.
Have A Plan For Fulfilling Your Obligations
One of the crucial points about crowdfunding is that if you do succeed at raising money, you must do what you promised your backers. If you promise to release a certain number of CDs by a certain date, you must have a plan in place to meet this obligation. You also must meet your obligations for delivering on rewards to backers.
Fortunately, there are now many low cost resources available for making CDs and merchandise – you just need to plan ahead so you stay on schedule. If you promise to mail merchandise or CDs to your donors, be sure to set up mailing services and supplies in advance, and account for this cost in your budgeting.
Promote Your Campaign Widely
It’s not enough to simply start a campaign and hope that people will contribute. It’s up to you to promote your crowdfunding project using every resource at your disposal. This may include social media, paid advertising and word of mouth.
Participate in forums where people like your style of music. Follow and befriend people on social networks who like bands similar to yours. If you play gigs locally, always announce to the audience that you have a Kickstarter campaign. An email list is a good way to connect with your audience and remind them to contribute to your campaign.
A Kickstarter campaign can help you release your album, launch your national tour, and help you build your brand. Keep the above tips in mind to raise as much money as possible, and gain a fan base for launching your career. If you plan it carefully, a crowdfunding project could be the key to launching a successful career in music, and might be the ticket to achieving your goals in the industry.
If you've ever run a crowdfunding campaign, share with us how it went or lessons learned in the comments below. 🙂