Last year I crowdfunded “My Hong Kong Vehicles Book” through Next Chapter Ventures.
Here’s what I learned.
Something you need to know upfront: crowdfunding is hard work. It is not difficult, it is just a lot of hard work. Before I started even preparing for my crowdfunding campaign I went to a lot of seminars, listened to many people speak and read everything I could lay my hands on.
What a number of people said is that you cannot do it if you can only do it part-time. I did my crowdfunding part-time. I have two beautiful sons and a loving husband who also need my attention. I work from home, and I do not have the luxury of a PA or secretary.
I do, however, have a lot of supportive friends. These were the first people I approached. Most of them, not all but most, where very happy to help me. Even if they did not want A book for themselves, they happily passed on my email to their friends and acquaintances.
On a side note here I have to mention that it is very interesting to see which of your friends do and which don’t help you. I advise you not to count on a 100% support, as this will not happen. 50% is about what you’ll get. And you will be pleasantly surprised by the amount of support you get from some acquaintances. This is not to be underestimated. I’m still very grateful to these people. I’m sure there is the psychology article about that somewhere…
Preparation is key when doing crowdfunding. Prepare as much as you can in advance. All the emails, your email lists, pictures, photos, updates, it is best to have them already in advance. Why is this? Because something will always come up during the campaign.
I had quite a few questions regarding the product and some of the awards and I got ill. And as I was watching the ticker go up, I knew that we had things in place for all kinds of eventualities. So if we were ahead of our goal we could send out an email, if we were behind we could sent out another one.
We also had a big Facebook campaign. We are still working out how successful that was, but when I was selling the book at fairs quite a few people remarked that they had read about it on Facebook. So that might be something to look into if you are going to promote something locally.
Email was by far the best way of reaching people for us. However, we did not use many of the software that a bigger campaigns can use. We just did not have the resources to put in a hubspot or a hootsuite to manage posting on a lot of different types of social media. So we had to make the decision to stay small and for us that was email and Facebook. Looking at our target market, we thought that this is where they would reside.
The campaign was only 14 days and during this time on all workdays we sat together and worked next to each other so we all knew what we were doing. We did try a WhatsApp campaign, but I don’t think that did very well. Maybe that’s because I have an old phone and it takes quite a while to do things. Halfway through the campaign there was a bit of a forecasted and expected lull, but for this we kept a special email group of people we hadn’t contacted before. This did increase the sales for that period for a little bit, just enough to keep it ticking on and keep people interested. We did quite a few sales after the end of the campaign is well, just after we reached our goal. I think people realised that the price for the product would go up once the the campaign was finished.
All in all I think the campaign was very successful. We went over our goal, it got to the book out there, people knew about it and were talking about it, and most importantly for me, it got noticed by the bookshops.
Before the end of the campaign we were already contacted by one book store owner, and three weeks after launch we were also in one of the biggest chains in Hong Kong.
I would not have been able to do the crowd funding without the wonderful guidance and help with Nicole of Next Chapter. I am already looking forward to doing my next crowdfunding campaign with Nicole and Next Chapter after Easter. So watch this space! 🙂
By Elise Phillipson / runemragged.hk