How to Crowdfund your Short Film: Part 4

So we are almost finished, this is the last part of how to crowdfund your short film!

Last week we talked about drafting the campaign and starting to publicise it. This week, we’ll talk about (finally) launching your campaign, keeping it going and keeping people involved.

Step 13

It’s time to launch! Your campaign is ready, you’ve checked it through a million times, it’s finally ready for the world to set eyes on. Having done your publicity in the last step, you’ll have primed your friends, family and followers for the launch so (if you’ve primed them in the right way) they will be beyond excited to see what it is you’re working towards!

The previous step, publicity, is so important before launching. Otherwise you’ll launch and just get crickets and tumbleweed, which is no use for funding a short film. But you know all that already, so you’ll have kept everyone up to date with your work and the date of the campaign launch (or if you haven’t, you’ll get on it now).

Consider what time you should be launching. If you have business accounts for Instagram then you’ll be able to see when your followers are most active – this would be prime time to launch the campaign. The first 24 hours are key, and you want as much attention as possible. By researching your main demographic’s most active times, you can launch your campaign at the right time to get maximum exposure.

You might also want to think about when during the week and when during the month. For example, no one wants to give money away on a miserable Monday morning, but by Friday they might be much more willing. Launching at the end of the month means catching people’s paydays (rather than bill-paying days), where they have the most money to spare. January can be a tough sell because we’ve just had the crazy Christmas spending spree, but if you market your campaign in the right way you might be able to capitalise off of that. We’re all suckers for sales in January, so if you’re using IndieGoGo make use of the ‘reduced price’ option. This shows each perk with a discounted price, and who doesn’t love a discount?

Step 14

Publicity (yes, yes, I know it was Step 12) is still vital here. Your first 24 hours might have been amazing, but keeping a steady stream of people engaged in your campaign is what’s going to get you to your target.

So how do you repeatedly share and drive attention to the same thing over and over again? The trick is variety. Let’s start with times of posts. You may have launched your campaign at 5pm on a Friday, because that was your main demographic’s key time, but you might also get a spike at 2pm on Wednesdays. Posting at different, but relevant, times means that a variety of people will see your posts and the same audience won’t be bombarded.

Sharing ‘check out our campaign! We’re at £…’ over and over again is not going to appeal to many people, so vary exactly what it is that you’re posting. You could share interviews with key crew or cast, you could share production updates like getting artwork complete or finding the perfect location. As always, keep it personal. You want to include people in your production, not just dictate it to them.

Make sure you have a balance of ‘campaign posts’ and ‘regular posts’. You don’t want your platforms to be saturated with the campaign news, because it won’t appeal to everyone and you’ll likely lose followers.

Finally, make sure you’re sharing on a variety of platforms. If you’re sharing on Instagram, make sure you have main posts, stories and even some live videos if you can manage it. You could also utilise IGTV. That’s four avenues in just one platform! How’s that for variety? If you’re sharing on Facebook, you can add stories there as well. And if your posts themselves are varied (regular posts, interviews, videos) then you’ll have no trouble keeping people interested and aware without boring them.

Step 15

You’ve launched, you’ve publicised, it’s now time to perfect the art of keeping a campaign going.

Personally, I find it easiest to come up with a list of updates, where I’ll be sharing them (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc) and when. If I have any updates that are worded the same, or are too similar, then I change them. Even if you’re sharing the same thing on three different platforms, make sure the wording of each post is different. If someone is following you on all three platforms, then seeing the same post three times will be off-putting and seem lazy.

Once you have your list of updates, consider each platform and the times you post. Again, if you have business accounts then they often show your personal insights, but you can spend a bit of time doing some general research and it’ll help enormously.

Consider your target markets, and then develop a balance. For instance, you might find that the majority of your followers are active on Saturday mornings. This will mean that your post will be seen by as many people as possible. But if your target audience is the 18-25 year old segment, you might find that they are most active on Friday mornings. Get the balance right between posting to as many people as possible and posting to the target market. It can be complex, but mapping it out means that you will be strategic with your posts, and help your campaign most of all.

Step 16

You’re so nearly there! It’s the last step on the way to hitting your target – keeping the people involved, and saying thank you!

All throughout this series I’ve been going on and on about keeping it personal. That’s not to say that you have to know the names of the parents and siblings of everyone who’s donated to you, but you do need to make people feel like you’ve connected with them on a personal level. Not only will people continue to support your film, they’ll continue to support your other projects.

If you’re offering a social media shoutout as one of your perks, don’t just write ‘shoutout to a, b, c, d, e’. That doesn’t mean anything to anyone. Start by explaining how much this campaign means to you, what it’s facilitating for you, and how grateful you are to everyone that’s pitched in. Word each shoutout differently. If you have a lot to do, then group them into pairs or triplets, rather than shouting out each individual. Bear in mind that your followers won’t know about a, b or c, so don’t launch into ‘shoutout for…’ Start with your very first donor, and advertise them as such.

‘So much love for our very first donor ‘a’! Thanks for helping us to make ‘project’!’

’Huge thanks for ‘b’ for giving us £x towards ‘project’. It means a lot.’

’Thank you so much ‘c’, we’re so lucky to have you supporting ‘project’.’

’’d’ gave us £x for ‘project’! She’s just financed food for the cast and crew!’ (or something along those lines)

Seeing how much you value your donors will encourage other people to donate, or at the very least share your campaign. If you have the time, check out their social media sites – you could say ‘thanks to ‘e’ for helping us to make ‘project’. I love your Instagram! If anyone loves puppies/sunsets/shots of coffee (whatever it is they show on their ‘gram) check it out!’

Keeping people involved is the oil to keep it all running smoothly. It also means that you’re making things a lot easier for your next crowdfunding campaign!

And we’re done, congratulations! Share your shiny new campaigns in the comments below!

 

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