Crowdfunding isn’t a new concept, and it’s been instrumental in some huge successes. It’s also a notoriously difficult beast, with less than a third of crowdfunding campaigns reaching their goals.
However, when I founded Solidteknics in 2015, my previous experience of past business was spending all my time dealing with investors, banks, accountants, lawyers, etc. instead of developing products. After selling my previous company, I was determined to do things differently.
I set myself a challenge to form a new type of business model and raise capital using a crowdfunding platform with social media to build demand and an avid band of followers – our tribe. Today, our growing community are now just as passionate about Solidteknics cookware as we are.
Now, various iterations of our indestructible non-toxic heirloom cookware have been funded through 18 Kickstarter campaigns (15 here in Australia, three in the US). Our most recent campaign reached its $20,000 goal in just one hour, and had made it to $50,000 in three. It’s now sitting in excess of $134,000 with 19 days left to run. We’ve had several campaigns over $300,000 and our biggest was $455,000.
The Kickstarter funds were crucial for financing the big investment in tooling and production in expensive countries (all our products are made in the Australia and the USA), but the most important outcome has been building a big enough following to make a successful jump to retail. Our cookware is sold in 140 kitchenware stores around Australia, Amazon, and in chef stores in the USA.
Here are a few things I’ve learnt along the way about how to build a successful crowdfunding campaign.
1. Have a genuine, and genuinely-interesting, story
A polished video and crowdfunding page is important, but even more important is to let your genuine story shine through. Potential backers are far more interested in products connected to people they can relate to and trust.
2. Know your target audience and choose your platform carefully
There are hundreds of crowdfunding sites out there at the moment, from the biggest industry leaders to more niche websites. Bigger is usually better. Knowing your target audience will allow you to tailor your pitch. A bespoke, tailored pitch will get far more response than a general one.
3. Have a marketing strategy
Don’t just write a blurb for your idea and expect people to feel the same passion for it as you do. Creating video content and creating a brand will allow people to see what’s inside your head! Despite the rising cost of Facebook advertising, we have had a great return when we promote adverts or boost posts to very targeted audiences.
4. Set goals
As with anything, setting goals is a great way to reach them. Sharing those goals with your community will make it a joint effort to reach them.
5. Get personal
Get to know your supporters – this will build trust and ensure they feel part of the process, rather than just being a monetary prop. We have a highly engaged group on Facebook where supporters interact and share stories – it’s a great way to get everyone involved.
Now we have such a community, every time we launch a new product we use a crowdfunding vehicle. Having our tribe behind us has had more benefits than just financial ones: we love hanging out with them and sharing recipes and cooking stories!
Mark J Henry, Founder, Solidteknics