One of the toughest things with any business is getting started. When everything is to be done, where do you start? Luckily, crowdfunding platforms can borrow a few rules from other online businesses. We’ve launched quite a few websites and accompanied many crowdfunding platforms on their road to success. Here’s our six-step guide for your crowdfunding platform.
1. No online business without a website
Whether you want a custom-made site or a ready-to-use white-label solution like CrowdEngine, launching a crowdfunding platform means you will need a website. Check out my tips on which crowdfunding software solution you should choose.
2. Never launch an empty website
This is the most important rule. Empty websites scare users. Nobody wants to be the first to invest in your site; it’s much too risky. So what to do prior to getting your first projects?
3. Put up a splash page
A splash page is a user-facing home page that teases your soon-to-come launch and lets visitors sign up for your newsletter. It’s great because it allows you to direct prospects to your website before it’s launched and still hides that you’re far from ready for launch. While visitors can only access the splash page, more trusted users can access your actual website to start creating content in the meantime.
4. Find your first three projects
You could start with anywhere from one to five projects, but three is a good number. 99% of your efforts to find these projects will have to be done offline. Talk to your networks, go to events, find people who have dreams and just need a little money to make them happen. You’ll convince them that you’re better than other alternatives by creating a relationship based on trust.
5. Get these projects funded
If you start with three projects, you’ll want at least two of them to reach their funding targets. The best crowdfunding platforms have a success rate of 50%, which means you have to beat the odds and put an enormous amount of effort into supporting your fundraisers. In addition, you’ll have to mitigate promoting these campaigns and making your own site look good. Prominently displaying campaigns with little to no funding is detrimental to your site. Maintain a splash homepage until they have reached at least 20% of their funding.
6. Reach for the stars
Once you have these first few successes, you’ve created proof. Leverage this proof to find more campaigns and raise more money. Keep in mind that offline efforts need to be core to your promotion efforts.