How to raise 170% of your crowdfunding target.

How to raise 170 percent of your crowdfunding target

Andreas Müller explains his campaign success.

Andreas is based in Southern Germany and has recently run a crowdfunding campaign.

He shares with us some golden nuggets on how he successfully raised 170% of his crowdfunding target.

Andreas and I met several years ago in the UK. He runs a very successful, award-winning online news service in German.

I asked him how he first heard of crowdfunding.

Andreas had come across crowdfunding before but gained a greater understanding of what was involved through several discussions we had on the topic. Essentially, he was looking for ways to further monetise his website, which has a large number of readers visiting every day.

Being a conservative web user, Andreas was unsure how his readers would react to crowdfunding. Initially, he set out to test ways in which they could support the work he was doing. He added a donation button on his news website but that did not generate much of a result.

He felt, however, that there was a need to revamp his online presence and offer an upgraded website and a mobile app.
After doing some research on rewards-based crowdfunding platforms, both internationally and in Germany, Andreas felt that a German-based platform would best serve his readers’ interests. The platform he chose was VisionBakery.com

As many project creators come to realise, setting a target for their crowdfunding campaign can become one of the most difficult things to establish.

Grewi

An important factor that has to be taken into account is the size of one’s crowd.

Andreas has built up a significant crowd over the years. At the time of the campaign, he had around 16 000 Facebook followers and a further 4 000 on other social media platforms. The number of readers he had on his website numbered around 200 000, giving him approximately 1 million page views every month. An email subscriber base of 13 000 was also part of the mix.
Initially, Andreas wanted to set his target at €15 000 but on further discussion decided to reduce it to €5 000 (euros).

I asked Andreas if he had tested his crowd in terms of how much he thought they would be willing to give. The testing he had conducted did not provide him with any clear guidance as to how much he might be able to ask for.

In the end, he reduced his target to €5 000 but ultimately raised over 170% of that, reaching a final total of €8 480.
You can see his campaign results at VisionBakery.com (http://www.visionbakery.com/grewi)

Andreas reached his target two thirds of the way into the campaign. He also felt that his supporters would stop giving once he had reached his target.

At this point, he announced to his readers that he had reached his target.

Much to his surprise, this resulted in his biggest one day surge of support. More money was pledged with this announcement than on any other day of the campaign.

Interestingly, every milestone announcement created more momentum. Some backers even came back and showed their support again.

It just shows that people often like to associate with success.

At this stage in our discussion, I asked Andreas which strategy he used that resulted in the most action from his readers. To which he commented that, without a doubt, his email subscribers were the most responsive.

His Facebook community of 15 000 likes generated another 500 likes to his campaign post, with 300 actually pledging towards the campaign in return for one of his rewards.

Andreas did not pay for, or boost any ads on Facebook, so his results came purely from his organic reach.

To place this campaign in perspective, Andreas described that his news service centred around providing serous scientific research on global paranormal issues such as crop circles, UFOs, etc.
His readers are highly engaged, daily consumers of his content. They are also somewhat reluctant to share their interest amongst their own friends for fear of their reactions.

When deciding on rewards, Andreas was fortunate to have lots of different materials he had created over the years that he could use.

These included digital downloads of crop circles, to books that he had written on different topics, as well as digital posters and postcards with paranormal themes. Andreas also offered two hour lectures to anybody within 200 kms of where he lives.

crop circle

Here are some of the lessons he said he learned from running his crowdfunding campaign.

Lessons Learned

Build your crowd up as much as possible before you launch your campaign. Andreas was lucky in that he already had a large crowd to work with.

Do not expect too much in the beginning and be happy with what you get. In the end, the entire process for him was fun and he learnt quite a lot about his crowd.

He selected a fixed target campaign (i.e. if you do not reach your target you do not get any of the money). This put a fair amount of emotional pressure on him during the campaign. He constantly wondered if he would reach his target and if he did not, what he was going to do about it.

Andreas felt that online groups and social networks are not as social as you might think. It proved difficult to spread his message via these communities and he did not get much co-operation from group leaders, or response from members.

However, he will consider crowdfunding again but may choose a different crowdfunding model whereby people can support his work on an ongoing basis.

Patreon.com was suggested as a possible model to consider. This platform allows for ongoing monthly subscriptions from supporters, which in turn allows for a more secure monthly income for the person going crowdfunding.

In addition, and for whatever reason, VisionBakery.com (the platform that hosted the campaign) did not go out of their way to promote his campaign, e.g. they did not even place a post on their own Facebook page promoting his campaign. In other words, you need to promote your own campaign and not rely on the platform to bring you any extra visitors.

All rewards that Andreas organised were delivered within the suggested timeframe. This is important, as most campaigns fail to deliver their rewards on time.

Andreas says that in preparation for your own campaign, you need to back other projects to get a feel for how others manage their campaigns and rewards.

With reference to online comments, Andreas mentioned that there will always be some negative comments that you need to manage at various points during the campaign. Monitoring campaign reaction, no matter where they occur online, needs to be done in a timely manner.

My thanks go to Andreas for taking the time to speak to me via Blab and I hope you get lots of ideas from his crowdfunding experience.

For anyone wanting to reach out to Andreas Müller, you can find him at Grewi.de. His website is in German but he speaks fluent English.