Increasingly in business funding circles, you hear about companies harnessing the power of the people, and raising money using crowdfunding platforms in exchange for rewards, loans or a slice of their equity. Crowdfunding flies in the face of more recent funding activity that sees the “few” investing larger amounts of money in good causes or good businesses.
A crowdfunding campaign will include a profile of your project or business proposition on a platform, including the rewards or financial arrangements and a well-thought out and executed marketing plan, naturally, but it will also require a pitch campaign video that sets you apart from the crowd.
Whether you’ve got a rock band, a brewing company or an online booking business, a key component of successfully raising funds via the crowd is your crowd-funding campaign video.
Because your potential donors or investors can’t see you or talk to you in person, it’s vital that you create and promote a knock-out campaign video that gets your proposition across in clear terms and also excites people enough to make them want to donate or invest.
You don’t need to create a Hollywood blockbuster with a budget that breaks the bank, but you do need to create a video that convincing the public to help you turn your dream into reality.
So how do you go about making a great video?
- Keep it short and succinct
Most people have a short attention span and become quickly bored. The maximum amount of time for your video is two minutes, and you need to make every second count. Get the viewer involved with a captivating opening, and hold their interest with focused information, a good speaking pace and variety in your tone of voice.
- Write a script, but make sure your personality comes across
You may be ace at winging it, but this is not the time to be underprepared, particularly if you’re selling a stake in your business. Your facts need to be correct, but you still need to appear human, authentic. Include important information – who, what, where, when and how – and then practice like mad! It helps, write up some large-font bullet points and have them next to the camera.
- Use good quality recording equipment and edit wisely
The image and audio quality of your pitch video are important. Size also matters, so keep it under 5GB. Using a smart phone set down on a stable surface can be enough for you to create an effective video. Check your sound quality and decide whether you need a better microphone, clipped to your shirt for example. Also use background music sparingly. If you have the budget and the desire, get a professional to help. If you have access to your university media department, for example, you may want to see about getting a student involved.
- Star in your own campaign
Investors and donors like a human story. They want to see who they’re investing in, and no one speaks with as much passion and enthusiasm about it as you do. If you use animation, use it sparingly.
- Vary the setting
Show your potential investor your engine room – where the magic happens – so they feel more connected to your business. Vary the footage with clips of your staff in-situ, customers interacting or other daily activities. Speaking directly into the camera for the whole video is boring.
- Don’t forget to end with the “ask”
People frequently forget to ask for what they want the listener to do having watched the video. What’s the call to action? Do you want them to make a donation, invest, tell their friends, put it on their social media channels or all of the above?
- Promote the heck out of it!
Once it’s uploaded onto the platform, use all the social media, PR, networks and contacts available to you to get people viewing and investing. Be sure to include your platform specific URL in all your activity.
- Look at other successfully crowd-funding videos for inspiration
If they’ve been successful, it’s worth looking at their structure, wording, tone and images to see if you can learn from their experiences. Some great campaigns include Flint & Tinder (men’s underware), which raised 900% above the original ask; and the “Veronica Mars Movie Project,” which raised $5.7m on Kickstarter – triple the original target – earning $1m in the first few hours.
Helene Panzarino is the co-founder and CCO of FINTECH Circle Innovate and author of the forthcoming Business Funding For Dummies (Wiley).