Communication is Key: Tips For Building an Authentic Community


Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding campaigns provide a great opportunity for emerging brands to build a community of enthusiastic supporters quickly. But because crowdfunding is risky, it’s important to nurture your backer community with regular, transparent updates. From launch day through product delivery, keep your backers informed of your progress. How you do this will determine your credibility and set you up for success (or failure) long after the campaign is over. 

Communication is Key: Tips For Building an Authentic Community

Crowdfunding campaigns provide a great opportunity for emerging brands to build a community of enthusiastic supporters quickly. But because crowdfunding is risky, it’s important to nurture your backer community with regular, transparent updates. From launch day through product delivery, keep your backers informed of your progress. How you do this will determine your credibility and set you up for success (or failure) long after the campaign is over.

Congratulations. You hit the launch button on your crowdfunding campaign and are excitedly watching as backers from across the world support your project. Now what? Building a community with these early supporters is important, and the easiest way to do that is through clear, transparent communication.

 

Two Easy Ways to Communicate

Within the Kickstarter platform, there are two easy ways to communicate with backers, and potential backers, as the campaign progresses: comments and updates. Once a project is live, it’s common to see backers ask questions and make suggestions about a product. How creators respond can make or break the new relationship they’re trying to build with their community of supporters.

 

The Comments Section

Nearly every successful campaign receives comments from backers. Clothing campaigns will receive questions about materials, sizing and colors. Tech projects will get all sorts of questions about the technical specifics of their products.

The importance of answering backers as they ask questions and provide feedback cannot be overstated. It is essential.

Answering questions in real-time serves a few purposes. It shows potential backers that the campaign creators are legitimate, invested and involved. It also gives answers that potential backers might be having. This can sway a potential backer who is on the fence about supporting the campaign.

 

Do’s and Don’ts of Comments

  • Do respond promptly. Aim to have someone on your team respond within 24 hours to every comment.
  • Do acknowledge frustrations or questions honestly.
  • Do provide answers and information, and be transparent if the answer is “I don’t know.”
  • Don’t be combative or defensive. Criticism isn’t fun, but how you respond will either attract or deter backers.
  • Don’t lie, guess or make stuff up. Be transparent. If you don’t know, tell backers that you’ll get an answer, and do it.
  • Don’t ignore the comment section.

 

Case Study: Mobile Pixels Inc.

A great example of a creator who uses the comments section to connect with backers is Mobile Pixels Inc. Their most recent campaign, DUEX Lite and DUEX Plus, received a number of questions about compatibility, technical specifications and usage. The team responded to nearly every comment from specific use-cases to general questions.

Mobile Pixels Comments 1 Mobile Pixels Comments 1

 

It’s worth noting that the reverse is also true. Creators who fail to answer questions receive a flurry of comments questioning their legitimacy. This can, and often does, result in cancelled pledges and a withdrawing of support.

Backer Updates

One of the easiest ways to communicate with your backers is regularly posting backer updates on your campaign page. Backer updates are a great way to keep your backers engaged in the campaign and informed about anything that’s happening behind the scenes.

While the campaign is live, updates can feature milestones in funding, answers to frequently asked questions and the announcement of stretch goals. These updates are emailed to backers and also live on the campaign page itself, so it’s important to check spelling, hyperlinks and tone before publishing. Post-campaign updates provide critical information to backers about when they can expect their product.

 

Do’s and Don’ts of Backer Updates

  • Don’t post vague updates. Make sure you have something to say, and say it clearly.
  • Don’t ignore frequently asked questions. If you’re receiving a ton of questions, answer them for everyone in an update.
  • Don’t ghost. It’s easy to get busy once the campaign is over, but don’t go silent on your backers. Check in with updates to continue building a loyal customer base.
  • Do post regularly.
    • When the campaign is live, we suggest updating your community every time a milestone is hit.
      Post-campaign, it’s suggested that you update backers at least once a month.
  • Do be transparent. Part of crowdfunding is that things rarely go according to plan. Tell your backers about what you’re experiencing and bring them along for the ride.
  • Do be personable. As a creator, it’s important that your backers connect with you on a human level. Use humor and be authentic.

 

Case Study: Swish

Most campaigns hit bumps along the way when they go to fulfill their rewards. It’s part of the process, and backers are overwhelmingly understanding…if they’re kept in the loop. Sometimes delays are anticipated, but other times, something totally unexpected happens. How creators handle these events can make or break their relationship to backers.

Swish, a novel cocktail jigger, is a prime example of how to communicate openly and honestly when something no one could predict happens. After they completed their campaign, the creators published notes thanking their backers and updating them when manufacturing was completed. Then the unexpected happened.

 

Disaster at sea

 

The Swish team had lined up everything to hit a tight deadline and deliver products in time for the holiday season. But then, the cargo ship containing the first batch of products hit a storm in the Pacific Ocean. More than 1,900 containers were either lost at sea, or damaged aboard the ship. The creator of Swish told backers what had happened, was human in his response, and informed them of what plan their plan B was.

Five days after their first “disaster” update, the team sent a second one with more information.

 

Disaster update 2

This real-time communication with backers served them well. Comments on the updates thanked the creator for keeping them in the loop and acknowledged the “freak nature” of this situation. While the disappointment was unanimous, the campaign kept backers from becoming angry.

Once the situation had resolved, the team updated backers once final shipping had begun. Backers responded with messages of thanks, including this one:

Comment from Swish Backers

The process of building your Kickstarter community only begins with the launch button. By engaging with your backers, you’ll turn early adopters into loyal fans.

Let Enventys Partners help you communicate with backers

Are you ready to launch your crowdfunding campaign? Does the thought of crafting updates seem daunting? If you need help getting started, reach out to Enventys Partners. We work with a wide variety of projects in every category and would love to partner with you to bring your idea to life.

 

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