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The complete guide to engaging with your crowdfunding community Start Reading

Slide Community is What Differentiates Crowdfunding It’s the backbone of every campaign at Indiegogo:
Backers crave specific, community-oriented elements that only crowdfunding can give them. They want to feel included in a new project. They want exclusive access to a launch before others. They want their ideas and feedback taken seriously and potentially incorporated into a final design or product.

Community is why people are willing to take a risk on crowdfunding.
In fact, if you’re crowdfunding, you’re building a community, whether it's intentional or not.

The key to making that community work for you is all about taking control of how those conversations unfold. You want to make sure that backers feel that they are connected with you and your product, so when they are spreading the word about your campaign, they can talk about how great you and your product are. When things go wrong or you fall behind your timeline, which often happens when creating something new, your backers will be more forgiving if you’ve taken their feedback seriously and kept them updated on your campaign status.

Slide format_list_bulleted Community is a journey and requires effort There’s no way to sugarcoat it:
Building and engaging with a community is a lot of work. But for those willing to make the commitment, it can bolster your business and increase the likelihood of your success. To build a community, you first need to spread the word and acquire users. You can do this by creating a pre-launch landing page to build a robust email list, crafting a strategy to grow your campaign audience, and building buzz with the media for your campaign launch.

CASE STUDY LUMEN Lumen's crowdfunding campaign raised over $2.3M among over 9,800 backers. They were getting their campaign ready for months prior to launch, working with hundreds of beta users to test the product. They knew that getting testimonials from actual users would go a long way to back up their product and explain the science behind it. After all, why should a potential backer take their word for it, when they could instead listen to a member of their community?

“We used the science and the beta users to help guide us,”
says Michal Mor, Founder and Chief Scientist Officer at Lumen. “We quoted early users and featured them in our Indiegogo testimonial videos, which helped us a lot.”

Slide format_list_bulleted Community gives you the opportunity to lead the conversation Your community is going to give you feedback whether you ask for it or not.
Being a part of the discussion is a good way to address the feedback proactively, especially when there’s negative feedback on your product or campaign. You can also find out the things you want to know, like features your customers might want to see or potential uses for your product that you didn’t think about. You can also get reactions to your ideas in real time.

CASE STUDY BABYMAKER The makers of this stealth eBike listened to their backers to improve their product offerings. Rob Rast, Co-Founder of FLX, the company that made Babymaker said, “Our email list was sacred - we were talking to people multiple times a day, sharing with them any tiny updates on the product, asking them, ‘Hey, what do you guys think of this color? If we use these brakes would you like them?’ The answer never seems to be what you would think. So it's invaluable to get the feedback of your users before you launch, because at the end of the day, we're building a product for them.”

“I would say community is one of the most important aspects, if not the most important aspect, about crowdfunding. As an entrepreneur, you're expecting people to trust you with their money, a significant amount of money a lot of the time. They could just as well go to Amazon and purchase the same product outright and have it delivered in two days. So building real relationships with the community is so, so important.”

Intro

Slide format_list_bulleted Community bolsters your business model An engaged community is an expanding community:
When you have backers who are passionate about your campaign, they are more likely to refer other backers. When you keep backers informed of the campaign status and keep backers happy, they will be more likely to generate content for you via social media. It can help create a cycle in which new backers come to your campaign without you having to rely on paid advertising to spread the word.

CASE STUDY NICHE ZERO The father-son duo took a deliberate and steady approach to growing their audience. The team embedded themselves in online coffee groups and meaningfully engaged with fellow coffee enthusiasts. Taking time to genuinely connect to the community led to exponential growth over time. They raised over $6.5M on Indiegogo without spending anything on advertising.

“We posted in coffee forums and got involved in the coffee community. My main passion is Instagram. I repost a lot of customer photos and stay connected with the community.” says James Nicholson, co-founder of Niche Zero.

“I would say community is one of the most important aspects, if not the most important aspect, about crowdfunding. As an entrepreneur, you're expecting people to trust you with their money, a significant amount of money a lot of the time. They could just as well go to Amazon and purchase the same product outright and have it delivered in two days. So building real relationships with the community is so, so important.”

Slide format_list_bulleted Community lowers the cost of customer service One of the main benefits of community is that community members can engage with each other.
They can answer each other’s questions, provide advice to each other, and give updates. So try to give your backers a forum to promote conversations. Backers may be able to answer questions and provide information that you can’t, like giving insights on how they use the product, posting mini-reviews and comparisons, and answering questions about where orders are. They can also provide social proof that products are shipping, which could help other backers remain patient while you finish getting orders out.

Of course, you should always monitor questions yourself and provide regular updates -- backer forums should be a supplement, not a substitute, for your own customer support. Regular updates let you be proactive about customer service. If you’re engaging with your backers at steady intervals, then you’ll likely answer any questions they might have before they need to reach out to you directly. Taking one hour to put together a thoughtful update could save you hundreds of hours answering questions about shipping, saving both your backers and you a lot of anxiety. It will likely boost your backer loyalty as well. Studies show that taking initiative in your customer support can increase retention rates by 3-5%.

CASE STUDY BLUETTI See how Bluetti, the team behind amazing portable power stations that raised over $4.3M with over 4K backers, did it. They preempted customer support questions by keeping backers apprised of progress as they built their product.

“We built a community and engaged with it even before the campaign launch. It helped us understand the interests and product needs of potential backers,” says Mark, Marketing Manager at Bluetti. "Also, we have been actively keeping our backers informed of our production status by sharing photos of the factory as well as logistics updates.”

Intro

Slide format_list_bulleted Community can increase lifetime value of customers Acquiring a new customer can be five times more expensive than retaining an existing customer.
That means that keeping your community engaged can pay dividends for you in the long run -- far more so than with traditional ecommerce. Roughly one quarter of Indiegogo backers have backed more than one campaign, making them valuable and engaged community members. Keep in mind that engagement is highly correlated with loyalty. On average, Indiegogo campaigners raise 126% more on their second campaigns when compared to their first.

CASE STUDY PAKT Pakt, which has become known for compact, well-designed travel accessories, have become a perennial favorite on Indiegogo. Their campaigns for the Pakt Travel Backpack, Pakt Coffee Kit and Pakt One Travel Bag have each raised at least $500K. “We often list our audience as our most valuable brand asset and we laid the foundation for it on Indiegogo.”

“Communication with backers is the biggest factor in building brand loyalty,” he continues. “In hindsight, the high number of touch points that we had from campaign launch through delivery of the product was a great, and unique, opportunity to establish that valuable sense of community that we have been building upon since.” says Malcolm Fontier, Founder & Creative Lead at Pakt

Slide Get Started Managing a Community Business is like most other things in life:
It’s better when it’s done with other people. Engaging with your community is not only good for your bottom line, it’s also good for your backers. But it isn’t for the faint of heart: Community requires transparency and trust, and if you don’t make the time to communicate frequently, your community’s trust in you will dissolve.
Feeling ready to get started? There are many ways to build a community around your campaign. Download our checklist for some strategies to try.  Checklist