PHOTOGRAPH: Simply Her Team
Simin Ames and her husband Rick turned their love of home-brewing into a business and started their craft spirits company Paper Lantern Distilling. They launched their Southeast Asia-inspired Sichuan Pepper Gin through a highly successful crowdfunding campaign on online platform Pozible. Here, she shares her secrets to getting more than double their funding target of $15,000.
A successful campaign takes time and energy
Only pursue a crowdfunding campaign if you can commit wholeheartedly to it. The campaign needs to be meticulously planned, which can extremely time-consuming – Simin even left her full-time job to focus on it. “Between my office work and taking care of three kids, there just wasn’t enough time to run a business,” she says.
Create a detailed timeline
A realistic schedule includes pre-campaign preparations such as preparing the product prototype and sourcing for suppliers, and post-campaign obligations, namely, delivering the product to customers.
“Plan each stage very carefully, or you’ll end up in a panic at the last minute,” Simin says. She and Rick started thinking about logistics – where they’d buy ingredients, bottles and even corks – four months before launching the campaign.
Make a compelling marketing video
It’s a crucial component to almost every successful campaign. “For starters, a good video needs a good script,” she says. Take your time to write out everything you need to say. Other than identifying all of the unique selling points, tell your back story – who you are and why you chose to develop the product. The element of human interest engages people on a more emotional level so they feel more compelled to support you.
Simin’s research suggested that a two-to-three minute video was the ideal duration to capture attention. You’ll end up editing a lot, she says, but this helps you hone your message.
Don’t stint on production costs as the quality of your video tells potential pledgers how serious you are about your product. Hire a professional to get it done.
Connect regularly with your supporters
To build a community around your product, you need to frequently interact with your supporters. “Post photographs and status updates about the production process,” says Simin. This way, you generate sustained interest in your product. Remember to show your gratitude towards this initial group of supporters – Simin even suggests contacting them personally to thank them.
Communication extends beyond the campaign period. “We hand-delivered our bottles so we could thank each supporter face-to-face for their support and trust,” Simin says. This gesture goes a long way in creating a loyal network of supporters who can then spread the word and help you grow your business.