Sheri Wall, children’s book author, recently finished her IndieGoGo campaign that raised over $5k for her book, Maiden Mermaid, a folktale in Salado, Texas.
Here are the lessons learned from her IndieGoGo campaign.
Please note that Sheri ran a flexible funding IndieGoGo campaign, so even though her goal was $9k and she raised $5k, she gets to keep the funds. If you have questions about the different types of crowdfunding platforms, click here to read more.
My IndieGoGo campaign is over. Thank goodness!
While I’m very pleased with the orders I received and the amount I raised, it was way more work than I anticipated.
I lost sleep. I lost confidence.
Then the mood goes back up and you feel invincible, and you know your book is amazing.
It’s an emotional roller coaster, at least it was for me.
Ten things I learned from my IndieGoGo campaign in no particular order, not sure any of them are original, and not sure these would all apply to other campaigns, but here goes:
#1 Keep your campaign page as simple as possible
I LOVED how my page looked and all the clever names I came up with for perks. I asked some folks a question like, “Did you see (something on the campaign page)?”
They had to come clean and say they didn’t read anything as it was too confusing and overwhelming. They looked for a dollar amount they were comfortable with and clicked it.
#2 Assume your audience knows nothing about crowdfunding
If it’s your first campaign, underestimate your audience’s understanding of crowdfunding—I had no idea so many folks had never heard of IndieGoGo. I would then follow with “What about Kickstarter?”
#3 Don’t rely on influencers
Don’t put too much weight on outside influencers’ influence.
I had three influencers with large email lists that were on board to share my campaign at least once with their newsletter subscribers.
They were “so excited” to help, really loved the book, and “couldn’t wait to be part of it!”
Not one of them actually included the campaign in an email. I got a few shares on Facebook, but that reach is just not the same.
#4 Watch your email open rates
Carefully calculate how many email reminders you will send. Your open rate goes way down the more you send.
I felt I was very conservative, but in the end, I just stopped sending them as they weren’t getting opened anyway.
#5 Be flexible with your social media plan
I had a calendar mapped out that basically went out the window. Sometimes until you’re “in it” the creative ideas don’t come (for example, my video with the statue).
#6 Upload your campaign video directly to Facebook
Facebook prefers “native video uploads”—meaning, you upload the file and don’t link it from YouTube and will show it more.
I didn’t know this when I started, but when a friend told me, I uploaded my campaign video as a post and the views shot up in comparison to a post with just the link to the video.
#7 Don’t be afraid to reach out to acquaintances
Don’t be afraid to message folks that you don’t talk to on a regular basis. I’m going to have to be extra nice at my high school reunion.
I was blown away by distant folks that preordered and some that even just donated funds. I also messaged folks that “Liked” a post but didn’t comment. Many responded favorably to my private message.
#8 Some promises will be broken
Know that some folks will never follow through on their order or pledge—even after they call you and ask what they can do to support you.
Sigh, but life happens.
#9 Focus on the why
Educate your friends on how to share your campaign. Kindly remind them to always start with a personal message as to why they are sharing and just don’t hit the share button.
#10 Engage early and often on social media
Start engaging early with your friends and followers on Facebook so your posts will be seen by them later.
The more you comment on other’s posts, the more likely Facebook is to show your posts back to them.
At least it seemed that way.
Instagram is all about engagement as well, but I did very little on Instagram just because I’m not that familiar with it.
Will I ever do another one?
It’s too fresh in my mind to say.
I started producing books in my empty nest stage, and it was never actually with the intent to be able to live off the income or grow a large network. But it is all a bit addicting.
If I do ever have a repeat, I will at least know what to expect and be able to prepare mentally.