How to make a crowdfunding video that sells itself

Just wanna let you know that I’ve had a lot of fun coming up with the video concept for my previous crowdfunding campaign, the PROTAG Duet.

That video eventually went viral and received over 9,000 Facebook shares.

(Duet’s campaign video has over 9,000 Facebook shares)

But the greatest lesson learnt was that in order to make a video go viral, we must intentionally have the mindset to make one that sells by itself from Day One.

Though it is not a requirement for crowd funding campaigns to have a video, Kickstarter statistics show that campaigns that have a video are 66 percent far more likely to raise funds than those that don’t.

Videos are great ways to tell your product’s story, as well as for viewers to make a human connection with you, the product creator.

Let’s look at three powerful ways we can make crowdfunding videos that sell by themselves:

#1:Videos that sell ‘steal’ ideas from other great videos

“Good artists copy. Great artists steal“- Steve Jobs

Remember this famous quote?

There’s a fine line between copying and stealing. Copying means explicitly taking someone else’s idea and calling it your own.

But if you are inspired by an existing idea, and modified it so that its your own, that’s the context of what Steve Jobs was referring to.

While its a controversial statement, it holds weight. It’s true even for the process of learning.

We learn everything in life by imitating others.

For example, if I want to get better at cooking, I’ll imitate the cooking of great chefs by following their tips, advice and recipes.

The same thing goes for making great videos.

Videos that sell usually borrow concepts and ideas from other videos that have proven to work.

If this is your first time making a video, don’t be intimidated.

Seek successful campaigns out, and spend time watching and observing what makes great video.

After all, if a video has already proven itself to make good money, why risk reinventing the wheel?

#2:Sell the story first, then your product

Lumi is a special ink dye for printing your own clothes and fabrics, using only sunlight or UV rays to develop the color.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lumi/print-on-fabric-using-sunlight-the-lumi-process

Lumi’s video sells its product story very well, because its founder Jesse Genet makes it easy for viewers to understand and follow its chronological journey from concept to creation.

When you make it easy for people to walk through your product’s story, it immediately builds credibility.

Notice that Lumi’s video focuses strongly on the human element.

The video displays the genuine and authentic personalities of Jesse and her team, and she’s personally narrating throughout the video.

People like to see campaigns that have passion, combined with some great product demonstration to prove that what you’re selling works.

#3:Sell an experience

If you still haven’t heard about the GoPro camera, well, you are probably living in the stone age!

GoPro is a high definition personal camera that’s often used in extreme action video photography.

Before proceeding any further, watch this GoPro promo video first, and take note of the emotions running through you.

GoPro wasn’t crowdfunded, but its promo video is well-done. There is an important lesson we can learn from it.

Pause for a moment, and now relive the emotions that you felt while watching this video.

Did you find the clip..

Scary
Exciting
Daring
Full of adrenaline?

Those were some of the feelings that described how I felt while watching GoPro’s video.

Did you notice that GoPro did not focus at all on selling the camera’s features at all?

Instead, it only simply showed the GoPro in action, mounted on a motorcross helmet.

Even if I’m not an adventure enthusiast, this video is enough to trigger an internal desire to buy a GoPro camera.

What’s the lesson here?

Great videos sell experiences, not products.

The backflips and death defying stunts are enough to bring out the side of us that longs for adventure.

It’s that part of us that longs to do crazy things, or YOLO (You Only Live Once) and gain recognition from our friends.

And the subtle message is that where it once wasn’t possible, GoPro now enables people to share those exotic experiences.

When you sell experiences, people intuitively realize the need for them to buy your product.

If you can blend these three power tips together into one video, you have an almost sure winner in the making.

And oh, don’t forget to enjoy the process!

-Johnathan

You May Also Like To Read Next: 5 Of The Most Effective (and $0 cost) Publicity Tools For Crowdfunding

“A FREE COURSE ON CROWDFUNDING“

I don’t want your crowdfunding education to end here, so I’m putting together a guidebook, and a free three-week course called “5 Ways To Find Users For Testing Your Crowdfunding Idea”. There will be some overlap between that content and this post, but the email course will walk you through some ways you can find users to test your idea.” Also check out the upcoming launch of my latest book: "The Crowdfunded Kit"

Just wanna let you know that I’ve had a lot of fun coming up with the video concept for my previous crowdfunding campaign, the PROTAG Duet. That video eventually went viral and received over 9,000 Facebook shares. (Duet’s campaign video has over 9,000 Facebook shares) But…

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Crowdfunding Is Not Just About Money...

I've been busy helping a few people out lately with feedback on their crowdfunding campaigns.

Been switching forth between helping people and also answering questions people have about my crowdfunding course, The Crowdfunded! Kit .

All that got me bothered about a troubling pattern I kept seeing: many projects I’ve helped are really great ideas/products, do the right marketing things, but still fail to reach their campaign goals.

And then it struck me hard why: They focused on the money first.

Community came second.

But viewing crowdfunding as a community building process can lead to better fundraising results, than merely viewing it as a financial transaction.

To quote from an African proverb:

“If you want to go faster, go alone. If you want to go further, go together”

That said, it brings me great joy to share with you of a success story in this very email list!

On Sept 30 2014, Tom, Jarryd, and William of Heat Seek NYC successfully concluded their Kickstarter campaign with $15,673 raised (congratulations guys!).

Their inspiring cause: helping thousands of New Yorkers with no heat at home, keep the heat on in winter.

And like Heat Seek NYC, I'd like to see you succeed too in your campaign.

So I wrote this post:

How To Attract Kickstarter Fans Before Your Project Becomes Another Failure

I hope you like this post .

Now I'm back to answering questions about The Crowdfunded! Kit.

-Johnathan

“A FREE COURSE ON CROWDFUNDING“

I don’t want your crowdfunding education to end here, so I’m putting together a guidebook, and a free three-week course called “5 Ways To Find Users For Testing Your Crowdfunding Idea”. There will be some overlap between that content and this post, but the email course will walk you through some ways you can find users to test your idea.” Also check out the upcoming launch of my latest book: "The Crowdfunded Kit"

I've been busy helping a few people out lately with feedback on their crowdfunding campaigns. Been switching forth between helping people and also answering questions people have about my crowdfunding course, The Crowdfunded! Kit . All that got me bothered about a troubling pattern I kept seeing: many projects I’ve…

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Finding your pools of "fish" with meetup.com

This is Lesson 5 of my crowdfunding course: "5 Ways To Find Your First 100 Kickstarter Backers."

Remember the old fisherman saying that if you want to fish for the right fish, you've gotta fish in the right pond?

The target audience you will need to interview often hang out in communities of the same interest.

And I'm going to introduce you to another very effective technique that I accidentally discovered, but that has yielded me a base of highly targeted users.

The best part of it is that it is not just a 'pond of fish', but 'ponds and ponds of fish'.

This source of 'ponds and ponds of fish' is Meetup.com.

Meetup.com is the world's largest online social networking portal that facilitates offline group meetings in various localities around the world.

You can find and join groups unified by a common interest, such as politics, books, games, movies, health, pets, careers or hobbies.

Basically, you can find an event for almost anything under the sun here!

There are two ways you can use Meetup.com to get customers: either through joining an existing meetup group or creating a new meetup group.

Here's how:

Getting users through an existing Meetup group:

1.Go to meetup.com

2.Create an account (it's free)

3.Search for meetup events that are related to your topic of interest. Let's assume you have an idea for a new kind of surfboard. So you'll want to look for surfing meetups near you.

You can see from the search results that there are three meetup events around San Francisco that are surfing related:

Ladies who Surf (494 people ),
SF Surf Science (115 people),
and also Fun and Sun Water Sports Club (234 people).

Do you see that there are easily 3 'ponds' of users that you are looking at?

Which is what makes Meetup.com such an awesome resource!

4.You'll need to join the group first though before attending the event. Simply click the group you are interested in, and then click Join Group on the top left corner.

You will be asked to fill in your bio, and some simple information about yourself

Once you've done that, simple RSVP to the next meeting date and turn up for the event!

During the actual day itself: Have a great time networking with others, and then invite them to join you for the customer interview.

But what if there are no already existing Meetup groups for your target audience? You can create one!

Getting backers through creating a new Meetup group:

The steps are pretty similar to joining a new group, except that you are now the group organiser.

So you'll have to go through the process of creating a new event, and then inviting other users into the group.

Creating a new Meetup is much more highly advantageous, because you get to set the tone of the conversations, and you'll have a larger influence to recruit group members, who'll eventually become users for testing your startup idea.

Do note though, that if even after creating the group, there are only very few people joining the group, it could be a signal that the topic in which your idea lives is a very small one.

In that case, it might not be worth pursuing the idea.

By the way, this is the last of 5 ways you can use to find your first 100 Kickstarter backers, and also test if your crowdfunding idea will work at the same time.

To take your idea to actual crowdfunding, my book "The Crowdfunded! Kit" will show you exactly how to do that.

Happy Meeting-up!

-Johnathan

You May Also Like To Read Next: How To Learn To Speak Like Your Customers

“A FREE COURSE ON CROWDFUNDING“

I don’t want your crowdfunding education to end here, so I’m putting together a guidebook, and a free three-week course called “5 Ways To Find Users For Testing Your Crowdfunding Idea”. There will be some overlap between that content and this post, but the email course will walk you through some ways you can find users to test your idea.” Also check out the upcoming launch of my latest book: "The Crowdfunded Kit"

This is Lesson 5 of my crowdfunding course: "5 Ways To Find Your First 100 Kickstarter Backers." Remember the old fisherman saying that if you want to fish for the right fish, you've gotta fish in the right pond? The target audience you will need to interview often hang out…

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'mind-reading' the forums

This is Lesson 4 of my crowdfunding course: "5 Ways To Find Your First 100 Kickstarter Backers."

Do you ever wish you could find the questions that they dying to have answered?

Or to know what are the biggest complaints, or things they needed help on?

You can be the one to answer all these, and at the same time, find them to do interviews.

Here's a strategy that I use on forums to find out exactly who these users are.

It's kind of like 'mind-reading'.

By the way, this technique is just one of many crowdfunding marketing tactics in my book, The Crowdfunded! Kit.

Here's how:

Step 1: Look for forums

In whatever niche you're in, look for forums where people in your niche get together. The best way to do this is to go into Google and type:

"forum:niche"

So for example, for the crowdfunding niche, you'd type in:

forum:crowdfunding (make sure you type in "forum", and not "forums").

Google will give you a huge list of all the top forums in the niche, usually ordered by popularity.

Step 2. Use Search tool

Go into one of the forums, and look for a search tool, or a search field that will let you search for certain terms that people have written in the forum posts.

Some forums allow visitors or guests to perform searches without registering, while others require you to register first.

In the search field, type in some the following terms and see what you come up with:

'advice about'
'I hate it when'
'I need help with'
'can anyone help me'
'I'm looking for'
'really bad'
'desperate for'
'can't find'
'have no clue'
'newbie'
'question about'

You can also try other search terms that are related.

Some forums will not allow regular search words such as 'help', 'question', so you'll have to get a little creative there with your search terms.

Chances are, you'll find someone in need of help about something.

When I searched crowdfunding forums, here were some threads that came up:

'How do you get more users to visit'
'How do you get attention from bloggers'
'Searching for tips.....Please help!'
'May I ask for advice on how to improve?'

Step 3. Contribute first!

The next step is to contribute and answer their questions in the forum thread.

I usually focus on being incredibly useful with advice.

Bonus tip: Once you've replied them, you can then use the private message function in the forums to contact them directly (most forums have this feature).

You can then ask them if they are keen to talk further.

That's it. It's that simple.

Wishing you all the best!

-Johnathan

P.S- If you wanted to do me one favor, tell a friend about my newsletter (it's http://app.convertkit.com/johnathanleow/crowdfundedbook?href=email).

Thanks!

You May Also Like To Read Next: Finding your pools of "fish" with meetup.com

“A FREE COURSE ON CROWDFUNDING“

I don’t want your crowdfunding education to end here, so I’m putting together a guidebook, and a free three-week course called “5 Ways To Find Users For Testing Your Crowdfunding Idea”. There will be some overlap between that content and this post, but the email course will walk you through some ways you can find users to test your idea.” Also check out the upcoming launch of my latest book: "The Crowdfunded Kit"

This is Lesson 4 of my crowdfunding course: "5 Ways To Find Your First 100 Kickstarter Backers." Do you ever wish you could find the questions that they dying to have answered? Or to know what are the biggest complaints, or things they needed help on? You can be the…

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The little-known but mighty Craigslist

This is Lesson 3 of my crowdfunding course: "5 Ways To Find Your First 100 Kickstarter Backers."

At times, you'll might have crowdfunding ideas which are targeted towards other businesses (B2B).

Using cold emails is another great way to find B2B users to interview, if its used properly and responsibly.

If your crowdfunding idea is targeted at end consumers (in a B2C model), sending cold emails directly to a list of 2000 personal email accounts will be likely treated as spam.

But if your customer base falls within the B2B category, then cold emails are still an effective way to go.

If your idea has either got to do with helping them earn more money, or to save time, businesses are likely to be receptive.

#1: Collect their emails

The first thing you'll need to do is to collect the email addresses.

And no you don't have to resort to buying email lists. Instead, you can collect publicly available business emails from public websites such as:

-LinkedIn -Data.com -Industry specific portals (some of these do list business emails)

Then you collate all of these emails into one spreadsheet for easy reference.

To further speed up collection of emails, you can use a free web scraping software called Kimono.

It's easy and simple to setup. If you find a page with contact information, Kimono can collect that automatically for you.

Here's video of how it works:

How Kimono works: http://vimeo.com/82849382

2: Write the email

A cold email has to have 3 elements in order to get a favorable response:

1.Personal
2.Give, before you ask
3.Short

Ideally, in just 5 sentences, your email should be able to convey all these 3 things.

Here's an example of what I mean:

"Hi Tom,

I read your article on your experiences crafting employee benefits programs around the world as a HR Manager – it was really inspiring. I’m looking to find better ways to motivate teams and you’ve got me thinking about appreciating people more through reward perks when I do!

I have a software company trying to improve employee satisfaction by giving out online healthcare perks.

I’m not looking to sell anything, but since you have so much expertise with employee satisfaction, I’d love to get your advice on our product so we don’t build the wrong thing.

If you’re available, I’d love to chat for just 20 minutes – Thur or Fri morning?

Thanks for any help,
Johnathan"

Let's analyse it using the 3 elements:

Short: 5 sentences is all you need. Any longer and you've lost their attention.

Give, before you ask: Did you notice how I subtly offered:

"I have a software company trying to improve employee satisfaction by giving out healthcare perks."?

This hints to Tom that he might have an employee satisfaction problem that I could solve.

Without this line, you might come across as taking 20 minutes of his time, and giving nothing back.

Another tip is to be vague about the value you are suggesting.

You do not want to plant pre-conceived bias in your customers of the problem you are hypothesising.

Notice I didn't mention something like: "Better healthcare perks"

One more thing, asking for his/her advice makes your customer feel like he's valued as an expert, and lowers their defenses.

Personal: Go the extra mile to read up about your target audience, but it's what that will separate you from every other email.

Everybody likes a little nice, unique compliment about themselve, don't we?

As a start, you can find things to compliment your customers by commenting on their:

1.Blog posts
2.Their Twitter posts
3.Companies that they have previously worked in (LinkedIn)
4.Achievements they have made

Being personal is the most important part, otherwise you run the risk of the email clients flagging you as spam.

#3: Send the email

If you've to copy & paste the same email over and over again, it'll get boring and monotonous after a while.

You'll want to use a tool called Streak, that helps you automate sending mass, but personalised emails.

It can even track which users have replied, and also schedule emails to be sent out in advance.

If you follow these steps and no one replies, it could be bad luck or…your crowdfunding idea could be solving a problem no one has.

Next up, we'll look at another simple technique to help you find users.

Stay tuned!

-Johnathan

You May Also Like To Read Next: 'mind-reading' the forums

“A FREE COURSE ON CROWDFUNDING“

I don’t want your crowdfunding education to end here, so I’m putting together a guidebook, and a free three-week course called “5 Ways To Find Users For Testing Your Crowdfunding Idea”. There will be some overlap between that content and this post, but the email course will walk you through some ways you can find users to test your idea.” Also check out the upcoming launch of my latest book: "The Crowdfunded Kit"

This is Lesson 3 of my crowdfunding course: "5 Ways To Find Your First 100 Kickstarter Backers." At times, you'll might have crowdfunding ideas which are targeted towards other businesses (B2B). Using cold emails is another great way to find B2B users to interview, if its used properly and responsibly.…

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Your first 10 people

This is Lesson 2 of my crowdfunding course: "5 Ways To Find Your First 100 Kickstarter Backers."

Remember the other day we talked about the importance of speaking your customer's language?

It's important to do it, as you’ll eventually come to learn the real pains and problems that they face.

And now, lets go on to the first way you can find users to interview for your crowdfunding idea...

First, identify the general topic that your crowdfunding idea is associated with.

For example, if you have created a trendy pair of sunglasses that has special shade filters, the topic you want to start with is 'Sunglasses'

Start with 10

Do you know where does your target audience hang out, online and offline?

This is the fastest and simplest method you can start with.

Think about your topic for a moment.

What value does it offer, and who could benefit most from it?

Think specifically of names in your immediate network.

It could be your friends, or acquaintances who might most likely need it.

Still can't think of 10? Stretch further to people you met at an event, and ex-colleague, or even a friend of a friend you might know.

Then write them down:

1.____________________________________
2.____________________________________
3.____________________________________
4.____________________________________
5.____________________________________
6.____________________________________
7.____________________________________
8.____________________________________
9.____________________________________
10.____________________________________

Note: Listing these 10 names is super important. Do not skip it!

Once you've done this, the next thing to do is to ask where does each name on the list go to learn more about the topic.

This information will be very important later on as you'll know where exactly to ask more people for testing your idea.

For example, "Where does Monica go to learn more about sunglasses?"

So I find that Monica lives in sunny Hawaii, and loves sunglasses.

She often visits Elle.com, Zappos and reads Vogue for the latest sunglass fashions.

When she buy sunglasses, she often makes a trip to the Nordstrom shopping outlet in the city.

Next steps...

So the next logical thing to do, is to email and reach out to every single one on your list, and ask them what they think about your idea right?

Actually no!.

Pause here for a moment.

I'm about to show you something that is an oxymoron.

The golden rule in testing crowdfunding ideas: Do not talk about your crowdfunding idea!

This customer interview really isn't about your crowdfunding idea.

It is about hearing your target audience after all; their problems and pains.

You don't want to waste your time and effort solving a problem that doesn't exist.

Ultimately, your backers eventually fund your project because you solve their real problems, not because your crowdfunding idea is cool!

Our brains have a natural bias to start looking for validation that is only good.

I mean who likes to hear bad things about their own great ideas right?

Plus, the person you're asking subconsciously knows what you're looking for, and because of a desire to not offend you, will want to help you.

What to ask then in the email?

Do not hint anything at all about the idea you have. Instead, write it in a way that's neutral, and as if you're on a fact-finding mission.

Here's how:

'Hey Monica,

I'm doing some research to understand how people use their sunglasses.

Since I know that’s a topic you are interested in, I would love to have a chat with you for just 20 minutes to hear your experiences - This Tues or Wed morning?

Could you also do two things for me?

1) Could you tell me which sites/magazines do you visit often to read up on sunglasses?

2) If you have any people you know who also wear sunglasses often, could you get us connected?

Thanks so much.

-Johnathan'

During the actual interview...

Ask these 5 questions.

  1. What’s the hardest part about the [the problem you are solving].
  2. Can you tell me about the last time that happened?
  3. Why was that hard?
  4. What, if anything, have you done to solve that problem?
  5. What don’t you love about the solutions you’ve tried?

It'll take too much content to cover these 5 questions in detail in this post.

But if you would like further reading, please check out this other article I've written on my blog: How To Interview Customers Without Exposing Your Startup Idea

Conclusion

This might have been a longer process than you originally thought, but I guarantee it: you'll not only to learn about your audience's problems, you’ll also learn if they’re worth solving.

Then you'll instinctively know if your crowdfunding idea works...or not.

-Johnathan

You May Also Like To Read Next: The little-known but mighty Craigslist

“A FREE COURSE ON CROWDFUNDING“

I don’t want your crowdfunding education to end here, so I’m putting together a guidebook, and a free three-week course called “5 Ways To Find Users For Testing Your Crowdfunding Idea”. There will be some overlap between that content and this post, but the email course will walk you through some ways you can find users to test your idea.” Also check out the upcoming launch of my latest book: "The Crowdfunded Kit"

This is Lesson 2 of my crowdfunding course: "5 Ways To Find Your First 100 Kickstarter Backers." Remember the other day we talked about the importance of speaking your customer's language? It's important to do it, as you’ll eventually come to learn the real pains and problems that they…

Read More