This sound familiar to anyone? “Time is running out! We only have five days left to reach our goal of reaching $10,000 in donations so we can bring our latest self-charging, fully sustainable, totally reusable, smartphone utility case to the market! Share and back our campaign today!”
While it can still feel a bit like panhandling, as the years have gone by, the method of fundraising known as crowdfunding has increasingly grown in legitimacy and popularity as a viable option for raising capital. Whether you’re launching a product, project, or startup company, many have successfully funded and launched whole companies from a series of successfully run campaigns.
A lot of hard work, preparation, and high-level execution goes into pulling off a successful campaign. To ensure success, you need to collect an audience of potential customers ahead of time through a pre-awareness email capture campaign, use top-notch graphic design to visually represent and demonstrate your vision for your project, and, last but not least, create an excellent pitch video to sell your audience on why they need whatever it is you’ve dreamt up.
Focusing on that last part, in order to create an effective and powerful crowdfunding video, you need to hone in on what makes a pitch video work for an audience. What inspires them to take action on one project and totally ignore another? In a world where nothing exists yet and might never come to fruition, what type of video can build trust, dismiss fears and doubts, and call a potential customer to action?
We dive into all of that and plenty more below! But first, let’s take a step back and answer the question: What is crowdfunding?
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The Different Types of Crowdfunding Campaigns
You’ve most likely heard of rewards-based crowdfunding before. It’s where you raise money, usually on one of the rewards-based platforms of Kickstarter or Indiegogo, in exchange for rewards. These rewards could look like a T-shirt, finished version of the product, or a special thank you or title for contributing up to a certain dollar amount in a campaign. This helps fund projects or products that require an upfront cost to begin production, and ensures a built-in customer base before it ever hits the market.
Less familiar to the public is equity crowdfunding, a newer form of crowdfunding where you can raise capital from the crowd in exchange for actual shares in your startup company. Instead of rewards, investors get a stake in the business like any other traditional fundraising round. Certain rules determine how much you can raise and from whom. The most mainstream and easy to access form of equity crowdfunding is known as Reg CF, which allows a startup to raise up to $1 million in capital from non-accredited investors on platforms likeStartEngineandWefunder.
Whether raising capital for rewards or for shares, a video pitch is an essential part of your crowdfunding campaign. In fact, campaigns that utilize video pitches garner four times more funding than those that don’t. That’s because video facilitates a more meaningful connection between funders and founders. When founders share their own emotional investments in their products, the result can be contagious excitement among funders. Creating that feeling in your audience is your goal.
While the specifics of how to create a video for each type of raise are different, the core concepts that separate successful videos from the unsuccessful are very similar. Here’s what you need to know.
Core Values to Consider for an Effective Crowdfunding Video
Let’s talk for a minute about why you wanted to create this product or service you’re raising money for in the first place. Whether the idea came to you in a flash of inspiration, or slowly over time as you began to tinker away at a problem you faced in your everyday life, you wanted to create something with a purpose behind it.
In order to conceive of the best crowdfunding video possible, you now have the task of communicating that purpose to an audience in a compelling way that will convince them to donate or invest in the project.
To do that, ask and answer this important question: Why does this need to exist?
First of all, if you can’t answer that question, congratulations! You’ve saved yourself the time, work, and trouble of creating a crowdfunding campaign all together. Don’t do it!
If you can answer that question, you’ll now need to build a narrative story around that central purpose, or the why behind your product so you can properly share it with the world. The structure with which you tell that story is crafted in the form of a…
Powerful Script to Frame Your Startup’s Story
The script is the skeletal structure holding together any narrative video project, be it a big budget feature film, single episode of a television show, or simple 30-second marketing video. Your crowdfunding video is no exception, which means you need to create a script for it.
Your script for your crowdfunding video should include all of the key messaging points you need to get across to sell your idea, while at the same time sell them on you as the creator. Crowdfunders want to understand the product or person they’re investing in.
Luckily, a two-minute crowdfunding video can quickly provide information about your entire backstory, timeline, technology, and team — stuff that would require pages and pages of text to describe — in a highly engaging format. Writing a script helps map it all out in a concise way.
Also keep in mind the format of the video. Is it going to be in a talking-head style where you interview yourself, or voice-over style where you talk over striking visuals? Most videos tend to do a mix of both, so it’s good to plan out what points work better in a more personal interview format versus impersonal voice-over format, and write them out in the script accordingly.
6 Key Elements Your Video Script Needs
Here’s a breakdown for a simple script structure you can follow for your video:
1. Opening Visual and Core Question – What’s Wrong?
Start with a strong opening visual and ask an impassioned question. This question should be related to the core problem your product is trying to solve, or core question your project is wrestling with. By engaging your viewer right away with strong visuals and intriguing questions, you’ll capture their attention and have a much stronger chance of holding onto it throughout the entirety of your video.
2. Why is this a problem?
Next, address the central why behind your product. Why does this problem affect people? Why does it matter that it is fixed? Why do your current audience and future customers need this problem solved? What happens if it isn’t solved?
3. How can this problem be fixed?
After addressing the central issue, address your potential solution. Focus on how this solution positively impacts or outright solves the problem in question. How will solving this problem improve the lives of those affected? Remember not to get caught up in explaining the what of the product until you address the how of the solution.
4. What is the product you’ve created that solves this problem?
Now, after establishing the problem and how that problem can be solved, you can get into the actual what: What is the product you’re creating? What does it do? What are its features, and what does it take to bring to market? For rewards-based campaigns, what rewards are available for backers to claim? For equity-based campaigns, what are the benefits of getting in on the ground floor of your company, without referring to actual investment terms (there are legal reasons to save that for your campaign page).
5. Who is the creator behind this product?
Now you can dive into who you are. If your personal story is important to the why behind your campaign, feel free to weave the who throughout the video. Alternatively, if the why behind the problem your product is solving is big enough, you might not need to tell your personal story. But, no matter what, you need to tell the viewers who you are, why you’re the perfect person to create this product or service, how you plan to create it, and what you’ll use the money they donate for.
6. Ending Call to Action – Why now?
This is where you end your video with a rallying call to action to invest or donate. Leave it all on the line with an impassioned plea or rallying cry. Why do you believe your product will succeed? Why do you need your viewers’ help? How can they help you? Assume you’ve hooked your audience – what do you want them to do now?
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A Few More Crowdfunding Video Tips
Here’s a few final fast tips and tricks to keep in mind when writing your script.
Keep it short.
If you’re cutting in interview clips, be mindful of time and have an idea of what you’re going to say before you get in front of the camera. If you’re writing your lines, time them out so they don’t go over two minutes maximum.
Hook them with your core why in the first eight seconds.
Stay focused on that central problem and how to fix it for the first 30 seconds to keep viewers engaged before you dive into specific product features.
While your ideas are (likely) great, you as the creator are what people are investing in or donating to. If they don’t trust you, if they don’t believe in you, they won’t trust or believe that you can pull off what you’re trying to do, no matter how cool it is.
Focus on the important stuff…
For equity campaigns, your campaign page itself will contain lots of financial material for interested investors. When making your video, aim to showcase only the most important details to encourage them to read more.
…But don’t forget the important details.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on the business details. Demonstrate how the business model you’re working off of relates to the need in the market you’re trying to address.
Give your audience direction.
Giving your viewers directions for interaction is one of the most effective ways to generate additional leads. Some options include asking to back the campaign, share it with a friend, or ask a follow-up question in the comment section.
By writing a script that covers those six key points, and keeps in mind the above tips, you’ll be well on your way to producing a video that creates a strong connection between your business and potential backers or investors.