Launch a Website Before, Not After
Creators who have succeeded on Kickstarter and Indiegogo agree on one thing: Raising money is the easy part. The hard parts comes afterwards: manufacturing the product, fulfilling your orders, and running a successful business.
The last two chapters offered some tools and resources to simplify these tasks and also discussed some ways to transition from a campaign to a durable business.
We’ve decided to dedicate an entire chapter to the single most important thing that you can do for a successful campaign: Launching a website during the campaign.
If your campaign takes off and gets featured on either Kickstarter or Indiegogo, you’ll have huge numbers of people going to your campaign page, as well as links from social media, blogs, and press. When you’ve set up a page, you’ll get a great deal of positive spillover effects when other websites link to you. Here are three benefits when that happens.
More interest on a platform you control
Kickstarter and Indiegogo both have huge numbers of people visiting their sites every day. You should treat your spot on Kickstarter or Indiegogo as way to ultimately bring people over to a platform that you own and control – and that will live on beyond your campaign.
There’s only so much that you can have on your campaign page; you’re especially limited if you’re launching on Kickstarter because of the relative inflexibility of the platform. Do you have a distinctive voice that might work as a blog? Do you want people to know the story of your brand, not just your product? Do you have other products already for sale that you want other people to check out? These aren’t things that can be easily fit onto a campaign page, but they’re all very good ways for people to engage with you.
Think of it this way: If you have active Twitter and Facebook profiles, you’ll get an influx of followers once your campaign launches. That’s useful for future marketing and engagement. The same logic applies for your website. Not only do you have a chance to get attention, you’re also getting a great head start on building your email list for engagement in the future.
Your site will last a lot longer than your campaign page. Ride that wave of attention now and try to capture as much of it as you can on a platform you control.
Higher SEO rankings for later
There are hundreds of factors that determine how well you rank in search engine results when people search for a keyword relevant to your business. One of the most important is how many high-quality websites link to you. Media publications and blogs with authoritative page-rank are who you want to target, and links from them will significantly boost your rankings in search engines.
Once your campaign on Kickstarter or Indiegogo is over, your campaign page will be useful mostly for branding, and people will have to go to your website to buy your products. So take advantage of buzz your campaign generates to also direct some attention (and links) to your website so you can continue to gerenerate cashflow over the long term, not just the 30 to 60 days of your campaign.
Pre-sales to generate cashflow
Cashflow was so important that several of the merchants that Shopify interviewed declared that they had to rely on it to finance the manufacture and fulfillment of their products even when they way surpassed their goals. That’s right: Pre-sales is important because you need all the revenue you can get to manufacture your product, market it, and fulfill the orders of your funders.
There are a variety of places to sell your product easily online to generate cashflow. If you’re interested in owning your own brand and building a store around your product, check out Jumpstart, a theme developed by Shopify that is developed specifically for crowdfunding graduates. Take a look also at Startup, a theme developed by Pixel Union well-designed to sell a small number of products on a single page.