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Thursday
Jul082010

Crowd Funding Week 2: Feeling Confronted & Insecure, But Pushing Ahead

Artist Phil Putnam and Brian Meece of Rockethub are continuing their journey of blogging about the journey through Crowd funding their projects.

Phil was in the office this week and he admitted to me how the roller coaster feels while riding it…  the way he explained it makes a lot of sense:  When you are interacting with your fans on Facebook or any social media there is an easy give and take.  When you are asking for money the paradigm shifts and all of a sudden its a different story.  

Interestingly enough there is an article in SPIN Magazine this month that quotes a few artists and their own experiences.  Artist Momus was quoted saying that: I felt like a carnival barker.” and Jill Sobule who has been heavily covered all over the blogosphere and in the media about her fan funding said: “At times I felt too much like a business person.”  Two very interesting takes on it.

Phil, I know this is confronting and I give you credit my friend A LOT of it….  Love, Ariel

The In-Crowd Project Week 2:

9 days in, 66 days remaining.  $1,177 raised, which is 12% of the $10,000 total goal.  A shorter edit of the main project video was released, which includes a more clear call to action, and Phil launched a Cover Song Voting campaign on facebook.

Phil says:

And here I thought I was a self-confident, secure person.  Crowdfunding will give you clarity on that point real quick.  I knew this was going to be a challenging process, but was not aware of the sheer guts it demands.  Upon reflection, it makes sense.  Any time a relationship enters a new phase, a new way of relating, there’s an injection of new insecurities and emotional bonkers.  This is a new phase of the relationship between my fans/friends and I, and I love the growth.  However this process ends up 66 days from now, I will be changed.  I will be marked.  Growth is my addiction, so I’m a happy clam.

Growth also gives me cramps.  And stretch marks.  And heat stroke.  And now I’m hungry.

I think this past week was about finding my footing, calming down, focusing on the task, and navigating the “They love me.  They love me not.  They love me.  They love me not” that clamps onto your usually-rational brain when you put your balls on the line for real and put the fate of your next project directly into your fans’ hands.  Like a soda can on the deck of a boat in storm…back and forth, back and forth.  Someone gives money…they love me.  Someone complains about having to create an account at RocketHub to post a comment on my page…they love me not.  I was reminded this week that keeping my mind balanced and steady is my responsibility.  It’s my job.  I gotta bring the guts.

Part of getting my mind right was remembering that marketing research shows that people need to see/hear what you’re communicating 7 to 15 times before they know who you are and recognize your message.  This data saved me from getting too far down on myself and this process.  I was really bummed that people weren’t responding immediately, but the main reason for that is that they didn’t know what I was talking about.  My fans/friends know me, but 95% have never heard of crowdfunding and have never heard of it in connection to their relationship with me.  So, I had to focus on teaching them what it is, and tell them about the project enough times before I could pull out my eyelashes over the lack of response.

In addition to impressing the concept and language of crowdfunding onto my fans/friends, I released a new cut of my main project video, which you can see here.  The first video cut was around 7.5 minutes and had a lot of personality and background segments.  The analytics data from my RocketHub project page showed that I was driving significant traffic volume to the page, and their average length of visit was around 3 minutes, but very few of them were giving money.  So, the new video is just under 3 minutes long and has a clear call to action in the first minute.  Do you follow the logic there?  They watched 3 mins of the first video, which was more about attaching to my personality than clearly asking them to support the project, and then they left before the video was half over and didn’t give money.  Honestly, the fact that they even gave me 3 minutes with no clear direction is testament to the awesome-quotient of my fans.  Thus, due to Brian’s wise advice, I cut the video to match their visit length, told them exactly what I’m asking them to do, and the money began to come in.  Ariel always says “You have to feed them where they eat.”  Apparently, we feed them according to how they eat, too.  No problem.  I’m serving it up.  Call me Flo.

This video switch and the resulting success highlights two bullets in the Crowdfunder’s Handbook.  First, you have to adjust quickly and wisely.  Crowdfunding exists on a ticking clock, so I had the new video shot, edited, and released within 24 hours of Brian suggesting I change it.  I spent easily 15 hours on the first cut of the video, and many bags of Kettle Chips gave their lives in the process, but so what?  It wasn’t getting the job done, and time spent lamenting how many hours and potatoes were lost is just time wasted.  Second, the BIG bullet is how I knew the specific ways to change the video into a successful piece: analytics.   There is no way to overstate the importance of having analytic data about who/when/why/where/how/how long people are interacting with your project site.  If you don’t have accurate analytic data, you can not optimize your site to connect with your fans/friends and your crowdfunding project will fail.

So, I optimized my project site to better serve my fans/friends habits, and started eating a steady diet of analytics and worry.  Awesome.  Now how do I keep a constant flow of traffic and interaction coming to the site?  A great site with no traffic is useless.  I’d announced the project about 129 ways on facebook, so after a week the news wasn’t new anymore, and there were 70 campaign days ahead of me still.  If you create the beast, then you need to feed the beast, right (parents understand this best)?  Thus, I added an element to the campaign where my fans/friends are voting for the cover song they want me to put on the new record.  You can visit my facebook and Rockethub pages to see how I’m putting it into action.  Already this is total fun, has sparked great conversations and new connections, creates a daily reason for me to talk with them about the project, made me a better musician, and driven traffic to the project page.  It creates a way of participation for those who can’t afford to give financial support, lets them know they have a place in my community whether they have spare cash or not.  Best of all, it fits perfectly with the true goal of this project: to have my fans/friends directly influence the songs, tone, and heart of this record.

That’s what I did this week.  That’s why I don’t sleep much.  This week’s Nuts and Bolts are what I’ve shared above, so here is a summary:

1.  Mind Your Mind – be good to yourself, be patient with your fans/friends, be gutsy

2.  Mine the Data, Make Adjustments – ANALYTICS.  Quick and wise adjustments.  That is all.

3.  Mix it Up – make your message more than money.  Give them something else to respond to, another aspect of the project to motivate involvement, i.e. the Cover Song Voting

 Now, about those stretch marks.  Time for some ice cream.  If you haven’t already, visit myproject page.  Please give financial support if you can.

(Taking) Heart, Phil

Brian says:

 

One week in – so far so good…Phil has succeeded in starting strong with his crowdfunding campaign – by committing to a dynamic approach.

First off – Phil let his fans and the world know about his project via Facebook and email. This dude is a master at generating online conversation – so Team RocketHub was stoked to see Phil spring into action and do his thing. And he brought the heat. Traffic to his project page was ultra heavy due to his ravenous fanbase. However, Phil noticed that the traffic was not not converting into contributors as quickly as he had hoped. Being dynamic and responsive is key – and Phil tweaked his page by shortening the video message to under 3 minutes and keeping the call to action clear and at the front of the video. This minor adjustment did the trick – he got a high impact Fueler that picked up an $800 custom song from Phil and 12 other mid-impact contributors that got him to 12% to his overall goal in less than a week of his campaign.

 

Until next week….

 

Reader Comments (2)

I feel you growing pains. I'm embarking on a crowd funding campaign myself for my business.

July 9 | Unregistered CommenterNadine

good stuff phil, no guts no glory! At the end of the day, we have a message and a purpose, all we can do is try to do our best at doing our job and sharing our message. Im with ya, going through similiar as well.

July 28 | Unregistered Commenterjames

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