Originally Published at Entrepreneur.com on February 17, 2014
One major key to crowdfunding success is by creating a good video that sells your campaign to potential donors. In fact including a video will up your chances of success to 50 percent, according to Kickstarter. You don’t need to be the next Steven Spielberg or have a huge budget to create an amazing video. All you need is that electronic marvel in your hand that creates bathroom-mirror selfies and endless Facebook posts of the food you are eating. With a good smartphone and a few tips, you can create a video that will help you raise money and get your startup dream off the ground.
o turn stop asking Siri questions, ignore your incoming texts, pause your Candy Crush game and turn your smartphone camera to video. Follow these six rules and you will be on your way to crowdfunding success.
1. Video and audio quality are important. Shooting high-quality video on an iPhone or Android device is possible, but make sure the phone is on a tripod (or other stabilized device) and the audio is clear.
For lighting, record your video in a well-lit room or outside to get the optimal results. Before you hit action, shoot a sample scene. Look at it on your computer to make sure the lighting is correct and clear.
Consider buying a clip-on microphone that plugs into your phone rather than using the built-in audio that will sound hollow the further you get from your phone. Speak loudly, clearly and have the phone at an appropriate distance to get good quality. Listen to a sample, and if it sounds too hollow or if every time you say a word that starts with a “p” the sound pops, do it over. Trial and error is the key here.
2. Don’t try to wing it. Unless you are a trained public speaker, don’t ad lib your video. Write a script and make sure it hits all the key points of your crowdfunding campaign. Like a journalist writing a news story, include the who, what, when, where and why of your campaign. Read it out loud and revise it until it is perfect. Then, practice. You should sound natural when you shoot the final product.
3. Mention only two or three rewards. Going through an entire list of rewards is one of the most common mistakes I see in crowdfunding videos. People don't want to hear you drone on about every reward being offered. Instead, highlight only two or three of your best rewards. You want to get the viewer excited about what you are giving away through some of your best rewards, because enthusiasm is contagious and drives donations. For the remaining rewards, just include a simple reminder telling the viewer that the entire list is on your project page.
4. Keep it short and end with a bang! When making any video, follow the KISS rule: Keep It Simple Stupid. Unless you are Martin Scorsese, nobody wants to sit through three hours of your video, especially when you are asking people to fork over cash for your project.
The video should be short, exciting and get the viewer fired up and wanting to read more about what you are offering. Ideally, the video should be three minutes long or less (although really great videos will hold the audience’s attention even if longer). For those who have a tendency to ramble on, keep in mind, with a crowdfunding campaign, you have an entire page online to write out more details and to show photos to supplement the video. People have busy lives and short attention spans. Don't lose your viewers before getting to the most important part -- asking for donations and help spreading the word about your campaign.
5. Don’t forget ‘the ask.’ Every successful salesperson in the world will tell you that if you do not ask for a sale, you will not get it. In your video be sure to ask for a donation and for help spreading the crowdfunding project to the viewer’s friends and social-media network. "The ask" should be clear, carefully worded and create a sense of urgency and action. Tell people specifically what to do and don't leave it up to them to figure it out on their own. But make sure it is sincere, as this authentic message can turn a viewer into a donor and marketing machine.
6. Turn to others. Look at other successful crowdfunding campaigns and watch their videos for inspiration. People who have successfully raised a lot of money through crowdfunding typically have very good videos. Learn from their experience.