Oftentimes, soft launching an indie film campaign can prove one of the smartest crowdfunding tactics you can do, especially when trying to chase after that all-important “love money” – money from family, friends and supporters of your prior work – before your campaign officially launches.
What’s the difference between a soft and official launch? Starting in reverse, an official launch is the day you send out your first email to your contact list, your first Tweet and Facebook update about your film project. A soft launch is a more intimate launch before the launch that’s targeted at getting family, friends, extended relatives, and past supporters on board as the first contributors to your campaign.
Here’s how a proper soft launch should run:
In a brief email personalized for these closest of family members, friends, and supporters, explain to them that you’re about to launch a crowdfunding campaign, and that
- You are thankful for all the support they’ve given you over the years
- You would love for them to be among your first supporters, and
- You will be launching on a specific date.
Notice something strange? There was absolutely no mention of “money,” “funding,” or “contributions” in this initial outreach. The focus here is simply to let them know that you’re going to run a campaign and that you’d like their support at the get-go. Period.
Then, after at least three days to one week, send them a follow-up email, this one with the focus racked on the how they can support, which is to contribute, and be sure to
• set hard deadline for them to contribute by (usually three days),
• reiterate how important it is to you that they be one of your first contributors, and
• ask them to spread the word about your campaign after they’ve contributed.
Notice something equally as strange? Yes, this entire email revolves around support, but financial and social, not financial or social. You wouldn’t want to leave them at their leisure to choose to either fund your project or spread the word – you should invite them to do both.
As you read in my “Four Factors for Factoring Down Your Crowdfunding Goal,” a solid indie film campaign raises 30% of its goal from this host committee within the first two to three days of soft launching. This way, when you “officially” launch and actively promote your campaign, those who visit will see you’ve already got a good chunk of funding and support, which builds credibility and shows the crowd that your film project just may be worth putting their faith and their funds into.
Want to hear more from John T. Trigonis? Check out his tweets for some top tips for filmmakers!