Well, Nashville singer/songwriter Rob Harris has been writing music for decades but not doing a ton with his own performance career. (His last recording project was actually released on cassette, whoa!)
He is a prime example of a solid, accomplished musician with little to no fan base and most people would tell him to go build a following first.
But despite the lack of a large fan base and mailing list, Rob recently completed a successful music crowdfunding project.
Suck it, conventional wisdom!
Yet again, living proof that you don’t have to be an “established artist” to crowdfund.
Let’s look more closely at Rob’s campaign.
It’s NOT Who Wants Your Music, It’s Who Wants To Help You
Rob realizes a key fact: there are people in the world that want to help you and want to see you succeed.
Yes, they may want your music, too. But their defining characteristic is that they have a personal interest in you.
As for what I think has been the key for me? One, I think a well-made video helped. But secondly, it has been the kindness and generosity of people who wanted to help me. I’ve been surprised and humbled by it. I LOVE the idea of crowdfunding platforms. This would have never been possible for me otherwise. ~ Rob Harris
Don’t Be Bashful About Spreading The Word
If you haven’t done much self-promoting or even if it’s just not your style, then it can be hard to put yourself out there constantly to spread the word about your campaign.
But it is a MUST.
People will never back you if they don’t know about your project.
I post it twice a day — once early in the morning (in case people check their facebook before starting their day), and then again around 6 or 7 pm, for the folks who check their facebook at night. I noticed a spike in contributions after every posting. At first, I was worried about friends getting tired of seeing my posts, but I think you HAVE to keep posting it. Otherwise, it will get lost in people’s news feeds. Not everyone takes the time to scroll down and get caught up on people’s activity throughout the day. So far, no complaints! ~ Rob Harris
To keep your posts from becoming stale, introduce a little something to each post that is unique or original, for example, new pictures, lyrics previews or inspiration, posters, or even just thank-you’s to those who’ve pledged.
Don’t Give People the Chance to Procrastinate
I chose to do my campaign for 10 days. I wasn’t sure I’d reach my goal in such a short amount of time but, thankfully, we met our goal by day 5. Personally, I now believe that a shorter campaign is better than longer. I think it creates a sense of urgency. People see your video and if they want to help, they think “I’d better do it now because he doesn’t have much time”. On the other hand, if a project is lasting….say, 45 days…..I think people probably think, “I’ll give later because I have plenty of time”, and maybe they never get around to it. ~ Rob Harris
Especially for artists with a smaller following, this is right on with what we’ve seen. (For someone with a bigger following, they may not want to hurry through the campaign.)
Ten days for a campaign will certainly require being laser-focussed but that’s not a bad thing!
Use Flex Goals For Upside Potential
This is one area of the project that Rob could have improved with a few simple steps.
I did notice that once I hit my MINIMUM goal, contributions tapered off. I encouraged people to continue to give even after we reach the goal because that was the minimum we needed. The more we’d raise, the better the overall project would be. ~ Rob Harris
Again, Rob is completely right in his assessment.
• Your project needs to reach every person you know.
• To ensure that you reach people, make regular communications even if it feels like too much.
• Encourage people to pledge immediately. One way to do this is to have a short campaign.
• To maximize your project’s potential, use flex goals.