I’ve been a patron of various crowdfunded projects for quite a few years now, so I thought it might be fun to start a discussion of what attracts customers and patrons.
Personally, I tend to discover new projects because I’ve heard about them from a friend or read about them on a community like this one, so active social networking is probably important in generating interest. But to really draw people in, I think you need to call attention to whatever is unique about your project. Do you have a story or an album with an interesting theme? Do you offer readings with a deck of cards that you designed yourself? Tell us about it, and make sure that at least some of your work is available free so that new visitors can check it out.
Once you’re starting to attract an audience, how do you get more of them to tip, donate, or buy? Try offering incentives. For her poetry fishbowls (http://ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com/730515.html), ysabetwordsmith posts extra free poems if she gets enough donations, or a new prompter or donor. Among other creative incentives, haikujaguar once posted a lullaby that she had sung in character (http://haikujaguar.livejournal.com/832001.html). meeksp refines drawings that get enough comments or donations.
Also, don’t overlook the importance of interacting with the audience—I usually purchase from or tip only those who I actually know, or at least think that I’d like to get to know. And even moreso if I have a chance to be involved in the project in some way, or feel that I’m contributing to a community. Past conversations here (http://crowdfunding.livejournal.com/276686.html) indicate that I’m not the only one who feels that way.
If you have a crowdfunded project, what techniques have you used to attract customers and patrons that worked well? (Of course, it can also be useful to discuss what hasn’t worked well.) Do you provide a tip or donation button? Do you ask existing customers to link to your site or post product reviews, and if so, do you provide incentives for those who do?
If you support crowdfunded projects or think that you might like to, what attracts you to particular projects? What makes you more inclined to support them, monetarily or otherwise? Do tip incentives encourage you to give more?