The Art of Persuasion – Studying Crowdfunding Language

By February 24, 2014Food for thought, Tips & Tricks

What makes a good Kickstarter pitch?  We already know that including a video with your Kickstarter project greatly increases your chances of success.  Today, we take a look at the latest research about the language of successful crowdfunding campaigns.

In this recent study, researchers at the Georgia institute of Technology analyzed the language of 45,000 Kickstarter projects and looked for predictors of a project’s success and failure.

Their findings support what we know about the Art of Persuasion.  Successful campaigns use crowdfunding language that appeals to the following principles:

Reciprocity. “The sense of obligation to return a favor after receiving one”.

    • You are asking your donors for a favor.  As you craft your pledge rewards, ask yourself: Are you returning the favor?  Don’t come off like a panhandler.

Scarcity.  “The tendency to attach more value to an item as soon as it becomes rare.”

    • Make your donors feel special by rewarding them with scarce, one-of-a-kind items (original concept art, limited editions, special “donor-only” product options).

Social Proof.  “…Whether others are also making the same choice”

    • Make the effort to highlight the donations you’ve already received.  When people are aware of what others are doing, they are more likely to follow along.
    • Check out our post on “The importance of the Launch”  for more analysis on this topic.

Authority. “People often resort to expert opinions for making quick and efficient decisions.”

    • Are you an expert in your field?  Do you have any experts on your team?  Highlight the people on your team who have an established track record of success – Producers, Publicists, Fabricators.  Are you affiliated with relevant organizations that can boost your standing?  That helps too.

Likeability.  When you (1) show donors that you are similar to them, and (2) praise and encourage your donors during the campaign, you create a positive rapport that draws people in.  Be gracious and authentic.

Another general strong predictor of success was confident, forward-looking language:

  • “Secure”
  • “Guarantee”
  • “The next step”
  • “Upcoming”
  • “Will be published”

On the other hand, negative, unsure, or desperate phrases predicted failure:

  • “Not been able”
  • “Hope to get”
  • “Even a dollar short and we lose it all”
  • “We need”

In summary:

 These aren’t revolutionary ideas, but sometimes we forget to consider them.  As you get ready to launch, ask yourself:

  • Do I project confidence and optimism?  Everyone knows “what will happen if we fail.”  Don’t talk about it.  
  • Do I offer something unique?  A unique product is the foundation; unique, limited-edition rewards will galvanize people to donate NOW, rather than just “wait and see”.
  • Am I communicating the fact that my team and I have the expertise to fulfill the promise of the project?

And during your campaign:

  • Be appreciative!  Highlight your donors to inspire others to follow along and establish a healthy rapport with your donor base.

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