Metal MBA: Fatality's tips for successful crowdfunding

Everyone is trying to crowdfund their metal projects these days. But what is the right way to, essentially, ask strangers for money to help do something you love? Toronto thrashers Fatality did it right. Today, they'll tell the Deciblog faithful how they did it and what they learned. ***

Hello friends! This is Adam Zlotnik, bass player of Toronto-based thrash band Fatality. This summer, my band had our first ever crowdfunding campaign to raise money for our new album, 62-day North American tour, and a professional video. We successfully raised more than $5,600 in 35 days from fans and friends.

It started when we noticed crowdfunding being used by other musicians and artists alike to fund their projects or creative ventures. We began to pay close attention to the artists who were raising money and the keys to their success. Watching their videos and observing just how compelled fans were to help out their favorite musicians was inspiring. Fatality has always felt close with our fans. We also have a knack for producing homemade videos and utilizing social media to entertain them. We always been proud of our independence, which gave light to the idea of crowdfunding.

We figured, why not use these essentials to try financing our new album through our dedicated fans?

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First timers - take some time to look at current and past campaigns on sites like Indiegogo or Kickstarter and take notes. What are they doing that you could do better? How much can you realistically raise? Look at the core of their campaign. Use existing ideas for perks/incentives. I guarantee that you will be able to get some great ideas for your own band or venture. One notable campaign that inspired us was Canadian band Protest the Hero’s Indiegogo campaign which raised more than $300,000 for their new album.

Most of the success of Fatality’s campaign stemmed from a carefully crafted plan. I can’t stress enough the importance of a good plan for achieving ANY goals that you've set out for yourself or band. That might sound obvious to most but the breadth and depth of your plan can make or break your campaign. An easy way to start is by asking the simple questions:

· What is it for?

· How much do we need?

· How will we promote this campaign?

· Who will we target?

· How will we manage the funds?

· How long do we need?

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Then, break it down to the specifics and create a timeline.

Fundamental sections to be included in your plan should comprise of the following:

Video: The biggest factor to the success of our campaign was our video. This is the primary way to connect with fans and get them on the same level. Give them a clear understanding of exactly who you are, what you’ve already done, why you need the money, and most importantly, what they get out of it.

DON’T CHEAP OUT. If you've spent the time to carefully craft a script, video segments, and scenes why would you skimp out on the production? Find a friend in film school, anyone with a professional camera and lights to make sure you get it just right. If you have to, hire somebody. Include it in your budget! If you’re asking your fans for money, how can they be confident in giving it to you if your video is half-assed? Make sure you nail this part or I can guarantee your campaign will be greatly hindered.

It’s not always true but humor is a good factor to include in your video as long as it doesn't take anything away from your key points. Humor can help your video spread easily through social networks. You want people to share your story.

Transparency: This is the hardest part of a good campaign: explaining your plan for their money. I label this as transparency because that is exactly what you need in your numbers and description. You need to explain clearly and explicitly what you will do with the money earned. Give a solid breakdown in order to gain trust. Also, give them more than just your idea. Show them. If you’re doing an album: give them the name, show them the artwork, where you plan to record it, who the producer will be and why.

Incentives: Choosing incentives that are actually desirable can be tough. The first basic incentive for contributing to Fatality’s campaign was a copy of the new album prior to release. The “exclusivity” in getting something before anyone else was an important factor constructed into the value of said incentive. For our campaign we chose to release our first single from the album Psychonaut as well as the artwork. Being able to hear at least one song allowed fans to sample the production and album so they weren't buying into something they didn’t know.

It's important to make incentives available at every level possible. From a $2 perk to a $500 perk or even greater depending on your campaign is important. You want everyone and anyone to be able to give something.

If your perks require shipping be sure to include it in the cost or be very specific about the shipping terms. You don’t want to ask for more money to cover shipping at the end of your campaign or fans will lose confidence.

Marketing: For those who have never launched a crowdfunding campaign, the first 48 hours and the last 48 hours are key in demonstrating urgency. At the moment of launch for your campaign, get your team (band etc.) ready to start spreading the word. If you’ve constructed a good plan, it will likely include a list of potential contributors (hint) that you can contact directly and explain the essence. Social media was key in spreading the message of our campaign.

This is where your video comes in handy. A good video is brief and explains the essentials of your campaign and is easy to digest. Asking your fans that cannot contribute money to simply share your video can go a long way as well.

Updates: Once you've launched your campaign, it is far from over. Use feedback from your fans or contributors to improve. For example, they may want to know what single you'll be using for a music video. Tell them, and release that single. This will help keep you engaged. Notice what perks are doing well or bad and update them. You want to offer perks your fans actually want. If you notice no one cares for your $125 music lesson, change it to something more desirable.

I wish you all success on your next or first crowd funding campaign.

Get in touch with Fatality here.

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