Crowdfunding Tips
Crowdfunding Tips

If you’ve spent time on social media in the past decade, you’ve seen (or scrolled past) at least one crowdfunding campaign. But, how does it work? Why is it such a big thing? And more importantly, how can you pull off a kick-butt crowdfunding investment campaign yourself?

What is Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is exactly what it sounds like. A crowd helps fund your project. That’s it. Well, okay. That’s not ALL of it, but that’s the general gist.

The premise of crowdfunding is no different than that of traditional investment: capital is provided in exchange for an expected benefit down the road. What sets crowdfunding investment apart is the way in which this is accomplished.

Why is Crowdfunding Investment so Great?

Crowdfunding uses digital media to bring entrepreneurs and investors together, helping businesses gain traction and exposure. Because it’s based in cyberspace, a crowdfunding campaign has the potential to reach an enormous number of investors.  

Traditionally, an entrepreneur seeks out investors and pitches them individually, giving the same spiel dozens, or even hundreds of times. Crowdfunding sites turn the funnel upside down. The same pitch is received by dozens, or even hundreds of potential investors. But it’s all contained in a central location, and the investors are the ones doing the seeking. In short, it’s a streamlined approach for both the entrepreneur and investor. What’s not to love?

Types

Crowdfunding websites can be divided into three categories. The site you choose will depend on your ultimate goal and the type of product or business you are trying to launch.

Donation Crowdfunding

The most familiar form of crowdfunding is probably donation-based. We’ve all seen a GoFundMe page, right? Causes are varied and can range from crowdfunding for non-profits (i.e. disaster relief funds) to crowdfunding for personal purposes (i.e. helping a friend cover unexpected medical bills). Regardless of scale, this type of crowdfunding is born from the goodness of our hearts. There is no expectation of a return.

Equity Crowdfunding

Equity-based and real estate crowdfunding are relatively new. They allow accredited investors to become part-owners of a company or property by trading money for equity. This type of crowdfunding investment is most similar to traditional investing, as there is an expected financial return on the capital contributed.

Rewards Crowdfunding

Rewards-based crowdfunding turns consumers into investors. This is the most common type of crowdfunding for start-ups. Consumers provide a financial contribution towards a start-up or the creation of a new product. In exchange the company provides those consumers with a reward, usually in the form of the new product or service. This is the premise on which most Indiegogo and Kickstarter crowdfunding campaigns are based.

How to Optimize Your Campaign for Success

Whether you’re crowdfunding for business or personal purposes, here are a few tips to help you create the best crowdfunding campaign possible:

1. Leverage your network, both in person and online.

Now’s the time to use your connections, whether they are digital or IRL. Share your campaign with everyone you know, including your current customer base if you have one. Post on your social pages, talk it up to your family, tell your neighbors! The more people who know it, the better.

2. Tell a story.

Everyone loves a compelling story. Let potential investors get to know YOU. Share your background, introduce your team, dive into the history of your business. Investors will be more likely to back you after you’ve built a bit of a connection.

3. Focus on traction over funding.

Funds follow traction. Some of the best crowdfunding sites show the current number of backers for each campaign. This is awesome because investors are more likely to fork over a few bucks if they see that others have done the same. Aim to gain investors (i.e. traction) immediately. This may mean setting a low pledge amount initially. That’s okay. Eventually the number of backers can be used as an additional selling point, thus helping you raise more funds in the end.

4. Communicate often.

Talk to your investors. Tell them how you plan to use the funds you raise. Send updates. Share behind the scenes details. Like we said, people love a good story. So, there will be interest in following along as you work through your process.

5. Create a social media plan.

Of course you’ll share you campaign on social media, but don’t just throw it up on your pages, willy nilly. Social media platforms can vary in terms of demographics, user expectations, successful post types, post length, hashtag use, etc. Take the time to customize your promotion for each platform.

6. Tailor the pitch to your target market.

Gone are the days of generic marketing, so really think about who will benefit the most from your product or service. Now sell to them! Tailor everything – your pitch, your website, your social media posts – to the person who will be using your product.

7. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

Trial and error is definitely part of a crowdfunding investment campaign, but you don’t have to start from scratch. Take advantage of those who came before you. Research successful crowdfunding campaigns, both within and outside of your niche. Take notes on what worked and apply this new knowledge to your campaign.

8. Use video.

We repeat. Use video! Not only does video cater to our short attention spans, but it’s a fantastic way to achieve numbers 1-7 above. A well thought out video is more likely to move a campaign forward than a page full of text and day.

Which Platform is Right for You?

While there are several crowdfunding sites available to entrepreneurs, the most widely known are Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

Kickstarter is the largest, with over $4 billion invested in more than 160,000 projects. This platform tends to specialize in creative projects and offers some pretty robust reward-level options.

Indiegogo is geared towards technology and hardware product launches. The big benefit to Indiegogo is its flexibility. The company will release funds on a prorated basis, as opposed to Kickstarter which requires that the fundraising goal is met before any money is released.

Other crowdfunding website options include Fundly, Just Giving, Facebook, and GoFundMe. Check out this comparison tool to learn more about the pros and cons of each one.

Want to Learn More?

Hungry Media is here to help! Whether you’re crowdfunding to jumpstart your new business or you are simply looking to raise capital for your most recent product, we’ve got you covered. We want to hear about your great idea! You can reach us at info@hungrymedia.com. Get in touch, and let’s start making plans!

Web Developer Insurance
Wed Designer

Dumb question, right?  Wrong!  Unfortunately, not every web designer or developer is insured.  “Why would I need insurance?” “What could possibly happen?”  Well, let me tell you, a LOT. 

As a web designer and software developer, there are some pretty simple things that could happen to you that maybe you have not considered.  Take us for example, we are located in LA, MO, and Warsaw.  While all of our software is backed up with cloud solutions, most of our day to day coding occurs locally before it’s uploaded.  Take the Midwest where tornadoes LOVE to threaten us.  As you can imagine, we didn’t buy the cheapest equipment on the market and for us to lose all of the software, the computers, and our serves…okay, let’s not think about that, but it’s possible and something to consider.

Outside of “Acts of God”, there are dozens of reasons for having insurance.  I know they are probably likable people, but let’s say another client of theirs and your developer have a falling out. Scope of work had changed, long hours and not getting paid, blah blah blah, you get the idea.  Now they are ready to burn that client bridge and there is a lawsuit, having insurance could be their only saving grace.  The insurance company will get a team of legal experts together to deal with the client and this could be settled out of court. If a client makes a claim against your developer, their professional indemnity policy will pay the defense costs. This isn’t just for situations that have escalated to court. Insurers want to solve problems before they get to that stage, so they’ll provide a team of legal experts to help negotiate terms with your client.  Now the company doesn’t have to close.  You’re safe!

Copyright Infringements

What about Copyright infringements?  This one is the most common claims that web designers are faced with.  Even if they unknowingly or unintentionally used a photo, verbiage, content or videos that were licensed, they are still going to be in trouble, will need to meet for hours with attorneys and will have to spend time in court. Now, I bet you are wishing they had insurance?  Still not convinced? Keep reading

Script Errors

Let’s say they are writing code for your new website they are building.  It has been tested and has launched and all of a sudden the accounting department finds an error with their script and they have cost you thousands of dollars!  OR they are cyber attacked because there is a data breach and you aren’t protected.  Losses due to hacking and malware issues are also covered with insurance.

Timing Issues

As a web design or graphic designer, they publish high quality designs on a schedule and a budget to make everyone happy.  Sometimes things don’t work out as planned. Maybe you, the client, was slow to get your information, maybe their project manager has been out sick and now you are really far behind.  This could put your hard work and their company at risk.

The Human Factor

We all know the company has a great reputation, but every once in a while, they get an employee that doesn’t love them as much as everyone else.  Next thing you know, they quit their job and with them they take their desktop, software, phone, you know, those precious tools of the trade.

It’s Required!

And the elephant in the room, most companies REQUIRE insurance.  That seems reason enough.  It will cover personal injury, property damage, medical expenses, completed products and personal and advertising injury.  Reassuring your clients that you are covered will likely make them feel more comfortable and could be the final selling point to having them hire you.  So yeah, you should care if your web designer or developer has insurance.

Tell us what you think!

Info@hungrymedia.com

Web Developer Location
Web Developer Location

How many of you check your email in the morning and you see several emails directed to you to help you build a “newer and better” website?  I’m sure all or most of you.  These emails are not bad; in fact there are some really great legitimate companies out there that send out those emails.  But before you randomly hire one of them, make sure you know whom you are hiring.

One of the questions you should be asking is where are they located?  There is a big debate about hiring a local web developer versus a company that is overseas and there are pros and cons to each.  Let’s go through some.

Cost

Often times overseas developers will charge a quarter (or less) than a local developer, who normally charges around $150 an hour.  The thought is “why would I spend more money to get the “same thing”?  If you spend less on the site, you could use the cost difference to add more to the site, right?  Well, in a recent survey, 62% of offshore IT contracts cost much more than the business expected. 

When you hire a local developer, you are paying the amount they charge for good reasons.  You are getting someone on your team, which can make or break your website.  Your local agency will be on the same page as you the entire time and can change directions with you rather than waiting 12 hours to talk to your overseas team.  You are also helping to pay for their healthcare, which we all know can be a ridiculous amount of money.

Contracts

Typically, you won’t have a long-term agreement with an overseas developer, which can be a plus.   If you find yourself needing someone with a specific specialization or skill set and down the road, a short bit later, you may realize that you need someone else to complete a different skill set, you will likely not be committed in a contract.

When working with a local agency, you will likely be asked to sign an agreement with them for the full spec of the work you need done.  All the developers and coders will all be in the same place working on the same projects so you are getting a smooth transition from one phase to another.  For us, we work in phases.

Phase 1: Discovery

We will first meet with you to discuss your concepts, must-haves, expectations, etc. in order to identify specs that effectively outline your ideal product. We will discuss design preferences, existing branding elements, and functionality requirements, while also identifying additional specs for Phase 2 development.

Phase 2: Design

From detailed documentation and architecture we will design a beautiful, functional interface, and present your brand as a trustworthy authority in its space. 

Phase 3: Develop

Immediately after initial planning is in place and approved by your team, the build begins. Regular meetings will be held to measure progress and manage expectations. Status reports will also be sent weekly to ensure written documentation of project status. 

Phase 4: Deploy

Hungry Media will provide rigorous testing, detailed QA, and a formulaic launch process to make sure we are putting your best foot forward. Additionally, we stay on through launch to support the work we create.  While we do have set completion dates with most of our clients, most projects require monthly maintenance and support, and this will be no different.

Time Difference

Don’t forget the time difference!  This one to me is huge. Probably because I love my sleep!  Unless you are willing to wake up in the middle of the night or early morning, don’t expect to speak directly to your overseas developer.  Let’s say I am in the Central Standard time zone and my developer is in India, that is a 12 hour time difference. While I CAN wake up at or talk late at night to make critical decisions, I am not going to be at my best when making those decisions.  One thing you could do is hire a project manager to deal with it on your behalf, but let’s face it…that’s just more money to spend.

While there is no right or wrong answer here (and honestly the best option for you may be a hybrid), to ME, hiring local takes all (or at least most) of the stress out of what will already likely be a demanding time for you.  Plus investing in a company that is local to you can help you invest back in to your community by creating local ownership and jobs and a supporting community groups.

Learn more about our Hungry Media locations stateside and overseas here.

Tell us what you think. info@hungrymedia.com

Website Design
Website Design

Today we live in a fast paced, give me what I want, society where most our interactions now with brands are online and not in person.  If you own a business and you have a website, then you have already opened your digital storefront.  I get asked a lot, “why is my homepage design so critical?”  In our experience, companies and small businesses alike are unaware of the immediate impact their website has on their business and reputation.  I ask that you look at your own online behavior as a guide.  

Let’s say for example you meet with a consultant or for a potential business partnership.  If you’re interested after the meeting, do you take that person’s word for it or do you look them up on Google/Facebook/Instagram?  If you find them and get directed to a basic and/or outdated website, with an obscure message, and stock photography, how does it make you feel?  Are you still excited to do business with this person or company?  Chances are you’re not and chances are people you’re meeting with draw the same conclusion if “you” haven’t taken the appropriate amount of time to improve or rebuild your own digital storefront.  Today we are defined and accredited by our online reputations and it’s critical that you’re always on top of your own.  Don’t hide from it. 

Here are the 5 key reasons your website homepage design is so critical and some pointers on how to improve each.

Your design represents your service/product

Want people to think you have a shitty product or service- offer it up through a shitty website.  Today’s web browser wants quality and convenience.  We’re not all created equal.  Hire a designer, ask your friends, and take the time to make sure you have a clean design that helps emphasize the quality of your product or service.  We’re all living in the world that Google and Apple created.  Follow their lead and keep your design simple, sleek, and to the point.

Here are some pointers:

  • Make sure your images match your audience.  If you offer products to families, don’t show happy millennials.
  • Don’t use your homepage branding to draw in a new customer type.  Stick to your lane and use internal pages to introduce new ideas and revenue opportunities
  • Be clear about what you offer, but keep it brief.  
  • Make sure your colors match your logo and branding.  People relate to colors and associate brands with colors.  Think about how you’re positioned.

People need to know immediately what your company does

We skim from left to right, we don’t read.  It’s very common for companies to spell out all of their services and offerings right at the top of their homepage.  Unfortunately, when you do this, the main content is typically overlooked.  When people land on your site they ask themselves- 1) Where am I?  2) What am I getting here?  3) What is this going to cost me?  Answer these questions and be concise.  If they like what you have to say, they’ll dive deeper to learn more.

Here’s an exercise to help you improve your visitor’s understanding:

  • Take out a pen and paper
  • On your desktop, quickly skim your website from left to right, write down what you read
  • Now on your mobile phone, quickly skim your website from left to right and scroll 1x, write down what you read
  • Do your notes align with what you want visitors to know about you or your company?
  • Do your notes match on desktop and mobile?  If they don’t, you have some work to do.

Get customers even if they’re not ready to buy

We have experience training and operating fairly large sales teams for some of the Hungry Media portfolio.  One simple concept we always train on is, “never show up to a sales meeting without the contract!”  Even if you’re confident the meeting will not result in a  close, there is always a chance that it will and not being prepared can delay revenue or worse, give your customer a chance to change their mind. 

Every session on your website should be treated like a potential customer ready to buy.  Call out solutions to common problems with your copy and make it easy for your customers to convert to a sale.  Today’s web browser has their payment information saved, their mobile wallet in front of them, and can easily be swayed by shiny objects.  

Here are some shiny object examples:

  • Case studies/Success stories
  • Engaging information/content will encourage users to share your page 
  • Provide additional materials (i.e. downloaded information, videos)
  • Opt-In forms/Lead capture
  • Remarketing (so your brand follows them onto other pages through ads) 
  • New products or limited time offers

Build credibility and trust

Simply put, you have at most, 15 seconds to establish your brand, your product, your credibility and build enough trust to keep your visitor for another 15 seconds.  It’s important that your visitors feel a sense of trust that you can deliver 

  • Create a lasting impression that brings customers back 
  • Case Studies/Success stories
  • Professional design. Quick loading.  Easy to navigate.  No spelling errors.  Ensure links work correctly. (There are websites that will allow you to test these items – Pingdom, Woorank)
  • Videos of products build confidence and trust in the product
  • If you have a great backstory, include it.  This will engage customers and encourage them to purchase.

Control what Google displays

  • Leaving a website stagnate can have search engines rank your page lower
  • https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2018/03/rolling-out-mobile-first-indexing.html
    • Google mobile first indexing.  IF you have a mobile version of your website, Google will display that on smartphone searches. IF NOT, they will link to the desktop version but it is important to ensure your desktop version is mobile friendly.
    • Test desktop/mobile page to be sure it user friendly for mobile users
  • https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/search-features
    • “search features depend on many factors, including the search device type, location, and whether Google thinks the feature would provide the best search experience for the user.”
    • Determine the type of result you want users to see on Google (though they don’t guarantee it will always show up that way) – result types include: breadcrumb/basic result, carousel,  rich result, enriched search result, review snippet) 
  • Structured data guidelines to control search results view
  • Present your content in a manner that it is readable by crawlers and bots
  • Perform regular content audits to track success (analytics metrics, SEO metrics, sales and loyalty)
  • Keywords are imperative to getting the correct traffic directed to your site.  (This will also affect conversion of traffic to sales)

Want to learn more? Contact us at info@hungrymedia.com

Keeping Control of Your Website
Keeping Control of Your Website

I can’t even imagine, as a business owner, to spend money on a developing your business page only to lose control of your website.  You can’t login, you can’t update information, and you don’t own the domain YIKES!

Obviously, hiring a reputable company is the first step.  A company like, let’s say, HUNGRY MEDIA! (of course you knew I would say that).  No seriously, when you are in the process of working with a web developer, you should have access to your own website.  I’m going to give you some questions to ask as you are going through your process.

Will you be able to access your website?

The answer to this should always be YES!  Being the owner of the website, you should have access to the control panel so you can access your website database.  You should receive a URL, username and password.  Having the FTP server name, address, username and password.  This will get you straight to the website files.  Having a list of other software that was used when they built your website as well as any licenses and fees that are required , which SHOULD mean that you are the person that is purchasing this.  That way, your name is on each aspect of the website and your developer can not steal it or block you out.

So, how do you know if YOU actually own the website?

This should be negotiated before you ever sign the contact with your developer and should clearly be stated in the contract.  You will want to specify that you own the design, content and most of the time, code as well.

Can you buy your own domain name?

Another crucial key is for YOU to buy your own domain name!  It’s a very simple concept… you buy it, you own it.  The developer buys it, THEY own it!  You see the pattern here?  Even though you are paying a developer to build your site, there is still work for you to do if you want to have control of it.

And lastly, will your website be backed up?

Please for the love of all things good in this world, back up your website! If you don’t know how, PLEASE ask your developer to please back up for you and make sure you have access to the back ups (although if you have access to your website, there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to do this yourself). 

Protecting yourself with the above steps can help you easily avoid your losing your website, content and all the hard work you have put into  a crucial part of your business. Choosing a web design company that works for you shouldn’t be hard or scary.  Just ask the questions that we recommend!

Have a horror story to share about losing control of your website?  Dealing with a similar problem now? Tell us about it.  info@hungrymedia.com

app development
app development

Have you ever thought about a brilliant idea for an app but didn’t know how to take it to fruition?   The idea of where to start, how to start and who to even talk when starting the process of app design can be daunting.  But BEFORE you talk to anyone, please do yourself  a solid and get a non disclosure.  There are dozens of free ones online (just Google “Free Non-Disclosures”). There would be nothing more defeating than having someone steal your idea out from under you and there isn’t a darn thing you can do about it.

So, let’s get back to the burning question “Now What?”  We have come up with a list of steps that we feel you need to take to get this app launched.

Step 1: Idea Generating

Get yourself a white board and start writing!  Start writing out whatever comes to mind. It could be a list of features, your end goal, your mission statement…just start writing!  It will come to you the more information you have in front of you.  Outlining how the app works.  Really put yourself in your Users shoes and walk through the process.

Step 2: Know Your Audience

Identify your Audience or the User you think can not live without your app.  You need to think about a specific profession, gender, region, age group, income level or industry. Really try to narrow it down.  Create a focus group of this group.  There are plenty of companies out there that will host the focus group for you.  You will want to hire a moderator to host this focus group for you so you don’t sway their decision one way or the other.  Don’t get defeated if the feedback is not as positive as you would have hoped for. Take the good, the bad and the ugly and make your app better!  Who knows, maybe someone will have feedback that sparks a whole new spin on your app. Another smart thing to do is identify your competition.  Go to the App Store and read the reviews and make sure what you are doing is better than your competitor. 

Step 3: Money, Money, Money

Have a clear answer to “How are you going to make money?”  Go back to your whiteboard and look at any and all avenues of how you will make money.  Maybe it’s from a monthly fee system, or add on cost XX number of dollars. Whatever it is, you need to have it clearly set up.  You don’t need technical skills for this, you just need to be the user. 

Step 4: Find a Developer that is Right for You

Interview Developers and ultimately hire Hungry Media!  Each company likes to use what works for them, but our system makes it very easy.  Our approach is simple.  Discovery, Design, Development and Deployment method. 

We will first meet with you to discuss your concepts, must-haves, expectations, etc. in order to identify specs that effectively outline your ideal product. We will discuss design preferences, existing branding elements, and functionality requirements, while also identifying additional specs for Phase 2 development.

The Design step is where our experience pays off!  From detailed documentation and architecture we will design a beautiful, functional interface, and present your brand as a trustworthy authority in its space. Immediately after initial planning is in place and approved by your team, the build begins. Regular meetings will be held to measure progress and manage expectations. Status reports will also be sent weekly to ensure written documentation of project status.


And finally, Hungry Media will provide rigorous testing, detailed QA, and a formulaic launch process to make sure we are putting your best foot forward. Additionally, we stay on through launch to support the work we create. 

If you have an idea for a new app, get a non disclosure ready and give us a shout. We can always be reached at info@hungrymedia.com