Welcome to the Tubestart Creator Handbook.
Crowdfunding for digital video creators and filmmakers is a fundamentally different task than crowdfunding for a gadget or video game, and we want to give you all the tools you need to run a successful project.
This Creator Handbook serves as a guide to setting up and managing a successful Tubestart project and contains practical tips for all stages of your project.
Before Your Project
After Your Project
If you get lost and need help don’t hesitate to email email@example.com. Our awesome YouTube certified project managers are here to help.
Please take the time to read the information on this page. If you do, your project will be insanely more successful.
Before Your Project
Before you beging please review our project guidelines to make sure your project is a good fit for Tubestart. Then start by evaluatingyour plan, identify your audience and research similar projects. Crowdfunding is a team sport and takes a lot of hard work to be successful. This pre-launch period will set the pace for the rest of your project.
Ask yourself - do you have a crowd who will contribute financially to your project? Is your idea unique and captivating? Have similar projects succeeded or failed? Why? How can you set yourself apart? Do you have a team that can help you run your fundraising project?
If you’re unsure whether or not you’re ready to crowdfund, ask your audience what they think of your plans. You might be surprised by how helpful this can be. You can also check out our AUDIENCE BUILDING TIPS and browse other projects on Tubestart. Remember, the more prepared you are before you launch a project, the better off you’ll be. It is not uncommon for projects to have a 60-120 day pre-launch phase.
Once you’re confident that crowdfunding is the right choice for you, let your fans know that you’re building a project and ask for their input. Don’t ask for money up front, think of crowdfunding like a political campaign - the more people are standing behind you when you launch, the more likely you are to succeed.
A project’s momentum is just as important as the duration. Most successful Fixed and Flexible projects run between 30 and 40 days. A longer running project does not necessarily mean more money. It’s up to you to be active and engaged the entire time your project is live, so if you choose to run your project for 90 days be ready to put 3 months of hard work into it. Decide on a duration that works best for you and your project.
Your pitch video is the most important part of your project. This is where you’ll not only introduce your project, but showcase your personality, passion and production skills. Within the first 30 seconds you should be able to convince viewers to support your project and keep watching. The better your pitch video, the more money you will raise.
A strong pitch video takes a personal approach and clearly explains your project and your goal. You can share your story right to camera or spend some time producing a scripted narrative - whatever best suits your style and your project. Keep it engaging and representative of you and your content.
Don’t use your video to just ask for money or help. Instead, use it as a tool to tell people about your project, get them excited and offer them an opportunity to participate in making it happen.
Think of your pitch video as an elevator pitch - you only have one shot and very little time. Here are some tips for creating a successful pitch video.
- Make sure your audio is loud and clear and lighting is good.
- Tell your story, introduce your project and get people excited about your idea.
- Short and sweet is best. We recommend your pitch video be under 90 seconds long. Audience attention spans are short, so keep it simple and clever.
- Showcase any previous work, current work on your project (storyboards, conceptual designs, pictures of actors, footage you’ve already shot), or any other information that makes you and your project unique.
- Share your favorite rewards and include visuals if possible.
- Instead of asking for money, ask people to support your project by buying a perk they like.
- Thank your viewers and remind them that if they cannot contribute financially to your project they can still help by sharing your project on their social media.
Don’t hesitate to ask fans, friends, family and strangers for feedback once you’ve made your pitch video. Remember, your pitch video is the best representation of the kind of content contributors can expect from you. Ask yourself, would you support this project after watching the video? If so, you’re off to a good start.
Your written pitch is the backbone of your project. It’s where you’ll introduce yourself in detail, give an in-depth description of your project, break down your budget and talk about how great your rewards are. Try to anticipate any questions viewers may have and answer them here, and be sure your pitch is an accurate representation of you and what you’re trying to achieve. Viewers should be able to quickly grasp the key points, goals, and funding needs of your project. This is also where you’ll list your rewards, offer progress updates and keep backers informed.
On your project page people can post comments and questions. Make sure to engage and respond to postings daily as part of your project management plan.
Here are some tips for creating an effective pitch text.
- Introduce yourself and share your origination story - how did you get involved in creating video?
- Offer a clear, brief summary of your project and goals.
- Talk about past work or projects you’ve created, and why you’re excited about this project.
- Create a budget that shows how the money you raise will be used. Even a rough description of where the money will go can add legitimacy to your project.
- Entice your readers with details about your rewards.
- Try to answer any foreseeable questions your viewers may have about your project.
- Respond to comments and questions posted on your project page daily.
Your funding goal and funding model are both very important elements of your project. Asking for too much could dissuade potential backers, and too little could prevent you from completing your project. Do you need a one-time amount or more ongoing support? Spend some time figuring out exactly what you need and pick the funding goal and model that is best for your content.
Keep the size of your audience on YouTube and social media in mind. How big is your email list? Around 70% of the funds you raise will come from your efforts promoting your project to friends, family, social networks and subscribers, so choose a goal that is realistic for your crowd and will allow you to complete your project as promised.
Allow yourself a 20% - 30% buffer when setting your funding goal. There will be unexpected expenses along the way...we promise. Don’t aim too high, you can always overfund your project, and an achievable amount will prevent you from damaging your reputation if you fall short of your goal.
Keep in mind that there are costs (and time) associated with fulfilling tangible rewards like merch or posters. Factor in hard costs of the items, packaging and shipping when deciding your goal amount. If you don’t want to worry about all the costs and effort associated with fulfilling your own rewards, check out our hands free fulfillment options from CafePress or Spreadshirt. You can choose from over 800 customizable rewards that feature your logo or image without having to deal with printing, packaging or shipping - it’s all done for you so you can focus on producing awesome content and promoting your project.
Tubestart offers four different funding models, so you can choose the one that best suits your project:
- Fixed Funding: a one-time project running for 30-90 days where you get paid contributions only if you meet or exceed your goal. The platform fee for fixed funding is 4%.
- Flexible Funding: a one-time project running for 30-90 days where you get paid all money raised instantly, even if you fall short of your goal amount. The platform fee for flexible funding is 4% if you reach your goal and 8% if you don’t. You will be charged 8% for all transactions initially and once you’ve reached your goal, we will automatically refund 4% to you.
- Subscription Funding: an ongoing monthly subscription project where contributors acquire ongoing rewards as long as they subscribe, or they can buy one-off rewards and you get paid instantly. The platform fee for subscription funding is 4%.
- Pledge Funding: an ongoing project where backers pledge to pay a certain amount every time you release a new video, or they can buy one-off rewards and you get paid instantly. The platform fee for pledge funding is 4%.
All payments are directly made from backers to your PayPal account. You need a verified Paypal account in order to receive contribution payments and PayPal charges a fee for processing these transactions, usually around 3%.
Choosing a good variety of rewards is key to a successful project. You want to be sure that all your rewards have value and are unique and desirable to your audience.
You can offer four types of rewards on your Tubestart project page:
- Standard Rewards
A standard perk is any kind of permissible reward you want to offer backers in return for a contribution. You can set up one time or monthly recurring rewards that backers can subscribe to. Standard Rewards transactions are subject to the applicable platform fee.
- Hands Free Rewards
Tubestart has partnered with Spreadshirt and CafePress so you can easily create over 800 customizable perk products ranging from t-shirts to smart phone covers to shower curtains with your logo and branding and fully automated “setup & forget” payment and order processing. Hands Free Rewards transactions are subject to the applicable platform fee plus a 10% perk engine handling fee. Click here for more information.
- Sponsored Rewards
We partner with leading brands in various verticals to offer rewards like coupon codes or sponsored merchandise. Eligible projects can display these offers on their project page and keep 100% of the net profit. Sponsored Rewards are subject to the applicable platform fee plus a 10% sponsored perk handling fee.
- Biddable Rewards
Got that one time special limited reward offer? You can set up auctionable rewards that will be sold to the highest bidder. Tubestart will manage the entire bidding and payment process for you. Biddable rewards are subject to the applicable platform fee. Click here for more information.
Here are some tips for creating valuable rewards.
- Offer at least 5 perk options. Merchandise sells the best.
- Create a low cost “share this project” perk. It is a great option for those who cannot financially support your project but can help you spread the word on their social media accounts.
- Offer at least one perk at $5 or less. This way, even backers who can’t contribute a lot financially can still be involved in your project.Try to include both tangible (Merchandise) and virtual (Skype session, thank-you video, credits, a role in your film) perk options. This gives your audience the option to choose the type of perk that is most meaningful to them. Remember, the easiest way to offer tangible rewards is to offer some of the over 800 customizable Hands Free Reward options Tubestart offers.
- Offer Sponsored Rewards on your project page, they are fully automated and you get to keep 100% of the net profit.
- Offer rewards at multiple price tiers, and keep the transition between tiers smooth. It’s important to have a range of perk prices so any contributor can find a fit.
- Offering a limited amount of some rewards can make them more desirable and exclusive to your crowd. Be careful not to limit too many perk options. If you have something really unique to offer, this is a great way to grab attention.
- Don’t be afraid to adjust your rewards mid-project. If you are noticing a trend or are getting requests for something you didn’t think to offer, add more rewards. Listening to your audience will only help you reach your goal.
Remember, a majority of the contributions you will receive come from friends, family and close online and offline social networks. These are people who know you and your work, believe in your project and want to see you succeed. Try to offer reward that are valuable to them.
Once your project is live, your work has just begun. A crowdfunding project is essentially a marketing campaign, and engagement is key! You need to get as many people as possible to visit your project page. It’s important to update your project page regularly. Video updates are the best, and thanking your contributors and sharing your progress will keep them active and engaged in your project throughout.
Tubestart is also a social media platform. The more active you are, the more followers you will have, which means more people to share your updates and more people will see and support your project.
Here are some tips for promoting your project after launch.
- Reach out to friends and family. Their support early on will give your project the boost it needs to draw attention and build support. Have 30% of your funding goal pledged by friends and family before you launch and have them contribute the minute you launch to give your project the initial boost it needs.
- Keep your Tubestart profile page updated. Build a following on Tubestart and be active in sharing and posting updates to your followers.
- Email is the most effective form of reaching backers, so send individual emails with a link to your project page to everyone you know.
- If you have a YouTube channel, make your pitch video your channel trailer and be sure to include a link to your project in the top of your description. Here’s an article on 6 Free Ways to Drive YouTube Traffic to Your Crowdfunding Page.
- Disable ads on your project video. You don’t want to turn off potential contributors.
- Tubestart is whitelisted in YouTube’s annotated links tool, so annotate your most viewed videos with links to your project page. This will drive your viewers to your Tubestart page and boost contributions.
- Promote on social media and update followers with your project progress daily. Each social media platform serves its own purpose – utilize their strengths.
- Post regular updates on your project page. This will show your contributors that you are active and engaged, and is a great way to keep them updated on your progress.
- Reach out to press and other online and offline communities that may be interested in your project.
- Set up Google Analytics for your project page and keep an eye on where your crowd is coming from. Those numbers can tell an important story and show you where your promotion is working and where you may need to adjust.
- Listen to feedback. If you notice one perk sold out quickly, add more. If your viewers are asking for more information, write more in your pitch text. It’s ok to update your project throughout the process, and will ultimately help you reach your goal.
- Most importantly, keep your backers and contributors involved and engaged throughout your project. Offer them sneak peaks or bonus rewards or chat sessions. The more people you have on your side, the better your chances of meeting your goal.
After Your Project
If you’ve successfully reached your goal, it’s time to get started.
- Get to work. Keep the momentum of your project alive and start creating.
- Continue to post updates to your project page thanking your backers, giving progress updates and keeping your audience engaged.
- Fulfill your rewards. Start printing, packaging and shipping your tangible rewards ASAP. Not delivering on your promised goods is a quick way to lose support from your crowd and cause chargebacks. If you used our Hands Free Rewards you are lucky because your supporters have most likely already received their rewards, and you didn’t have to lift a finger fulfilling them.
If you haven’t reached your goal, it’s not over.
- If you’re running a Flexible project, figure out what you can do with the money you’ve received. Maybe you can only do half of the planned episodes, or need to cut down on production costs, but try to keep your project alive and your backers happy by fulfilling all rewards.
- Analyze your project and figure out why you didn’t meet your goal. How much did you raise? Who were the contributors? Could your project be revamped to look more professional or have more information? Could your pitch video have been done in a different style? Did you utilize social media and other creators to promote your project? Were you engaged and active the entire time it was live? These are all things that are key to a successful project.
- You can run another project, but be cautious of exhausting your crowd. If you decide to run another project, do some research and figure out what you need to improve on. Make a new pitch video and offer new rewards.
- Keep creating. Don’t be discouraged. The more you continue to create, the larger your audience and support will grow.