Musicians are passionate about their instruments. Talk to anyone who totes around a cello, a flute or a guitar and he or she will probably regale you with stories of craftsmanship and nuance that, to a layperson, might seem downright obsessive. Musicians, however, know it’s not so much obsessiveness as it is musicality. They know that attention to detail can make all the difference.
That philosophy has made Bohemian Guitars (BG) a success. The Atlanta-based guitar company uses “upcycled” materials and a lean manufacturing model to produce electric guitars with a rich sound. In an effort to manufacture and improve upon their designs, BG launched The Boho Series 2.0 crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Within two weeks, 909 backers had exceeded the initial $37,000 goal by more than 400%, proving that the company’s quality and reputation are well-known.
The Campaign: The Boho Series 2.0 by Bohemian Guitars
The Goal: $37,000
Amount Raised (as of this writing): $246,986
How Did Bohemian Guitars Do It?
Building on the success of their previous Kickstarter campaign, BG leveraged their growing popularity to further spread word of their instruments. With a quote on their campaign page from ZZ Top, an image of Meghan Trainor proudly displaying her Boho Series uke and videos of artists in the studio and performing at festivals, it’s obvious that professional musicians believe in the quality of BG’s guitars.
Additionally, The Boho Series 2.0 is unique in its design. Made from upcycled oil cans and scrap metal, the company’s guitars, ukes and basses are truly innovative in their form and function. BG states that its instrument necks are made from sustainable forests, and pledges that for every campaign backer they will plant a tree through a partnership with Trees for the Future.
How Can My Company Replicate Their Success?
A successful crowdfunding campaign is made up of many factors. For most companies, success will be measured on a sliding scale. To replicate the success of a campaign like The Boho Series 2.0, there are a few tactics you should try to incorporate.
1. Tout the Uniqueness of Your Product or Service
There is truly nothing on the market like a Bohemian guitar. Not only does its look invoke a more down-home and folksy aesthetic, but it actually plays really well. Combine both of these factors with the fact that the guitars are made from sustainable and recycled materials, and you have a sweet spot for the type of backers Bohemian Guitars is looking to attract.
With that in mind, ask yourself, “What about my product or service is special or unique?” Spend some time thinking about the different features or benefits that truly set you apart from competitors. If possible, ask your customers what made them choose you in the first place. If you can’t think of any, then it might be time to invest in making some.
2. Leverage Your Current Customers
While you may not be able to get a quote from ZZ Top, you might be able to use your current customers’ testimonials or success stories as a way to sell your product to new clients. If your product might be of interest to celebrities—whether local or otherwise—it might be worth exploring that option.
But be sure to weigh the risk against the reward when working with a known personality. Aside from the complications of dealing with managers, agents and lawyers, your brand could suffer if your celebrity endorser loses favor with the public. This is a rarity, but considering the amount of backlash recently from a variety of well-known figures, it’s worth mentioning.
3. Build a Social Media Following
Bohemian Guitars has over 36,000 likes on Facebook, 7,000 followers on Twitter and 18,000 followers on Instagram. It’s obvious that the company has spent time building a following on different social media platforms, and their posts show that they understand the benefit of each one. Their Instagram feed is a colorful gallery of guitar prototypes and musician action shots. Their Twitter feed is a mix of music-related articles and information about their current guitar production. Their Facebook page shares many of the same posts at Twitter with an emphasis on videos.
Crowdfunding is another form of social media; it relies on a social community coming together to back a project they believe in. If you’ve invested time upfront in the creation of your social community, you’ll be able to use that group to spread the word about your campaign and contribute to its success.
4. If There’s Something Special About Your Materials or Manufacturing Process, Talk About It
Is your product made in the USA? Do you use recycled materials? Do you donate to a charity for every product you sell? All of these elements are important, especially to crowdfunders who typically want to back more than just a product. They want to back something worthwhile, so make sure to highlight anything that’s special about your product—including the way it’s made.
Launching a crowdfunding campaign is a serious undertaking that can, if managed competently, lead to unprecedented success. You’ll often find it easier to meet your goals if you spent some time doing the legwork: spreading the word about your business, getting your name out there and building a customer base.
If you are ready to get serious about building a successful crowdfunding campaign, read our article on how to set up the right incentives for your campaign.