A word (...ok, several) about providing "Value Exchange" to supporters #tips

 

We've been thinking a lot about how to answer (and help you answer) a key question from prospective supporters, which is essentially, "...what's in it for me?!"

Some subset of your fans will want to support Just Because -- they love you, they believe in your mission and want to help, they're your Mom (hi Mom!), etc. To take it to the next level and convince the next layer of "fence sitters about to tip," it seems clear there needs to be more Value Exchange in the equation. It doesn't have to be the same sort of fairly rigid quip pro quo as with traditional crowdfunding like Kickstarter or Indiegogo ("I give you $15 now and in a year i expect a copy of your film") -- and in some sense we actually eagerly want to explore the also quite fascinating territory that happens Before The Product -- all the really cool stuff that happens along the way during that year that is usually carefully hidden until suddenly, Out Pops A Film! 

There is something magical and mystical about the "Artist's Way" or the Creator's Journey (or whatever you want to call it without feeling too "woo-woo" ;)) -- and people are fascinated by it. If they're already your fans, they definitely want to know about it because they already like you and don’t already have a window into it elsewhere. They are beside themselves with curiosity about how the sausage is made -- and I think this is actually even more true in the Age of Rampant Professionalism where we've been trained to think that "only the final product matters" -- there's simply too much evidence to suggest the reverse is true and that many people are hungrier to "celebrate the journey" now that most of what we see in culture and media is all neatly Polished, Packaged, and Promoted at insatiable speed. People who aren’t yet fans are still curious because they’re either creators themselves & want to learn form your process, or they’re Frustrated Creatives who were dissuaded from the Artist’s Way at some point in the past and want to live vicariously (or drum up the courage to dive back in).

So, there's a mindset and there's a toolkit & we're going to be doing our best to help with both -- on the latter end there's 1 immediate opportunity and 1 so close to on deck it may launch as early as this week:

  1. Posting Messages: if you haven't checked out the new WYSIWYG yet, please give it a whirl -- i would suggest thinking of "posting on Recurrency" as more like Twitter, less like Wordpress. More like Tumblr, less like Medium (...although Medium looks a lot more like Tumblr these days! it's complicated. there's a lot going on, people). Share some sneak peeks from the creative process, the journey, the drafty bits, the unfinished ideas in all their wabi sabi glory. Think about a relatively steady mix of Public vs. Private posting -- the Public stuff is for "hey you, prospective supporters and Recurrency members, here's what you can expect from me! Here's what I do -- come join my journey" and the Private stuff is the exclusive, "make your supporters feel special and super glad they're giving dollars to you" backchannel into the really cool stuff you're working on that they get to be in the subset of lucky folks who are privy to the process. Doesn't all have to be long-form, doesn't all have to single embedded links from elsewhere -- can be a mix of both. Experiment! Try stuff. Break things! See what resonates. Keep an eye on what Private stuff gets the most attention and do more of that. Keep an eye on what Public stuff brings new supporters to the yard and do more of that. It's more like "starting a party" than like trying to do a traditional direct sales funnel -- try to keep the guests who actually came at 8pm instead of being fashionably late entertained until the rest of the gang shows up, and encourage the gang to get the heck over here because the party is (almost -- & it will be when you get here!) raging!
  2. Tiers/Rewards: launching imminently -- will give you a way to be more explicit about what value you're providing, and experiment with different offerings at different support levels. Maybe it's $5/mo gets a supporter into your team Slack channel, or maybe it's $10 gets them a 1:1 Google Hangout with you each month. Think about ways you can offer additional value that aren't necessarily adding a Whole New Job to all the hats you're already wearing -- open the kimono a bit on stuff you're already doing. Take an extra 10 minutes and share a sketch or a storyboard after you've spent the hours working on it (and offer it as a perk by committing to it with some sort of regularity, weekly, monthly, etc.). It doesn't have to be about Creating Something Else Entirely New for supporters (though it can be) -- it can be getting savvy about repurposing / repackaging what you already do, or maybe even just giving yourself permission to get over the fear of sharing the imperfect, in process stuff (I know I have this fear and it's a personal pep talk as much as it is 'Recurrency advice').

Food for thought. If you eat some and new ideas pop out, please share -- here, in a Message, in a tweet, join our Slack, email us, shout it from a rooftop (but Vine it, so we can hear!), all of the above!

Onward and upward!

-Barb

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