Does anyone have experience with launching a campaign on StartEngine? If so, what do you suggest for the bonuses?
I'm not familiar with StartEngine, however there are some basic best practices for any crowdsource platform.
#1 Study the history of successful campaigns similar to your plan, like really make notes about the elements that worked and what they have in common, as well as any problems.
#2 Remember that your activity on the platform affects everyone who comes after you. If you screw up and have a disastrous campaign, anyone who comes after you with a similar project will have some lingering poison from your failure and the attitudes of those who typically participate on that platform.
#3 Crowdsourcing a campaign is a FULL-TIME JOB! You will need to respond quickly to hundreds of email messages daily for months. And you need to respond to all those messages, not just some, not just once a week.
#4 It takes about twice as long as the campaign will run to prepare to launch a campaign. If the campaign lasts a month, expect to spend two months, again full-time, preparing to launch it properly.
#5 You need to advertise your campaign. You cannot rely on the platform to advertise for you. If you don't know several hundred people you can ask to pay attention, share, participate, and help you promote your campaign, crowdsourcing is likely not for you. Yes, you might get lucky, but just being there is not a reason for anyone to pay attention to your campaign. This is the top reason why campaigns fail.
#6 Form a team. Do not try to run a campaign by yourself, even if you're a solo-preneur. You will likely need help, if for no other reason that to have people helping you answer email, anything from thinking through issues, brainstorming campaign elements, and eventually shipping on your promises, one label at a time.
#7 Follow the rules.
#8 The more small upgrades you have, the further you will move contributors up the ladder of contributions.
#9 Mom-test it. See how your mom reacts to the campaign. Does she understand it? Can she accurately tell someone else what it is? Is she excited to tell other people about it? Does she think it's junk? Would she buy it if you weren't her kid?
Contact people who have run successful campaigns directly. Ask them questions about what they learned doing it. Don't start cold. Take advantage of previous experience by directly communicating with successful campaigns.