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Rewards on Ulule: how to invent and create them

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You have a project!

Have you been following our tips on producing a Ulule project? Well now the time has come to tackle the creation of rewards… We know, it’s not that easy!

Take your time: rewards are one of the site’s main driving forces, so don’t underestimate their value!

Rewards are the most efficient way to persuade your visitors to become supporters of your project. So, here are some tips on how to understand their creation and importance.

What’s the point of rewards?

You have an amazing project which you talk about with your friends.
They are your friends, so they’ll support you…right?
These friends discuss your project with their friends.
Their friends aren’t exactly your friends.
So give them a good reason to support you!

Basically, it’s one of the golden rules of marketing: you gotta give before you get. To encourage people to get involved with an idea, a community or project, you’ve got to start by being generous. Your project description is already supposed to catch their attention, with images, videos, explanations and details to satisfy their curiosity. Rewards simply confirm their support: it’s the moment when your well-meaning visitor discovers the deciding factor which persuades him to take the final step to support you.

We certainly do not fail to appreciate this step. Some supporters will have to sign up to Paypal, fill in their bank details and thus devote 10 minutes of their life to your project: a decent reward will convince them that it’s a good idea!

Which rewards should I create?

The most obvious thing to do is to start with rewards linked to your project. Are you making a film? Think about all the ways to share it with your supporters once you have completed it. Can you make a DVD that your supporters could receive and pass on to their friends? Do it! Perhaps you don’t have the funds for DVDs? Then send it in digital format, but include bonus features such as ‘the making-of’, or deleted scenes and outtakes. As it’s about a film, you could always send out some drafted pictures! A 25x25 drawing, signed and dated would certainly be appreciated.
Concert tickets, T-shirts, mugs, posters, CD albums, vinyls, comics, postcards…anything that might be popular!

Don’t satisfy yourself with merely sharing and publishing your project. Think a little more about what will make your supporter choose you; that you will be truly grateful for his help, so he will be pleased to have given you a helping hand. Think original, exclusive, personalised rewards...something that your supporter will enjoy, and that cannot be found anywhere else.

Remember that a supporter who is pleased with his reward will become one of your most avid ambassadors once your project has taken off, when the time comes to acknowledge his support.

At what price should I set my rewards?  

Try to establish affordable rewards. Don’t begin straightaway at $100...there would be few people following you (and actually, we won't publish your project).

Start small, with token rewards (and remember that supporters won't be able to choose an amound that is smaller than the first reward you create): postcards, messages, poems of thanks set at around $5.

Don’t fail to reward those who want to help you but who don’t have much spare cash, or friends of other project owners who stumble across yours and would like to help you out.

Little by little, raise the value of rewards. Jumping from $5 to $50 is slightly better than starting directly at $50, but it still won’t really work for you!

As for the bigger rewards, you could give them in person. Suggest meeting people to share your skills with them, and give them ideas to think about. If it’s in your line of work, you could evaluate your supporter’s projects and give them advice. Or perhaps even lessons: guitar, IT, cooking...

Don’t hesitate to offer generous rewards for large donations. You never know, someone interested in your idea could be just around the corner! 

Think in terms of ‘levels’ where each level adds a cool new element to the previous rewards. For example for a music group they could be something like this:
Your album in mp3 ($5)
+ a ticket for the concert you’re hoping to finance ($10)
+ a CD album ($15)
+ a backstage pass ($25)
+ a vinyl ($35)
+ a poster signed by all the band members ($40)
+ an hour’s music lesson ($70)
+ a private concert with you ($200)
+ a signed guitar ($500)
+ a piece of music dedicated to them - give us three ideas ($1000)

Overall, you’ve got to realise that your supporters aren’t going to break the bank. There is therefore a barrier not to be crossed...

The $20 reward

It’s an average amount, a psychological barrier: “below, it begins to get expensive”. This reward (which hovers between $15 and $25 according to the nature of your project) is without a doubt the most important of all. It’s mostly at this level that people who are interested in your project will be willing to support you...providing that you offer them a decent reward!

Take a look round your nearest shop: you can buy quite a lot for $20, so don’t content yourself with a mere mention at the bottom of your web page or newsletter. Attract, give, share: be generous!

Include the price of the rewards in your required donations!

Plan ahead! Obviously, distrubuting rewards will eat into your budget, so think about raising it as a result. Don’t create rewards that will cost you the amount (or more) that you’re asking for! Before offering drawings, prints etc, browse the web, check manufacturing prices and postal costs. Add them all up, and include this amount in your final requested sum.

If your rewards are sufficiently well thought-up, you will obtain this new amount without any trouble.
On the other hand, if you ask for less but give little, you may struggle to reach your goal!

Look at your neighbour’s!

Tne final tip: take a look at the rewards already online. Explore the projects, read what they offer. Ask yourself these questions: “what is it that would make me support this project?”, “why does this reward interest me, or why does it not?” After all, you can only learn from others!

Of course the team at Ulule is always there to help you in this tricky process. So never hesitate to send us a quick email if ever you need: [email protected] is there for you.

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