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How to: Crowdfunding

Want to launch a new business on Kickstarter or Indiegogo? You’re not alone.

With inspirational crowdfunding success stories piling up, it’s no wonder more and more starry-eyed entrepreneurs are looking towards crowdfunding to finance their next “big idea.” So, the question is, can crowdfunding really work for every business venture, or is it just a pipedream? That’s what we’re going to find out right here.

Why Crowdfunding?

One major reason why crowdfunding has become the go-to choice for many individuals is that it gives you access to a large pool of investors. There are also other benefits of crowdfunding, such as:

Investor Reach

Through crowdfunding platforms such as Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and the like, would-be entrepreneurs can reach out to thousands of investors via social media, increasing their chances of getting the funds they need for their new business venture.

Customer Experience

Entrepreneurs have the opportunity to share and promote their fundraising campaign with the help of email newsletters, social media, and online forums. They can use these platforms to communicate and get their message across to their audience.

Confidence Building

If you’ve ever watched startup pitch events, you’ll notice that some of the contestants choke or hesitate while pitching their idea. This is a big no-no if you’re asking someone to give you their money. A crowdfunding platform gives you the opportunity to present your business idea more confidently to impress and inspire potential investors. In other words, crowdfunding platforms act as a great launching pad for you to get your idea into orbit without breaking a sweat.

Highly Organized

Trying to find the funds for your business idea can quickly become a chaotic experience and the cause of much confusion. Using crowdfunding platforms enables you to manage your crowdfunding efforts from a single location. You can shoot up your campaign, track results, and communicate with investors all under one roof, which makes it an incredibly streamlined and efficient platform for new entrepreneurs.

The Strategies that Work

When it comes to crowdfunding, the strategies you use can make or break your campaign. The success of your campaign will depend on carving out a thoughtful campaign strategy that will coax potential investors into believing in your product and making a contribution.

Build an Audience

Needless to say, the success of your crowdfunding campaign mainly depends on how many eyeballs you can reach. This is where community building comes in. As the owner of a crowdfunding campaign, you will have to reach out and build your core audience. These are going to be your initial believers who will not only share the same dream as you do but will make a contribution to your cause. Building your audience is essential to the success of a crowdfunding campaign since these initial members are also going to spread the message of your company through word of mouth.

But, in order to be successful, your strategy has to attract the right crowd. For instance, if you were offering a new eco-friendly water bottle, (such as the Wetsleeve), your core audience would be:

  • Gym subscribers
  • Athletes
  • Marathon runners
  • Local gyms
  • Social media influencers
  • Physical therapists

It’s best to begin early, spread the word before you even launch the crowdfunding campaign, and the best place to start is friends, family, acquaintances, and colleagues. When it comes to crowdfunding marketing or marketing in general, never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth.

The Timing is Essential 

You can’t afford to drop the ball when it comes to a crowdfunding campaign. This means having a solid strategy for the pre-launch promotion, launch week, the post-launch follow up and closing the campaign.

Having a clear timeline for where you should be throughout your crowdfunding campaign will give you goals to achieve, and will reassure your investors. This is what a breakdown of your crowdfunding campaign’s timeline should look like:

Pre-Promotion

This is going to be 2 to 4 weeks prior to the launch. You will need to create a media blast, which is another way of saying you need to build hype around your campaign. A pre-launch event, PRs, and social media posts are great places to start.

Launch Date

Be sure to create social media accounts on all the popular platforms. You’ll not only need these outlets to post the launch date of your crowdfunding campaign but also to get a conversation going that will ultimately create interest in your product: post regularly to keep your audience coming back for more.

Use Facebook Ads

Facebook is the go-to option for spreading the word. Setup FaceBook ads for email signups. Getting as many email signups as you can is going to be critical at this stage. These signups will also be helpful later on when the time comes to share content related to your brand and product.

Send Media Releases

You can use local media resources to help spread the word of your crowdfunding campaign. Using influencers is another great way to pique the audience’s attention, and will get you better results.

Display Promotions and Giveaways

You can’t expect your audience to give you their money without expecting a little something in return. If a product is what you’re offering, display promotions or offer to give early-bird investors dibs on the first units that come off the production line.

The Launch

Let everybody know you’ve arrived by sending out a message via email and social media. Some of the best platforms to use for this purpose include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also make and share videos on YouTube. Engage your audience with promotions and giveaways, and reach out to companies who would like to donate gift cards for those who contribute to your crowdfunding campaign.

It is also important to keep all lines of communication open during this time so that you can engage with your audience and answer their questions.

The Follow-Up

Continue to create and upload interesting information and relevant content that will keep your audience glued to your product. This content needs to be fresh and updated regularly, so investors do not feel like they’re being fooled. Creating follow up content is a great way for your backers to know when to expect the delivery of the product they’ve invested in.

Campaign End

It is possible for you to draw in a few more bucks right up until the end of your campaign. Here’s where you can use FOMO (fear of missing out) to get more people to make contributions to your campaign.

When it comes to choosing a timeline, crowdfunding campaigns should go with the most obvious time of year to launch their campaigns, which will lead to increased interest in their product. For instance, launching a crowdfunding campaign for eco-friendly sweaters is going to be no good if it’s sunny outside. Similarly, your campaign’s launch date should be around a time where your product would actually be useful for your audience. 

Content is (Still) King

The quality of the content you produce for your crowdfunding campaign is going to determine how well your audience responds to your campaign. The content needs to be well organized, periodical, and relevant to your product. While being creative and using humor is a good strategy when crafting content, it is also equally important to maintain the voice of your brand.

Some ideas for content that you can create to give your audience a peek into your brand are articles, blogs, guest blogs, press releases, e-books, newsletters, emails, infographics, and video content. Using the right mix of these will see your crowdfunding campaign off to a roaring start.

The content you create should be equal amounts of informative and entertaining. This means the content you create can offer information on your product, share updates, or promote behind-the-scenes events. All of these will be well received by your audience. You can also use your content to answer the most pressing questions of your main target audience.

You can also share personal stories about your inspiration, company philosophy, and why you started the company. The idea of creating all this content is to get your audience more involved and interested in your brand, which will bring more people to your crowdfunding campaign page.

Harness the Power of Social Media

We have spoken briefly about social media, but it deserves another mention because of its effectiveness. As of 2019, 2.71 billion people in the world own a smartphone. That means reaching out to just .01% means getting your crowdfunding campaign in front of 271,000 people. That, coupled with the fact that 90.4% of Millennials and 77.5% of Generation X are on social media, means you can significantly increase the chances of reaching your crowdfunding goals by harnessing the power of social media.

But it’s still going to be a lot of work. You’ll need to get it right to enjoy the fruits of your efforts. Selecting the right social media platforms to reach out to your audience is going to be key to your social media marketing success. Some of the questions to ask when considering a platform are going to be:

  • What are the social media platforms most used by our target demographic?
  • What platforms are other companies in our niche using?
  • Where are audiences more likely to share content?

While there are tons of options out there, using the holy trinity of social media, which is FaceBook (2.32 Billion monthly users), Twitter (321 million monthly users), and Instagram (1 Billion monthly users) should be good places to start. Others include Pinterest, LinkedIn Groups, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Messenger.

Posting Timeline:

The following are some pointers to keep in mind when using social media platforms to create buzz around your crowdfunding campaign:

  • Don’t use your personal Facebook account; create a campaign-specific page. This will make it easier to track the popularity and views of your posts.
  • Start months before you expect to launch the crowdfunding campaign. This will help create the initial buzz around your campaign that will help drive it forward.
  • Engage and connect with the community that you build. Only then will you earn the respect of your followers.
  • Craft enlivening, engaging, and entertaining posts.
  • Use hashtags and current topics to introduce your product. The idea is to create sharable content that your audience can share with their friends.
  • If your budget allows it, try to boost posts you feel are interesting but are not gaining as much traction.
  • Posting campaign updates, behind-the-scenes, and sneak peek content is a great way to pique the interest of your audience and make them feel part of the family. This could also lead to the start of some engaging conversations with your audience. It is always good to show the human side of your company.

Nailing the Landing Page

The website and product landing page you create is going to be the first point of contact between you and the audience. It is important to make that first encounter a special one (or at least, an interesting one). Until the campaign doesn’t kick off, these two are going to act as your salesperson, getting more of your audience to connect with your brand, like your product, and, hopefully, contribute to the cause.

Seeing its importance, it’s crucial not to cut any corners when it comes to the design and look of both your website and landing page. The website should be tweaked to be more user-friendly, while the design and information on your landing page should be tight, clear, and to the point.

When approaching the website and landing page, it’s always wise to act like your audience is smarter than you are. This will leave no room for fluff or shabby design, which are two of the major pitfalls that most crowdfunding campaigners fall into when it comes to their websites and landing pages.

Email Newsletters

There are many who believe the emails are an old-school way of communicating: those people are wrong because up to 40% of B2B marketers admit that email newsletters are the most critical part of content marketing. If that wasn’t enough for you, U.S. businesses have spent around $350 million on email advertising in 2019, and the year isn’t through yet. Email also happens to be the most affordable way of reaching out to your audiences, and services such as ConstantContact, MailChimp, Drip, and the like are great tools for any crowdfunding campaign.

Ending Note

Now that you know what it takes to have a successful crowdfunding campaign, it’s time to get the funding you need to turn your dream into a reality; [email protected]