Crowdfunding has completely revolutionised how businesses can raise their capital. Allowing start-ups to raise huge amounts of cash from friends, connections, and most importantly, early adopters who take an interest in what they do. No longer do new businesses need to spend months agonisingly trying to get accredited funding in the beginning.
For those of you who are eager to get started with crowdfunding (and why wouldn’t you be?!) read on for our guide on how to dramatically improve the likelihood of getting all the money you need.
To make things easier we’ve split up these must-follow tips into both the pre-launch and launch stage, so you can make sure you don’t miss a trick!
You’d be forgiven for thinking the hard work only starts once you hit launch, but the reality is a successful crowdfunding campaign relies upon effective planning way before your project goes live. The pre-launch is where most of the work is needed. The period where you decide on your messaging, connect with your audience and lead your fans and future backers to your campaign. It requires a lot of careful planning and time, so it’s vital you take this stage as seriously as possible. Here’s how to do it:
The pre-launch phase is all about preparing as much as possible, both for the logistics of how your campaign is going to work, to how you are going to represent your brand and what you wish to communicate to your audience.
People want to look at your campaign and be able to sense that it is going to succeed; nobody wants to invest in a campaign which is set to fail. Think about this as you create your campaign. How can you build confidence not only in your product or business but in your crowdfunding campaign itself?
Launching a crowdfunding campaign can be as affordable or as costly as you like, but it’s crucial to think about how much you have available to spend on it either way. Be realistic with your budget. This doesn’t just mean lowering your launch costs as required but thinking about the amount of money you’re asking for from your funders. Costs to consider include marketing costs, commission costs, shipping fees for any rewards you offer funders, tax implications, and the cost of producing a pitch video and other launch marketing materials.
LEOcrowd charges just 5% if your project is successfully funded, along with payment processing fees (dependent on payment type). If your project is not successful, you won’t be charged a thing!
When it comes to getting the right attention for your crowdfunding campaign, it’s crucial that you know exactly who you are targeting and why. This means defining the audience you have in mind and thinking about where you will find them (online and offline). Think about the basics of your target demographic (such as age, gender, location) as well as things like the values they stand for and the language they relate too. All more information you come up with, the easier it will be to form a launch campaign which quickly connects with them and persuades them to provide funding.
Defining your USP is a crucial aspect of business, whether you’re crowdfunding or not. Your USP (unique selling point) is the defining factor in what makes you stand out from other similar businesses on the market.
Think about what your product does better than others. Will it get the job done more effectively? Is it more affordable? Is there no other design like it on the market?
You need to know exactly what makes your product so great, and be able to communicate this succinctly in all your marketing.
In order to persuade people to part with their hard earned cash and support your business, you need to be able to tell a good story about your product or service. You need to be able to stir enough emotion and excitement from a potential backer they can’t resist funding you. People connect with other people, so don’t be afraid to be personal and tell readers/viewers why you are so passionate about making your project a reality.
If you want to instantly increase the impact you can make with a crowdfunding campaign, consider making a launch video. This is the quickest and most effective way of telling your story and compelling viewers. A campaign video can be quickly and easily shared too, making it possible for your crowdfunding campaign to go viral – if it’s captivating enough!
Crowdfunding success lives or dies by the social media marketing it receives. Which means getting your social media campaign nailed is one of the biggest factors in receiving the funds you need.
Go back to your target audience and think about where they are most likely to engage. Would you be better off using Facebook or Twitter? Pinterest or Linkedin? Don’t make the mistake of thinking you need to be promoting your campaign on every platform. It is much more effective to focus your time and attention on a handful of social media marketing techniques which are best suited to your target audience.
Now you know who your audience is, you’ve prepared a video, and have a compelling story to share – it’s time to create your launch page! This is where you will share all the information potential backers will need to decide whether they want to back your project or not.
Make sure your launch page is professional and well-written. You don’t want to put off potential funders due to poor grammar and typos. Hire a professional writer or marketer to help you create a powerful launch page if necessary or, at the least, ask an employee or friend to give your copy a once-over before you start sharing it with the world.
Make it clear how people who have a curiosity in your campaign can keep up-to-date with its progress. Add a newsletter opt-in to your website, and make sure social media links are apparent on your campaign page. You should also mention them directly in your campaign video and think about offering incentives for those who engage with or share your social media content.
When all your initial planning is in place, reach out to your existing base of customers and fans to let them know about your planned launch. You can keep gently reminding them over a period of weeks so they know when the launch will become live, and again think about how you can incentivise interaction from existing connections to help news of your campaign organically spread to their friends-of-friends etc.
You should be setting yourself targets to get your crowdfunding campaign media attention. Being featured on a big brand's Facebook page or getting your story into the local, or national, newspaper is a brilliant way to raise awareness and increase the likelihood of getting funded. Make it easy for those who are interested in publishing your news by having a clear media section with details of who to contact for interviews, pictures, or further information – and how to go about it! If possible, include a telephone number so you are able to be contacted immediately. Media desks often want to run a story within short time frames.
With a social media plan in place, it’s time to network like mad – online and offline. Think about who you can share your story with and provide mutual benefit for at the same time. For example, are there any blogs looking for fresh content who would be a good fit for an interview or to publish a news story on your campaign? Is there anyone that you can partner with to publicise an upcoming product of theirs in return for the same exposure for your crowdfunding launch?
Be loud and proud when it comes to discussing your launch. Chat with any relevant connections in person and ask them if they’d be willing to share details with friends, colleagues, and family members who may be interested in what you do. Now is not a time to be bashful about your business, you never know who will be excited to fund you or provide additional support.
As you start to build awareness for your campaign, think about how you can build your authority and interest as a brand as a whole. Don’t go straight for the hard sell. Provide your followers with interesting and valuable content which will build their trust in you and entice them to take a look at your campaign. Curiosity is a great way to get people hooked on what you do – while being too pushy as you ask for money can put people off. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be directly asking people to get involved and fund what you do! Create a balance between sharing generously, building relationships, and directly promoting what you do.
Throughout your pre-launch and launch periods, be as personal as possible. Crowdfunding relies on personal connection and is not an arena for presenting yourself as a soulless corporation. Make names and faces available. Introduce your team members and share the stories behind founders. We’ve said it once and will say it again: people connect with people. Don’t be afraid to share your personality and hook people into your campaign this way.
Finally, you’re ready to launch. Which means making it possible for people to make deposits and build your business capital at the click of a button!
Now that your launch is active, it’s crucial you don’t just think it’s job done and let the campaign sit there untouched. Keep those who have shown interest in your project in the loop, and update those who have already kindly provided funding. Once a funder has already made a contribution it’s tempting to think it’s ‘job done’ with them but it’s important to nurture your connection with those who have supported you – they may want to invest further, and ultimately buy from you directly in the future.
As well as direct updates via newsletters and emails, make sure you keep up your social media marketing – both sharing great content and promoting your launch. Make people aware that your campaign is time-sensitive, and that there is a sense of urgency to get involved.
If you’re looking for another way to keep your potential and existing backers updated, think about recording a regular podcast. This can be as frequent or infrequent as you like but it acts as a really nice way to update fans in an informal and informative manner. Plus, it’s convenient too – people can listen to it on the go when watching a video update isn’t always possible.
Now your project is live, it’s time to keep monitoring progress and think about what to do next to boost funding in line with your campaign timescale. Look back over your pre-launch checklist and check there’s nothing you’ve missed or can re-do better. Keep looking out for media opportunities and think about investing in professional PR (if you don’t already have it in-house) to find creative ways to share new stories in order to get your campaign more attention.
At LEOcrowd, we make crowdfunding as simple as possible! All you need to do is create a launch page, spread the word, and raise funds directly through our crowdfunding platform – you don’t even need your own website. Start a crowdfunding project with us today and start using these tips to launch a campaign which won’t fail!