Make Your Dreams Come True: Crowdfunding Marketing
by Cydney Hatch • May 4, 2018
“The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”
You have probably seen this saying floating around the internet, but do you believe in it?
Whether it’s finding “the one,” starting a blossoming career, running a marathon, creating social change or traveling somewhere new, there are always ways to accomplish your dreams, no matter how big they are!
Anything is achievable with the right amount of focus, effort, and action. Of course, it’s not just about having big dreams—you need to do something to turn those dreams into a reality.
Now, if your dream is to create the next hot product or business there is a solution to making your business a reality: a phenomenon called crowdfunding marketing! Excuses of the past like not being able to raise funds are no longer a limitation.
If you can properly execute an effective crowdfunding marketing strategy, you can do make your dreams come true!
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about crowdfunding marketing and how you can harness the strategy to: Well … (ooh ooh ooh ooh) Hmmm hmm you make your dreams come true!
What is Crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding marketing is a strategy to raise funds for a project by asking a large number of people to donate money, usually in small amounts to fulfill the financial goals of the project.
This approach—focused solely on online social media and crowdfunding platforms—will allow you to raise money easily within a short amount of time. This is business financing like never seen before!
Traditionally, if you wanted to start a business you would need to draw up your business plan, market research, prototypes, and then present your idea to wealthy individuals, banks, angel investors, and venture capital firms. This approach would limit your abilities for success with a small number of people to “YAY” or “NAY” the business.
Crowdfunding, on the other hand, gives you a quick place to showcase and share your pitch with a bigger audience. The chances of success are higher due to the audience numbers and their funding.
So, if you…
- Always wanted to design an “hip new zippy jacket?”
- Always dreamed of sharing your idea for a hot new mobile app?
- Always wanted to sell your gluten-free cupcake batter?
Yep, say it with me, use crowdfunding!
Let’s dig in more as to why and how you can effectively use crowdfunding marketing to jumpstart your business!
As discussed above, crowdfunding marketing allows you to tap into a wider investor pool with ease but there are also other positives to using crowdfunding marketing:
- Investor Audience & Reach – You have access to thousands of “investors” who can easily see and share your fundraising campaign on their social media platforms! The best crowdfunding campaign secret weapon is social media!
- Customer Experience – You can share and promote your campaign easily with others through social media, email newsletters, and other online marketing strategies! As you communicate with people on the progress of your project, you can bring traffic to your website and other resources!
- Build Confidence – Crowdfunding marketing allows you to present your idea to many people that can help you have confidence in your plans and allows you to refine them if there are problems. As potential investors begin to interact with you and ask questions, you’ll quickly see if there’s something you need to fix, clarify or take out!
- Efficiency – One of the best things about online crowdfunding is that you can centralize your fundraising efforts in one place. By building a single profile you can send to all of your prospective investors, you eliminate the need to pursue each of them individually! No more wasting time on creating different letters and emails to specific people! Time is truly money, so being able to streamline all your efforts in one place leaves you with more time to run your business instead of fundraising!
Dreams to Reality: Crowdfunding Marketing Strategies
A successful crowdfunding marketing strategy involves many thoughtful steps. Below are some strategies to follow and consider as you build out your campaign:
Building Your Audience
First and foremost, crowdfunding is more about building a community than selling a product!
Dreams usually involve other people. Before you invest a lot of time into this, you need to thoughtfully think about your target audience. Regardless of the product or service you are selling, the success of your campaign will rely heavily on how well you can connect to the minds of your target audience.
For example, Wetsleeve is a hands-free water bottle that conveniently holds your favorite sports drink or water on your arm!
If this was my product, I would think about the following people in my target audience:
- Sports Stores
- Social Fitness Groups
- Local Gyms
- Fitness Social Media Influencers
- Fitness Events: Spartan Races, Marathons etc
- Local College Sports
- Local Wellness Centers
- Physical Therapists
- Fitness Conferences
After thinking about who your target audience will be, you will need to start building a following sooner rather than later! The further away you are from launching your campaign, the better. People want to back something popular and supported by other people.
But where to start? Never underestimate the power of the people you already know!
Family, friends, co-workers and even acquaintances make a great foundation for your campaign community. People know people and if your initial fan base can share on their social media, they can open doors for you!
Network and look for ways you can connect and expand your initial contacts!
Timing: Your Make-Or-Break
Timing is everything. As you put together your crowdfunding marketing strategy, you will need to think about pre-promotion, launch week, weekly follow up and campaign close.
Read Fun Go had a lovely timeline image that should give you a rough estimate of where you should spend your time:
Let’s break that timeline down in detail!
Pre-Promotion (2-4 weeks)
- Create a media blast! Let everyone know you are going to launch! A great way to build hype is hosting a pre-launch private event. For example, Restore Cryotherapy Salt Lake City did an exclusive one-day event where you could try their cryotherapy service for FREE!
- Post your launch date across all your personal social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram! Word of mouth matters because people need to know when and where they can access your business/product!
- Setup Facebook Ads for Email Signups! Facebook is one of the best marketing platforms you can use before you launch your campaign. Target your ads based on your audience and try to get a good amount of email sign-ups. This will be helpful with sharing content later!
- Send out media releases to local media resources! This will help you spread the good news! Restore Cryotherapy did a GREAT job at this!
- Display promotions that will help drive initial sales! Again, Restore Cryotherapy upon opening had “50% off #ivdriptherapy 20% off memberships.”
- Send the message out. Let everyone know you have launched!
- Post your launch across all your personal social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Make sure you share videos, live streaming, and photos to get the hype up.
- Create great customer service. You want people who are interacting to have a great experience, which will then push them to share your product and services.
- Display short-term promotions that will help drive initial sales.
- Plan giveaways and involve other like-minded companies to donate gift cards and other products to sweeten the deal.
- Send weekly updates that include campaigns progress, special announcements, new rewards you have added or when a large donation has been made! It is also important to post a weekly update as supporters get concerned if they don’t receive an update on a campaign they have donated to.
- Create updated content! This could include an update on how your campaign is performing, any new developments or achievements you have experienced or a simple thank you to those who have already donated. Be human and connect with your supporters.
Add limited time only rewards to attract new supporters or get old loyal supporters to donate again. Use “FOMO” words such as “limited time only”, “special rewards” and “special edition”.
- Connect and get featured on local and online media platforms.
- Countdown the last week till your campaign finishes on all of your social media accounts. Post something every day this week! Use phrases that create a sense of “FOMO” like, “only three days to go”, “only $200 off my goal!”
On top of a thoughtful timeline, think about how you can creatively launch your business or product during a time of the year that makes sense!
If you are launching an outdoor product to help someone camp, it doesn’t make sense to launch it in January when no one is typically camping. Think about how you can use holidays, months and seasons to promote your products and services.
Thoughtful Content: Your Message
Like any online marketing, content will matter greatly to your crowdfunding marketing success. Craft your content to your audience’s interests, questions, and voice. Create clear, creative and catchy descriptions, content, newsletters, emails and captions.
One of the best ways you can create quality content that will help your crowdfunding is creating an engaging blog. You can do a lot with your blog like:
- Provide the latest updates on the progress of your project. People like to see progress in something they invested in.
- Include product reviews, testimonials, usage videos and other helpful content to help people understand the quality and uses of your product/services.
- Create a Q+A post that answers typical questions customers might have.
- Connect with your audience by sharing a story or “Why” you started this project.
- Provide your audience with reasons they should contribute to your project. Your content should answer all the possible questions the contributors would like to ask.
- Feature guest posts from people who will matter to your target audience—social influencers matter!
By offering friendly and meaningful resources to your customers, it will bring more people to your website and crowdfunding platform.
Social Media: Your Secret Weapon
Social media is a key weapon in your crowdfunding marketing arsenal. When you plan a crowdfunding campaign, you obviously want to focus your efforts on the platforms that will provide the most success.
To pick the right channels for you, consider the following:
- What social platform does your target audience interact, share and communicate on?
- Which platform do you feel most confident using?
- What people have the greatest influence in your community and how can you collaborate with them on content posts?
Personally, I would suggest Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (especially for products) and Twitter. If you want to dabble more look at collaborative platforms like Google+ and LinkedIn groups.
Even a hundred followers can make a difference in your goal, so the more the merrier! You can do this by implementing some of these strategies:
- Timelines matter! Begin social media efforts and marketing initiatives months before your campaign start date.
- Connect and communicate with your community. Show genuine gratitude to your fans and followers, it has huge payoffs!
- Write engaging posts that entice your community to respond. In addition, keep pushing updates to your investors!
- Create a unique hashtag and use it in all of your social media posts. By doing this, it allows you to organize posts into one place where people can easily find information about your crowdfunding campaign. Encourage your supporters to use the hashtag as well.
- Create social media pages. A campaign-specific Facebook page and Instagram business account are great places to host your community and post updates. Every page and account comes with analytics that help gauge performance.
- Boost posts! If you have the marketing budget, you can also increase your Facebook and Instagram reach by boosting your posts. This is a great way to reach people with interests related to your crowdfunding campaign.
- Post-campaign updates, behind-the-scenes looks and impact/success stories as well. Heartwarming and inspiring posts are a great way to remind your audience why they’re involved in the campaign.
Rewards: Your Motivation
Create meaningful rewards that people want. “FOMO” is a real thing, and creating a sense of urgency is key in getting boosts of sales and interaction.
To help build your audience before your campaign, consider what you can give away to the masses. For example, James the Mormon gave away his first week of download sales to a charity to help drive his downloads.
This resulted in his new album reaching the #3 spot on the top Rap Hip Hop album list on iTunes! Here are some pictures from his Instagram story showing his social push for downloads:
Like his crowdfunding marketing strategy, those that accept your gift will undoubtedly feel grateful. As a result, when the time comes to launch your crowdfunding campaign, people will be more likely to spread the word to a business that wants to give back and create a sense of “warm fuzzies!”
There are many options for rewards and gifts you can have with your crowdfunding campaigns! Think about creative ways you can promote your business or product!
Websites & Landing Pages: Your Online Presence
Before launching the campaign page on your channel, it’s smart to create a website or a landing page. Until your campaign page goes live on a crowdfunding platform, let these serve as your “command center.” Landing pages and your website can channel your online traffic for specific actions.
When you have a website for your crowdfunding campaign, you can easily share important information about your business or product there! Apart from this, when your campaign is over you can expand the use of your landing pages and website!
Use it as the central hub for marketing your brand or product. To learn more about effective landing pages see our article here.
Emails & Newsletters: Your Communication
Email marketing greatly energizes crowdfunding marketing! People love updates on places they have chosen to donate to!
Effective email marketing can promote your content, events, newsletters, promotions and build a list of subscribers! Email marketing is the cheapest form of communication for your crowdfunding. All you usually have to pay for is some sort of email marketing service like MailChimp, Hubspot or Autopilot HQ.
Dreams Come True: Now Get Out There!
Business has forever changed thanks to crowdfunding websites that help nonprofits, artists, musicians—and yes, businesses—raise money. Crowdfunding makes dreams a reality and with the above marketing strategies you too can live out your life ambitions!
Tell me about your experiences using crowdfunding and what worked and didn’t! If you want help on how to setup a crowdfunding campaign or ecommerce strategy, contact me here!