Crowdfunding is the great equalizer for small startups looking to get funding. However, just like a product or service itself, your crowdfunding campaign needs a marketing strategy that can get you attention from the right people.
The goal is to create enough buzz about your startup in as many places as possible. And it must be fast, because most crowdfunding platforms have a time limit on campaigns, and you will need to generate the buzz, get funders to your campaign site, and get that money rolling in. Or, you can leave with nothing, as it is on Kickstarter.
If you want to make sure you are making an impact with your campaign, here are some tips that will help you get that word out:
Groups of People to Tap
Think of the groups of people within your own web of friends, family, and acquaintances. Research says that about 30% of your funding will come from here. These are people who can help you reach out to others they know, expanding your potential for funds. Family and friends will donate if they can, but they can also help you spread the word through all of their social media channels and email lists too. Once you have tapped that resource as best you can, look for other groups to connect with:
These are people that you may have met or known along the way but do not really have any relationship with. Don’t just send an email to them pushing your campaign. Instead, ask for their advice; ask them to take a look at your campaign page and make suggestions. This is flattery, and it often works.
What niche does your startup relate to? Who are influential people in that niche? Find them before you ever launch your campaign, become a follower of them on social media; find them on LinkedIn and join the same groups. Then when you do launch your page, you can announce it to them and, again, ask for advice.
Journalists and Bloggers
Make a list of all of the journalists and bloggers who cover topics related to your startup. Get an email address, Twitter handle, and Facebook page for each one if possible. Follow them on social media and on their blogs. You will want to do this before you launch your page. Once you do launch, you will then feel more comfortable sending a “press-release” or other type of announcement about your campaign, and they will be far more receptive.
Create an Amazing Video
Start with checking out the videos of popular crowdfunding campaigns to get a better impression of what should go into your video. Telling your story is always a good way to engage viewers, so use that if possible. Introduce yourself and your team, tell people how you came up with the idea, give some behind-the-scene sneak peaks and clearly communicate why you need those funds.
Apart from featuring the video on the platform, you can also publish it on YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook to generate even more buzz for your campaign. If your video is that good, submit it for a crowdfunding video award. Again, that would increase your reach and push your name in front of more eyes.
Setting the Right Tiers and Rewards
Set realistic goals for your funding and for what you believe your typical donor can afford. Obviously, you need to carefully think through tiers of funding and the types of rewards to be given for each tier.
If you start too high, you will drive off possibly hundreds of small donors who can’t meet your minimum. It is now known that the $25 level actually receives the most donations. So make that your target level, but go below and above as well.
There may be business donors who are willing to contribute hundreds or thousands based upon their impressions of your potential and the reward you provide for larger amounts. Again, look at campaigns similar to yours for ideas of rewards.
Don’t Make People Work to Share Your Campaign
Have sample posts and video clips ready for friends and acquaintances to use to share your campaign. This makes it easy for them to just re-post and move on. Just like everyone in the world, they will be much more willing to share if it’s easy.
Pre-Launch is Important
You will notice that many of these tips require work before you launch your campaign. Don’t scrimp on getting your stage set. Once you launch, the clock starts ticking, so make sure you are committed to the success of your campaign before it starts.