How to Create Big Conversations with Your Crowdfunding Backers
To develop an excellent crowdfunding campaign you should carefully plan and research your target audience, clarify your crowdfunding goals, and decide how you will set about achieving them. During this developmental stage you should have come up with the “why” to your crowdfunder – why you’re choosing the platform, type of crowdfunder and project to focus your campaign on.
Now it’s time to come up with the “how.” How are you going to get your campaign seen by the right people and build a buzz around your project in the lead up to your launch?
In this guide, we’ll walk you through what makes for a great marketing strategy for your crowdfunder, and how Mount Bonnell Media can help you extend your reach using cross-channel marketing tools.
On This Page
- Why do You Need to Develop a Crowdfunding Marketing Strategy?
- Your Campaign Lead-In Time
- Tips for a Great Marketing Campaign
- Creating a Compelling Narrative
- Make a Fantastic Media Pack
- The Pre -Launch Page
- Tips for Your Pre-Launch Page
- Email Marketing
- Create a Campaign Blog
- Social Media, PR and PPC Advertising
- Build Your Main Campaign Page
- Launching Your Campaign
- After Your Launch – Interact with Your Audience!
- Work with Mount Bonnell Media to Create a Winning Campaign
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about taxes, company formaition, and residency in the U.S.
- Get advice on taxation, company formation, and residency in the U.S.
Crowdfunding is a brilliant way to raise awareness and get the funds you need to expand your business to the US. But, crowdfunders are…crowded. Most platforms are bursting with great projects that have a team behind them. These teams develop excellent marketing materials and create a buzz before they’ve even launched.
This strategy seems to pay off in the competitive world of crowdfunding. Fundly says that projects that raise 30% of their goal in the first week are more likely to succeed.
Getting the word out and building a buzz means that you can launch your crowdfunder and start meeting your target straightaway – and backers are more likely to want to get on board later in your campaign if they see your goal is within reach.
A marketing strategy will also help you to develop your tone, style and campaign tools (such as your page, video and other media), and build your existing contact list and brand awareness.
As you start your marketing plan you should ask yourself some key questions:
How wide is your current reach? Do you have a strong email list? How is your social media presence? Do you have network of contacts you can leverage? Do you have a potential backer base that is aware of your US expansion? Is your product or service already well-known or are you trying to appeal to a new market?
If you don’t already have these things in place, you need to spend time building them before you start specifically tailoring your crowdfunding campaign.
If you have all of this in place – great! But, you will still need to do more than make a post or two on Facebook and send out an email to your list. Most successful crowdfunders are successful because they created real buzz and excitement around their campaign way before they hit “launch” on their campaign page.
To create this sort of buzz takes time. Most platforms recommend anything between a month to 90 days + to market your campaign before launch day. This includes putting together all your media materials, and also creating real conversations between you and your backers.
Your lead-in time is where you lay the groundwork for your campaign so it’s important to give it the time and attention it deserves.
Crowdfunding is not about creating a faceless product or service and marketing it as a list of benefits. It’s about connection and using the power of a group of people to become collaborators on your project. Connection comes from story-based, authentic messaging that gets your backers invested before they even consider putting up money to your campaign.
To begin, you need a great narrative and marketing materials (more on this during the guide), and the ability to present your campaign clearly, in a connective way.
Great marketing campaigns are also:
- You need to have a clear plan in place for your lead-up, during your campaign and making the final push as your campaign draws to a close.
- Responsive. Backers for crowdfunders want to be involved in your project. If someone just wants to buy a new product or service, they will shop for that elsewhere. Crowdfunding gives potential backers a chance to be involved. So – you need to include them by being extremely responsive in your marketing.
Your campaign narrative needs to embody the details of your project (what you are offering) and also give a compelling reason as to why you are launching the crowdfunder.
It should be entertaining but also authentic to your business identity and what your product or service does. Using humor is a great way to connect to potential backers, but so too is genuine storytelling that hits on other emotions.
It’s important to explain why you are using crowdfunding – talk positively about the benefits of this method and how you intend to reach your project goals. Talk about the future of your business and how backing your project will benefit each investor. Make the rewards for backing your project extremely clear – whether they are physical rewards or ways in which the business will grow with further investment.
Pay attention to the copy you use as you develop your narrative. Make sure the language and way you present your project are right for the audience you want to attract. For example, if you are expanding into the US and hope to connect with US-based backers – make sure your narrative appeals to this unique audience.
Once you have your marketing narrative clarified and have decided on the tone and style of the messages you want to put out there, you need to create some high-quality marketing materials.
Your marketing must look attractive and has to really speak to your potential backers. So, your copy must be sharp, but you also need excellent images and the all-important campaign video. Make sure you acquire the services of professional photographers who can take pictures of your product or your team and process. Some behind-the-scenes footage can work wonders as backers always love to feel they are involved in the project development process.
Make sure your images show what you do clearly and include images that will be able to show people what your campaign is for at a glance.
Making a video for your campaign page is perhaps the most important aspect to your entire page – in fact, it’s so important that we have dedicated a whole page to it. Check out Video Production here to learn more.
You can also consider making longer or more in-depth videos to put elsewhere, such as on social media or your campaign blog. Ensure they are high quality and well-produced to build a sense of authority.
Once you have gathered your marketing materials together, you might be tempted to start your main campaign page. But, before you get to this stage, your campaign will be far more effective if you create a pre-launch page.
A pre-launch page has two main benefits.
- You can use it to gather email addresses and build your email list for the rest of your marketing efforts.
- It gives you a chance to get feedback from potential backers before you go live with your main page. This allows you to adjust marketing materials and strategy early on, which could save you plenty of headaches further into your campaign.
Your pre-launch page should be short and straightforward. It should give a quick introduction to your campaign. You should also use it to ask for feedback on the information you’ve shared and your product/service or business.
Look at your pre-launch page as a conversation-starter. On your page, you can offer early-bird discounts and other incentives (for example an extra reward) in exchange for potential backers signing up to get email from you during the rest of your campaign.
Depending on the platform you use your pre-launch page can vary. Indiegogo, for example, offer a pre-launch page function where backers can sign up for discounts and a first look at your project. Pre-launches can be found by searching on the platform.
On Kickstarter, you can use a preview of your main page and send this to your email list or share it on social media to ask for feedback.
You can also create a Facebook Page or a dedicated landing page on your website. You should use your pre-launch page to drive traffic to and start up those conversations as you build your main campaign page. It has the advantage of being a central place you can direct people to in the run-up to your launch.
Pre-Launch pages should be:
- Short and snappy with distilled information about your project.
- Offer early-bird incentives to sign up to your project.
- Able to collect email address so you can build a dedicated campaign email list.
- Conversation starters. Make the most of the potential for asking for feedback and suggestions from potential backers.
- Have excellent visuals – keep them clear, simple and professional.
- Include a compelling call to action to bring people on board early.
Test your marketing messaging. You can use your pre-launch page to see how well your messages are doing and adjust if necessary.
Using your email list is a great way to begin building your campaign buzz pre-launch. If you don’t have a big email list, use your pre-launch page to help nurture new leads and grow your base.
- Use your email list to begin personal 1-1 conversations with potential backers.
- In your first email, introduce your campaign idea and ask for feedback and advice. People love projects they can emotionally invest in, and asking for input and feedback is a brilliant way to start that relationship. Plus, the feedback you receive can be absolute gold when it comes to creating your main campaign page.
- Send out regular emails with updates and links to other materials. You might use it to link to a campaign blog or other videos you create for your marketing. Make sure you include strong calls to action in your emails.
- You can use automation and sequencing, but remember that crowdfunding campaigns aim to build real relationships with potential backers so ensure you have a team ready to reply personally to emails and respond appropriately to feedback.
Segment your email marketing to take account of your current email list, personal contacts, business acquaintances and new leads from your pre-launch page.
Your campaign blog doesn’t have to be limited to only your specific project. If you already have a blog attached to your website, utilize this to delve deeper into your campaign goals and how you are preparing for your launch.
You can create a blog dedicated to your campaign if you prefer. It can help to write informative and engaging posts that are related to the subject of your project. Make your posts engaging and offer high-value information that readers can engage with to help build authority. Give your readers an extra glimpse into your process and further connection points with you.
You can also reach out to other popular blogs in your niche and see if you can connect with their audience. Use your blog to reach out to influencers or other bloggers with guest posting or hosting guest posts on your blog. Try and get involved in online blogging communities and add valuable insights and thoughts on the conversations happening in your target market.
Once you have your fundamentals in place with your pre-launch page and adding a blog, drive as many people as possible to your pre-launch (and then campaign page) page using PR, social media and even PPC advertising.
Organic reach is increasingly difficult as the digital sphere becomes more crowded and platforms like Facebook become stricter about how newsfeeds work. It can be worth targeting potential backers with a pay-per-click campaign that drives them to your pre-launch page.
Use social media to engage with your audience. Reply to all comments, ask questions, comment on other social media pages and make sure you respond promptly to all private messages.
As you get closer to your launch day, you can also use social media to announce countdowns and make a big push just before launch by offering extra rewards, discounts or other incentives for early-bird backing.
As you build momentum and gather feedback from your pre-launch page, email list, social media marketing and any other channels you use, you should start putting together your main campaign page.
As with your pre-launch page, you need to ensure you have excellent quality images, video and copy. You can add more than one video (for example adding testimonial videos or further details about your business, product or service) but your main campaign video should feature prominently at the top of the page.
Elements of a winning campaign page:
- Becomes the destination where you will drive all your traffic to once your campaign is live, so it needs to be optimized and present your idea as simply and attractively as possible.
- Uses a short and snappy project title that’s easy to remember, and a clear introductory headline.
- Keeps the copy on the page concise and to the point for the first paragraph or two. Your potential backers should be able to understand what your project is after the first paragraph.
- Defines your campaign narrative. It aligns with the tone and style of your marketing materials in design, images, video, copy, and layout.
Includes extra in-depth detail further down the page. As your campaign progresses, you can add to it with updates and milestone achievement celebrations.
As you lead up to the launch of your campaign make sure you are using every possible channel available to you to get early backers, subscribers and to get your campaign noticed. Leverage any in-person contacts you have or can create/ you might attend conferences and seminars, or roadshows and other PR events in the lead-up.
Create a countdown to your launch and make sure you keep in touch with all your early backers. You can consider a launch event which can give you one last chance to network and secure early backers before launch as well as celebrating all your hard work in the lead-up time.
Throughout your pre-launch but also into launching and beyond it’s essential you remain in frequent contact with your audience. People who back you initially can encourage others to join in, choose to increase their investment as time goes on, and amplify your social media messaging.
Reach out to each supporter and thank them personally, ask them why they backed your project and what lead them to contribute. You can use this information to help you continue to promote your campaign right up until the deadline.
You might also consider using live video on platforms like Facebook to give updates or talk about your campaign as it progresses. Live video is becoming increasingly popular and can be a great way to keep the momentum going throughout the campaign.
Keep up your efforts on all your marketing channels and carry on marketing for the entire campaign. Many campaigns experience a lull in the middle section so push hard then and finish as strong as possible.
As you can see from this guide, marketing for crowdfunding campaigns requires a considerable amount of time, energy and resources. Most successful crowdfunders have a team behind them for this reason because completing all the tasks and staying on top of communication with your backers is labor-intensive.
The work is worth it for the chance to create a viral campaign and get your project to its goals as early as possible.
At Mount Bonnell Media we can help you to develop your crowdfunding marketing strategy and work with you on implementation for every step of the journey. Our skilled advisors have lived and worked in the Us for over a decade and have a unique insight into both European and US businesses and audiences.
We can help you to design marketing materials and campaigns that will bring enthusiastic backers on board, and help you achieve your crowdfunding goals.
When you work with us you will get:
- Consultations and strategy design. We’ll help you to work through your research and tailor a marketing campaign that works for your specific project and crowdfunding platform.
- Media materials and distribution. We’ll help you source professional photographers, video editors and designers to create a stunning media deck that shows your project off to the best advantage.
- Campaign pre-launch and main page support. We’ll help you set up fantastic pre-launch and campaign pages that nurture your potential backers and encourage them to get on board as early as possible.
- Assistance with developing your marketing narrative. We’ll help you to find your unique project story and support you to tell it authentically, in a way that resonates with US audiences.
- Marketing implementation. We’ll help you develop your blog, email marketing PPC, social media marketing and integrate them into a seamless, comprehensive marketing campaign.
- Provide feedback and analytics. We’ll work with you throughout your campaign to analyze what marketing messages are working and why. We’ll help you with any adjustment you need to make based on analytics and feedback.
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