Crowdfunding can be an effective tool for accomplishing your startup goals. Whether you’re looking to jumpstart your marketing efforts, expand your customer base, or reach out to friends and family for funding, it provides a platform to rally support around you and your company. No matter what your crowdfunding goal may be, there are some key strategies to implement as you gear up to launch your fundraise.
Tell your story
As the old adage goes: facts tell, stories sell. A good story behind a crowdfunding campaign is unparalleled when it comes to eliciting customer engagement. Did you experience some kind of obstacle on your path to entrepreneurship? Did a major life event influence your career choice or business decisions? Tell your story in your crowdfunding pitch to make a connection with backers and encourage engagement.
If you don’t have a personal backstory to share with your audience, share facts and highlights about your startup, product, or vision instead. Describe the problem (and severity of the problem) that your product will solve, or discuss the vision for your startup. Keep your tone and messaging personal to make backers feel closely connected to you and your project.
Provide value for value
Crowdfunding campaigns hinge on reciprocity. If your startup offers fantastic products, rewards, or opportunities, you’ve created a huge incentive for backers to pledge to your campaign.
When choosing your rewards tiers, reflect on whether they would appeal to you if you were the consumer; ask friends, family members, and business acquaintances for their honest opinions as well.
A basic law of economics dictates that scarce supply inherently creates greater demand. Create greater demand for your startup by limiting one or more of the higher level rewards to just a few – this will inflate demand for those rewards and result in higher pledge amounts for your crowdfunding campaign!
Create a marketing event
People love to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves. Try to build a feeling of excitement and rally others around your crowdfunding campaign by tying the launch to a large, well known event. You can connect your product to a holiday, sporting event, or season to increase the momentum surrounding your launch. You can leverage the emotional connection surrounding these events to get people excited about your product and engage them in discussions.
This is especially useful for connecting with backers through social channels, capitalizing on trending topics and popular hashtags to get more eyes on your fundraise!
Highlight influential advocates and demonstrate social proof
Going back to the fact that people like to feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves, most people don’t want to be the first or only supporter of a crowdfunding campaign- they want to see other influential advocates joining in.
Do you have someone notable as an adviser, backer, or endorser of your startup? Share your list of partners and patrons to give confidence to new backers and to let them know that they won’t be the only one at your party.
Create credibility and legitimacy
Many backers will believe it when they see it. In other words, they require some kind of evidence that your startup is legitimate and picking up steam before deciding to back your crowdfunding campaign. Show your backers what they’ll be supporting in detail – how it works, how you came up with the idea, and even pictures of videos if you have a prototype.
Remember that you will likely never meet your backers, so the more proof you can provide that your startup is legitimate the better!
Interact with your supporters and heighten engagement
Don’t leave your backers in the dark for weeks after they’ve supported your project. Interact with your audience through frequent updates, thank you emails or social media outreach, and responses to their questions and feedback.
You can build anticipation and increase engagement in many ways – post updates counting down to a big “surprise” regarding your crowdfund, conduct a product giveaway, or even host a contest involving your crowdfunding campaign. The opportunities here are endless and can be tailored for your specific startup.
When interacting with your backers, always encourage an open dialogue and engagement. In general, people would rather talk than listen – imagine your updates and outreach as a conversation rather than a one sided message.