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Crowdfunding Best Practices

5 Smart Steps to Find Crowdfunding Backers

Where in the world is your crowdfunding audience?
5 Smart Steps to Find Crowdfunding Backers
Ian Heinig

By Ian Heinig

 

June 21, 2021

If you're wondering where to find backers, just remember The Five Ps:

Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance

In other words, the best way to find crowdfunding backers is to know your audience:

  • Who they are
  • Where they hang out online
  • What interests them

Once you have a sense of your audience, it’s easy to reach out and gain their support.

Today we give you 5 proven steps to find crowdfunding backers. Like thousands of successful campaigns before, you just need to follow the tried-and-true path. Everything you’re about to learn is just a basic marketing strategy applied to crowdfunding.

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1. Identify Your Audience

Millions of people visit crowdfunding websites each year. Everyone is searching for a campaign that they resonate with deeply.

As a campaign manager, your goal is to discover people who will resonate with your vision. Among the millions, there exists a small minority who share your goals, challenges, values – and support your vision wholeheartedly. Your tribe, in other words.

Narrow your focus. The average campaign succeeds with just 300 backers. When you niche down, your messaging becomes more effective. With authentic messaging that's also hyper-targeted, it's remarkably easy to achieve your targets.

Imagine your audience as just 1% of all backers. Will 1% be enough? With $17.2 billion generated annually by crowdfunding campaigns, 1% should cover it.

Ask yourself – who is my 1%?

2. Create a Profile of Your Ideal Backer

To find crowdfunding backers, you’ll first need to understand them.

The best way to gain a sense of your audience is to create a profile of the ideal backer, or a person who epitomizes your audience. In marketing, this is what’s called a buyer persona.

A backer profile is just a compilation of characteristics that match your ideal backer, including:

  • Demographics: age, location, education level, etc.
  • Psychographics: worldview, values, opinions, interests
  • Behaviors: hobbies, leisure activities, shopping habits, preferred retailers/brands
  • Online patterns: top visited websites, people they follow, news sources, preferred social platforms

When you compile these characteristics, you have a fleshed-out idea of your target audience.

For example, imagine you’re creating a revolutionary knife for backpackers. Your backer profile should reflect someone who spends time outdoors, values the environment, and perhaps follows Patagonia on Instagram.

If you make gizmos for long-haul truckers, though, your persona will be fundamentally different.

You can also yourself these four questions about how to find crowdfunding backers:

  • Who are they?
  • What’s important to them?
  • What are their challenges? What problems do they need help with?
  • How are their needs not being met?

These questions flip your focus to the needs of your backers. Taking a solution-centric approach is helpful for campaigns that seek to address a specific pain point.

Keep a document of your buyer profile and update it throughout your campaign. You’ll learn more about your audience as you go, and these insights are vital for effective marketing messaging.

Your choice of crowdfunding site is also a big help here.

This is because crowdfunding sites all cater to unique audiences. Kickstarter for creativity. Seedrs for equity. GoFundMe for charity. Reaching the right audience is way easier when you choose the ideal platform for your campaign.

3. Reach Out to Backers in Crowdfunding

Once you know your audience it’s time to make contact. Generating leads pre-campaign, or reaching out to prospective backers, is very important. This is because one of the greatest predictors of campaign success is your lead volume before launch.

Where can you generate leads for your campaign? Here are a few prime channels to conduct outreach:

  • Your personal network: The surest place to find backers is within your social circle. Friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances – these people are far more likely to back your campaign than a stranger. For best results, ask your in-group to share your campaign with their network to generate referrals.
  • Organic social media: Organic outreach on social is simple. Just share your campaign with followers and ask them to do the same. Word of mouth is a powerful way to gain support. Be sure to update your followers as your campaign progresses, as many undecideds will hop off the fence as you pick up steam.
  • Paid social: Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. allow you to serve ads to custom audiences using targeting algorithms. This is where your backer profile comes in handy. Input your backer persona into the targeting tool, and the platform’s algorithm advertises to users who resemble your ideal backer. Paid social media is a cost-effective and budget-friendly way to find backers.
  • Directories: Tools like Backer Directory help you to find previous campaign backers. People who seem like a fit are ripe for outreach, including top Kickstarter backers. You can also use backer profiles to help guide your marketing and messaging efforts.

Keep a list of all your leads, or prospective backers. Lead volume is a key metric of crowdfunding success, and it’s best to track these numbers to give yourself the best chance to convert your widest audience.

4. Create Hype with Media Outreach

Media organizations and personalities have wide audiences. If possible, you’ll want to team up with media platforms to help grow your backer base.

Here are a few ways to use media sources to find crowdfunding backers:

  • Write a press release: A press release is a key part of the marketing mix for your crowdfunding campaign. This short document helps you gain credibility with media organizations, which improves your chance of being featured. Thing is, media sites are very selective. Circulate a well-written press release to major news outlets, blogs, and journalists and maybe you’ll get picked up.
  • Contact journalists: Journalists and bloggers sympathetic to your cause are the likeliest in media circles to write about you. These writers can create massive visibility for you, but you’ll first need to persuade them to write about you. Fortunately, plenty’s been written about pitching story ideas to journalists. You can find CF-friendly writers on sites like Krowdster, crowdfunding blogs, or researching previous campaign write-ups and emailing the writer directly with a story pitch.
  • Partner with influencers: Like journalists, social media influencers can present your campaign to thousands of potential backers. Start by finding and reaching out to influencers that believe in your goal. The right influencer may not be cheap, but they will be hyper-effective in driving backers to your campaign.

5. Find Backers in Crowdfunding Everywhere

It’s best to be thorough in your approach in order to find crowdfunding backers. To recap, start by identifying your audience with a detailed backer profile. Your marketing efforts and content will be much more effective with a granular view of your ideal backer. Then market yourself on all channels that your backers frequent.

You may find that your audience is all over the world. That's sweet, actually. It means you have global appeal. When it comes to shipping, it can feel a little daunting, though. That's because international shipping is more complex and costly than domestic shipping.

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