After months of planning and hard work, it’s now time to share your idea with the world and achieve your crowdfunding goals. While it has taken you a long time to get to this point, the journey in reality is only beginning. Marketing and promoting your campaign will be a challenging, exciting and hopefully a joyous experience. It will have plenty of ups and downs, with planning and agility the name of the game.
In this chapter we’ll cover:
- How to Use Storytelling In Your Crowdfunding Campaign
- Basic Tools You’ll Need
- Tips to Spark Interest for Your Campaign
- Finding & Contacting Potential Backers
- Should You Hire Crowdfunding Professionals to Help?
How to Use Storytelling In Your Crowdfunding Campaign
Your story is the centerpiece of your crowdfunding campaign. Without a compelling story and narrative, it’ll be tough to connect with an audience of backers. While you most certainly need a great, compelling product, it’s the story that brings it to life in the imagination of your audience. Successful campaigns offer their audience something that goes beyond the idea.
The core part of your story answers a few basic questions:
- What is your product?
- Why is it important or necessary for the audience?
- Where can they learn about it and follow the story?
- When will the product launch?
- How much will it cost to support the project?
- Who's behind the campaign and the product?
At the center of your campaign will be your audience and community. Without them, there’s no chance for success. Some campaigns will have a built in audience developed over years while others will be starting from scratch. Either way, you’ll need to engage them with a compelling story they want to follow if you want to meet your crowdfunding campaign goals.
The tactics you use to reach and engage your community will depend on the type of product and campaign. In the digital world, there are countless platforms and methods for engaging an audience. You need to connect with your audience where they are at, and that will depend on different factors.
Basic Tools You’ll Need
In order to execute your crowdfunding campaign, you’ll need to make sure you have the right digital tool stack. Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have become essential for launching a successful campaign, not to mention the most popular social media platforms. Success requires an omnichannel marketing approach to tell the story of your campaign and covert your audience into backers.
Develop a Marketing Strategy
Once you have developed your product or idea, it’s time to sit down and develop your marketing plan. This should be done anywhere from 3-6 months before you launch your campaign. Sure, in some cases a campaign can be more agile and launch faster, but especially for campaigns with a higher monetary goal, you’ll need plenty of time to prepare a plan.
Here are a few key considerations for your marketing strategy:
- Budget: How much are you able to spend on marketing? This will determine which platforms and tactics you can employ to engage your audience, and convert backers.
- Channels and platforms: Which marketing channels and social media platforms will you focus on? It’s difficult to engage on all of them, so you want to make sure you focus on which will be most effective.
- Talent and collaborators: It’s to execute a strategy by yourself. You will need collaborators with the right marketing and creative skills to implement your plan.
- Time and management: Do not underestimate the time it will take to manage your marketing campaign. For many, it becomes a full time job during the primary campaign. You will need to make sure you properly budget for your time and management requirements to avoid disruptions, and mistakes.
It Starts With Your Campaign Page
Your campaign page sits at the center of your marketing strategy. The goal is to drive traffic and attention to your page so you can convert backers and achieve your financial goal. This means that you need to create the best possible page with all the necessary details, information and content for your potential backers.
Here are the key components you need for your page:
- Campaign card: Create a catchy campaign card for your campaign. You can use tools like Canva or Adobe Spark, or hire a freelance designer to create one along with your other marketing collateral.
- Campaign Title: Work with a copywriter to create a great title and tagline for your campaign.
- Video and Images: A great video is central to your campaign. You will also need high quality, compelling product photographs to help tell your story. Do not take shortcuts when it comes to creating these visuals.
- How to connect with you: Your followers and backers are most likely active on various social media channels. Make sure it’s easy for them to follow you on the channels you deem necessary and subscribe to your campaign and email updates.
Make a Compelling Campaign Video
Your campaign video can make or break your campaign. No pressure! You need to invest in making it compelling and clear. This is your chance to bring all the elements of your story and idea together. The campaign video is one of your best chances to create buzz and launch your campaign on to success.
If there’s one area to make sure you invest enough resources, it’s going to be your campaign video. There are ample resources available for learning how to create a great video, and with talent marketplaces like Fiverr, you can hire videographers and filmmakers with expertise in crowdfunding videos.
Here are a few general guidelines:
- Video length: You’re not making a feature film! Keep your video short. Around 2-4 minutes is ideal. In some cases, they might be a little longer if there’s a compelling need integral to the story.
- Format: Every video should include an introduction, the campaign goals, a showcase of the product or idea and then a clear call to action. Within these boundaries there is plenty of room for creativity.
- Talent: You should appear in your video. Your potential backers want to hear from you and most likely it’ll be your passion for the project that will help convince them to back it. Nobody expects an Academy Award performance, but sharing your authentic voice will go a long way.
Choose the Right Marketing Channels
Before you arrive at this point, you should have a good understanding of where to engage your audience from your research. In many cases, campaigns are born from an already established connection an entrepreneur or artist has with their audience. So, your own personal channels will often be where you start your campaign or soft launch it. That said, you will definitely want to create unique channels for your campaign for branding and storytelling purposes. In digital marketing, brand consistency and messaging are critical to success. Most importantly, you need to be where your potential backers are active and engaging.
Here’s a breakdown of the channels you should consider:
- Email: The personal nature of email makes it critical for your campaign. A compelling email campaign early on can help build buzz and excite your audience. Again, this might start with your personal network and then shift to a new list for your campaign. Either way, what’s important is that you craft a compelling narrative about your campaign to keep your audience hooked.
- Facebook Ads: You should create a budget for paid ads on Facebook and Instagram to promote your crowdfunding campaign. With their powerful targeting tools, you can narrow your focus to an audience receptive to your new product. You can also re-target from your email list or newsletter to create another media touch point for your audience.
- Social Media: While it would be nice to promote your campaign across social media channels, realistically you’ll probably need to focus on one or two.
- Instagram: One of the dominant social media channels today, Instagram has a large community and plenty of content formats from Stories, Reels, IGTV and feed posts to promote your campaign. You can also run paid ads across the platform that align with your Facebook campaign.
- Twitter: If your product has newsy buzz to it, Twitter could be a platform to build a conversation around your campaign. The ability to break through will depend on the power of your existing network, and a lucky RT or two from influential users.
- Facebook: You should have a page for your campaign, especially to run ads across the network. In most cases, you’ll need to put some money behind your posts to get any traction.
- TikTok: The rising video platform can provide an opportunity to reach a new audience if you have the resources and creative chops to entertain an audience.
- Forums: Consider promoting your campaign in niche forums dedicated to topics around your product.
Marketing and promoting your campaign is a full time job. It starts with your strategy and defining the right tools for your campaign. There is no one-size fits all solution and you should be prepared to pivot and shift tactics once you start to generate data around your campaign. Try not to spread your resources thin and double down on what you have success with early on.
Finding & Contacting Potential Backers
Every part of your campaign is focused on finding potential backers and persuading them to say yes to your project. In our digital world there are countless ways to connect with potential backers but don’t let these endless possibilities distract you from starting close to home with your network. That’s where you are likely to find the most initial success to help you build momentum for your campaign.
Build a Layered Strategy
It’s helpful to think about your backers as a layered network.
- First Layer: These are probably going to be the 10-50 people in your network that most trust in your project. They’re probably going to be friends, family and business acquaintances. The people that know and believe in you. They are critical for building the initial momentum. Many campaigns turn these backers into a type of host committee that helps the campaign with feedback and advice on where to go. Many campaigns will often have funding from this network before they even launch the public campaign.
- Second Layer: This layer will be your social media following and network that you’ve built over the years. Naturally it helps if you have a large audience but it’s not always about the number. If you have a core group of followers on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, invested in your network, then you have a good foundation to build upon.
- Third Layer: These are the unknown potential backers that will discover your project through the buzz it generates or from following crowdfunding campaigns. This is an important group to reach but also the most difficult as you are vying for their attention with numerous other campaigns and digital content.
Backer Affiliated Services
The crowdfunding industry has grown and expanded over the years to include services that will help you execute every aspect of your campaign. Backer affiliated services can help you gain access to networks that have backed previous campaigns. Cost will be a consideration with these services, and they often are connected to other aspects of crowdfunding. A few of the services to think about are BackerLand, Backerkit, Krowdster, and Kickbooster among others.
Build a Customer Support Team
It’s important to make sure you can answer questions from your potential backers and are attentive to any concerns. There are a lot of moving parts in a crowdfunding campaign so it can be easy for something to fall through the cracks. You do not want to leave your backers upset or with unanswered questions. Building a small customer support team to address any questions or concerns can help you mitigate any potential problems.
Should You Hire Crowdfunding Professionals to Help?
This is one of the biggest questions you’ll need to answer. A successful crowdfunding campaign requires a team to execute. Crowdfunding consultants and agencies are experts in executing crowdfunding campaigns and they come in many different specialties and disciplines. Before you go down the path to hiring a consultant or agency, ask a few questions first.
- What areas do I need the most help with?
- Is it more economical to outsource than to try to execute yourself?
- Do I have the budget to hire a consultant without impacting my margins?
If you do decide that you want to hire a consultant, you’ll next need to consider if you want to work with an independent consultant or with an agency. Here are some areas that a consultant can help you with.
- Market analysis
- Lead generation
- Facebook & Google Ads
- Landing page Design and Copywriting
- Crowdfunding Page Copywriting & Design
- RR Outreach
- Email Marketing
- Referral Campaigns
- Social Media Marketing
- Cross promotions
- Customer support
Agencies such as Agency2.0 and Launchboom have deep experience with crowdfunding campaigns so the benefit of working with one of them is you can feel confident that they will offer a turnkey approach to marketing with proven tactics to gain traction and find backers.
Again, the major questions will be whether it fits into your budget. A benefit of working with an agency is they can often help you reach a higher funding goal and leverage that into the foundation of a new eCommerce business.
You can learn more about the pros and cons of working with a crowdfunding consultant in our guide.
Table of Contents
- Introduction: Crowdfunding 101
- Chapter 1: Don’t Overlook The Planning Stage (By Mark Pecota from Launchboom)
- Chapter 2: Marketing & Promoting Your Crowdfunding Campaign (by Easyship)
- Chapter 3: Raising Money For Your Crowdfunding Campaign (by Indiegogo)
- Chapter 4: The Manufacturing Process: Where Should You Start (by Easyship)
- Chapter 5: Establishing a Shipping and Fulfillment Strategy (by Easyship)
- Chapter 6: What Should You Do After A Successful Crowdfunding Campaign? (by BigCommerce)
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