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7 Key Elements to A Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

Crowdfunding can be an effective tool for raising money for your business

by C. Daniel Baker    Posted: November 18, 2013

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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, crowdfunding provides a platform to rally support around you and your company.

Having worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs who have conducted successful fundraisers, we have distilled seven key strategies for launching a successful crowdfund:

  1. Tell your story. As the old adage goes: facts tell, stories sell. When it comes to eliciting customer engagement, a campaign with a good story is an unparalleled strategy. 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 story to share with your audience, share facts and highlights about your startup, product or vision instead. Describe the problem (and severity of the problem) 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.
  2. 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 reward tiers, reflect on whether the incentives would appeal to you if you were the consumer; ask friends, family members and business acquaintances for their honest opinions as well.
  3. Introduce scarcity. 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!
  4. 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!
  5. Highlight examples of social proof. Going back to the human desire to feel like a part of 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 let them know that they won’t be the only one at your party.
  6. Build 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 or 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.
  7. Interact with your supporters. 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 project, 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. Treat your updates and outreach as a conversation rather than a one-sided message.

Eric Corl is the Co-Founder and President of the crowdfunding site Eric has been on the founding team of three successful startups including Fundable, IdeaBuyer and Startups.Co, all of which have focused on getting early-stage startups to market quickly and effectively. He is also a partner at Virtucon Ventures, an early stage incubator that brings new ideas to market.


3 Reasons Why Small Businesses Should Use Video Marketing

by Jake Oates on August 8, 2012 · 6 comments

Video is the single fastest growing segment of the internet, over half of all web traffic is now video. That number will only get larger, because not only is the number of users who only view video growing, so are the number of users that will click on at least one video each day.

People are vastly preferring video to traditional text online and many organisations, from large to small are developing video marketing content in that space. The benefits are tangible; companies are seeing direct sales and benefits from video marketing.

A small business owner might ask if it is possible for them to be able to compete in video marketing with some of the larger organisations out there, and the answer is a resounding yes. Video marketing is available for every budget, from the corner shop to large national brick and mortar chains.

There are three great reasons why any small business should really approach the idea of using video as part of their marketing strategy.

  1. Show your product or service. Video speaks directly to most customers and by producing short 2-5 minute videos of the specific benefits and skills of your company to them, it makes much more of an impact and connection than just seeing an ad online.

This especially helps if you have an interesting or novel product. Show ‘how to’ videos or customers using the product in action, and potential buyers will immediately be able to see how your product will help them.

  1. Video helps build a brand. Online marketing is huge now and estimates are it will only continue to grow in the future. Being able to produce quality content quickly that is interesting to potential viewers is really important.

When video content is used online, it allows a perfect opportunity for it to be shared over a variety of platforms. A marketing video campaign does not have to sit on your company’s YouTube channel; it can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, Stumble Upon and more. This leads to increased views and potentially, increased revenues.

  1. Video can reach a much broader audience in a much more cost-efficient way. For many small businesses the marketing budget is not that large and the thought of being able to reach hundreds of thousands, or even millions of potential customers all over the world is something they never would have dreamed of because it would just cost simply too much money. But, with a few quality videos, this is completely possible and quite likely to occur. These videos provide a great value, and can easily and quickly reach a tonne of potential customers.

Every small business owner should be moving more and more into using technology as a marketing tool. More customers can be reached than ever, and the costs are not something that would keep even the smallest businesses out of the game. The playing field has certainly evened out when it comes to technology for marketing, especially in using social media.