Crowdfunding PR helps crowdfunding sites and their campaign managers plan effective marketing campaigns that give fundraising efforts a higher than average chance for crowdfunding success!
What’s the best way to get the word out about a crowdfunding campaign?
Build an in-depth website including a well-provisioned press room full of information such as a primary PR contact info, logos, head shots of executives, press releases, press coverage, product photos, graphs, charts, white papers, and anything else that a reporter needs to write a news brief or a feature length article at 4:00 am in the morning without talking to anyone.
Always cover the: who, what, where, when, why and how much. Use the website as an electronic sales person that provides comprehensive FAQs that lead customers, crowdfunders and investors directly down the path that you want them to follow with regard to product/service education. The goal is to remove all fear, uncertainty and doubt from the sales equation.
Next, offer them a free white paper or something worth of value such as early bird discounts, VIP memberships, etc. that makes them want to share their email address and phone number with your team for future fundraising marketing efforts.
Use this process to build up an email list of 5,000 or more customers that have expressed a desire to purchase your products before the crowdfunding campaign launches. This step will be a major factor in determining its ability to achieve crowdfunding success on the very first day of the campaign.
Build an extensive social media network on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and as many other social media networks as possible. Grow your social media network by sharing the content from your developing website as well as distributing leading industry news stories for your industry.
And, as you are tweeting out the leading news articles, begin building a database of the reporters, their twitter handles and any subject matter experts quoted in the articles. Also note the frequently used buzzwords, catch phrases, and learn what formulas a reporter likes to use when they write a story.
Use these terms to SEO your crowdfunding profile so that customers who are searching for similar products and service to buy may find the crowdfunding campaign accidentally.
Follow reporters, industry analysts and subject matter experts and make friends with them, a process known as building media relations. Learn what they care about, what they do for fun, and what subject matters they like to talk about.
There is a huge difference in trying to pitch a reporter with a cold, un-researched email versus building a relationship with them before asking them to write a story for you. This strategy should also be used to target angel investors, venture capitalists, private equity and institutional investors.
The most important thing to let them know is that based on “my” extensive research, the articles that “you’ve” written, and the “buyers” that have invested/purchased my company’s product and services are a “perfect match” for your “editorial environment” or your current “investment portfolio.” And it is important to note, that this process usually takes around two-to-six months and needs to be done prior the crowdfunding campaign’s launch.
Issue well-written press releases on one of the top four paid wire distribution services. To reporters “free” or “cheap” wire services equal a potential fraudulent company since they are not willing to pay to use a real wire service and, if so, they may not be a reputable company.
Think of press releases as an extension of content marketing. Add links in the press releases to content on your website that goes into a much deeper discussion of the press release’s primary message. Include a “call-to-action” that tells readers exactly what you want them to do.
Also, write the press release as if you were writing the press release specifically to fit within a trade publication’s editorial environment. The easier it is for reporters and bloggers to cut and paste a story, the easier it will be for you to get media coverage.
And don’t think for a minute that a reporter will find your release by themselves. Instead email a copy directly to the reporter, which by now should now know who you are if you have been doing a good job of building a good media relations as detailed above.
Only target publications and media outlets that contain a high composition of the desired target audience with the right purchasing authority and a high propensity to buy your product or service. In other words, if you wouldn’t spend any money to place an advertisement in any given publication, don’t waste your time trying to pitch your story to a reporter that writes for an audience that really has no interest in purchasing your type of product or service.
All of these crowdfunding campaign prep-work marketing strategies should be done at least two months prior to the crowdfunding campaign. The more months that are spent on prep-work before the campaign begins the better the company will be positioned to achieve success on their crowdfunding campaign.
This entire process will educate the founders and their crowdfunding campaign managers and allow the whole team to learn about the industry, their competitors and how to effectively position their product/service and make it desirable in a very competitive global marketplace.
Why? When potential donors/investors like a crowdfunding campaign’s product, the first thing they will do is research how many likes it has on Facebook, what kind of professional resume the founders have built on Linked and how many followers they have on Twitter.
Next, they will do Google searches on the founders’ names, the company name and its brand names. If they find very little or nothing when searching for information on the company, the crowdfunding campaign will be doomed because it means the company clearly does not understand marketing, social media or PR.
However, if there are several pages of Google search results with news stories, press releases, product photos and a huge following on social media, this means that the founders are dedicated, hard-working employees that have exemplified a better than average chance of being successful long after their crowdfunding campaign concludes simply because they understand marketing.
If all of these crowdfunding puzzle pieces are in the correct place, potential crowdfunders will be convinced that there is a very good chance of receiving the high-tech gadget they want to pre-order to help the company get off the ground.
What is the biggest unexpected problem crowdfunders face?
The single biggest problem that founders and crowdfunding campaign managers face is not putting together a realistic marketing budget. It will cost at least $20k to shoot a great crowdfunding video and spend several months mastering the marketing prep-work outlined above.
For example, if you went and hired someone off the street and paid them $7.25 times 40 hours a week times 4 weeks a month times 3 months in a prep-work marketing program, that would equate a marketing budget of $3,480.
The reality is that most good marketing people will bill out at least $25 per hour and great talent will bill out at $100 or more per hour.
So using this math, crowdfunding campaigns should plan to spend at least $15,000 for marketing, social media, and PR support and another $5,000 to shoot a great pitch video and write a well-written crowdfunding campaign profile with language that sells. The campaigns that are raising millions of dollars are typically spending at least $50,000+ on one or more forms of digital advertising networks.
There is a whole sub-crowdfunding industry that will offer press releases, backer programs, social media posts, etc. for a couple of hundred bucks. The problem is that they simply will not provide the success that crowdfunding campaign managers are hoping to receive. These companies know that founders don’t have much money, but are willing to take whatever they can get.
The same is true for marketing companies that promise to work for a 35% post-paid commission after the campaign ends. The problem is that several days into a crowdfunding campaign that raises hardly any money, these commission-only companies will sever their ties, move onto the next campaign with a better chance of being successful and leave struggling founders hanging out to dry.
We get calls from angry crowdfunding campaign managers all the time that have gone through this disappointing experience. There is no such thing as a “Free Lunch.”
What do crowdfunders need do to achieve excellent results for their campaigns?
In our four years of working with founders on their crowdfunding campaigns, we have seen a trend that is worth pointing out. The single best strategy to prepare for any type of crowdfunding campaign for any founder, entrepreneur, startup or existing small business is to perform an in-depth competitive analysis on as many competitors as possible.
This means researching a minimum of 100 campaigns on both Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The same is true for equity crowdfunding campaigns. Examine successful campaigns as well as ones that have failed.
- How are their crowdfunding pitch videos shot?
- How are their crowdfunding profiles written?
- What perks sold the best/worst and how were they worded and priced?
- What was their original crowdfunding goal?
Even better is to search for companies that failed on their first campaign and then raised millions of dollars on their second campaign, such as the “Coolest Cooler,” and then examine what the changed between the first and second try.
The second most important thing that successful crowdfunding campaigns need to have is enough support from family and friends to raise the first 30% of the crowdfunding goal.
Nothing is worse than a campaign that only raises $100 during the first several days.
This is why smart founders will set their goal as low as possible so that they can raise 50% of the goal on the first day. A low goal doesn’t mean they can’t raise a million dollars!
What is the number one piece of advice for anyone wanting to do a Kickstarter or Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign?
We highly recommend taking out a yellow writing tablet and going to Crowdfunding PR’s free crowdfunding training classes at https://crowdfundingtrainingclasses.wordpress.com.
Reading through these free tutorials will educate founders on the various components of the crowdfunding process. For each section, founders should write down their thoughts about what they might want to do to raise money for their own crowdfunding campaign.
Next, take advantage of Crowdfunding PR’s free 30-minute telephone consultations for founders that are considering launching a crowdfunding campaign. If they are willing to learn about crowdfunding first and then write down their initial thoughts on what they might like to do with their campaign, it will lead to a much better first conversation on what they want to achieve with their Kickstarter, Indiegogo or Title III/Title IV equity crowdfunding campaign.
Call Crowdfunding PR at (512) 627-6622 to setup a call!
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