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Building a Mature Crowdfunding Industry with Business Partner Programs

31 Jan

By Robert Hoskins

As the Crowdfunding industry begins to mature, more and more Crowdfunding Service Providers (CSP) will need to find a way to differentiate their platform versus the competition.   New industry players that have run eCommerce centers and industry portal sites before will have an edge on the new Crowdfunding platforms simply because they have more experience in building, not only the superior technology underneath, but also nurturing the Business Partner Programs and Channel Marketing Programs that will make their Crowdfunding clients more successful.

Providing a portfolio of professional Crowdfunding services such as news wire press release distribution packages from vendors such as Businesswire.com, Marketwire.comPRNewswire.com and PRWeb.com  and list of public relations firms to help Crowdfunding campaign managers write professional profiles, press releases, write media pitches and build custom tailored media databases of the right reporters to pitch their respective stories would significantly improve the Crowdfunding campaign’s ability to generate positive publicity.

The more positive stories that a Crowdfunding campaign can generate, the more potential donors they can reach with their marketing messages.   According to recent news reports, Kickstarter only had a success rate of 43 percent in 2012, but if they provided a Business Partner Program that provided a list of PR, SEO and marketing vendors to help their Crowdfunding campaign managers become more successful, their success rate should improve dramatically.

In addition to marketing vendors, it might be wise to include a group of professional for-profit and not-for-profit fundraising firms that have been collecting donations via regular marketing programs for decades.  Writing professional case statements is very important in the fundraising world as is writing professional bios for the board of directors.

Last, but not least, how does one go about building a potential donor list? Instead of building a campaign with lofty goals and hoping that it works, building a campaign with a case statement, goals and objectives as well as the strategies they plan to use to achieve their goals would serve a very useful purpose.

While not quite the same thing as fundraising, in the new world of Crowdfund investing, understanding how to build channel marketing programs to reach decision makers or potential investors in vertical business-to-business market segments will be critical to achieving success.

Once Equity Crowdfunding becomes legal,  an even more important demand for financial services will be needed. Setting up corporate structures and stock plans will be critical in determining whether not professional equity investors will get involved with the Crowdfunding industry.  Issuing various types of stocks and the voting writes associated with them will be a critical factor in long term success for any deal.  In today’s world, many venture capitalists will not touch a “hairy deal,” which means too many people are involved with voting rights to allow them to push the exit strategy in the direction they want it to go.

And how the return on investment for the deal is structured will be very important.   Should it be a debt, revenue sharing, dividend or some of other type of equity investment structure? For example, there are many tax advantages to buying a company with debt, but most people might not consider a debt offering unless they consulted with a seasoned venture capital firm.  Understanding the complicated world of finance and venture capital will be critical to Equity Crowdfunding campaigns as well as the portals offering them.

Overall, experts say that there is around $30 trillion sitting in banking and savings accounts that could possibly be invested in the Equity Crowdfunding industry once it gets underway.  But before the Crowdfunding industry expects to receive even one-half of one-percent of this money, the industry needs to figure out a way to achieve success rates of 50% or better.  A goal of 60% of 75% would be much better, but in the financial markets there never is a “sure thing.”

In conclusion, it would be much more comforting for the SEC to allow 98% of Americans to invest up to $2,000 per year in an industry that offers them at least a 50/50 chance of receiving a  good return on their investment.  The only way to  build more successful Crowdfunding industry is to provide campaign managers with a tool chest of seasoned and experienced marketing, fundraising and financing executives before, during and after their Crowdfunding campaigns.

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