Small businesses and entrepreneurs can gain exposure and financing with crowdfunding, but even the most powerful tools do not work like magic. For a crowdfunding campaign to be successful, it must be supported by a solid marketing and communications strategy. Prospective funders need to be able to access information about who you are, what you do, why they should trust you and how they can contact you.
A crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, Indiegogo or any of the other popular platforms is a great first step to launch a product, event, or project, but the campaign itself cannot be the first digital footstep your business takes.
Maintain a Clear, Easy-to-Navigate Website
Fundamental to your sales, marketing and communications presence, a good website can mean the difference between business success and failure. It contributes to the success or failure of your crowdfunding campaign, too.
Website information needs to be up-to-date, relevant and clear. Of course, it also needs to be accurate – to be verified and verifiable, especially when you are in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign in which you are asking your users not just to purchase something from you, but to invest their money in you and in your company’s development.
Contact information must be easy to access, especially when you are linking to your website from a crowdfunding campaign or related crowdfunding promotion. You never want your legitimacy or your authenticity to be questioned. Your website is an essential tool for confirming your legitimacy and communicating your authenticity.
Stay Active on Social Media
There is little worse than a dormant social media account, unless it is an account that is only active when you are using it to ask for money.
Respect your followers and the good faith they show you when they interact with you on social media. Demonstrate your respect by providing consistent, valuable content, regardless of your product rollout cycle, event schedule or crowdfunding campaign deadlines.
The more you use social media to connect your audience (your prospective funders) to information and conversation they value and appreciate, the more you strengthen your relationship with them. Because of that social media relationship you have cultivated, your audience is invested in you. This makes them prime to invest in your campaign – and to share it with their own networks.
Share Interesting, Useful Emails
Similarly, use email to create and maintain relationships with your audience by delivering content that matters to them and connects them to you. Emails are effective for direct appeals come donation request time, but only if your audience recognizes and appreciates what you send to their Inboxes throughout the year.
In addition to sharing quality content with your audience over email, build a strong list that you can rely on when it is time to reach out with an appeal, an invitation or an announcement.
Build Press Presence
Use your crowdfunding campaign as a way to generate newsworthy information about your product and your business. Prior to launching the campaign, however, press outreach should focus on maintaining connections. This includes sharing announcements and insight when you are not running a crowdfunding campaign to improve your chances of earning media coverage for your campaign.
In addition to distributing press releases, take your press outreach to the next level by establishing yourself as an expert, first in local and niche press related to your industry. When a journalist is able to rely on you as an asset, it becomes easier for you to benefit from that relationship in the form of crowdfunding campaign coverage.
Successful Campaigns Are All about Trust
Every transaction requires trust. Donation solicitations require an even greater level of trust, and a stronger relationship with your audience. To fund a crowd sourced donation campaign successfully, use marketing and communications resources to create an environment in which your audience feels confident enough to trust you and to demonstrate that trust through action.