Just like the introduction stage of a new product, crowdfunding begins with promotion. It is commonly understood within the crowdfunding industry that the first 7 days are the make or break period.
Going into your crowdfunding venture thinking that your product is so innovative; your cause is so important; or your social media network is so connected that people will find you and jump at the opportunity to participate is delusional. Everything done in the research phase should be built around marketing for crowdfunding to your target audience. Once you develop the vision for your campaign and determine the target audience, make contacts with your audience and the related media outlets prior to launch so they will be eager to participate the day you go live.
Pre-Launch Promotion And Hitting Day One Goal
The build it and they will come approach never works. Reaching 30% of your goal on day one has been the benchmark for success among crowdfunders. To do this launching a public relations campaign to publications and traditional media outlets and online media channels, specific to your product category, is expected. If you have the budget, hire a PR Firm that specializes in crowd source funding in your specific niche market.
It’s All About Your Base
Creating your email lists, social media channels, your website, local and national industry and media contact lists and creating a raving fan base is essential. Promoting a product for crowdfunding pre-launch to family and friends is often the very key part of day-one success. Once you reach the 30% day-one benchmark, your product or cause gets moved to the top, and people take notice. Create a newsletter for friends and family explaining: your product or cause, the basics of ‘what is crowdfunding’ and your story to involve them with the same passion you have. Then offer them an incentive to buy, donate or participate NOW.
Types of Crowdfunding Sites
For purposes related to sales promotion, I’ll define the four types of crowdfunding sites within the categories of rewards, equity, donation and loans. Some of the top sites within these categories are: gofundme – a personal fundraising site; Kickstarter – for bringing creative projects to life; Indiegogo – global fundraising site; Kiva – loans through microfinancing; and Fundable – working with investors to fund a business idea. There are many sites other than these, research the best one for you. Many offer access to their PR team and their social media networks, therefore there are many packages to consider based on your pre-launch research. How you use sales promotion is different for these diverse crowd source funding platforms.
Offer Your Best Sales Promotions The First 3 Days
The goal of sales promotion is to motivate people to action. Establishing pre-launch pricing in your pre-launch newsletter, featuring an early bird special to those who jump at the opportunity the first day and only producing a limited quantity of product or gift/rewards are some of the most successful sales promotional techniques.
These are great strategies if you are funding a product that is being sold as part of the campaign. If you are offering something else, such as a gift for a donation or a higher rate of return for an investor, a heavy up promotional strategy for the first 3 days is standard practice for successful crowdfunding campaigns. Really cool innovative products benefit the most from the buzz created early because early adaptors often get in on the frenzy. Creative projects and donations need to rely more on their social networks and using cause related lists to build excitement.
When launching new products the number one cause for failure is not doing the proper pre-launch research. With crowdfunding, Aristotle’s age-old quote: ‘well begun is half done’ holds true in every aspect of crowdfinding research, planning and development.