ABCs of Crowdfunding: O is for Outreach

Soooo…You’ve launched your campaign and now have 30 days or more to reach your goal. How well you use social media and, most importantly, your email list, during the campaign will correlate directly to your results: The better you use your communication tools, the higher your contribution total will be.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind for fueling campaign interest (and contributions) through the campaign:

  1. Use campaign updates liberally. Your portal should allow you to do text, photo and video updates, and you should shoot for an update every other day of your campaign. These can be very brief, but should focus on what’s new (new milestone, new perks added, media news, results of polls/surveys, news of awards…anything that helps!)
    Read more about the art of the update here.
  2. Protect against “mid-campaign slump.” Everyone has it happen to them: halfway through the campaign you see daily contributions and/or new contributors start to slack off. You may see them stop entirely. This is bad news. You know that whole “body at rest…” thing? It’s very true in the case of the snowball effect of campaign activity. When it slows down or stops it’s hard to get it going again. So, to keep this from happening, plan in advance for something to happen in mid-campaign: A new perk to announce, addition of a stretch goal, addition of a new video, or link to some kind of media coverage. These are all ways to revive interest, or keep it from the mid-campaign blues.
  3. Target your audience: You don’t want to communicate with everyone; it’s a waste of time and energy. You want to reach those who are potentially interested in buying what you have to sell. So be sure you know who your audience is, and where they hang out. If they’re not on Pinterest, don’t waste your time posting there. But your existing core group lists of friends, families and colleagues might not have enough people in it who are actually interested in your app as users. So how do you find others who are?

Facebook ads. For instance, let’s say you’re writing a book about rare cars. If you run a Facebook ad, make sure you use the targeting features to hone in on those who are most likely to be interested in your campaign. One way is to identify an interest or interests around your campaign and then target for that in the Facebook Ads generator, which allows you to target with a demographic profile of your potential buyer (i.e. 40-65 year old males in North America  who are interested in rare cars).

Facebook groups. A simple search by keyword on Facebook (“rare cars”) brings up the list below. Check out these groups that might be primed for your new product and want to get a hold of your app before anyone else! You can’t just drop in on these groups and start pushing your campaign–bad group form. The best way to do this is to have established a presence on the biggest or most relevant group well in advance. But even if you haven’t, you can still join and post a few times. Instead of mentioning your campaign, you can contribute to discussion and in your post bio put the link to your campaign. 

Guest blogging. Maybe you can contribute an educational guest post to a blog that focuses on your subject. Of course, having joined the list well in advance of your campaign and established a complimentary active presence is a must; proper group etiquette doesn’t allow you to just drop in and promote your campaign like a photo bomb. (Again, the case for advance strategy building is made!)

Example: In our New Rockstar Philosophy campaign, blogger and author Matt Voyno (who already was a regular contributor) was offered a guest blog spot on Hypebot, an influential blog in the music business with 54,000 Twitter followers and more than 11,000 Facebook followers.

Matt Voyno established a presence on Hypebot as a quality contributor long before the New Rockstar book campaign.

Matt Voyno established a presence on Hypebot as a quality contributor long before the New Rockstar book campaign.

It contained a link to the crowdfunding campaign at the end. Posted during one of the mid-campaign slumps, it created a much-needed boost in interest and resulted in numerous hits to the campaign site, and contributions. It revived the campaign, creating new momentum. If you are a blogger yourself, you can obviously drip content out from your book to your regular audience with links to the campaign.

 

4.  Live the ripple effect. You know…you drop a pebble in a pond and it makes small rings of water close to it. Those rings ripple out bigger and bigger according to how big a splash you make. Using the networks of your allies, contributors and all other stakeholders is critical. There are many ways to do this, one of which is involving your closest circle in a fun launch event just prior to your pubic launch. Turn your tribe into a marketing team: Give them a list of social media tasks to perform over the length of your campaign. Make them easy and quick – no more than 5 minutes per task. Create branded content in the form of tweets and Facebook posts that you can send them on a daily basis to make it easy for them to share. Make it competitive, with a prize for completing all tasks. Remember, word of mouth is the most credible form of advertising to those who don’t know you.Or create a referral system—for every referral a contributor sends you, they amass points toward something free, or an upgrade to their order.

5. Use video. As we know from 2016 Indiegogo research, campaigns with video raise four times more than those without. Nothing engages people like video. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does have to be compelling, sincere, informational and focused on how the contributor (or broader society) will benefit. Use part or all of your 3-minute (max in most cases) videos for commercials, create a YouTube or Vimeo channel to host them, and be sure to tag them so search engines can find them.

TIP: Try this cool and easy to use video making & editing app for Apple devices.

While it’s important for you to be in the video, consider using other peoples’ stories as well for additional content if they relate to your product/service. Maybe they’re beneficiaries of it, or external endorsers. Added bonus: When others are featured in video content, it’s easy and desirable for them to share it with their networks.

How much is too much?

It’s almost impossible to do too MUCH communication during a campaign. When you think you should be polite and not over communicate to your followers, remember these important points:

  • Your friends/family don’t see every Facebook post; just like strangers don’t….unless they actually come to your page, only a small percentage of your posts will show up on their timelines. So what feels like a lot of repetition of messages to you isn’t to anyone else, because they simply don’t see it all.
  • We know from communications research that people may need up to 7 exposures to a message before they act on it. Just because they see it once doesn’t mean they will do anything about it. And if you don’t remind them again later, and in another medium, they may not take action even if they wanted to.
  • This isn’t personal; it’s business. The need to get and keep the activity going in the campaign far outweighs any concerns about people being annoyed by the campaign. Friends/family understand your urgent need to promote for this short timeframe.
  • To ensure you don’t wear out your regular followers while you’re trying to reach others, ensure all your communications are worthwhile…news about the campaign and more information about the product/service you are raising for should be the two strongest focal points.
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