Even with the most attractive product or business model, the slickest video and copy and all the bells and whistles, if you don’t promote your crowdfunding campaign, it’s unlikely that you will get funded.
You need to raise awareness and drive traffic to your campaign to gain the all indispensable momentum that will convince the crowdfunding community to back your project.
Here are 21 ways to spread the word about your campaign to help you reach your target:
21 ways to promote your campaign
1. Your crowdfunding email list
Without any doubt, the most efficient way of communication on the pre-campaign and during the campaign. During the weeks before your campaign going live, you should build a high-quality email list with a form on your website, ideally in a dedicated landing page that explains clearly what you’re doing (i.e. a crowdfunding campaign!) and why. You can direct traffic to this landing page with your existing email lists (customers, newsletter subscribers, etc.) and most of the other ways below.
2. Your own website
Put a clear banner indicating that you are crowdfunding soon, driving traffic to your landing page described above. Also consider writing blog posts (about the raise and other relevant topics), keeping in mind that SEO is a mid to long term game (i.e. start as early as possible!).
3. Organic reach through Instagram (and Facebook)
As of Oct ‘19, there are still hopes for a brand to get good organic reach through Instagram. Start early and build a following through highly curated images and stories. Facebook used to be a great tool, but now brands have to pay to reach even their followers (more on it on the next point).
4. Facebook Ads
Highly recommended for a rewards-based campaign (with proper segmentation and A/B testing), driving traffic to the landing page described in the first point. Luckily, you can create Facebook and Instagram Ads at the same time, so you have here to birds with a stone. They’re not so efficient for equity crowdfunding.
5. Twitter and LinkedIn
With a slightly older audience profile, these are excellent platforms to find business angels and engage in a conversation with them. Update your company profile and share milestones through it. But without any doubt, the most efficient way to use these channels is through your personal profile. Edit it so it’s clear that you’ll be crowdfunding and highlight the most relevant accomplishments. Build credibility by blogging on the platform and engaging in your industry’s conversations.
If you have a physical product or an App, you could consider reaching a bigger audience through relevant influencers. In my experience and in the context of a crowdfunding campaign, micro-influencers with a very engaged community work much better than macro-influencers.
7. Google Ads and programmatic advertising (retargeting)
Consider putting a pixel on your website and retarget people visiting relevant pages. You could also consider experimenting with search ads, but be careful as they can get expensive!
Running a crowdfunding campaign is not news per se, but if you can weave in a good story about your company mission and milestones, the journalists will listen. Establish a relationship with the journalist way before you ask for coverage. One way is to collaborate with them by answering their requests (look for the tag #journorequest).
Research for the most influential blogs in your industry and, after building a relationship, ask for coverage. You could even try writing a guest blog post!
If you have one, what a great way to promote your own campaign! If you don’t, with a bit of research you will be able to find quite a few relevant podcasts that will be more than happy to have you on (as a podcast host myself, being contacted to appear in it is an easy win!)
11. YouTube channels (review channels)
A must for certain categories such as gadgets and board games. Research your industry and find the most influencing YouTubers. Engage in a conversation and send them exclusive early prototypes before anyone else – they’ll be delighted!
12. Forums and product discovery websites
Again, a must for certain industries. A couple of examples are The Gadget Flow (for, err, gadgets) and Board Game Geek (you guessed it, board games!). They both have paid packages for crowdfunding raises. Research if there are any equivalents on your industry.
13. Leaflets and posters
Worth considering as an offline way to raise awareness of your brand and campaign. Remember to always direct people to your website (and get their emails!). Ideally, create a specific URL so you can track the effectiveness of the campaign.
14. Own shop
If you own a shop (or a restaurant, or a cafe), use it to your advantage. Make clear that you are (or will be) crowdfunding with posters, leaflets and even with on your staff’s t-shirts!
15. Someone else’s shop (or even a pop-up shop)
Consider showing your product or App in a relevant third-party shop. You could even consider having a pop-up shop during the pre-campaign and/or campaign!
16. Own events
This gets people really excited! Invite them to an ‘exclusive event’ for backers or investors and they’ll become fervent advocates of your raise!
17. External events (conventions, fairs)
A great opportunity to build awareness about your brand and product. They can be expensive, especially if you want a prominent booth, but they could be a great tool if they’re relevant to your product or service.
18. Investor forums
A specific one for equity crowdfunding, some Angel Syndicates will organise pitch events. Research them and, if the timing and criteria are right, make sure you’ll be attending!
19. One to one meetings
For equity crowdfunding campaigns, a one-to-one meeting with a potential investor Be careful of time wasters though! One-to-one meetings are also relevant for rewards-based campaigns, specifically for potential big backers such as shop owners and buyers from retailers that could order multiple products during the campaign.
20. Crowdfunding platform resources (paid)
Some platforms such as Indiegogo or Seedrs can offer you marketing services such as creating a landing page on the platform and email their community even before you launch. It does have a cost, but it can work really well!
21. Crowdfunding platform (organic reach)
Once you’re live, you’ll have tools such as the campaign updates, campaign discussion forums and specific funding milestones that will allow you to reach the platform’s community. Use them wisely!
Before you get started..
Make sure to be very consistent with your visual branding. You’ll probably need to hit your audience multiple times through different channels and if you’re not consistent they will not be aware it’s you again.
Having said that, it’s not easy to get the messaging around your campaign right the first time around. You can test different angles by asking feedback to your community, users or investors. You could even do some A/B tests through Facebook Ads to see what messaging convert better. In any case, always keep in mind your company’s vision and mission and your brand guidelines (logo, colours, typography) to ensure consistency.
Finally, it’s important to analyse what channels are working better than others. For that, you can use UTM tagging or even specific URLs (in case you’re giving away leaflets or appearing on podcasts) to see where the traffic and the conversions are coming from. Then double down with what’s working and ditch what’s not.
Even more ways to promote your crowd round
In this article, we listed 21 ways to promote your crowdfunding campaign, but with a bit of imagination, you can come up with more. To help you brainstorm, here are a few ways to look at the different channels you can use:
- Owned: these are channels that you control such as your website, email list and, perhaps, a physical shop.
- Bought: these are channels in which you pay to appear, such as Facebook Ads or a booth in an exhibition.
- Earned: your fans and customers become your endorsers or even ambassadors!
Or alternatively, you can break down your channels like this:
- Physical channels: events, shops, pitch competitions…
- Online: your website, social media, third-party websites, email…
Wrapping it up
There are multiple ways of promoting your crowdfunding campaign. The key here is to focus on creating a high-quality email list during the pre campaign that you can use to generate momentum at launch (a must as we’ve seen in other blog posts!). With good planning on how and when to use these channels and a bit of creativity, you’ll be able to smash your funding target.