One of the brutal statistics endemic to the crowdfunding industry is that nearly 70% of campaigns won’t reach their funding goal. It’s because of this statistic that we spend so much of our focus pinpointing the reasons why campaigns fail, and how we can ensure our clients are in the 30% that succeed.
In this edition of the Arora blog, we’ll be discussing why your sole focus shouldn’t be on the money you’re raising, but on the benefits of treating your crowdfunding raise as a full-scale marketing campaign—and how you can make that all-important mental shift.
Not too long ago, only those with capital and connections already in place could bring new products and services to the market. Thanks to the rise of crowdfunding, anyone with an idea and an internet connection has the opportunity to raise capital for a startup that could change the world.
But as we’ve stressed many times before, crowdfunding campaigns aren’t easy, fast, or guaranteed to raise money. Even the most compelling campaigns sometimes struggle to gain the widespread traction necessary to fully fund their campaign.
As professional crowdfunders, we can’t think of any modern innovations that have been the catalyst for as much growth as crowdfunding. While it’s true that the crowdfunding landscape has changed over time, one thing remains constant: the most successful campaigns are those that leverage their marketing acumen to increase their reach and exposure.
That’s why we stress to our clients that a crowdfunding raise isn’t a fundraiser—it’s a marketing campaign. And just like with any other marketing project your company might be working on, it takes strategy, planning, and constant, dedicated effort to make it a success.
Passivity is Lethal to Crowdfunding Campaigns
Repeat after us:
The only way to make sure your campaign gets the necessary traffic is to drive it there yourself.
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times to scores of clients. While there’s a pervasive misconception that you can write a crowdfunding page, launch it, and immediately start generating steam, the reality requires much more hands-on management and meticulous planning.
Crowdfunders worldwide launched 6,455,080 campaigns in 2020, which equates to an average of more than 17,500 every day. The more passive you are about your raise, the more likely it is to be buried by other campaigns that did everything they could to bring investors to their page.
- Be consistent and aggressive with your marketing. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease” is a cliché for a reason.
- Leverage your connections, and don’t be afraid to ask your friends, family, and colleagues for an investment. After all, the “crowd” in “crowdfunding” starts with your extended circle.
- Step out of your comfort zone. Try going live on Facebook or creating investment-centric TikToks about your raise. The crowdfunding world loves and rewards ingenuity, and this can do wonders for raising your profile.
- Reach out to bloggers and influencers in your space, and strike a deal with them for exposure to their following. Influencer marketing is here to stay and pays dividends to those who use it mindfully.
But What If You’re Not a Marketing Expert?
Most people aren’t—even some ultra-successful businesses succeed despite poor marketing practices—and that’s okay!
Believe it or not, marketing is one of the least understood and potentially most expensive parts of running a business. That’s largely because many companies fail to understand their target market and waste their marketing budget.
Marketing extends well beyond advertising and encompasses everything from understanding your target market to navigating unique promotional strategies.
But marketing doesn’t have to be super complicated. In the case of a crowdfunding raise, we think it’s pretty simple. You need to ask yourself 5 marketing-specific questions about your campaign…and make sure you fully understand the answers.
- Does your marketing inform?
To attract your ideal investors in an increasingly crowded investing marketplace, your target audience (in this case, investors who are interested in your offering) needs to know why they should choose your campaign over someone else’s within minutes of viewing your campaign.
This is where marketing comes into play: is your offering clear and concise? What are its unique selling points? Does your offering have visual interest and relevant statistics? Does your company have traction that you’ve communicated clearly? Will your campaign sufficiently educate your ideal investors about your company and how investing will benefit them?
- Does your marketing engage?
It’s one thing to know that your customers consider your business far superior to that of your competitors, but a crowdfunding campaign isn’t about a superior product or service. It’s about the potential your business has to grow large enough to benefit from investments and potentially make money for investors.
Marketing for a crowdfunding campaign takes this into consideration. A successful marketing strategy will keep your offering in investors’ minds long after they leave your page—and entice them to invest before they leave at all. From social media strategy to targeted ads and everything in between, the most successful campaigns will be those that engage with their target audience in various ways.
- Does your marketing build your reputation?
As the founder, owner, or team member of a company looking to crowdfund their next venture, you probably already understand how vital your company’s reputation is to your success. In fact, your company’s reputation can be the deciding factor in whether or not an investor chooses you and your venture.
Because marketing aims to bring your company to the forefront of investors’ minds, you want to make sure your message is coming across as intended. Dynamic, professional marketing is essential: it communicates your credibility, the stability of your company, the excitement of your growth, and the value in your offering.
- Does your marketing extend the reach of your campaign?
One of the biggest misconceptions in the crowdfunding industry is that there’s already a crowd. But crowdfunding is no different from any other industry in this regard: you can’t attract investors if no one knows about your campaign.
While your campaign page might draw people’s attention when they’re browsing your chosen platform, marketing will extend your reach and draw attention to your campaign so that investors beyond your circle can find it.
That begs the question: does your marketing draw investors to your page by accurately selling the benefits of investing into your venture?
- Does your marketing actually perform?
This question can only be answered in culmination with the first four. Expertly-strategized marketing for your campaign should result in an increase in investments, as long as it follows the marketing principles above. If you’ve successfully educated your investors, kept them engaged, built and communicated a strong reputation, and intelligently sold your offering to them, your campaign has a much higher chance of overperforming. If your current marketing is missing the mark, it’s time to do some retooling.
So…How Can You Make the Mental Shift?
Here’s the key: forget about the money you’re raising.
Yeah, we just said that. And we mean it.
When your focus is singularly on the capital you need to raise to succeed, essential things—like investor experience—fall by the wayside.
By changing focus, concentrating primarily on the offering, and making it as appealing to investors as possible, you’re entering the headspace of a marketer. With this mind shift, you’re learning how to sell your company and where to find investors who want to buy into it.
Though it sounds and feels counterintuitive, you can’t think of your crowdfunding venture as a fundraiser. The sooner you accept that and treat it as a marketing campaign, the sooner you’ll start to see campaign traction.
And If Marketing Just Isn’t Your Thing?
Here at Arora Project, we live and breathe crowdfunding. And, at the risk of sounding biased, we’ve built a reputation around being the best at what we do. From optimized page design to strategic advertising campaigns to the nitty-gritty day-to-day marketing that some teams don’t have the resources to focus on—we do it all.
If the shift from fundraising to marketing isn’t up your alley, but you’d still like to try your hand at crowdfunding, let’s have a conversation about your goals.