According to Entrepreneur, less than one third of crowdfunding campaigns meet their fundraising goals. A great many of these projects simply weren’t viable in the first place. But many more fail because their creators didn’t know the basics of how to market a crowdfunding campaign.
In this day and age, you simply won’t get meet its goal with a weak crowdfunding marketing strategy. Whether you’re looking to launch a new product on Indiegogo or a nonprofit project on gofundme, your crowdfunding cause needs to reach a crowd, and motivate them to get behind your vision.
Fortunately, there are a number of simple, tried and true crowdfunding marketing strategies that anyone can employ and that will greatly boost your odds of success. Whether of not you have formal marketing education, these simple techniques, along with plenty of time and planning, will get your message to the right people, at the right time, in the best possible light.
Choose your crowdfunding platform
The most popular platforms today are Kickstarter, Indiegogo, gofundme, and Fundly. Each has different fee structures, promotion strategies and specializations. Browse campaigns on each to find the best fit.
Raising venture capital or doing a creative project? Choose Indiegogo or Kickstarter. Remember, an enterprise crowdfunding marketing strategy has to convince backers to buy a product that doesn’t exist yet!
Supporting a charitable cause? Choose gofundme, Fundly or Crowdrise. Remember, nonprofit marketing has to convince donors of the urgency of a problem and the efficacy of your solution.
All-or-nothing or keep-in-all? When it comes to Indiegogo marketing and Kickstarter marketing, which pay only if you meet your stated fundraising goal, keep in mind that you will need to focus heavily on hitting that number.
What are the fees? Each crowdfunding platform takes about 5% off the top, then charges an additional payment processing fee (usually 3%), plus a cost per transaction (usually $0.20-$0.30).
Fundly marketing tip: Of the top four platforms, Fundly has the lowest fees by a razor-thin margin: this company charges 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction, along with a 4.9% platform fee, and allows fundraisers to keep all donations, regardless of whether they meet their goal.
Conduct marketing research
Your entire crowdfunding marketing strategy should be built around making a personal connection to your audience. This is even more true than for a traditional commercial marketing strategy- crowdfunding backers are not just buying a project, they’re investing in a vision. Figure out who cares about your work and what makes them tick.
Get to know your audience. If you have any customers or supporters already, look at their demographics and values. Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions.
Speak to your target audience. Crowdfunding marketing depends on personal connections.
Research is an ongoing process. As your campaign progresses, click through the see who your backers are and what other projects they’ve supported in the past.
Seek their feedback. Start a conversation when possible. Craft your updates and promotions to speak to their language.
Got talent?If you find that playing virtual market detective comes naturally to you, you might choose to pursue further marketing education in the field of online marketing research.
Build community and credibility
You wouldn’t hit someone up for money without an introduction. Be present, visible and active in your online community well in advance of your solicitation drive. This holds true for enterprise marketing and nonprofit marketing alike. Find your peers, advocate, and network before your launch.
Be seen. Make your company or cause active on sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Better yet, get a YouTube channel going and give viewers a sense of your daily operations or team members or current projects.
Have an established landing page outside your crowdfunding page. Fill it with rich and relevant content, and functional links to both your other accounts and the sites for outside resources.
Use social media to share ideas and information. Remember, you’re here to build relationships and reputation at this point, not solicit. Support others in the field who have done inspiring work.
As the saying goes, “facts tell, stories sell.” Invite your site visitors on an exciting journey, and make them want to join your team by pledging.
Go for impact. Galvanize support with an inspiring message, or grab attention with humor.
Be the solution. Present the problem, show how it affects the reader directly, and offer an innovative way to resolve it.
Be different- and better. Explicitly distinguish yourself from other solutions, if they exist. Why should people back your vision?
Should you be a character or not? Decide if your personal story makes the narrative more compelling or if the project should speak for itself
You’ll need to persuade people browsing your site to give you their hard-earned money for a project that does not yet exist, and you’ll have a few seconds to convinve them to do it. Delivery matters!
Be clear and simple. Don’t dilute your message or waste the reader’s time.
Develop a key phrase that viewers can grasp onto. Present it up front. Repeat it in your outreach and updates.
Solicit support, not money.Invite your audience to be inside members of an exciting and innovative movement, not mere consumers.
When it comes to capturing attention with a crowdfunding marketing strategy, clear words are good. Catchy images are better. And compelling video is best of all.
Know your optionsIndiegogo marketing can incorporate YouTube videos, while Kickstarter marketing relies on that site’s own video hosting. Gofundme doesn’t require video, but supports links.
Invest in the best. Seek out most professional images and video you can afford. Share the strongest ones to your social media outlets and use them in outreach.
Use thoughtful design, and work to keep your look attractive, clear and unified across all outlets.
Draft a press release
Don’t overlook news outlets and blogs- the right ones are always on the lookout for a ready-made story that fits their audience.
Create a press release, aiming to be concise and interesting. Include your crowdfunding marketing story, images, and video, along with your launch date.
Create a spreadsheet of 100 influential individuals, news sources or blogs that might share your story. Think local and global. Include some realistic and some “stretches.”
Don’t use a blanket approach. Take the time to edit your release to address each one personally.
Start early.Reach out at least a month before your launch.
Set reward levels
People want value for their money. That could mean a product at less-than-market price, or simply a handwritten note of thanks. Whatever you offer, you’ll need to deliver – don’t set a reward unless you’re confident you can follow through.
Include a $1 pledge. You can expect to lose about half this value to platform and transaction fees, but this level engages folks who might otherwise not contribute, and adds value by building your base. A simple emailed thank-you is sufficient reward at this level.
Include a popular pledge. Decide on the 1-2 pledge levels likely to be most popular with your target audience, and offer a rock-solid reward value. The most popular level on Kickstarter overall is $25.
Include a platinum-level pledge with a really massive reward. Limit the number available to create scarcity and increase desirability.
Kickstarter marketing tip: Get creative! Rewards don’t need to cut too far into your bottom line. Kickstarter has 96 reward suggestions.
When to start? Be thoughtful in your start day and time. Avoid Mondays and Fridays, when people are distracted by transitioning in and out of work. Avoid holidays. Aim for mid-morning, when people are settled in and feeling focused.
Run a countdown leading up to your launch. When you go live, share via email, website and on all your online marketing platforms.
Incorporate a live event, such as a launch party or a special site tour or screening for high-level donors.
Whether you’re marketing a gofundme to rebuild a friend’s house or marketing an Indiegogo to launch the next must-have tech gadget, you’ll be responsible for generating hype. As your project’s PR, salesperson, cheerleader and publicist, you’ll need enthusiasm- and endurance.
Facebook Ads are a powerful tool to connect with a specific set of people in your network, or public demographic, to market your crowdfunding effort. So many people have used them to share their crowdfunding marketing campaigns, that Facebook recently started offering their own fundraising tools.
Sweeten the deal If you’re promoting a project, as opposed to nonprofit marketing, share a discount or other special offer. Better still: make it a time-limited.
Get personal. If you’re marketing education tools to teachers and homeschooling parents, have an advertising message aimed at each.
Don’t just solicit money. A social media share that leads to multiple paid backers is more powerful than a small pledge. Ask those who can’t back you right now to help spread the word.
Indiegogo marketing tip: Try targeting ads through remarketing. This Indiegogo marketing tool tracks site visitors who have clicked through to your page and allows you to target them specifically.
Now that you’ve created relationships and started to get attention, keep the momentum going by communicating with your followers, backers and members of your community.
Schedule updates. Don’t go silent for more than two days, but don’t bombard your audience or they will tune you out.
For Indiegogo or Kickstarter marketing, try highlighting one phase of your product’s manufacture every day for a week.
For Fundly, Crowdrise, or gofundme marketing, try sharing a profile of one person helped by your charity daily over the course of a week.
Treat upcoming funding milestones as though they were mini-goals. Build enthusiasm by hyping up just how close you are to earning that first $1,000.
gofundme marketing tip: You can thank donors for each pledge privately, via email, or publicly, via Facebook. When you thank your backers, ask them to take that extra step of sharing to social media.
If you’ve taken the time to dream up a project that deserves to be the next big thing, or found a cause worth fighting for, your vision deserves a truly sensational crowdfunding marketing campaign. With time, care, and savvy marketing, you’ll be well on your way to meeting your goals and making your vision a reality.