Marketing Your Campaign
Crowdfunding websites are a wonderful thing, but if you rely on these alone to get you backers, you will be likely to be disappointed. Crowdfunding campaigns that begin marketing before the campaign is even launched, and continue with firm momentum and gusto throughout the campaign are those that reach or exceed their targets. Those that simply slap up a photo, headline and description and then wait for the money to roll in do not make the money that they were looking for, if indeed they make any money at all. Marketing is essential, and getting this part right will make the difference between meeting your target and getting funded, or not.
Writing for Forbes, Lawson Ursey (2014) explains that ideally you even need to get one backer on side before you begin the campaign. As he puts it:
“Nobody wants to be the first to jump into the water…Increase your chances on crowdfunding by starting out with some initial investment”.
It is explained that getting people involved before the launch will help other backers to “flock” to your campaign once it is up and running. This clearly means that the marketing legwork has to begin well in advance of actually posting your campaign on the crowdfunding website.
Indeed, Shannon Whitehead argues: “We strongly advise against launching a Kickstarter campaign with less than two months of prep!” This should give you an indication of the amount of work you need to expect to do in advance if you want your campaign to be successful.
Getting your marketing underway requires you to start creating a buzz well ahead of posting your campaign. In particular, Shannon Whitehead advocates for creating Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest pages in the name of your campaign to attract people to your campaign ahead of time. Creating a blog is also recommended by Shannon Whitehead. One point emphasised is that posts should not be personal, and that all posts made across any of the different marketing tools that you plan to use need to be based on the campaign and the project itself rather than about you per se.
In terms of the blogging, Shannon Whitehead’s success was built by creating a blog. The blog over time managed to acquire 800 people that regularly read the blog. This was sufficient enough to get the campaign underway. Because the blog had built the support of its audience, these people became advocates of the campaign and also followed the campaign on other websites like Twitter and Facebook. These people were more likely to share posts and information which led to the campaign growing in size.
As far as Twitter goes, regular postings are important. The name of your Twitter handle should be closely rated to the project name so that it is easy to remember and people will associate it with the campaign. Shannon Whitehead recommends 10 postings a day, with a view to developing relationships within the target market. However, it is also conceded that if there is nothing to actually say, then there is no need to force 10 posts out.
When considering Facebook, Shannon Whitehead advocates the setting up of a project page. This must be aesthetically appealing and include the photographs and videos that have already been discussed. With the Facebook page it is recommended to ask family and friends to like the page and to share it with others. On this website only two posts a day or less should be made, otherwise you may get blocked by people, which is not the aim. The information posted should be of a high quality in order to be appealing. Pinterest requires you to set up a Pinterest account, and with this website you can create boards appropriate to the project. The goal of the Pinterest account, according to Whitehead, is to acquire followers and get re-pins and also to get traffic. There are a great many other different websites that you could potentially use, but these are the key ones to focus on.
Posting frequently and posting information that is relevant and engaging will be the most helpful in drawing in potential backers. There is a fine balance to be had between spamming people and provoking interest in them. Don’t go overboard, but do keep your campaign fresh in their heads. Keep the momentum building throughout the campaign for the best chances of meeting your target, and always keep people updated with where you are up to.
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.