If your crowdfunding campaign looks like it will fail, what actions can you take? John Auckland, founder of TribeFirst, global equity crowdfunding communications agency, reveals all
If you have a new or growing event business you may well use crowdfunding to raise capital. Having seen a huge range of businesses run crowdfunding campaigns across many different market sectors. I’m often surprised by which campaigns capture the attention and imagination of investors, and which end up faltering midway through.
Why? A key difference is timing. For example, the market may not be ready for your particular product or service or your ideal investors may be distracted with another campaign, which means your campaign won’t get the investment you seek. With any luck, your market research will highlight these potential issues before you go live, and you can adjust your timing accordingly.
It can simply be an issue of momentum, where not enough lead investment has come on to give the wider crowd confidence in a business. Or a campaign experiences the dreaded “pitch death” when it doesn’t get any investment for a few days.
Other campaigns, however, may be struggling due to poor communication or a lack of outbound marketing messages. You can’t expect enough investors to find your campaign organically and, if investors simply aren’t aware of your campaign, they won’t be able to fund it.
You need good, consistent marketing messages to hammer home those key benefits, explain features and revenue streams, and grow your reputation as a business that can get things done.
If your campaign is failing, these are a few things you can do to attract investors and get your crowdfunding back on target:
Targeting potential investors
Both LinkedIn and the Angel Investment Network (AIN) are ideal places to find investors. Advanced searches allow you to be very targeted in who you reach out to and means you can create tailored messages to each potential investor group.
With LinkedIn, you’ll need a short invitation to connect message of 300 characters at most, then a longer message for new and existing connections explaining your proposition. LinkedIn messenger isn’t the most user-friendly place to read longer messages, so keep it concise while still including the key information, such as:
- The problem you are solving and your solution – one or two short sentences
- Your key USPs – one sentence
- Market size – something short to pique their interest
- Traction so far – these could be three or four bullet points
- Call to action – usually a question for them to respond to, such as “Would you like to arrange a short call so I can answer any questions you may have?”
While you can’t attach files directly to LinkedIn messages, you can include links. We often use solutions like DocSend to include a copy of an executive summary in the message, providing potential investors with even more information and a taste of your branding.
AIN is similar, except your search can be more targeted and you know everyone on the platform is an active investor. Instead of invitations to connect, you’ll need a short nudge message of up to 5,000 characters, which will lead potential investors to your campaign page on the AIN site. There they will be able to download key documents and see your entire campaign, so linking to your executive summary isn’t necessary.
Reaching out and engaging potential investors directly is one of the most effective ways to draw attention to your crowdfunding campaign and opens you up to their extended network as well.
Using PR articles
Writing an article for the press can be one of the most effective marketing tactics for any crowdfunding campaign. But instead of thinking of it as an opportunity to talk about your product and crowdfunding raise, you should consider how to hook your ideal investors and educate them on your market.
We meet a lot of founders who just want to promote their product or service – that’s called advertising, and understandably you’ll be asked to pay to place an advert.
Instead, find an angle that will capture the attention of the publication’s audience – your potential investors. Make it useful and genuinely interesting, solve an issue they might have, and show how your solution can do it faster, cheaper and/or easier.
Positioning your PR articles in this way will get the widest adoption by relevant press. The byline and “about the author” section are where you can mention your business and crowdfunding raise, gaining your campaign much-needed traffic.
Make the most of social ads
Advertising on social media networks, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, lets you target users based on specific parameters, delivering different messages to each. As such, social ads can be fantastic at addressing the different concerns of different investor groups.
One audience maybe more concerned with saving time while another cares more about saving money. Perhaps you have a two-sided marketplace that benefits businesses and customers. Social ads are short, punchy ways to deliver these messages to the most relevant audience.
The main benefit of social ads, however, is that they can perfectly complement your PR and outreach messages. They’re regular reminders of your business, your idea, and your campaign.
Say a LinkedIn investor sees your outreach message, searches your brand name on Google, and sees a bunch of press articles you’ve written. Perhaps they download your executive summary to read later before becoming distracted. Adverts popping up on LinkedIn and Twitter, for example, would then remind them of your brand and proposition, bringing them back to your original message for a follow-up.
Facebook ads can even be used to promote the PR coverage you gain from your articles, helping enhance your reputation through third-party content whilst educating your marketplace. They really are the perfect complement to your other marketing activities.
These activities will give your failing crowdfunding campaign a much-needed boost, whether you’re starting to plan your equity crowdfunding campaign or you’re mid-way through. You can use them for marketing at the start of your campaign, after all you want to announce your presence with impact. However, always keep a little in reserve for later in the campaign.