The Crowd in Crowdfunding

In Crowdfunding, Equity Crowdfunding by Bill

Is Crowdfunding no more than persuading individuals to each give you a small donation $10, $50, $100, maybe more. Once you get thousands of donors, you have some serious cash on hand. Driven by the proliferation of social media platforms nonprofits, artists, musicians — and yes, businesses — are able to raise funds. Crowdfunding has been growing at an incredible clip since 2009 and there have been billions of dollars crowdfunded during this time period. I always tell people that crowdfunding has one fundamental rule: If you don’t build an engaged and excited crowd then you won’t get the funding that you desire. The next logical question would be how do you build an engaged and excited crowd to fund your project.

Crowdfunding can create a powerful marketing and funding chain that moves from reward to equity to an IPO onramp to take the company public. Crowdfunding is creating an entirely new path to funding that is completely customer focused. These are the 4 basic step that I begin the process of identifying and engaging people to build an excited and engaged crowd:

  1. Research Similar Crowdfunding Campaigns
  2. Define your target audience
  3. Develop a narrative and video
  4. Perhaps fund a project yourself to experience the process  

List all the campaigns (both successful and not successful ones). Contact the manager and ask about activities that worked best/worst. Open, paste the URLs and review their funding curves. If most of the funding occurred in the beginning, it means most came most from their own network. More stable curve means there are interested backers from the platform.

Conduct a survey on your Facebook Page and share it on social media. Ask about the problem you are trying to solve. You will gather invaluable info about your audience and most importantly their email addresses. Estimate what the key problems and pain point your audience is experiencing. Engage with them and provide as much value as you can. In a couple of months, you will have a strong community of targeted people who will help you get your early seeding as they fall into their role as brand advocates. Now you have defined your audience now segment them according to demographic data.

Be able, to sum up not just your campaign but yourself as well, using the ‘elevator pitch’ approach. Make it personal and authentic. Build both your campaign and personal story. It is just as much you as your product that they are investing their hard earned money.  Some things to include in your few-sentence bio:

  • your professional experience
  • where you’re from
  • why this is important to you
  • your passions and hobbies
  • how you got to where you are today
  • what you’re working on next.

The last but maybe most important action is to participate in a campaign as a backer or funder. This experience is something that you can’t read about. Participating in a campaign is a unique experience that will help you craft your own campaign. Traditionally, you’d spend months sifting through your personal network, vetting potential investors, and spending your own time and money to get in front of them. Crowdfunding provides a much more linear path to get in front of the most interested parties and give them more ways to help grow your business, from investing thousands in exchange for equity to contributing $20 in exchange for a first-run product or reward. This is an experience I recommend to everyone that is thinking of creating a campaign.