No crowdfunding campaign blasts off on its own. Intense marketing, or spreading the word, is the fuel that keeps it going, the key to its success. But where to market? And how
Below is a roadmap to the most important channels you can use to market a campaign, along with solid, tested and actionable information about how to get the most out of each channel.
FRIENDS & FAMILY
We tend to lower our guards and open our wallets for someone we know personally. Start your crowdfunding journey with family and friends. Try to raise 15%-30% of the funds through them before spreading the word further. When people who don’t know you personally see that your campaign has already gotten a fair amount of backing, they’ll perceive it as validated and be much more likely to contribute.
FACEBOOK GROUPS & PAGES
Facebook is an immensely powerful platform to help get the word out about your campaign. Find groups likely to be sympathetic to your cause and post compelling content about the topic of your campaign and the stories behind it. Don’t focus on the crowdfunding process, it is no longer interesting, just mention it with a link at the end of the content you share. Pages are managed by companies, organizations, celebrities and influencers, meaning you’ll have to reach out to them personally. Present your cause, explain why it’s relevant, and ask them to feature it. This will take time, but being endorsed on a page with lots of followers can make all the difference to your campaign. Finally, don’t forget to use your own personal account to talk about your campaign on a daily basis.
Email is a great way to get people to support your campaign — irrespective of your mailing list’s size. Send an email every few days and don’t worry about losing subscribers — unsubscribe rates tend to be very low. Use an email marketing service to streamline the process and generate reports to show you who’s opening and clicking the links in your emails. Once you know who’s interested, target them separately with differently worded emails acknowledging their interest and support.
Tweet regularly to inform your following about your campaign using relevant hashtags. Find influencers who might be interested in your cause, reach out to them, and get them to help spread the word. Use time-saving and automating apps such as Zapier and IFTTT to manage publishing across various platforms.
Write articles and share information about your campaign on LinkedIn using appropriate hashtags. Find relevant groups and individuals to help promote your campaign, again, reaching out personally by sending thoughtful messages to get them engaged.
Reddit is another very powerful platform to drive traffic to your campaign. The problem is that its user base is notorious for disliking marketers. The key, then, is to have spent time contributing and participating in a forum, or subreddit, before posting anything about your own campaign. In other words, bring value to the community prior to asking for anything in return.
If your campaign is tech-related, ProductHunt is a fantastic place to draw attention to it, with the potential of driving even more traffic than an article featured in a mainstream tech publication. On ProductHunt, products are submitted — or “hunted” — and then discussed and voted. As a new user, you may not have sufficient privileges to post your product. Instead, find products that are similar to yours and personally reach out to their “hunter” through email or social media.
Facebook is the most effective platform for placing ads because it lets you target audiences that are likely to respond to your campaign. If promoting a cookbook, for example, you could target only those people who have liked pages on cooking, are aged 25–65, and have also liked Kickstarer and Indiegogo’s pages. You could also try Taboola and Outbrain, which allow you to target audiences based on what they read. Their ads are usually seen below articles on mainstream publications, under a “You May Like” title.
Some platforms and third-party services allow you to use incentives to get people to market your crowdfunding campaign by giving them a perk or money if they refer a certain amount of campaign backers. If you’re raising money for a movie, for instance, you could launch a referral contest in which the winner gets to have breakfast with the director. My advice is to have at least three different perks for the top three ambassadors. Indiegogo has a built-in tool for referral contests. There are also third-party tools that enable you to do set up referral contests on Kickstarter.
Influencers with a large following on Instagram, YouTube and other platforms can drive a lot of traffic to your campaign. Send a free sample of your product, service or app to the right influencers along with a personalized message asking them to review it. Marketplaces such as Famebit and Grapevine allow you to find and connect with appropriate influencers.
Getting your campaign featured on appropriate media can work wonders for your success. Although there are agencies that specialize in accomplishing this for you, their services are expensive. You can still try to get your campaign featured on your own. Make a list of potentially interested journalists before launching the campaign and reach out to them with a personalized message once it’s trending, as they’ll be more likely to feature it. If there’s anything novel or unique about your campaign, make sure to emphasize that — they might cover you even if your campaign is not trending.
If your aim is to raise more than $100,000 and you have a big budget, consider finding an agency specializing in driving traffic to your campaign through Facebook. Expect to pay media costs plus a percentage of the money raised. Such agencies are usually most effective after you’ve raised a signification portion of your target.
Make sure you’re posting updates about your campaign on your crowdfunding platform at least every 4–5 days, both publicly and to private backers who get these sent directly to their inbox. Use updates to share your progress, present special offers and recruit existing backers to help spread the word about your campaign.