Crowdfunding – Marketing Gold! Kickstart more than your capital.
Posted by Lisa Murray, Content Marketing Director, Avocet Communications
Every startup should consider crowdfunding, regardless of the needs or plans to raise capital. Even if VCs are falling over themselves to give you capital, the marketing benefits of a well-run crowdfunding campaign are invaluable and include:
Opportunity provide proof of concept and test markets
Sure, you have talked extensively to friends, family, friends of friends, and industry leaders and have gotten a great response and encouraging feedback. But, it’s crowdfunding that can give you an unbiased national (even international) platform and prove your product has a market.
Of course, the key is a “well-run” campaign. You can’t just assume a great product will take off on its own without a solid marketing strategy. We’ve developed successful crowdfunding campaigns. Let us help you!
Takeaway – Invest the time and resources to develop your crowdfunding marketing strategy in order to ensure true proof of concept.
Cost effective market research and product design input
Price point, marketing messaging, features, bundles, and styles can all be market tested through your campaign and reward levels.
For example, a recent food company we worked with was debating five different varieties of product but knew they only had the capital to launch with three flavors. By structuring their reward levels strategically, they were able to use Kickstarter to cost effectively gather national market research. In fact, Sriracha, a flavor they worried was too trendy and “niche” was hands down the number one Kickstarter choice and later at launch became their best selling national SKU. Additionally, your campaign audience can become an ongoing resource to provide feedback on your product, features, price point, and marketing messages.
Takeaway – Take the time to develop the campaign and reward levels to provide you with answers to the market research questions you have.
Developing the story and messaging
You have to have a compelling story. Committing to a crowdfunding campaign creates deadlines and deliverables that make a startup invest the time to refine its messaging, develop a story that resonates, and create compelling assets like videos and graphics. This is an essential step in overall solid branding, but you would be surprised at the number of established businesses (especially B2B or tech companies) who have never taken the time to do this.
Create news angles and valuable earned media
A crowdfunding campaign is a way to create a news angle and three potential news story opportunities. Of course, there are media whose “beat” is crowdfunding and you may catch their attention if you have something particularly flashy, timely or trendy (Romphim, Exploding Kittens, or Zach Brown’s potato salad)
While everyone would love to be featured on the Today Show, a strategic media relations campaign with a relevant media list and well-timed media outreach (before, during, and after) is more likely to net you results. This is an area that you may want to consider outsourcing. Well executed media relations at this stage can lead to ongoing media relationships and coverage that is invaluable to your brand and product.
Digital and Social Marketing
Social media and crowdfunding go hand-in-hand and your campaign is a fantastic way to gain followers, create exciting content, and connect with your digital audience. But one of the greatest advantages of a crowdfunding campaign is the boost it can provide to your SEO. SEO might be complicated and ever changing, but it is vitally important, especially to a startup. A crowdfunding campaign can create influencer backlinks and other important off-page SEO benefits that will help elevate your web ranking.
Ultimately, the goal of any startup is sales and growth. Crowdfunding lets you pre-sell your product, get qualified leads, and lets you introduce your brand to prospective loyal customers. Customers who find you and follow you at this stage are more likely to be early adopters and may become your brands best advocates.
This is a valuable marketing and branding tool so treat it as such. Invest the time, resources, and thought to set yourself up for success.