5 Strategies for Your Crowdfunding Campaign

June 06, 2019

Crowdfunders typically ignore these five marketing and PR tactics, losing out on millions of dollars. Put them to work to stand out and rock your campaign.

If you’re relying on crowdfunding to build support, you’d better be picky about your marketing and PR tactics. While most crowdfunders concentrate on the traditional “musts,” real success is often achieved through unconventional tactics and strategies.

These techniques are not without risk. The failure rate is about 70%, and the odds of raising more than $1 million is less than .01%, as I mentioned in Forbes.

But success is possible if you do your homework. My history of success at The Crowdfunding Formula, a firm I founded two years ago, shows just how doable it is. I’ve managed more than 100 successful crowdfunding campaigns with these high-performing tactics, including several that exceeded the million-dollar mark.

I’ll share five of my secrets for crowdfunding in this article, along with practical tips and examples that you’re probably missing out on in your crowdfunding campaigns.

1. Differentiate Backers From Online Shoppers

Marketers commonly consider backers (users who pledge to your product) to be online buyers. But In reality, these two groups display different buying behaviors.

Women are more likely to shop on Amazon, but men make up the majority of crowdfunding backers. First Insight’s CEO Greg Petro told CNBC that “men are willing to wait longer,” which makes them better backers.

But how do you find those backers? It’s simple: through social media advertising. It’s the best way to create your primary audience because it:

  • Defines clear interests that relate to the product (both general and niche)
  • Allows you to prepare ads for each target group per interest
  • Identifies people who have backed campaigns previously

Here are some suggestion from our advertising department about targeting backers.

Select Kickstarter or Indiegogo as One of Your Interests

When you target people, you can choose to include Kickstarter or Indiegogo among your interests.

This increases the chances of your audience being familiar with crowdfunding.

Selecting additional interests will help people connect with your campaign and move them to support it financially.

Don’t Place Ads on Facebook or Instagram Stories

Stories attract online shoppers but not backers. They compel users to swipe up and get the product quickly, while crowdfunding campaigns promise a later payoff.

Instead, place a single image or video on Facebook and Instagram feeds.  Posts are proven to be more effective at driving backer conversions.

These two ads may seem the same, but they have different titles.

Facebook different titles

We use dynamic creative to automatically combine visuals, headlines, descriptions, or CTAs. This method delivers more efficient results by identifying which ad produces the most impressions.

2. Try Niche Social Media Platforms

About 87% of e-commerce customers state that social media helps them make shopping decisions.

Although backers differ from online shoppers, they’re both influenced by social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat are the top platforms for driving sales and raising awareness. They enable businesses to reach a wide audience, so competition for advertising is high.

Niche social media platforms have smaller, though very specific audiences. Here, you can reach potential backers more easily with a lower budget.

All big social media platforms had niche audiences once (even Facebook). So, catch the hype and scale with them to launch your campaign to fame.

You need to carefully choose between short-term and long-term strategies, which you can discuss with a social media agency.

Short-Term Strategies Drive Conversions

Usually, small and niche platforms don’t support sales. But depending on your audience, you can find platforms with buying and selling features.

Houzz (interior design and home decoration community) is a good example of this combination.

Houzz

Houzz’s short-term strategies have helped it reach 40 million users, 1.5 million industry professionals, and 10 million product listings.

Long-Term Strategies Drive Brand Awareness

If you’re aiming to build brand awareness and a reputation, you should forge partnerships with leading influencers and pages. This will increase your audience and boost your visibility.

We take advantage of Imgur (image-based content) and TikTok (short-form mobile videos) at The Crowdfunding Formula.

3. Try Newsjacking to Break the Internet

Newsjacking means leveraging trending news or hype to grow brand awareness. It’s the ultimate way to convert your ideas into “must-read” content and steal the spotlight.

This graph by David Meerman Scott, author of “Newsjacking,” illustrates the most effective time to Newsjack a story. 

Life of a news story

After an event happens, journalists are rushing to uncover new information. Use this mad scramble to your advantage.

The below stories are textbook examples of Newsjacking done right.

1. Virgin Airlines: Time for a Honeymoon

Virgin Airlines released a perfect graphic when the Supreme Court voted in favor of same-sex marriage. 

 Time for Honeymoon

This graphic helped get Virgin Airlines’ name out there immediately.

2. Kit Kat: We Don’t Bend, We Break.

Do you remember the popular rumor that the iPhone 6 Plus was bendable? 

Kit Kat

Kit Kat caught on at the right minute and sent this message, which was retweeted 27,000 times.

3. Muncie Animal Shelter and Pokémon GO

Of course, we can’t forget the historic excitement around Pokémon GO, the augmented reality game. Muncie Animal Shelter in Muncie, Ind., capitalized on the craze by launching its “Pokémon Dogs” volunteer program.

It encouraged Pokémon players to walk the shelter’s dogs while hunting for Pokémon.

Muncie Animal Shelter Pokemon Go

The animal shelter’s Facebook post gained more than 10,000 reactions and 28,860 shares, engaging hundreds of dog walkers.

As a crowdfunder, you'll love newsjacking for its ability to increase brand awareness and gain backers’ trust. All you need to do is keep two fingers on the pulse of pop culture. 

4. Try Chatbots to Boost User Engagement

Marketing in a conversational tone is the trend of the day, and chatbots are a great tool to make this happen. About 80% of businesses will be using chatbots by 2020. They can help your business automate conversations and convert leads into clients. Here are four critical benefits chatbot marketing can produce for your crowdfunding campaign:

  1. More subscribers turned relevant leads
  2. Higher and more proactive user engagement
  3. Greater cost-effectiveness
  4. More accurate consumer data and insights

Here’s what our botsman, Vardan, did for Bristly. He gained 2,000+ chatbot subscribers with absolutely no ad spend:

1. He found a video with the potential to go viral on Bristly’s page and posted it.

Viral Video

2. While the video was gaining millions of views, he activated a chatbot that targets commenters.

Chatbot

3. The conversation struck an emotional tone, so he needed to be very careful with the flow.

Chatbot

4. We discovered that half of commenters had a pet, so they were a relevant target for our product.

5. Around 30% of users that opted into the chatbot turned into subscribers with $0 ad spend from us.

Chatbots come with risks you need to consider as well.  Always leave the option for subscribers to end the conversation to avoid negative reactions and feedback.

5. Join Forces With Cross-Promotion

Cross promotion is a low-cost marketing and PR tactic. You partner with someone selling a relevant product that targets a similar audience to yours and agree to promote each other.

During two of our campaigns —Bristly and Varram — we were targeting pet parents. So we organized a contest on Instagram partnering with other pet products.

Cross-promotion

The cross-promotion drove real conversions with 2,000 new leads and no money spent.

It doesn’t matter if the product you cross-promote is running a crowdfunding campaign. You’re still widening your opportunities.

Sticking to Tradition Methods May Not Pay off for Crowdfunding

Marketers and crowdfunders usually ignore non-conventional tactics, but these are the hidden keys to success. Apart from the “must-tries,” you also need to:

  • Identify your backers through social media advertising
  • Try new social media platforms
  • Master the art of newsjacking
  • Rock chatbots
  • Organize cross-promotions

You can find more tips about successful campaigns on our blog. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We only have to be flexible, innovative, and open to non-traditional methods.