12 Best Ways to Reach Potential Crowdfunding Participants

(A woman on a laptop.)

Entrepreneurial Q&A: What is the best way to reach potential funders when launching a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign?

A: Find influences in your niche. “In the beginning of the campaign, I recommend reaching out to bloggers and influencers in your niche, either directly or through an early-stage PR firm. Find people who will join your mission and share it with their community. You want to focus on your niche and avoid casting too wide a net. This was a key part of our success — raising almost $600,000 on Indiegogo for our video doorbell.” Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Doorbell

Snowball fast with media support. “Successful crowdfunding campaigns all have one thing in common: They launched with a bang. When sites like Mashable and TechCrunch write a story about a crowdfunding campaign, it creates instant credibility and the campaign snowballs into a funding monster. Establish media contacts well in advance and make sure your campaign has some major press ready to help you get it out there at launch.” Jonathan Long, Market Domination Media

Work with a strong marketing and PR company. “Crowdfunding is the future, no doubt about that. But success in crowdfunding is easier said than done. As this space continues to mature, startups will need to hire a qualified company to help manage the marketing and PR element of successfully raising capital.” Ken Cauley, Advanced Media

Start early. “We funded in less than two hours, and it was because we did a lot of promotional activities before the campaign launched. We sent press releases to the local media, which put us on air and in the papers. We let our social media fans know, and we sent out emails to tell previous customers the exact hour of the launch. I exported my contacts from Gmail and sent most of them emails using the BCC field.” Wei-Shin Lai, M.D., AcousticSheep LLC

Create a video. “Create more content to encourage people to invest in your project. Consider creating videos like behind-the-scenes, inside the technology, or even a simple video that will update funders on the campaign progress. You want to create content that will make people excited about the product or service, leading them to share within their communities.” Stanley Meytin, True Film Production

Connect with bloggers who reach your audience. “Go after the major PR channels, but don’t count out the smaller, tier-two bloggers who still have a considerable following. It’s pretty easy to identify the audience they cater to based on their profile and the types of articles they write about. Many of them would be happy to review and share your product with their followers without requiring a large budget to do it.” Andy Karuza, FenSens

Launch an event. “An event already has a captive audience, press, influencers, bloggers and the potential for your product to go viral. The Pebble Watch, for instance, launched at SXSW. It surely helped Pebble get the word out there. They went on to have the most successful (potentially second highest grossing campaign) Kickstarter launch. You can even run an event-specific promotion for your campaign.” Rahul Varshneya, Arkenea

Find social media influencers. “Unless you are a social media rock star already, leveraging your social circles won’t yield much visibility. An ideal way to gain massive exposure is to reach out to existing influencers on YouTube, Instagram and other channels and tell them about your campaign. Additionally, write for sites like BuzzFeed, Medium.com and LinkedIn Voices to get instant visibility.” Marcela De Vivo, Mulligan Funding

Give back. “As an incentive for funders to put money into your Kickstarter campaign, give them something back for their donation and contribution toward your idea. You could give them anything from a branded T-shirt to a coupon to your products and/or services. You could even make them a part of your company in some way. This will push funders to get involved and even stay involved in the future.” Miles Jennings, Recruiter.com

Get feedback. “Elicit feedback from potential donors and use this to improve your pitch and overall campaign. Folks will be more willing to invest when they’re engaged and involved.” Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

Spend to get started. “Although you’re already looking for funding to help launch your business, spend some of that all-important starting capital on hiring contractors to make your campaign a worthwhile endeavor. A well-designed, well-written page, with focused content and clear messaging, can go a long way — and it’s going to take a team of (part-time) professionals to ensure a win!” Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

Ask Mom and Dad to “kick start” your campaign. “Successful Kickstarter campaigns generate social proof by getting backers right out of the gate. The most tried and true way to get early backers is to start with first level connections. Family (Mom and Dad), friends, co-workers, whatever it takes. Kickstarter investors invest in companies with traction. Don’t launch a Kickstarter campaign without having early friends and family backers.” Obinna Ekezie, Wakanow.com

(Article written by Young Entrepreneur Council) (SOURCE: TCA)