Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular way for startups to raise capital. But like all crowdfunding campaigns, it relies heavily on reach, and that in turn is influenced by how much you spend on promotion.
Paying to promote a crowdfunding campaign may go against the grain for some startups; while it takes money to make money, you still want to limit the amount you spend. The benefits of paid crowdfunding promotion might not always be clear to founders, especially if you're used to traditional VC funding where you pitch to specific potential backers, so individual relationships can be more important than reach.
But crowdfunding is a different beast. When you do it right, paid crowdfunding campaign promotion can be money well spent.
Crowdfunding campaigns succeed when masses of people are involved. Just like any Kickstarter promotion, the idea is for a lot of people to each provide relatively small amounts of investment funding, so the more people you reach, the more capital you are likely to collect. Of course, there's still a pitch involved, but you're trying to reach crowds so quantity is at least as important as quality.
Kickstarter marketing, or any other crowdfunding promotion, means more than just raising funds. Your campaign also raises awareness about your company, your team, your value proposition, your vision, and more.
Bear in mind that the people you reach are potentially your first customers, your beta users, and your brand ambassadors. With this campaign, you're establishing the foundations of your brand reputation, so the money you spend isn't just raising more money, but establishing your business in the marketplace in every sense.
Data fuels everything in the business world, and that goes for equity crowdfunding too. Paid promotion brings more impressions, more conversions, and more engagement with your content.
Even if it doesn't translate into direct investment, you'll still benefit from more insights into your target audience, which helps you tweak your campaign, your solution, and future marketing too.
Evan Varsamis, entrepreneur, Founder and CEO at Gadget Flow, and marketing advisor at Qrator Ltd, observes that getting paid crowdfunding promotion right can be the difference between success and failure. "Campaigns with promising ideas and concepts are not always able to pick up traffic and get exposure in spite of their campaign page having all the elements it should. So, what’s stopping them from getting that exposure? If you ask me, it’s all in the way you promote your campaign."
There are multiple methods you can use to promote your crowdfunding campaign, and all of them can be effective when you use them right. These can include programmatic ads; PPC (pay per click) search ads or paid social; display ads like video, image, or banner ads; influencer marketing; and more. Your crowdfunding platform should also have tools to help you with crowdfunding marketing.
Pay per click, or PPC ads, are an excellent way to reach more people who might be interested in your startup. Facebook and Instagram ads are particularly good options because the audience base is massive, and the ad manager makes it easy to target specific segments. You can adjust your ads daily based on the results coming in, so it doesn't take long to understand and perfect your marketing.
Google search ads are great for the same reason — plenty of data coming in and powerful management tools, plus they broaden your audience more than social media alone.
Joining up with influencers can help you build trust with potential investors. People who don't invest are also more likely to remember your brand and become customers in the future if you were endorsed by someone they respect.
Influencer marketing can include a number of social media channels, like Facebook, Tiktok, and YouTube, as well as bloggers, vloggers, and podcasters who run their own platform.
Select your influencer with care; you want someone who can explain your solution clearly and appealingly, and understands and genuinely supports your proposition. Micro-influencers, with a smaller but more engaged following, are frequently more effective than macro-influencers with an enormous, but non-committed, audience.
You should already have developed strong visuals and an engaging video as part of your pitch for the crowdfunding platform, so put them to good use in display ads. Display ads can appear as banner and side ads on almost any digital space, including social media, websites and publications that are relevant to your vertical, blogs, and more.
Turning to the experts is often a good idea, but there aren't many agencies which have experience in crowdfunding promotion. Choose carefully, because there are firms that offer to promote your campaign — for a fee — but are not legit, nor have enough expertise to succeed. You need an agency that is familiar with your audience and your sector, so do your research to see who their previous clients have been and whether they understand your target market.
As part of choosing the best crowdfunding platform, you should check what kind of tools the site offers to help promote your campaign. Many will share your pitch in their newsletters and member emails, but some also offer paid promotional tools and expert advice to help you run paid crowdfunding promotion.
Wefunder helps promote your crowdfunding campaign in many ways, but there aren't any paid promotion tools. The platform mentions campaigns in its regular member newsletters, but featuring in a newsletter or email blast depends on whether you've crossed certain fundraising thresholds.
mpanies that have raised more than $100,000, Wefunder runs ads on Facebook and Instagram with a budget of $1,000 over 4 weeks, and more if there's positive ROAS (return on ad spend). The platform does make it easy to manage paid ads, offering assistance setting up tracking pixels, retargeting pixels, and conversion pixels, and segmenting data for you. It also has partnerships with marketing experts who'll manage your paid promotion for you.
StartEngine is one of the few crowdfunding platforms with integrated paid promotion tools. It offers a service that connects with your accounts and devises an entire campaign, including audience assessment, creative, metrics, and reports, to drive traffic to your campaign page. There's limited capacity, so you need to apply, and you'll be charged 5% of the amount you raise as a success fee.
Like Wefunder, StartEngine also includes campaigns in the newsletters it regularly sends to its member base, but these mentions are based on passing certain funding milestones and selection by its algorithm. The platform offers powerful analytics and tracking capabilities which you and the platform can use to customize your promotions.
Like the other two platforms, Republic helps give campaigns exposure by featuring in their emails and newsletters, but this too is based on algorithmic decisions and passing certain criteria. You can't pay for this promotion.
Republic did recently acquire the crowdfunding media agency Arora, but it doesn't seem to be offering any paid promotion services.
When you pay to boost your crowdfunding campaign, you could find your most loyal customers and your biggest brand ambassadors as well as supportive investors. By using all the marketing channels at your disposal, including your platform's tools, you can elevate brand awareness and take another step along the road to success.