The Ultimate Crowdfunding Marketing Guide
You need your crowdfunding campaign to be successful. You know that customers have to know about your campaign, before they can make pledges to it. You also know, that your level of success is directly dependant on the effectiveness of your marketing campaign. So, the solution is simple. You need an effective marketing campaign.
However, you are working with a limited budget and limited time. So, you need to know the exact marketing strategies that should be used to make the most of what you have. You also need to know how these strategies actually work in order to best utilize them for your own campaign.
This free marketing guide is exactly what you need. Here is what you’re about to learn:
- How much time & money your marketing campaign needs
- Why you “selling” your product is a terrible strategy
- How to Write Effective Crowdfunding Copywriting
- How to Easily Build and Design Your Own Website
- How to Take Incredible Product Photography
- How to Film Your Own Crowdfunding Video
- How to Quickly Build a Social Following
- Secret Techniques to More Effective Facebook Advertising
- How to Secure Published Press for Your Campaign
- How to Build and Leverage Your Email List
We will be going in-depth on each one. However, before we start let me cover a couple things. Here are two very important requirements that you will need to have:
3 months for Pre-Launch Marketing
$5,000+ for Pre-Launch Marketing
Instead of wasting time and resources, please do things the right way. I can not stress this enough! Set aside a minimum of 3 months and $5,000 for your pre-launch marketing.
The importance of Marketing:
Here’s a quick question. Do good products market themselves?
- Think of 10 Good Products
- Lookup their marketing budgets.
Why would successful companies spend millions of advertising dollars on marketing good products? These might even be products that you already love and plan to purchase again. Yet, they still need to be marketed well to turn a profit. I said “marketed well” not “sold well”.
The difference between Selling & Marketing:
For Crowdfunding Campaigns – Selling is Bad and Marketing is Good.
Why you should not sell:
Selling focuses on the needs of the person that is selling. If you are a salesman hired to sell a specific item, you will begin “selling”, or getting a prospect to purchase something that they don’t necessarily want. Being sold something you don’t want or need is a terrible feeling. Don’t make people feel terrible.
Why marketing is good:
Marketing focuses on the needs of the potential customers. What products do they really want? If your company only produces one product, you might not have something that your prospect wants to buy. Don’t worry, this is ok. Instead of resorting to “selling”, choose to find a different audience. With the strategies you’re about to learn, it is very easy to find people that will be thankful you shared your product with them. Marketing is that action, of helping people find the things they truly desire. This makes them feel very good.
I could probably write a full book on this. Instead, I’ll just cover the differences this will have on your campaign.
- You talk to different people: Instead of focusing on the people already available to you and convincing them to purchase your product; your focus is now on finding the people that already want your product. This will change your strategy when purchasing ads, contacting influencers, and building your email list.
- You talk differently to people: You’re no longer telling someone about your campaign because you want them to pledge to it. Please do not every do that!! Instead, with marketing, you’ve completely removed your own desires. You’re now telling people about your campaign, for their benefit. They’re going to be so excited to find the thing they’ve been looking for. Your sole goal, is now to help them out.
Here’s a quick checklist
You’ve planned a minimum of 3 months for pre-launch marketing.
You’ve set aside a minimum of $5,000 for pre-launch marketing.
You’re going to market for your customers benefit, instead of sell for your benefit.
If you have those three things taken care of, then we’re ready to begin the Ultimate Marketing Guide, almost. Before we jump straight into the three main strategies, we need to build the media and tools that we will be using to communicate.
Marketing has two parts:
- Get People’s Attention
- Communicate that you have what they already want
Before we spend money to grab your prospects attention, we need to setup some tools to communicate what your campaign is and why they want to pledge to it.
- In this “Media/Tools” section we will be covering:
- How to Build a Website
- How to Take Product Photography
- How to Film your Crowdfunding Video
- How to Design Your Crowdfunding Page
- How to Write CopyScript
If you’ve already built your website; filmed your crowdfunding video; taken incredible product photography; designed your crowdfunding page; and perfected your Copyscript then you can skip ahead to the first marketing strategy using this link: Crowdfunding PR Guide
How to Write Effective CopyWriting for Crowdfunding Campaigns:
Ultimate Guide to Building & Design a WordPress Website:
How to Build a Website:
Don’t worry, it’s VERY fast and easy. Here’s a step by step guide on “How to build a WordPress website while jumping off a cliff”
The hardest part about building a website, is purchasing the domain, and hosting; linking up the DNS; setting up the Database; and uploading the CMS files.
Once that’s finished, your website is built. The only step left to do, is design your website. Which is about as easy as using Facebook or texting while walking.
Here’s a full 20min video on Designing your website VERY well.
Ultimate Guide to Product Photography:
How to Take Product Photography:
Something you will be needing on your website and crowdfunding page is images of your invention. Now, a product photographer might argue that your sales will be directly proportionate to the quality of these images.
So, here is how to do product photography better than a product photographer:
Lighting, Composition, Feeling, Style, Quality
Ultimate Guide to Filming Your Crowdfunding Video:
Your 3 months and $5,000+ of pre-launch marketing is designed to tell potential customers that the thing they’ve been wanting is now available for pre-order. You’re making a large investment to share this news with them. However, it will all be waisted if you fail to communicate what your product is and why it benefits them. Think about that for a second.
Your video will be the “key tool” in communicating what your product is and why it benefits people. Your marketing campaign is what allows you to reach a large audience. However, once you have their attention; your crowdfunding video needs to be able to stand on its own in effectively communicating what your campaign is about and why they should pledge their money. Your entire marketing budget will be wasted, if your video fails to communicate well.
So Lets Make a Perfect Crowdfunding Video:
- Share why they should care
- Share how it benefits your customers
- Share what your invention is
- Address any and all concerns
- Do all of this in Story Format
WHY I should buy your product.
Lets say that you’ve invented in-ear monitors, that are wireless. We all have plenty of headphones already, why would I want yours? So, your first step is to list out all the reasons of WHY your customer should care.
- It gives them more Freedom to move around
- It works with phones that don’t have headphone jacks
- You’ll look cooler wearing them
Finishing writing it all the reasons down. Once you’ve written all of the reasons WHY someone would want your product, you will rewrite your list using as few words as possible.
You mentioned “I’d look Cool”, but WHY would I want to look cool? Maybe so that I’ll be “desired” by others or feel more “loved”. So I could write down “Desired”. Ok that’s great. I’ll rewrite the other two reasons WHY as “It Works” and “Freedom”.
Now narrow this down to just one word. For my example, I’ll use “Freedom”. This is The Most important piece of your video! Often times great marketers do only this one piece because if a potential customer is going to remember one thing, this is the one thing they should remember about your company. Now, I’m not licensed to share their media, but if you search youtube for LouisVuitton ad, you’ll likely find a video of a Model wandering the dessert, and entire video sells “Spirit of Travel”. They barely even show their products. Likewise, Coca-Cola runs Huge marketing campaigns, and instead of seeing the product; you’re marketed “happiness”. This makes a lot of sense when you’re using marketing instead of selling. My whole life I’ve been craving Happiness and Coca Cola found it for me, I’m now eternally indebted to them. Thank you coke for making happiness available.
All joking aside, You don’t have to narrow this down too much, but please don’t skip the simplified answer of WHY your customers already want your product.
Share how it benefits your customers
Next your video should communicate HOW it benefits your customers. Coke communicates HOW it brings you happiness by showing the action of someone drinking it, a close-up shot of the bubbles, the sounds of it cracking open. You don’t have to get too technical here or explain science behind cokes reaction on the brain; or caffeine for the modern recipe. Just a simple demonstration of how the product is used is enough.
Share what your invention is
This is the part where you can explain the specifications of your product, why it’s better than your competitors, and what it’s made of. It’s really important that you don’t make this the main message that’s being communicated. The main message being communicated is the reason WHY your customers were already wanting your product.
Imagine if a company selling soft drinks approached you saying please purchase this 8oz aluminum can of Carbonated water, phosphoric acid, aspartame, potassium benzoate (to protect taste), and caffeine. Your response is no longer “I’ve been searching for that exact thing!!” but instead your immediate response is “Why?”. If there answer is because they need money to go into production… well.. That’s not the thing you were wanting to purchase and you’re now feeling sold to.
I’m repeating myself, which makes me a very poor writer. That’s fine, because writing always has been and always will be my weakest skill. This point is worth repeating to me, because I’m teaching this point and yet when it comes time to write video scripts I almost always forget it.
Address any and all concerns:
This is where you pretend to be a potential customer. Write out a long list of any possible questions, fears, and concerns that could come to mind. Your goal here is to find anything that might stop a person from making a pledge.
You should now write an answer next to each concern; preferably an answer that will put the fear to rest. Assuming you read my copywriting section, you already know all of this and plan to add all of this information into your crowdfunding pages text below the video. This may be good enough, but the more trust you’re able to build in your video, the better. If you accomplish this, then it means the people who want your product will now know about your product, and will have nothing stopping them from purchasing it.
Do all of this in Story Format
This is where you can earn a lot of bonus points. Take everything we’ve covered, make sure it’s written down, and now push it all aside. This step, is where we find a way to mesh everything into a story. Ideally it’ll be an emotional story that your customers relate with.
I’m making a video for my freedom headphones… what areas of life do people want freedom? Do people feel trapped by their work? Will these headphones give them freedom from their office jobs? Maybe it’s a story about someone that crashed their bicycle when the cord got wrapped around the handle? Write out a bunch of really bad ideas. This is important, the more bad ideas here, the better. Once you have a long list of bad ideas, you can begin bleding them together until a good idea comes to mind.
If that didn’t work, then write out your personal story. Why are you even doing a crowdfunding campaign? What made you invent this product? Where does your passion come from?
Now, take all of those things and merge them with the bad ideas from before. At this point, you’ll find a good story to work with. I’m sorry for being fairly vague in this area. Whether your raising $50k to pay off a medical bill, $10k for an art project, or $1M for new headphones, it obviously changes the story that you’ll go with.
I’ve seen experts argue that your crowdfunding story is most the most important piece of your video. I disagree. I think that stories are an incredible tool and one of the few things that will make your video viral. However, the goal here is not to create something viral. The goal is to create a video that best communicates WHY your customers already wanted this; how it gives that to them; and then removes anything that would prevent them from pledging to it. Getting 10 million viral views is pointless unless you communicate what you need to communicate through your marketing. The video is your best tool in getting all of this information across.
If you can do all the important pieces of your video that we covered and turn it into a story without taking away from that information; then you’ve hit a grand slam.
How to Design Your Crowdfunding Page:
How to Design Your Crowdfunding Page
Now we’re going to design your Crowdfunding page. Design is art, which means it’s very scientific and mathematical. However, whether it’s a good design or not is purely based on opinion. So don’t get too hung up on the design of it. The part you need to focus on the most, is remembering why you’re even creating a crowdfunding page. The reason, is the same exact reason you’re creating the video. Instead of speaking to each customer individually, this digital tool allows you to automate your communication about this thing people are wanting to buy from you.
This means, that everything I’ve talked about so far can just be reapplied to the page. So instead of watching your cursor blink against a plain background. You can begin by filling in these answers to these questions:
Why are your potential customers already wanting this invention?
How does this invention help them receive that?
What is this invention?
What would stop them from pledging? What will bring those concerns to rest?
Now that all the important information is on your page, we’re able to “convert it to a story”. Except, that’s too hard. So lets just Convert it to eye catching and entertaining content. Apple does this by keeping things really simple. A lot of successful campaigns have done this by embedding GIFs, and videos.
Please make this page as long as you can! Obviously don’t fill it with random content for the sake of content. However, if you answer the questions above with as much information as possible then it will greatly increase your conversion rate. When I come to your crowdfunding page, that is my final stop before I make the decision of pledging or not. On that one page, I have to go from knowing nothing about you, to really trusting you and pledging to your campaign. Now factor in that your product doesn’t exist; you might not have experience running a businesses; I’ve been scammed by other campaigns that never delivered; and I’ve never heard of this invention before. Keep adding to your crowdfunding pages content until you’ve addressed every concern. I would much rather pledge to your campaign before reaching the bottom of your page, then to hit the bottom of the page wishing you had explained xyz and addressed the two other things that are stopping me from pledging.
Now Lets Begin Marketing Your Crowdfunding Campaign:
Your crowdfunding campaign is a timed offer. Reaching your goal after you run out of time is not possible. So timing becomes important. If you use it to your advantage it will help your marketing budget go a lot further. The main benefit of good timing, comes from front loading the majority of your marketing budget into your launch date. What this does, is ranks your campaign to the top of Kickstarter or IndieGogo website. It also greatly increases your chances of getting placed in their newsletters and being selected as a Staff Pick. If you do this right, then the crowdfunding platform could account for over 40% of your pledges. Proper timing, can almost double the reach of your marketing budget because of this. Another benefit of front loading your pledges; is acquiring good press becomes much easier. It can be difficult to get press from large publications if your campaign has 0 pledges. However, raising 500% of your crowdfunding goal within 5 minutes of launching is newsworthy in itself. You can then get interviews explaining how you did it; and leverage each piece of coverage to get more press and more sales.
If you take nothing else away from this article; please at least remember this:
“Raise 50% of your crowdfunding goal on the launch day, or postpone the launch”
It’s a really simple rule that will help your campaign more than anything else. Now, you can break this rule and still be successful. However, I believe your marketing budget will go much further if you just push your launch day back and do more preparation. Continue building press, social following, and your email list.
Ultimate Guide to Social Marketing
Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising for Crowdfunding Campaigns
Ultimate Guide to Gaining a Social Following:
This is where I’d recommend putting 40% of your marketing budget.
- The two ways you’ll be spending that is on influencers in your niche
- Is on FB ads
You’re about to learn how to create an incredibly effective Facebook Ads campaign. First lets talk about paying social influencers in your niche. Paying an influencer is more risky but may have a much higher return if done right. The problem, is there is not a trackable ROI like there is with FB ads. This means, you need to reserve most of your social media budget for FB ads. The best scenario is making a deal with your influencers to pay them a percentage of the sales they bring or to have them defer your payment until after you’re successful. This way, if you’re not happy with the result, you will still have your full marketing budget.
Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising your Crowdfunding Campaign:
The number one rule here is to test and retest everything. It’s very easy to create as many ads as you can think of and only put $5 into each one. You can then compare the results and put a little more money into the best performers. I said “a little more money” because of the #1 rule here. Never stop testing and retesting. Take your best performing ads and make another five version of each one and compare those results. When you finally find the perfect ad, make five more versions and test those. It’s very easy to loose all of your money on Facebook ads. They do not guarantee sales or a positive ROI. They don’t have any level of satisfaction guarantee. Instead, they give you the ability to run as many tests as you want.
If you put up a Facebook ad sending traffic to your campaign, then you will be paying a much higher price per engagement. Also, once the person has clicked the link, they are gone. You will not know who that person was or have any way of contacting them again, other than paying for additional ads with retargeting. This works, and many people use this method alone. For the sake of running as many test as possible; include this style of ad in your tests.
Your average customer will need to see your invention 7x before making a pledge! If you have to pay for every impression, then you will quickly run out of money. So, instead of paying to send people to a campaign link, we are going to run ads that convert potential customers into email subscribers and followers.
You can run ads on Facebook for the purpose of having them follow your page. If you compare this with your tests of sending them directly to your campaign you will likely find that receiving a new follower is much cheaper than receiving a click on your link. So not only did you lower your cost per engagement, but now that they are a follower you can share your campaign with them as frequently as you want, without having to pay any extra.
Lets lower our cost per engagement even more. Create several test ads to get likes to a post. The post can be as simple as “like this post if you like ‘niche’ ”
What you’ll likely find is that it costs much less to get a post like, then it is to get a follower. However, our goal is to be able to contact the same person as much as you want without having to pay extra. Don’t worry, if you have less than 100,000 Facebook followers then there is a trick you can use to convert them. If you look at your post likes, you’ll see a page similar to this:
Next to the people that aren’t following you yet, you can click “Invite to Like Page”. This person was in your targeted group, and liked your post. So, there is a very high chance that they will convert to being a follower. If they don’t, then that’s a good thing to. The reason why, is you want to keep your engagement percentage on Facebook as high as possible. The means, you only want followers that really love your invention.
On my Facebook page, I realized that I could target all countries that speak all languages, and it drastically reduced my cost per follower. So I built it up to about 26k followers this way. That was a massive mistake. Since I did that, I’ve had to completely abandon that page and create a new one. Here’s why:
When I make a new post, Facebook shows it to only 30 random followers. Whether or not Facebook shows my post to the rest of my following is based on how well those 30 people respond. This means if you have even 30 people following your page, that aren’t die hard fans then it might crush your reach. If you start browsing companies FB pages you’ll find many companies that have put millions of dollars into FB ads, that are now receiving only 1 like per post. Don’t make this mistake, only grow your following with people that will engage with your posts.
Videos on my Case Study.
Ultimate Guide to Getting Press for Your Crowdfunding Campaign:
How to Build Press for your Crowdfunding Campaign:
Magazines earn money by writing content that people want to read and share. They then use different models to monetize this traffic. If you understand this, then you understand the WHY that your desired publications are looking for.
There are two steps to acquiring press.
- Create a story that people want to read and share
- Share that story with the editor that’s wanting to publish it.
Understanding this, you’ll soon realize many strategies that people take to go about it. So many strategies, in fact, that many people forget the two simple steps above. One of the most common strategies is to build relationships with editors, and then leverage that relationship. This results in editing your sales pitch just enough to look like a story, so that your new friend can publish it for you. If you don’t have the time to build up that friendship, then you can hire a PR Agency that already built those relationships. If you hire a good PR agency, then they will go a step further and actually create a great story for you.
Many PR firms will require a minimum of $10k on retainer to work with them and have no guarantee of getting your crowdfunding campaign published. There are also marketing agencies that specialize in crowdfunding campaigns. They also have mixed reviews, which I recommend checking if you’re considering this route.
I recommend not putting more than 20% of your marketing budget into PR. This can look like hiring out a PR agency, or hiring personal assistants to help do the work for you. There is also an option of paying for sponsored guest posts in your niche.
Press is a cost effective strategy if done well. However, it’s a gamble that doesn’t have a predictable ROI. Many people reading this won’t be able to afford a PR agency with 20% of their budget. So, let’s cover the steps to acquiring PR on your own.
Paying for Guest Posts.
Becoming a contributor.
Sharing your story with editors.
Create a Great Story:
Having a story that people want to read and share is much more important than having relationships with editors. We live in the Digital World now, and it’s become very easy to find thousands of micro influencers in your niche that have their own blogs and magazines. Focus on creating the story really well. Finding influencers that want to share your amazing story becomes a simple numbers game.
Ultimate Guide to Building an Email List for Your Crowdfunding Campaign:
How to grow you Email List:
This is where the final 40% of your marketing budget should go.
Of the 3 months of pre-launch marketing, you can pack this into the final month before launching. The reason why, is you might find that a lot of your social following converts to email subscribers. If you do a good job with this, then you can move this budget over to your social marekting budget and kill two birds with one stone. We will cover all methods so that you can run your own tests and see what works best for your campaign.
Here are the strategies that we will be using:
Leverage other email campaigns
Use FB ads to build your list
Leverage your Social Media to build your List
Leverage other email campaigns:
This has nothing to do with building your own list. So, lets get it out of the way. Instead of building your own list, it could be a great strategy to get on other companies lists. This could be similar to a shout for shout deal with similar campaigns in your niche. If I was releasing my musicians headphones, I would pay to be listed in a newsletter of musicians. For example a musicians blog or store might have an email list that would feature my campaign. Also, getting featured in Kickstarter’s or IndieGoGo’s email newsletter counts as this.
Use FB ads to build your list:
Remeber to test and retest. You can run an ad with the purpose of collecting emails and it can integrate with mailchimp. However, through testing you might find that you can use other methods to lower your cost per email subscriber.
Leverage your Social Media to Build your List:
This looks like including it in your Facebook page, writing posts that request followers to sign up, etc.
To get any of those methods to work; you will need a page that include the option to collect their email. There are many entrepreneurs that build an leverage email lists as their sole income. They often use squeeze pages like this. They are the experts in this field so definitely run some tests. What worked best for me in the Tech Gadgets niche was just including a subscription button on my Facebook page and on my website. I then focused on building my social followers and Google position and it naturally converted to an email list. I treat my email list similar to my Facebook following. I’d rather have a smaller list of very targeted buyers, then to have a lot of unopened emails. I do this for several reasons:
Email Lists are expensive, I’m paying over $1k/month through Mailchimp to send a weekly email. That cost is much lower than it’d be if I had been pushing to build my list.
- The more unopened emails you receive, the more often you’ll hit the spambox. This is similar to Facebook engagement since a lack of engagement converts to a lack of deliverability.
I hope this helps your campaign. I want to keep writing as there is a lot more information to cover. However, I don’t want the level of information to be overwhelming. Please comment below if this was helpful, what you want more information on, or if I should shorten some sections.
If something worked well for your campaign that I didn’t include, then please tell us about it in the comments. If you had a successful Kickstarter, then I would love to interview you as well.