Equity crowdfunding requires a lot of preparation, which means business owners have to find some significant time ahead of a campaign. And after putting weeks of effort, it can be devastating to see a lacklustre response from the crowd.
So, if your crowdfunding campaign isn’t going to plan, here are the steps you should take to get it back on track.
It’s understandable to think that, when a crowdfunding campaign starts to stall, the proposition simply didn’t capture the hearts and minds of investors.
However, there’s every chance that the campaign just needs some more supporting activities. So, it’s crucial to stay positive, keep up momentum on your own side and not wave the white flag unless your campaign has actually closed and been unsuccessful.
As the founder of a dedicated equity crowdfunding marketing agency, I’ve seen a great variety of companies run campaigns across plenty of different sectors.
I’m still caught off guard by which campaigns grab investors and seem unstoppable, and which run out of steam halfway through. A campaign that looks like it’ll be a shoo-in on paper can sometimes have a tough time, while others that don’t seem to be as strong somehow soar.
What makes a successful crowdfunding campaign
One factor that helps determine whether you’ll get the investment you’re looking for, is timing. Your potential might be restrained by regulation, key investors might be transfixed on another campaign, or the market might not yet be ready to embrace your idea.
Hopefully, such pitfalls should be revealed by your market research, so you can hold off your launch date, if necessary.
Sometimes it’s just about momentum. Without having a significant minority of your target raise in the form of lead investment before you launch, the crowd might not have faith in your proposition.
Confidence breeds confidence, as they say. This actually works both ways. When a campaign attracts no investment for several days in a row, founders tend to lose their confidence too.
How to rescue a floundering crowdfunding campaign
Poor communication or the absence of outreach altogether can be another campaign death knell. While having your campaign on a popular platform like Crowdcube or Seedrs will help it get noticed by the crowd, don’t assume this alone will give you the exposure you need to hit your target.
Some investors need to be directly engaged, while many others can be found beyond the realms of crowdfunding platforms. So, you’ll need to go and locate and charm them.
Strong, clear and concise marketing messages will help you sell your proposition, explain the different strands and opportunities, and grow your reputation as a company that rolls up its sleeves.
If your campaign stalls, there are a few things you can do to attract and engage investors, and change the fortunes of your investment round;
1. Unleash some PR
Getting published in press and trade publications is a great way for building momentum around your crowdfunding campaign. Rather than viewing this opportunity to plug your product or crowdfunding campaign, consider how you can make it relevant to your ideal investors and explain your place in the market.
While founders naturally want to wax lyrical about their product or service, editors won’t care to publish a promotional article you’ve written. That’s what the publication’s ad department is for, and they’ll want to be paid.
Editors also won’t care that you’re crowdfunding. It’s neither news, nor interesting, and so neither the editor nor their readers will care.
Instead, think about what kind of content their audience – and your potential investors – might like to read about. Fill it with useful insight and advice, solve a problem they might have, paint a picture of the future of your industry, and mention, briefly, why your solution is one example of innovation.
Producing an article like this is the best way to get featured in the trade press. Your article will include byline and an ‘About the Author’ section, which will tell readers about your business and crowdfunding raise and send potential investors your way.
2. Do some LinkedIn/AIN networking
If you’re looking for investors, LinkedIn and the Angel Investment Network (AIN) are both great places to find them. You’ll want to find some quite specific people, so use advanced searches to target based on interest and industry, and, use specific messages to cater to each different group.
On LinkedIn, you can invite new people to connect with a brief message of up to 300 characters, and send a more detailed message about your investment opportunity to new and existing connections.
LinkedIn messenger isn’t the ideal medium to read long messages, so keep it concise, including only the key information:
- The problem you’re addressing and the solution you’re providing – 1-2 short sentences
- Your top USPs – 1 sentence
- Your market – a brief summary of size and trends to grab their attention
- Traction to-date – 3-4 bullet points
- CTA – usually a proposition, like “I expect you’ll have some questions. Perhaps we can arrange a quick call so that I can answer them?”
LinkedIn messages don’t let you attach files, but you can include links. We often use something like DocSend links to share a copy of an exec summary and give potential investors some more information about the company and proposition.
AIN is much the same, but you can be even more specific in your search. You also know that everyone you’ll be engaging with will be an active investor.
Instead of inviting people to connect, you’re able to send a brief nudge message of up to 5,000 characters which will send investors to your AIN campaign page. That’s where they’ll be able to download key documents and find out more info, so there’s no need to share your exec summary.
Directly engaging would-be investors is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your crowdfunding campaign while also reaching their extended network. With this, alongside, some PR articles in key publications, you’ll be able to lead a strong marketing campaign.
3. Launch some social ads
Ads on social networks, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, let you target users based on very specific interests and present a different message to each. In this way, social ads are great for engaging different investor groups.
One audience might be more interested in solving a social problem, while another might care more about investing in a lucrative industry, for instance. Or perhaps your business is likely to attract investment both from specific interest groups and traditional investors. Either way, social ads are concise and snappy ways to communicate honed messages to a specific audience.
They can also support your PR and outreach messages, jogging the memory of investors about company, your idea and your crowdfunding campaign.
Perhaps an AIN investor sees your outreach message, googles your company, and sees a string of your recently published articles. Maybe they download your exec summary but don’t get around to reading it.
Seeing a LinkedIn or Twitter Ad, for instance, would then remind them about your campaign and your original message, prompting them to respond.
You can even use Facebook to boost your PR coverage, helping you to grow your reputation via publications, whilst educating your industry. They really are the best chaser to your other marketing efforts.
Whether your equity crowdfunding campaign is in the planning stages, or you’ve hit the halfway point and are stalling, these marketing activities will help reinvigorate your campaign.
Sure, you always want to shout loudly at the start of your campaign, but you should always keep a few tricks up your sleeve, just in case.
About the author
This guide has been written exclusively for ByteStart by John Auckland, a crowdfunding specialist and founder of TribeFirst. Tribefirst is the world’s first dedicated marketing communications agency to support equity crowdfunding campaigns, and has helped raise in excess of £17m for over 50 companies. John is also Virgin StartUp’s crowdfunding trainer and a regular contributor to ByteStart. You can benefit from more of his crowdfunding expertise in;
- How to Get Investors to Back Your Crowdfunding Campaign
- How to Prepare Your Business for Crowdfunding
- Equity v Rewards Crowdfunding: Which is Best for Me?
- 5 Reasons Why You Should Crowdfund in 2019 (and How to Get Started)
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