While there are many things that factor into the success of an equity crowdfunding campaign, there is no doubt that the size of your audience can play a huge role in how your campaign performs. Statistically speaking, the more people you ask to invest, the more investors you’re likely to get. But how do you build up a large addressable audience? You may have a brilliant product or idea, but your business, and your campaign, won’t make it very far if no one knows about it.
We’ve put together some strategies that may help you build up your audience to position your business for success – and a successful crowdfunding campaign down the line.
Before you publicly launch a crowdfunding campaign, you are limited to marketing strategies that do not mention, or even hint at, the campaign. Building your audience is a long game. Materially changing or increasing your marketing and advertising strategies just before a crowdfunding campaign is generally not recommended – it could be seen as conditioning the market for your soon-to-be-offered securities.
Capitalize on Your Network
The best place to begin is with who you already know. In this case, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of your family, friends, customers, and business network. They can lay a solid foundation for your audience and will likely be willing to help you spread the word about your business or crowdfunding campaign.
If you’re compiling a list of people to reach out to, begin with those closest to you and work your way outward – you likely have more contacts than you think!
Create a Landing Page for Email Sign-Ups
As you’re building up your audience, having a means to capture email addresses on your website is crucial. That way when your campaign does launch, you can readily email those who are interested in your business with an invitation to invest as well as a link to your offering page. Although not everyone who visits your site will sign up, the ones who do are likely the most interested in what you’re doing, which makes them more valuable potential leads.
Build Up a Social Media Presence
Utilizing social media can be a great way to tell your story and communicate with potential clients and investors before, during, and after your campaign. In order to build up a following, consistency is key, and you should aim to post regularly at times when your audience is online. As you begin posting, be sure to review your analytics to get a better idea of what performs well and how you can optimize. During your crowdfunding campaign, be sure to share links to your offering page daily and encourage your followers to invest.
Utilize Your Email List
Your email subscribers are a highly valuable asset and shouldn’t be discounted. Unlike your followers on social media, your email audience is an asset you own. For example, if Facebook went away tomorrow, you would no longer have access to your followers. Your email subscriber list, on the other hand, is something you own and isn’t reliant on another platform. This isn’t to say that social media isn’t important, rather, it should be a part of a multi-channel strategy.
Before launching a crowdfunding campaign, you should already be communicating with your audience via email. Whether it be through weekly or monthly newsletters, exclusive deals, product offerings, or new blog posts, having a consistent cadence of communications will help familiarize your audience with your business and lend credibility to your brand, which, later on, will hopefully translate to more conversions when your campaign finally launches.
Reach out to the Press
Whether you decide to contract an agency or do things in-house, nailing down a public relations strategy can really help your media efforts. Not only does securing coverage with the right media give your business more exposure to potential investors, but it demonstrates buy-in from an unbiased third party.
Consider what publications your target audience reads and think of how your product or business could fit into a story. When crafting your pitch, you should be tailoring your outreach to each journalist, so be sure you know what they cover and be able to offer them a reason why you’re reaching out to them in particular – outside of selling your product, of course.
For general coverage, sending a pitch email will do. If you have specific news you’d like covered, it’s appropriate to send a full press release.
If you’re reaching out to the media yourself, you should prepare a media kit that includes the following:
- Information about your business, product, or service
- Your brand’s story and mission
- User testimonials, if applicable
- Contact information
- High-resolution images and/or video
- Link to your landing page
Having all of this information ready to go will make the job of the journalist you’re reaching out to much easier, which increases the chances they’ll want to work with you in the future.
Remember to respond with “no comment” or “you know we cannot discuss that” if you’re asked about a possible investment campaign.
Holding events is a great way to get the word out about your business to both potential customers and investors, as well as garner positive media coverage. If you can tie your event into something that’s already going on in your area – for example, something like SXSW – even better.
An audience won’t simply appear overnight – it takes planning, consistency, and resourcefulness to build and grow. By capitalizing on the network you already have, ironing out your digital presence, building a good relationship with the press, and becoming active in your community, you are laying a solid foundation by which your business’ audience can grow before, during, and after your equity crowdfunding campaign.
Ready to start your equity crowdfunding campaign?