Crowdfunding for energy businesses: How to get more backers for your cleantech campaign
Getting a project off the ground means clearing many hurdles. Crowdfunding helps you move faster. TRVST suggests:
Crowdfunding is a great way of raising funds to get new and often smaller projects off the ground and up and running.
Yet, successful cleantech crowdfunding campaigns deliver more than a product. Energy 4 Impact explains: “A large number of donors and investors are motivated by more than a financial return.” Generate excitement and leads before launching your next product with a purposeful crowdfunding campaign.
Align your crowdfunding campaign with your company’s mission, values, and brand.
Sure, you’re developing an exciting proprietary device. But your campaign will also generate interest in your business and possible leads for future relationships. The research article, “Sustainable financing through crowdfunding,” reports:
Crowdfunding offers a tool to create a community, geographically develop networks between backers and creators, and even generate long-term bonds between consumers, followers, and suppliers.
You may want product pre-sales, but don’t discount the power of the extra brand visibility crowdfunding brings. Consider your crowdfunding efforts as an extension of your overall business goals.
Find ways to insert your brand messaging, mission, and values into your campaign. Each design element should combine innovative ideas along with familiar brand elements.
Focus on the motivation of energy crowdfunders.
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Crowdfunding is community and purpose-driven. Your device may increase household efficiency or help consumers save money on bills. But viral campaigns aren’t based on saving money. Instead, they tackle the feeling of social responsibility. People want to share ideas that make them look and feel good.
Discover what motivates potential donors and use this data to design rewards that provide meaningful benefits.
The best way to learn how to build a crowdfunding campaign is to study what others are doing. It’s likely that those funding similar products and ideas will be interested in yours. Let’s look at the Indiegogo campaign for Legion Solar 4, a campaign that was funded in just three hours (according to them anyway!).
Plan your energy crowdfunding campaign.
Develop a strategy several months before your energy crowdfunding campaign begins. Take a look at what’s worked for others, and then, create attainable fundraising and PR goals along with a plan of action:
- Build a timeline for pre-launch activities.
- Break down marketing and follow-up activities into daily or weekly steps.
- Decide how you’ll measure performance.
Talk to board members or stakeholders early in your planning. Many successful crowdfunding campaigns leverage spokespersons in their marketing strategy for exposure across channels.
For the Legion Solar 7 campaign, for instance, their story presents:
- A simple introduction to the product. You know exactly what it is: “A DIY solar system with AI.”
- You understand the features: permission-free, quick installation, plug & play, etc.
- You see that you’re able to track the performance in real time, thereby validating the effectiveness of the system.
- You see real-life examples of how the system makes the average home more efficient.
- You see the cost savings and tax incentives.
- And you see the related tech (smart phone app, expansion sets, etc.) that proves that it’s been engineered for accessibility, ease-of-use, and long-term durability.
But more than that, you get a sense of their reliability as a brand:
We have raised over $2.7 Million on Kickstarter and fulfilled rewards to 27,000+ backers since 2013. Innovation is our passion and we hope that you enjoyed our projects as much as we enjoyed creating them.
Determine your incentives.
How will you reward those who are helping to fund your project? It’s not enough simply to ship when ready. You have to determine different perk levels to try to entice higher donations, as well as stimulate the impulse to share your campaign with others.
Use language, imagery, and perks to get people excited—expand your network and generate fundraising dollars.
Act on your communications strategy months before your campaign starts.
Don’t wait until launch to promote your crowdfunding campaign. According to an article in Energy Economics:
Cleantech crowdfunding campaigns are more likely to have higher capital goals, more photos, a video pitch, and longer text descriptions of the campaign.
For clean energy professionals, that means choosing a multi-platform marketing mix and creating content that generates excitement. For instance, Legion Solar demonstrates the benefits of its device using a variety of graphs, video tutorials, and images.
Promote your clean energy crowdfunding campaign before launch.
- Engage with your social media community, from Twitter to LinkedIn.
- Get in the news with press releases.
- Mention your upcoming campaign during interviews or in industry publications.
- Start emailing folks—and keep emailing them.
- Repurpose content for use in your crowdfunding campaign.
Line up your media content: professional videos, images, documents, and other resources so that once your campaign is live, you can update your page without delays.
Once you launch, you’ll need to garner immediate attention and donations. A lack of both reduces your visibility and chances of hitting your objectives.
With a creative plan that incorporates PR, social media, and email marketing, you’re ready to tackle energy crowdfunding platforms. You have limited time to intrigue and engage donors. Make the most of your resources with a cohesive communications strategy that builds brand visibility while funding your next product.