How to build your small business crowdfunding campaign

You are a small business owner with a great idea and you want to use the support of your fans, family, friends, and investors to back it. But how do you launch a successful crowdfunding campaign for your small business?

A great crowdfunding campaign is simply a really well-told story.

A successful crowdfunding campaign starts the same way every marketing campaign begins—with a story.

What’s the story?

There is a reason behind your project—why you are developing it and the problem it solves.  So, to flush out your campaign story, ask yourself these questions:

  • What message would people easily relate to?
  • Why is this project important to our business?
  • What is our company story and how does it pertain to this project?
  • Why do people need this?

Then use your story to create a core message. Keep it brief and make it snappy—just one or two sentences.

This message will be used throughout your campaign. To create a great campaign, you need to identify your campaign goals.

After you have your core message, set one or two primary campaign goals. This should be how much you intend to raise and something that you want to accomplish with your campaign, such as gaining first-time supporters.

These goals need to be easy to track and measure.

Your campaign story comes to life when you align your goals with your brand.

So, to establish a relationship with your potential funders, pull your story, goals, and brand together in a meaningful way.

Brand archetypes are commonly associated with characters in a story. In your campaign, your brand archetype will guide and strengthen your campaign’s story. There are many different archetypes and knowing yours can help you to tell your story in a way that will move your audience to create a personal connection with your brand. For example, Snuggle Fabric Softener is an “innocent” archetype, while Doritos is the “entertainer.”

Build an engaging audience for your story.

Consider the visual and verbal content you need to get your message out there.

Your visual content will include your logo, colors, etc. Your verbal content consists of both written and spoken communication: your sales pages, video scripts, social media updates, and so on.

Rewards galore

Don’t forget to reward your backers with the right incentives. Set tiered pricing levels tied to merchandise, gift cards, early releases, events, and other exciting launches and deliverables relating to your business and this crowdfunding effort. By checking out similar campaigns on platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, you can put together some innovative ideas for how to package different funding levels.

One note on incentives: They may cost you money. So be sure to set your overall finance goal with this in mind. If you have to produce merchandise or hold an event to reward funders, where will that money come from? You wouldn’t want to raise money for your big launch only to immediately pay it out to food vendors and screenprinters!

Thank your backers for their support with a special gift. This can be tangible perks, such as products, or intangible perks, such as a digital download.

Leverage content marketing

Basic content marketing techniques can grow your community, promote your campaign, and ensure a successful launch. To build a community of potential backers, first create an editorial calendar.

Brainstorm content ideas that relate to your overall brand message, the making of your project, and anything else that might be of interest to your audience.

Then, build up a social media presence and an email list.  Having these things in place will give you an engaged community to promote your launch. When you do launch, implement the same techniques that direct response marketers use, such as lead nurturing.

“Warm up” your backers by first showing how the project will benefit them.  Share the details of your project later, when they are primed and ready to support you.

Your investors want to back a project that they can emotionally relate to and proudly support, so weave your core message and brand throughout the entire campaign.

Management consultant and brand strategist for small teams. Fan of dark tea, thick books, peace, and unity.

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