When planning your crowdfunding campaign, it is important to have a good story, to pick the right platform, and to have your rewards already planned and know how you are going to send them out. But it is equally – or perhaps even more – important to reach the right audience. If you are selling a new gaming system, you would want to target people who are interested in games; if you are selling tack for horses, you want to contact people who raise, breed, train or at least ride horses. Furthermore, you will want to consider your audience when developing your rewards. Are they the kind of people who are simply altruistic? Or would they prefer to get the first, hot off the press, items from your production? Do they have a lot of money to give, or will you need to pull in a lot of small contributions to make your goal? These are questions that are important to ask when setting up your crowdfunding plan.
The next question to ask yourself is where will I find these people? Of course, you will have your crowdfunding website up and running during your campaign, and no doubt you will advertise it on Facebook, Twitter and other major social media sites. But will this be sufficient to reach the people who want your particular product or that would be interested in helping your with your particular goal?
Never underestimate the power of contacting people in your local area – especially if your crowdfunding campaign is to support something that will benefit your community. For example, if you are trying to raise funds for a pavilion in your local scout troop retreat park, you would want to make sure you get the word out to parents, volunteers and sponsors who work with local youth groups – particularly your local scout troops. If you have developed software, a book, or an educational system, be sure to contact schools in a broad variety of places. Teachers and parents are likely to be your best target audience. If you have developed a cool new table-top game or software game, a sign at your local game store could pull in your local audience. At the same time, you might want to get ads placed on gaming forums that feature similar games.
The reason you need to consider how to reach your niche audience is that it doesn’t matter how perfect your story, or how wonderful your rewards for your crowdfunding campaign, if you don’t attract the attention of the right people. Getting a foot in the door with the right crowd makes all the difference in the world between falling far short of your mark, or gathering so much attention that you massively exceed it.
To spread the word locally about your campaign, place a small ad in your local paper to run concurrently with it – particularly if your focus would be of interest to an older, more conservative crowd. Donate to your local public radio station in exchange for mention, or buy some airtime. If your television station has a space for local advertising, and you can afford it, you might even buy one or two spots with them. Place flyers on bulletin boards in areas where your niche crowd is likely to spend time or pay attention to such things. Add your flyers to highly frequented places, such as your local laundromat, grocery store and post office.
To spread the word farther afield, make your Facebook and Twitter accounts attractive to the right kind of people. Set up accounts that focus on your concept. Keep them in good taste, while maintaining the general flavor of the product. An offended customer, or a bored customer, is one that you are not likely to get back. Develop an ad campaign through Google or similar online advertising media. Work with a professional Crowdfunding Portal, such as Best Crowdfunding Websites, to develop articles and press releases about your campaign – and to get those articles and press releases posted strategically on the Internet. Read their crowdfunding tips, and pay attention to their recommendations for running a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Before finalizing your publicity campaign, look back through it and again ask yourself, who would be interested in this product or concept? Where can they normally be reached? Are they a homogenous group that can usually be found in one place? Or are they more diversified, and likely to be found in many places?
If you are running a crowdfunding campaign, you might be on a tight budget – especially in the beginning of it. You will want to take advantage of as many free methods of advertising as you can find, and to invest your advertising dollars carefully. Engaging professionals who deal with crowdfunding campaigns daily is one good way to make sure that your campaign is moving in the right direction. Pay close attention to their advice, as this is their area of expertise and they are in a unique position to gather statistics on what succeeds and what does not in the world of crowdfunding. Which is not to say that a new way of contacting people couldn’t work or that some campaigns could not run completely contrary to expectation. But a good publicity plan that targets the right people will go a long way toward taking the guess work out of your crowdfunding campaign.
Who are the right people? One school of thought suggests beginning with your family and friends. Certainly, they won’t be able to come up with all of the funds for your campaign – if they could, you wouldn’t need to advertise at all. But they are a good place to start. Remind them that even if they cannot contribute, to be sure to talk up your plan to others as well as “like” it on Facebook, tweet about it, and mention it on any other social media in which they take part. If you can get your event to “go viral” almost right from the start, you are way ahead on your goals.
The next set of “right people” are those who participate in activities that would find your product relevant. If you are making a better pair of running shoes, you want to appeal to joggers, athletes, and other people who need comfortable, durable footwear. To advertise a line of jewelry, you need to appeal to people who like a little something to decorate their wardrobe. Baby toys and apparel appeal to parents and grandparents, or to people who need to find something to give at a baby shower.
The list of association could go on forever. But the point is, in order to sell something, you have an easier job if you can find someone who needs or likes that item. The same principle holds true when running a crowdfunding campaign. Your greatest success will be with people who already care about your idea. If you can reach them, your chances of raising the money you need become much better. If you can get the right crowd excited, you will not only raise all the money you need, you’ll even be able to do something more or better than originally planned – so find your target audience and have those stretch goals ready for a successful campaign.