Banbury Howard

Crowdfunding? Your campaign’s quick fire five

Over the past ten years, crowdfunding has emerged as an important and alternative investment tool for both start-up and established businesses. Since the global recession, which started for the UK back in 2007, start-up companies have found early stage funding from traditional high street banks more challenging.

We’re often asked for our views on the key marketing areas that companies looking to crowdfund should focus on and, right now in the middle of helping with PR and social media for a crowdfunding campaign for our long term client, we thought we’d share some of the things we’ve found that really are ‘musts’, along the way.

Make it personal – When you’re writing your pitch, and when you’re pitching your PR, your story needs to have facts and focus, but it also needs to push on all the right personal buttons. This will help you to make a connection with the people you’re engaging with, compelling them to invest and, just as importantly, to share your story so that others feel the need to invest as well.

Call on the power of your networks – The secret’s really in the name – for successful crowdfunding you need a really big crowd to get behind you. Again, not just investing, but also sharing all your social media feeds, and with the right people and groups. This is easier on Twitter and GooglePlus, where you can strategically build up your followers right there, but with the likes of LinkedIn, you really do need to take the campaign offline and into your personal accounts, to build a strong list of followers before you get started.

Seeing is believing – Many investors, and the press too, want to see real, hard evidence of your work before they’ll invest or cover your story. If your product is still in development, you can create animated movies to show how it will all work, but there’s nothing better than seeing a prototype in action. Having these at your investor events, or even planning an event around your prototype demo, is a really good idea.

Reward with real benefits – While the obvious reward to investing in your business will be the return on investment that can be enjoyed later down the line, if your crowdfunding platform suggests you need to add a reward to incentivise investment, you need to make it something really worth having. Easily done for companies creating consumables such as the Pebble watch that gained notoriety for its crowdfunding campaign back in 2012 – less simple for our client, Extremis Technology, who are innovating humanitarian shelters for displaced people. This can be overcome with personal engagement and, of course, the higher the level of investment, the easier it is to offer a real ‘value’ reward. With this you also can add a competitive edge, simply by limiting that reward to just one, or a few.

Keep the dialogue open – We know, in marketing we’re always harping on about ‘engagement’ but it’s truly important here. Don’t stop interacting with people as soon as they’ve invested…send thank you emails, newsletters and other regular updates. They may feel they want to invest more later into your campaign, and they may keep sharing your news too.

Extremis Technology is an engineering company aiming to raise £260,000 via the Crowdcube platform to move their innovative and totally unique humanitarian shelters into deployment to help people in areas such as earthquake-hit Nepal and the poverty-stricken favelas of Dominican Republic. Now in the last few days of their 45 day campaign, they’ve raised over 70 per cent of their target and investments are still rolling in.

The orders are rolling in too and, as soon as their trial deployment is complete, the shelters can start rolling out – providing school rooms for Sugata Mitra’s cloud based education in Nepal, as well as in several different areas in Sri Lanka.

Investments start from just £10 and there’s still time to be a part of the Extremis Technology story.