A crowdfunding campaign is not like the baseball field in the movie Field of Dreams. Just because you built it, do not expect that people will come. You must promote your crowdfunding campaign for it to be seen by the masses. Promoting your crowdfunding campaign takes some planning, a little organization, a good pitch, execution, and a lot of persistence.
Planning: First, you need to define your network. List all of your family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances. Go through your cell phone contacts. List all of your e-mail contacts. Add all of your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, LinkedIn contacts, and other social media people with whom you are networked.
Organization: Categorize your network. Determine who are your most likely supporters. Put those people who are most likely to contribute into your “core” category. Then, take the remaining network members and put them into categories. You might have a category for Facebook friends, for example, who you will reach out to through messages and posting on Facebook. You might have a group of neighbors who are phone contacts. You may have an extended network of family members who you see rarely, but you have addresses for from a family reunion. Put everyone into a category, and make sure they do not appear in more than one.
Categorizing your network is important because when you start pitching your crowdfunding campaign, you can use these categories to increase your donations. Let’s say you have a category for high school classmates that you e-mail as a group whenever you have a great joke, or news about your old school. When you pitch your crowdfunding campaign, pitch them all at the same time, and let them know they are all being pitched. When you get your first donation from someone in the group, let them all know that someone in the group donated, and how you are now closer to your goal. Psychologically, two things happen: (1) people like to join the crowd, especially when they see success and (2) many people do not like to be outdone by their peers, so they will feel compelled to help you also.
A good pitch: Make sure your pitch is clear, concise, has a good video, and makes people want to help. Have an “elevator speech” ready. An “elevator speech” is a pitch for your crowdfunding campaign you could give someone in the time it takes to ride in an elevator. Always know how to describe your crowdfunding campaign in a short paragraph and be ready to give your elevator speech to new people you meet who may be interested.
Execution: If you do not ask for help, you are not going to get it. So, start asking. Go to your core group before you launch and ask them for help spreading the word, and ask them for a donation. Post your crowdfunding campaign, then let the world know. On your crowdfunding campaign page, Fund an Idea has links to share your crowdfunding campaign through email and social media. Go to your network. Post on Facebook and Twitter. E-mail your contacts as a group. Call people in your phone contacts and give them your elevator speech. Get the word out however you can.
Consider sending a press release to the local media. A good press release can help you get interest rolling for your crowdfunding campaign from people who are outside your normal network. A press release sent to your local media may get you an article in your local newspaper or on their website or an interview with a radio or television station. Good publicity helps in many ways, and be sure to share the publicity with your network through Facebook posts, Tweets and e-mails containing links. People like to be associated with achievement, and getting media coverage is a sign of this.
Persistence: Remember, you only have a short period of time to reach your goal, so you have to be persistent. If someone writes back via e-mail, be sure to follow up immediately. If someone posts on your Facebook wall, make sure you comment back and thank them. If someone tweets about you, or sends you a message on Twitter, answer them and retweet if it makes sense. Return all phone calls promptly. Make sure you get out any rewards that you have promised.
Update often! People want to see that you are engaged and still excited. Crowdfunding campaigns with frequent updates are far more likely to succeed than those without updates. Every 2-3 days, you should update your followers and your network on your efforts and what is going on. Remember, you only have a short period of time to get funded, so use that time wisely.
Most importantly, make sure people know about your milestones. When you reach 10% of your goal, let people know. When someone donates and gets a reward, blast out to your entire network that you just sent Aunt Mary the apple pie you promised in exchange for her $25 donation. As your deadline nears, tell people how close you are, and ask for help. Most importantly, personally thank everyone who donates to your crowdfunding campaign.