Crowdfunding has changed how entrepreneurs bring new products to market. It has allowed thousands of innovating entrepreneurs to raise money, build brand awareness and join a broader conversation with large numbers of potential backers, all while still in the product development process.
With the ever-evolving world of crowdfunding becoming more established and populated, successful crowdfunding campaigns can no longer rely on luck to reach their target audience, they need a strong approach and a perfectly executed strategy.
As Founder & Managing Director of Blazon, Europe’s leading crowdfunding agency, I’ve had my fair share of experience in the crowdfunding space, completing over 50 campaigns and raising over $20M. I want to share some of my experience below, with my outlined key stages of a crowdfunding campaign strategy.
Crowdfunding campaigns are split into three key sections: Pre-campaign, Campaign launch and Live campaign.
Pre-Campaign (8-24 Weeks)
Crowdfunding pre-campaigns are focused on testing content, visuals and messaging while simultaneously defining a target market and audience for a product. This can be hugely valuable for a company in their innovation stage and can generally shape the campaign structure, campaign page and overall approach as the pre-campaign period develops.
The goal for a successful pre-campaign is to generate interested customers in the form of email leads and gain valuable feedback on which marketing techniques and approaches convert into the most customer engagement and excitement. Pre-campaign leads are generated through Facebook, Instagram and Google Ads, with supplementary assistance from press and blog articles. Generally advertising budgets should be outlined with the end-goal in mind, with an indication on how much each lead should cost and how many leads will convert into a sale (i.e. $1/lead with 10% lead conversion on a $100 product would require 10,000 leads ($10,000) to reach a goal of $100,000 from ads alone).
Campaign Launch Period (One Week)
The most important days for any crowdfunding campaign are the crucial launch days, where campaigns discover how many leads convert into direct sales, and how many press outlets cover the campaign. Through pre-campaign lead generation, campaigns are able to estimate the conversion numbers and set the goal amount to estimated return on investment in follow-on advertising (an ROI of 4x+ is generally favourable).
Live Crowdfunding Campaign (4-8 Weeks)
Throughout the campaign, the focus is on running highly optimised ad campaigns, with continued press pitching to increase exposure and reach the target audiences. Generating more converted articles results in a wider exposure of the campaign and hopefully an increased number of backers - with the aim to fit as many sales into the short 4-8 week window as possible.
Crowdfunding plays upon the immediacy and limited time period to encourage early-adopters to receive a discount on an innovative product before it hits mass-market - a win-win for everyone involved.
Campaigns don’t always go to plan, and without the correct planning, the dream of crowdfunding success can be shattered. Careful and meticulous planning is key and with the correct approach, campaigns can have a higher chance of success in the competitive world of crowdfunding.
Michael Raven is founder and MD at Blazon PR.