“If you build it, they will come,” is a fantastic slogan for inspiring a baseball game in Field of Dreams, but not all the bright lights of Hollywood are able to fix some of the submission for crowdfunding. In haste to create a revenue source for their dreams, hundreds of people everyday eagerly post projects on sites like Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and Crowfunder, and IndieGoGo.
In truth, most projects are a little like Tom Cruise screaming “show me the money” in Jerry Maguire.
Apologies for the digression into movie history!
First – Lets Talk About Crowdfunding Demographics
Although GoFundMe boasts “over $75 million dollars raised since 2010,” the reality is that most projects that fail to receive funding lack the six essential social media elements that create a strong approach to answering the most basic marketing questions.
Indicators show in a study by American Dream Composite Index the demographic for crowdfunding as:
- Age. Individuals ages 24-35 are much more likely to participate in crowdfunding campaigns; those over 45 are significantly less likely to back campaigns.
- Gender. Men are much more likely to take a risk on an unknown startup.
- Income. Those earning over $100,000 per year are the most likely to invest in startups through crowdfunding.
- See: http://bit.ly/crowdfunding_demo for more in-depth information.
Next – Habitual Behaviors of Crowdfunding Investors
In truth, there are three levels of crowdfunding investors:
- Level 1 – Initial Investors: These investors are the people who buy in early because they love the concept or idea. These people usually also enjoy the reward connected with the contribution and the ability to say they helped fund the idea. These are the early adaptors of most markets and technologies.
- Marketing Motivation: Making your crowdfunding campaign sharable and rewarding is very important to this type of investor as well as creating a steady update stream for monitoring growth such as pictures, video, and social media.
- Level 2 – Get On Board Investors: These investors are interested in watching the project progress to see if it will be viable. For them, the burden of proof – even if it is slight – is overwhelming. These people need to see some justification for investment through either press coverage or other investor interest.
- Marketing Motivation: The stream of social media with newsletters combined by way of press releases, images, and video help move an investor to get on board while they can because these options open the door to sharing and seeing others participate in the growth process.
- Level 3 – Home Stretch Investors: There are two types of home stretch investors. First, the Finalists are people that have just found out about the project through a friend / family member or a “Get On Board Investor” with a stubborn streak who decided not to be left out at the last minute. Second, the Secret Santa’s are the people who dig deep to invest a little more to the project in order to push it over the top.
- Marketing Motivation: Investors are attracted by being a part of the winning team. These people are usually not new to the project or crowd sourcing in general. The marketing needs to accept these advanced investors with special rewards and recognitions with contests, informational presentations, and product placements in social media. For example, ask for their opinion on color selection, optional features, and functionality that allow them to claim some ownership in the production or outcome.
Finally – Let’s Get Social!
These six essential social media marketing strategies touch each type of crowd funding investor in the wheel-house of their marketing motivation:
- Social Media Share: Social media avenues help build an input channel for potential investors and build an audience accustomed to sharing viral information. At the same time, certain social medias like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and blogging creates searchable content for Google.
- You Too YouTube: Youtube is the number two search engine in the world. Is that enough reason to have video as a part of a crowdfunding campaign? Yes! Without doubt. More importantly is the video evidence of each successful step of the process. From the initial demonstration of the product or service to latter stages of development, video has the ability to gain buy-in instantly because investors can see that the product actually works and how it works.
- Picture Perfect: Outside of the initial design sketches or ideas, most projects have the basic pictures of drawings or images taken with a camera. Seriously, it is time to shine up those images because a picture is truly worth a thousand words. When a potential investor can see someone using the product to solve a problem, there is the advantage of being able to become a part of the situation and the solution.
- Good Newsletters: Without a good newsletter, a crowdfunding campaign fails on several levels. First, this is the best way to stay in connection with funders to update progress. Second, newsletters are sharable from one investor to others with a simple click of a forward button. Third, newsletter gives potential investors the opportunity to answer MAYBE if they are not ready for YES and would decide NO. Lastly, a newsletter engages investors and keeps the project in front of them so they can fund again if needed or necessary.
- Press the Press: One huge often overlooked social media strategy is approaching the press through magazines, newspapers, and industry related bloggers. Armed with a strong press release that explains the best of the project, coverage from the media – online and offline – can give great exposure, fantastic links, and high level creditability to any project. Most investors will trust a review from the New York Time or a respected industry blogger.
- Web Ready: Many projects rely on crowdfunding websites for information and interaction with potential investors; however, a website devoted just to the project and marketing materials can be a useful tool in encouraging fast communication with press and reliability for investors. With a minimal space and restrictions of a crowdsourcing project guideline, a website gives project owners room to spread out to share information instantly.
Realistically, crowdfunding is just like selling a service or product WITHOUT the service or product on-hand ready to ship. In many cases, the marketing must work harder to convenience potential investors of the value proposition.
Last Stop – The Crowdfunding Mentality
Even as Kickstarter touts that there are over $606 dollars pledged every minute with over 50,000 people funding more than 10 projects, there is only a 43% success rate with some categories significantly skewing the curve upward.
If you want to see the stats for Kickstarter – http://bit.ly/kickstarter_data.
Consider this – As the link above shows, if your product or service is in the realm of frequently successful categories for crowdfunding, it does not mean that the road is easier. In fact, it probably means that your social media needs to be more on track and targeted to reach the audience segmentation.
Without proper social media marketing, potential project owners should consider buying a lottery ticket instead of working through the process of creating and executing a crowdfunded marketing campaign.
In networking events all across the country, from Chamber After Hours to professional luncheons to business mixers, there are always those people to meet and greet everyone. Often referred to as the “movers and shakers,” the truth is these people are in possession of the networking personality. You know, the networking personality is that set of charismatic characteristics that turns everyday business people into born promoters and marketers to help grow their contacts and enhance their connection based.
While this may seem like good fortune for those lucky few, the truth is the networking personality is only a matter of practice of these few simple rules:
- THIS IS NOT PROM – GET OVER YOURSELF: This is perhaps the hardest rule for people to overcome. Many people stand on the outside of groups during networking events waiting for someone to come up and speak to them. In truth, the only person who ever talks to them is the servers passing around food or drinks. The purpose of a networking event is meet people. It is expected. Every time you approach someone and extend your hand, you are taking a risk, but most people receive an approach very well and appreciate the effort.
- “NO” CAN BE GOOD: In most people’s minds, hearing NO is the ultimate failure in networking; however, in some cases, hearing NO can be a ground breaking opportunity to disengage early and move on to an introduction that will lead to businesses. In this case, it is very much like buying a house. You will know quickly if the person in front of you is a good contact for you. There is no tragedy if both of you disengages and moves on to new connections. Be professional, ask for their business card, and move on!
- TAKE INSTEAD OF GIVE (Business cards): There are two problems with giving out a business card without being asked. First, you are spending money with every business card you give. Save your business cards for the people who are great leads. Second, if you give someone your business card, this means they are responsible for the contact. Receiving a business card gives you the opportunity to stay in contact and makes your responsible for the correspondence. Even in cases where the person is not a good contact, ask for a business card for net-weaving (see below).
- PRACTICE NET-WEAVING: INTRODUCE (3) AND CONNECT (2): At any business event, the goal is always to make connections and introduce yourself to other decision makers. Net-weaving is a great way to keep your placement in the minds of those who are currently contacts as well as make new contacts by connecting people around you. At every event, make it a habit to introduce three current connections and connect two new connections to others. Why? It is simple – when you are interested in other people’s business you stay in their mind.
- YOUR NAME TAG IS YOUR FRIEND: There are three very common mistakes to wearing a name tag. First, most people with pre-printed name tags tend to forget to wear it. Just like wearing a shirt or shoes to a networking event, your name tag should always be in the right place. The second most common mistake? Putting your name tag on the wrong side. Your name tag should always be on the right shoulder because people’s eyes travel up your arm when you extend your hand to shake hands. Third and final note about your name tag? Invest a few dollars in a pre-printed name tag. Often times, writing your name on a white tag is hurried and looks unprofessional as you try to squeeze your name and company into the little 5×7 sticky paper. It is worth a few dollars to have a clean, branded name tag that is easy to read and associate.
- BE KNOWN FOR SOMETHING – A DISTINCTIVE SIGNATURE: Establishing a moniker for your appearance or a staple that people can lock in their mind is vital to the networking personality. In a place where everyone is wearing a golf shirt with khaki pants or a simple black dress, it is easy to be “the person who always wears __________.” For women, it might be a scarf or a hat. For men, it might be a bow-tie or a cleaver shirt pattern. Either way, connecting something about your person to your brand makes people remember you all the more.
- IF YOU JUGGLE, YOU LOOK LIKE A CLOWN: Over and over again, business struggle with the presentation of their materials. Especially true of women with purses or bags, digging for a business card or, worse, giving someone another person’s business card is incredibly unprofessional. If you have to dig for a clean, crisp business card, then it says that you do not have your act together. HINT – keep your business cards in your right pocket and the business cards of others in your left pocket. With this habit, you will automatically be able to produce a business card at moment’s notice.
- SOCIALIZE LATER – MEET THE PEOPLE YOU DON’T KNOW: It is easy to fall back into the waiting friendships of people who you know and feel comfortable with at a networking event; however, socializing is not the goal. Your goal is to get out there and meet the people who you are not connected. Take the time to gather your senses and really get comfortable with those who are not in your business circle while using those opportunities to connect with familiar people through net-weaving.
- EVERYTHING IN YOUR HANDS ARE OBSTACLES: At many networking event, food and drinks are supplied as part of the entrance fee. Although this is done with goodness to allow people to relax, everything in your hand presents an obstacle to shaking hands, giving business cards, and interacting with others. If you have set down a drink or ask someone to hold a plate of food, then you are not presenting the most positive professional appearance before those people who are thinking of doing business with you. Clear your hands and streamline your interactions.
- THE BIGGEST FAILURE – FOLLOW UP: Many times, when people leave networking events, the handful of business cards end up on a desk or thrown away. The most important thing about the networking personality is the plans for how you will connect with the leads you develop during the event. All of the dynamic character and outreach of the networking personality will be wasted if you do not follow up immediately with people while you are fresh in their minds.
There are many reasons to work on building the networking personality. If the cliché is true about first impressions being the best impressions, then creating a dynamic lasting connection relies on claiming a unique presence in the mind of each person encountered at the event. After all, there is no point going to a networking event if people don’t remember you have been there.
Pinterest is the growing fade among business owners – but few know exactly WHY they are using Pinterest (except that everyone else is using it!) and how it can help grow your business.
Lets take a step back and examine 5 ways your pins can bring you social media traffic and boost your SEO efforts.
Enjoy the video and tell us what you think….remember, if you have a question or would like for us to make a video to help you navigate the social media jungle – email us at info [at] magicmarketingusa dot com!
Dont forget to PIN us – http://pinterest.com/magicmarketing/