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Monitor, Respond, Update – Components of A Good Crowdfunding Campaign 5

RecycleIn our continuing series of advisory blogs on how to run a good Crowdfunding campaign we address three key activities in any campaign – Monitoring, Responding and Updating

Monitor

It is important to understand what is going on in your campaign so that you can amplify the positive aspects and tailor any aspect to any emerging patterns. So, in simple terms, keep doing what seems to work well and don’t flog a dead horse. To help you with that many of the platforms offer quite sophisticated dashboards that can provide insights on your project. Traffic rates, engagement, referrals etc., and a good analysis of this can lead to continued stream of actions and tweeks designed to improve the campaign. But the platform is not the only mechanism for monitoring the campaign. If you are using multiple communication channels then it is important to review what is happening there and monitor the results of your efforts. Using too many channels will be time consuming and using channels that are not being responded to is a waste of effort. So, for example, if you are sending email campaigns then use a tool that will provide specific insight about its impact. This might show how many people opened the mail, how many clicked on links, or forwarded it, the time of day these things happen. Create tracker tokens for links and see who is sharing and using them. All of this can help you tailor and enhance your campaign as you go. It may even be possible to find the time to compare different approaches and arrive at the best approach from a number of different messages. Build a monitoring framework and keep to it. Set yourself targets and benchmarks in order to measure progress. And be sure to act on what you discover.

Respond

If you are asked questions respond to them and do so quickly. Be open and friendly and take account of what is being said. If people are confused about something then clarify it in your response and check to see if the message needs amending elsewhere. In a reward campaign you may need to amend change or expand the range on offer as you go based on feedback. Platforms have varied rules on these matters but honest amendments responding to community demands are usually okay. In most cases, on reward platforms you cannot change the specifics of a reward once one has been purchased.

Update

Keep people updated. It might seem obvious but one of the great strengths of crowdfunding is that it establishes, or it should, a high touch relationship with your funders. Keep in touch with them and keep in touch with your community generally. Not everyone invests immediately, get them back to do it. Updates make your investors feel engaged, valued and involved. This sense of direct engagement in a project is a key motivator and one of the main principles of digital empowerment so it is a good principle to respect. By doing this you also maintain momentum which is key to a campaign. But this is demanding and time consuming so you should plan some distinctive trigger points prior to your campaign for releasing prepared material. The majority of what you publish will be responding to events, but having materials to hand to keep the campaign alive is essential. An important part of your preparation campaign is to prepare a publishing schedule for your project. This will include scheduled communications and publications, and material prepared ready for specific times, which might for example include announcements about hitting a specific target. Clearly bombarding people endlessly with repetitive messages will become annoying. Be creative, inclusive and informative and do be careful to avoid crossing the “irritating” line.

Remember this process can be prepared for and structured but, in many respects, it is an art not a science and never forget the old adage – we are given two ears and one mouth so listen hard to your crowd!

If you would like to attend one of our Preparing to Crowdfund workshops or some individual advice on your campaign then get in touch

Alternative Finance Is Coming of Age

Alternative Finance is coming of age and becoming mainstream in the UK as Governments begin to actively embrace and legislate for its effective use.

Earlier this month we had the privilege of organising a Parliamentary Reception at Holyrood entitled “Crowdfunding in Scotland – The Way Forward”

Hosted and initiated by Chic Brodie MSP the event brought together a wide range of interested and engaged parties alongside Parliamentarians exploring the opportunity presented by crowdfunding. It was great to see real interest and leadership at a Governmental level exploring and recognising that crowdfunding represents a real change in the way businesses and organisations across all sectors can find novel approaches to funding, and recognising this is more than a passing fad. The assembled participants heard stories of active and successful use of crowdfunding from a number of perspectives. This included Stuart Patrick CEO of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and their engagement with Funding Circle to help Glasgow business. Kevin Miller of RunRev who have recently closed a second crowdfunding round this time a DIY campaign for £250,000, explained why crowdfunding works for them. Warren Bader of Plan Bee who have successfully run a an overfunded round on Crowdcube set out the importance of this type of funding for such an innovative startup, and Neil Simpson if Brewdog revisiting their extraordinary successful fourth equity raise.

On the same day the Chancellor, George Osborne made further announcements that underpins the UK Government’s support for FinTech and alternative finance in particular. One of the key points was the promise to introduce legislation that mandates that Banks who turn down a business loan application will become obliged to offer to pass their details onto alternative finance providers. This builds upon the existing Alternative Business Funding website that provides a simple traffic light approach to assess the high level suitability of an firm to alternative finance.

All this is demonstrating a growing maturity in the alternative finance sector and how it is increasingly important for businesses, and all the groups and services that deal with them, to understand what is on offer. Our expertise in crowdfunding has already proven invaluable to many organisations wanting to understand, use, engage and succeed with crowdfunding.

We will continue to offer the sort of unbiased and balanced advice to clients from all areas as the sector progressively innovates and develops.
So, alternative finance is rapidly becoming part of the mainstream and part of your finance mix, do you know enough to maximise this opportunity? If not then be sure to contact us.

Get off to a Good Start – Components of a Good Crowdfunding Campaign 4

sprintblockAfter a short break we can continue with another in our series Components of a Good Crowdfunding Campaign. This time we focus on the importance of a getting a good start.

Good starts aren’t just a matter of chance. You can prepare for them and build expectation and anticipation for a campaign so that at the point of going live a burst of activity can attract attention, build confidence and carry through to success – the statistics bear it out.

Momentum builds confidence in all campaign participants. It gives energy to the project owners and confidence in a campaign’s potential for success is an important motivator for investors. A key indicator for that is a campaign that gets off to a good start has a much higher chance of success than one that launches flat.

If you can reach 30% of your total in the first week of a 30 day campaign you are very likely to succeed. On one platform with relatively low overall success rate, every single one of their campaigns that made it to 35% funding actually completed successfully.

The prospect of success conveyed in a good start often encourages media channels to pick up on it. Many crowdfunders will tell you that their attempts to garner media coverage for their campaign often only finds a welcome reception when the campaign looks like it will succeed.

The use of stretch goals has also become aligned with this idea. So a success point is passed, this in turn gets media coverage – as they like good news stories – and this in turn develops into a useful stretch gal. But its all underpinned by a good start.

So build a sense of expectancy before the campaign actually goes live. Don’t only start promoting the campaign when you go live. No, have a running start. IF you know people that do want to invest get them cued up and ready for launch time. This is not underhand or dishonest it is simply marshaling your resources effectively for maximum impact in the period a campaign is live.

Get influencers aware of your impending launch, and use your PRs and high touch communications wisely in conjunction with your launch date.

In other words plan for a good start, dont leave it to chance. As we said in an earlier post in this series – its all in the preparation and if your ground work and preparation slingshots your campaign away from the starting blocks, even with a typical slow mid race you are more likely to break the tape in the lead.

If you would like to attend one of our Preparing to Crowdfund workshops or some individual advice on your campaign then get in touch

Get the Messaging Right – Components of a Good Crowdfunding Campaign 3

twitterIn the third of our series on running a good crowdfunding campaign we focus on Messaging. Messaging is absolutely crucial. Your proposition must be compelling. If its not then why would anyone choose to fund your campaign when there are so many to choose from? So having a message that inspires, clarifies and explains exactly what your campaign is about and why someone should invest in it is key. A clearly defined goal or project that conjures a vision for investors is very important. But don’t be fooled. This is not a simple process and getting the messaging right, clear and understandable and engaging is hard and precise work.

The messages or calls to action, as some refer to them, need to be tailored to the audiences you are approaching in the first instance. So this may mean different approaches, different styles and different types of appeal. This can be necessary as each may be addressing a different demographic through a different channels and with an alternative perspective on your campaign. On the subject of channels your choice of communication channel and having messaging appropriate for that is important. At its most basic, consider that if twitter is a key tool in your campaign can you craft a good call to action that converts to 140 characters?

Whilst social media are powerful and commonly used tools for a crowdfund they are by no means universally applicable. a social lending campaign for example is less likely to draw on twitter as say a reward campaign, and it is important that you understand what are the best channels for your initial outreach. But, don’t forget the power and importance of weak links and make it easy for connections of your connections to reach out through their channels too.

Messaging is conveyed in the copy of any communications you produce be it written, video or otherwise. It is not uncommon for successful crowdfunders to test their messaging on focus groups and samples of their intended audiences prior to launching a campaign. If you do this ensure you use appropriate non disclosure agreements. This type of thorough preparation will significantly help your campaign.

If you would like to attend one of our Preparing to Crowdfund workshops or some individual advice on your campaign then get in touch

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