In online communication, video is king.

Your video could be the first and only content your audience consumes on your campaign page, making it arguably the most important element of your marketing. Create a dynamic and compelling video by avoiding these four common pitfalls in videos that leave audiences scrolling on to the next thing:

  • Keep it short: The longer we spend on the internet the shorter our attention span becomes. Stick to 90 seconds or less to keep your viewers engaged through the video’s entire message. 
  • Get to the point: Hook your audience with beautiful imagery, an interesting fact, the reason they need to stick around and listen right away to keep them from losing interest before they’ve even begun. 
  • Show your face + use your voice: People connect to people, not slideshows. Recognize that feeling uncomfortable recording yourself is nearly universal; however, it is a fundamental part of creating a genuine connection between the person behind the screen and you, the person behind your mission.
  • Double-check the small stuff: With today’s smartphones, DIY video can be equally as successful in a crowdfunding campaign as high-production quality with careful attention to your lighting, any distracting background sounds, and avoiding overpowering music or sound effects.

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One of the fundamentals of successful crowdfunding is a high-quality connection with your community of potential supporters. Whether you’re staying in touch with thoughtful email notes, personalized thank yous, or quick conversations over coffee, your campaign’s strategy must include time and effort dedicated to the relationships at hand. 

Here are a few tools to streamline your connections and create dynamic and effective conversations with your crowd:

  • Social Media Scheduling Apps: Create a dynamic content marketing calendar and schedule your Facebook and Instagram posts across your social media channels with a scheduling app like Later or Hootesuite. Both businesses offer free versions of their tools and can help you drastically increase your productivity by batch creating your content and scheduling ahead of time.
  • Email Templates: Cut down on your email writing time by creating templates to copy, paste, and add personalized messaging to. Gmail users can save template emails with just a few simple steps detailed here, or you can create a folder of pre-written texts to keep nearby on your desktop when you’re sending your messages to your connections throughout your campaign.
  • Online Design Software: In digital communications, compelling visuals are as important as text, but graphic design isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Tools like Canva offer a free, intuitive platform with a diverse library of templates for graphics to add to your social media posts, email messages, or even print off as notes or flyers to pass out in your community.

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When you create content to share with your network on social media, you want to make sure you’re communicating in a way that inspires, intrigues, and ideally prompts your audience to learn more about your campaign. 

As you craft your content, regardless of which platform you’re sharing it on, be sure to touch on all of the following: 

  • Who are you speaking to and who are you speaking about?
  • What is it that you’re excited to share with them today?
  • When and where is what you’re sharing happening? Is there a deadline, an event, any specifics that are pertinent to a viewer of your message who is interested in participating further?
  • Why should they, or any member of your audience, care to listen, learn more, or support you?
  • Last, but not least, how should they move forward? This is your call to action, and it’s key to any effective marketing message!

Your best social media content will communicate in a way that inspires, intrigues, and ideally prompts your audience to learn more about your campaign.

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A call to action (CTA) is a strategic part of marketing strategy that prompts your audience to take immediate action upon responding to the content you’re sharing on your social media feeds, press releases, digital content, or traditional advertising mediums. This small but mighty sentence is the workhorse of your content and ideally, you’ll include one in every social media post you share. 

Curious about how to inspire your audience to leap into action? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know when our campaign launches and take advantage of our early-bird rewards! 
  • Visit the link below by Friday at midnight to pre-order this one-of-a-kind product and support our business’ crowdfunding campaign!
  • Share our campaign on your favorite social media platform and help us spread the word as we near our crowdfunding goal! 
  • Comment below with what menu item you’re most excited to try once we meet our campaign goal and launch our food truck! (Tag your friends who will join you for an afternoon treat!)

A call to action (CTA) is a strategic part of marketing strategy that prompts your audience to take immediate action upon responding to the content you’re sharing on your social media feeds, press releases, digital content, or traditional advertising mediums.

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Local businesses make up the fabric of any prosperous community, and all have seen a profound impact from the present and ongoing COVID-19-challenged economy. 

In his recent publication, “The Case for Local Rewards (In the Post-COVID Era),” Michael H. Shuman writes, “Rewards that incentivize local purchasing and local investing are increasingly becoming the gateways for challenging economic behavior.”

We know that relationships are a foundation for resiliency and prosperity in the rural economy. As people connect to businesses and businesses connect to local initiatives, a mutual and collaborative support structure is built, creating a foundation to revive in the face of turmoil. Through the crowdfunding lens, as Shuman writes, pre-purchased rewards offer a tangible and mutually beneficial approach to locally lending a hand.

Imagine a local farmer in need of support after the pandemic’s mandated closures of their wholesale restaurant accounts. The business needs money to survive, just as the community needs access to fresh food.

The farmer can raise capital by pre-selling produce shares at a discounted rate, allowing their business to gain financial support, and the community will receive a monthly delivery of fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables. Both the customer and the business benefit, thus cultivating a richer relationship and progress toward a healing community at large in a troubling time.

Read more on the power of locally owned businesses in the rural economy in the full publication, “The Case for Local Rewards (In the Post-COVID Era)” from economist, attorney, author, and entrepreneur Michael H. Shuman here

Relationships & Rewards Bolster COVID-Challenged Economy

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Did you know only one in five crowdfunding campaigns reaches its full fundraising goal? If you want your campaign to be one of the successful ones — that reaches (and even exceeds) its goals — you will need to know your numbers confidently.

Creating a budget for a crowdfunding campaign not only looks at your financial goals and projections, but factors in your contacts from email, social media, and other networks within your community. 

We know that 85-90% of the backers that give to your campaign are driven to do so by calls to action by you. This means that the desired number you wish to reach at the end of your campaign must correlate with the length and diversity of your contact list. It is essential to strategize realistic goals that factor in all the necessary costs to manage your campaign.

When you calculate your numbers, keep in mind that about ten percent of your contacts will convert — meaning, on average, one in ten of the people you reach to and ask for support, will follow through. 

As you crunch the numbers, you may find your target funding goal to be too steep to be fulfilled by the length of your contact list. Fortunately, now you know.  You can then be better prepared for a slam-dunk campaign by spending more time focused on growing your network or strategizing a project of achievable size. 

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Digital platforms plug into our human desire to fall into pockets of like-minded people and benefit from the extensive perks of our specific community.  We look to our neighbors for trends, emotional responses, opinions, and guidance, mainly when we are unsure of what direction we want to fall. This assurance that our friends, family, and peers are making similar choices for a product, an opinion, a color for their new sweater, is called social proof

No different from any other facet of life, social proof is relevant in marketing and an element that is critical to launching a crowdfunding campaign with a bang. 

Imagine scrolling through campaigns and finding a product with zero raised funds, and then imagine finding a similar campaign with an active list of backers, local organization collaborations, and proof that the campaign host has put some skin in the game. 

Which campaign are you more likely to pull your wallet out for?

Crowdfunding data tells us that the most successful campaigns launch with 30% of their goal already funded, confirming for new faces that your project is well received.

You can establish these pre-launch funds by sending personal asks for early financial pledges from your peers, making your contribution, or perhaps looking to funds received in grants for the campaign project at hand.  

As you navigate the remainder of your campaign, keep the concept of social proof at the top of mind, and publish updates in your emails and social media posts that highlight the traction your project is making. Testimonials, behind the scenes content, and photos of loyal customers engaging with the product or service are great ways to create proof that you’re offering an opportunity that’s not only beneficial to you but to the greater, like-minded community you reside within as well. 

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Implementing communication efforts for your campaign may fall low on your priority list as you prepare and build out all the steps necessary to press launch. When it comes to the time requirement for crunching numbers, managing a team, and creating a compelling and informative campaign video, making plans for daily Facebook posts and weekly email check-ins can seem like the farthest thing out of reach. However, a routine and thoughtful marketing plan can work for your campaign, building your audience, carrying you through slumps, and celebrating big wins along the way. 

Content is often unseen by your followers because of social media algorithms, so it’s important to plan daily posts on the platforms you’re opting to use to ensure that a stream of information is flowing and stands its best chance to be seen.

Also, you can make a calendar for publishing press releases, schedule email campaigns, and book any radio, newspaper, or digital advertising you budgeted for with the ad representative in your area.

In addition to routine updates on the status of your campaign, content topics can include behind the scenes looks at what your team is up to and announcements for new rewards or incentives. Be sure to carve out time to respond to comments and messages from your community to demonstrate that you care about them and are grateful for their interest.  

Last but not least, it is important to remember that this is no time for modesty, but rather a time to celebrate your efforts enthusiastically; lead your messaging with confidence and certainty that your project is gifting your community as much as they’re gifting to you!

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A library of fun and useful rewards with offerings that intrigue a variety of lifestyles within your audience is an essential element of a crowdfunding campaign’s success. If you’re feeling stuck on where to look next for offerings that will delight your potential backers, here are six creative ideas for irresistible crowdfunding campaign rewards!

  1. Offer presales of your product to create hype around the launch and ensure you have the funds to move forward with production like DirtBags did for their custom bike packs. 
  2. Create a collection of rewards based on a theme like The New Hampshire Bee Initiative did with honey and ecology themed products in support of a community mural raising pollinator awareness. 
  3. Offer an experience–an art class, tour, sports tickets, or a farm to table dinner and drinks like Monroe Downtown–and create an opportunity to reach those who aren’t looking for extra swag. 
  4. Look to the calendar and create themed rewards or baskets that appeal to gift-givers for the holidays on the horizon, whether Christmas, Mother’s Day, or Valentine’s.
  5. Much like Butte’s high-five offering for five dollars, you can create a low-dollar option for those with tight budgets and provide an opportunity to contribute without a burdensome commitment and reward them with something as simple as a heartfelt note or sticker for their good deed.
  6. Orchard Hill Breadworks created a reward for a custom catering event, appealing to locals with plans to host a wedding, reunion, or large gathering in the near future. Preselling your company’s services to those looking to book their upcoming projects is a great way to create higher dollar rewards!

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Crowdfunding can “democratize” access to capital — fueling entrepreneurs locked out of traditional funding channels such as women, and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs. The Local Crowd continues its work to bring the power of crowdfunding to more and more communities. One such community, represented by OmniWorks, serves BIPOC entrepreneurs in Los Angeles. Their online incubator program just attracted their largest cohort yet.

“By focusing on entrepreneurs that are often overlooked by other incubator and accelerator programs, we are democratizing access to capital, markets, and financial and business education, resulting in more sustainable community-based businesses, quality jobs, and wealth generation,” said Brent Imai, OmniWorks Founder and CEO.

TLC’s intentions include melding this benefit, access to capital for individual entrepreneurs, with another crowdfunding outcome — strengthening social capital, beyond each individual entrepreneur, and into the whole community.

At TLC, we believe that humanity is at its best when we care for one another. We work hard to make sharing and caring easier for you.

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