If you’ve already launched your crowdfunding campaign, but you’re trying to increase reach and find new backers, what are your options? Let’s assume you don’t have a time machine to go back to before launch…
How to find new audiences
There are really three ways you can find new audiences for your crowdfunding campaign once it’s live:
- Talk to your own networks – send emails, make social media posts, send WhatsApp messages, make a phone call, have a coffee.
- Rely on amplifiers – people or organisations who’ll be willing to share your campaign onwards to their own networks.
- Pay to reach new people – paid social ads, boosted posts, paid search, advertising in one form or another.
If you’re asking how to reach more people, you may feel like you’ve exhausted the option of talking to your own networks. But before you move on, remember two things: a crowdfunding campaign only runs for a limited time, so you can afford to talk about it a lot while it’s live (because it’ll be over surprisingly soon); and, social media algorithms being what they are, many of your networks simply won’t see most of your posts – so they’re nowhere near as overloaded with it as you are!
If you’re just short on inspiration, here are 20 social media ideas for quick posts you could make – perhaps it’ll help get your thinking flowing again.
Finding your amplifiers
But when you’re ready to expand… what about amplifiers? If you were able to spend some time before launch on preparation for your campaign, you may have some ideas of who these could be – you may even have a list of who you want to approach. But if you’re starting from scratch and your campaign is already live, you’re already working against the clock, so you’ll need to use your time as effectively as possible.
Make it relevant
If you’re producing a play about trout fishing, and you find someone with a large and keen audience of anglers and fly fishers, then great! But if you’re producing a how-to business book, then no matter how big that audience, this isn’t right for you. If there isn’t a good match, those audiences won’t be interested to hear about your work – but perhaps more importantly, there’s no reason for the person you’re approaching to help you out.
Make it reciprocal
If you’re approaching someone to ask them to help you spread the word about your campaign – what’s in it for them? Why should they use their platform to shout about a project that belongs to someone else, and use their connections and their community to make money for you?
Think about what matters to them – is your project a cause that’s close to their heart, or something they know their followers will care about? Is this a project which will really connect with or offer support to this particular community? Do you have rewards to offer that these audiences won’t want to miss out on? Work out what it is about your project which will grab their attention.
And think BIG!
Look for amplifiers who have a) a significant number of followers, and b) whose followers don’t much overlap with yours. You probably don’t need thousands of backers to make your idea come to life – you probably only need a handful of people who really truly get what you’re doing. But to find those people, you need to get your campaign in front of many, many more. You generally want to find amplifiers with a few (showing shared interests) but not many shared followers – like, for example:
Paying to reach new audiences
If you feel like you’ve done as much as you possibly can with talking to your own audiences, and researching and contacting possible amplifiers, but you’re still falling short, there’s always the option of paid advertising.
Some crowdfunding campaigns rely almost entirely on this, but most of the clients I work with don’t use it at all. That isn’t because I know some magic formula for reaching audiences. It’s because of the difference between product and project campaigns – and I mostly work with project campaigns.
If you’re creating a product, then – just like more traditional sales models – you have a certain profit margin on your product. You can choose to use some of that profit margin on advertising and still make a profit (because otherwise nobody would bother with ads!). Your aim is to sell enough of your products to make the crowdfunding campaign worthwhile.
But if you’re crowdfunding for a specific project, then your aim is to walk away from the crowdfunding campaign with as much money as possible to spend on making it happen. Any costs eating into your final figure are taking away from your real purpose of fundraising. That’s why project campaigns often avoid expensive-to-produce or expensive-to-ship rewards – and it’s also one reason why advertising often doesn’t make financial sense for these types of projects.
Do you have a time machine?
The best option of all, I’m afraid, is to solve as many of these questions as possible before you launch. Your pre-launch period is an unmissable opportunity to make sure your own networks and audiences are in good order (and try to increase your reach if you think you need to), to research and begin contacting potential amplifiers without the pressure of a ticking clock, and to plan your budget in detail and see whether you want to experiment with advertising. By the time you’re ready to launch your campaign, you can already have a good sense of where your backers are coming from and how they’re going to hear about you. Which would mean you don’t have to rush against the clock once your campaign is live.