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When you think about funding startups, you can imagine competitions with almost zero chance of winning or solid venture capitalists who won’t be surprised by your concept. “Those who collect millions to implement their ideas are just lucky,” you might think. It sounds amazing, but a strong community can help you achieve success much faster and easier.
The explanation is simple: the less a person has to contribute or “risk”, the more likely you are to receive a contribution. In this article, I would like to share some tips from my own experience that can help you get your audience interested in your solution and turn them into supporters. Every worthwhile idea will find supporters. Believe me.
RELATED: Who Needs Venture Capitalists When You Can Crowdfund?
1. Make sure your idea offers a solution
In today’s world, no idea can be completely original, but it’s better if you can come up with a unique solution or greatly improve what has already been done. How did we do it? We have long seen the advantages and disadvantages of working in the music industry and we wanted to develop something that would really bring innovation to the area we know.
Before creating the platform, we conducted market research. We explored whether such initiatives already exist, what they do and what mistakes they make. Along with evaluating the lifetime value of the product, we matched our idea with the needs of our target audience. It is very important to understand whether our project has a solid foundation for the long term.
In our case, we saw a lack of travel fans and a skyrocketing number of independent artists, but the way to get funding for your projects was still limited to signing with a label. Artists can invite their fans to take part in the journey, paying tribute to the community of people who have supported them along the way.
2. Show your audience a clear strategy
Be prepared to tell the truth. Explain in detail how your platform works, say at least a few words about any possible risks, and show how the money you raise through the power of the community will be used to improve the project and increase its value for this audience. It’s important to give people a good reason to support you.
Why do I emphasize this so strongly? People are always reluctant to part with money when there is no obvious use in it. Once it is clear to participants how their money will be used, what features they will have access to, and what the end goal is, a significant proportion of them will be ready to help you with crowdfunding.
Keeping in touch with your audience is not only about keeping their interest, but also showing how much you appreciate their continued support.
3. Support you easily
The more clicks required, the less likely people are to join you. So, make the funding mechanism user-friendly. The stability and success of your monetization depends on this. Prepare a short registration guide and make sure site navigation is easy to understand. People in 2023 value their time and expect everything they use to be convenient.
There are many crowdfunding platforms available specifically for startups or projects in the Web3 niche. Examples are Patreon, SeedInvest Technology, GoFundMe and other similar sites. I will not recommend any particular platform, but will share some criteria to help you choose the most convenient tool.
First, look for a solution that can be directly integrated into your platform in the form of a button or a direct link on the main page. Again, convenience is one of the top priorities for successful and predictable funding. Secondly, choose the one with the most payment methods integrated. Even the most ardent supporters of your idea can refuse you if they have to make several transactions in order to pay you. Third, since there are so many fake versions of websites out there, be sure to tell your users how to identify a fraudulent platform link or page.
Related: 9 Steps to Launching a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign
4. Don’t forget to spread the word
When choosing the best way to share your initiative, consider which social networks or media your target audience uses to get ideas. Participate in networking and exhibitions. Connecting with influencers and others in the industry you want to work in increases your chances of success tenfold.
We played more than one instrument at the same time. We worked hard to improve our social media, pitched our idea to leading journalists, and attended events where we could regularly meet potential investors.
The specific marketing plan you use will depend on the market you’re trying to reach, your target audience, and the services you plan to offer, but the following tools will come in handy 99% of the time:
Develop relationships with the media: Promotion through news releases in the world and specialized media is beneficial both at the stage of inception and at the stage of maturity of the project. Firstly, they will create “hype”, and secondly, they will increase your experience. Create articles for publications, comment on current events, participate in interviews, share announcements in the media and on the project website.
Take advantage of advertising services: Set up targeted advertising on social networks trusted by your main audience, use retargeting and communicate with influencers. Brand ambassadors, who are opinion leaders in your chosen niche, will give credibility to your project.
Educational content: Blockchain, Web3 and other complex topics require user education. This task can be easily accomplished with high-quality content: the site’s blog, FAQs, research, white papers, videos (both long and short ones like TikTok), podcasts, AMAs, and case studies. In this case, the user interaction path with your product might look like this: reading a blog post, visiting a landing page, and finally requesting a demo of your product or leaving a request.
Effective social media marketing: Over time, this contributes to the formation of a community of loyal fans of the brand. Share news, ask for feedback, introduce the team, post behind-the-scenes content, use different forms of storytelling, use niche-related memes or jokes, and so on. The funnel might look like this: ad clicks, channel subscription, site visit, and demo request.
Affiliate Marketing: Startup founders often don’t have enough time to promote their business, which is understandable given their other responsibilities. That’s why it can be a great option for outsourcing promotion or running affiliate programs. The latter allows you to get a predictable result at a predictable price, which is especially important in the early stages when there are few resources.
RELATED: 12 Key Strategies for a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign
As you can see, the idea lays the foundation for the project, but does not guarantee its success. Even not-so-original ideas can sometimes work because the people who came up with them made good use of their resources, chose the best ways to market them, and, perhaps most importantly, didn’t give up.
My goal was to show you that business angels and venture capitalists are not the only sources of multi-million dollar funding. Millions can be earned through creativity and consistency. You can develop your own strategy that will end up with great results using the resources I have provided based on personal experience.