Updated: Nov 24
While working at StartEngine, I signed a company knowing for sure they were going to be successful because they had over 500,000 followers on Facebook.
I was shocked when I saw their campaign slowly grow and eventually fizzle at less than $300K.
I realized that a campaign requires being extremely driven to engage with your communities in various ways. Half a million followers is not enough—you have to know how to create engagement and inspire your community to invest.
Companies that prepare for their launch on an equity crowdfunding platform, launch, and then let the campaign sit, waiting for the investments to roll in naturally and organically, are generally not as successful with their campaigns
Digital fundraising is a huge time and financial commitment so you need to be as proactive as possible by not only asking yourself these questions but defining clear and actionable answers.
Do I Have Funds in a Marketing Budget?
At the end of the day, equity crowdfunding entails targeting thousands of small-sized retail investors to help you reach your aggregate funding goal. The most successful companies understand that in order to do this effectively, they need money to set aside for advertising so that they can reach a large number of people.
At DNA, we highly suggest having a minimum ad budget between $5K to $10K for the first month of your campaign.
Depending on how successful the raise is, most platforms allow companies to make frequent disbursements on funds. In other words, they’ll allow you to pull out money during the raise so after you spend your initial budget you can withdraw money from the portal and reinvest a portion back into your ad campaign to continue driving investments.
Who Is My Target Audience? Are They Well-Defined to Target Them With Ads?
Understanding your investor audience is crucial for the success of your campaign. We like to say, the right business matched with the wrong investor is a recipe for failure.
Marketing to all investors is the equivalent of marketing to no investors.
Take the time to understand your ideal investor such as:
The niches they invest in
Once you create an investor persona you can create target audiences for advertising. Doing this allows you to allocate your budget with laser focus in a way that gives you a chance for greater ROI.
Not quite sure how to define your audience? Follow some of our quick actionable insights:
Ask yourself, what’s your product and service, and who does it cater to?
Create a persona-based on these insights on a tool like Xtensio
If you need additional support, reach out. We’re happy to give you more tips on defining your investor audience.
Do I Have Strong Creative Assets That Will Strengthen My Marketing Campaign?
Your existing videos, photos, and infographics will define whether an investor will either scroll over your ad or actually be engaged to click to learn more about the company and convert on your raise page.
We recommend that you start with the following assets before your campaign:
Professional team photos
Professional product and service shots
Professional founder video describing the brand
It’s important to note that video is one of the strongest content assets you can invest in. Various marketing stats show that 66% of consumers prefer to watch a video and that 54% of consumers want to see more video content. When it came to advertising, video ads generated a 47% higher CTR than pictures.
Ideally, these assets will create or follow a strong branding strategy that will give your investors and lifetime consumers a completely unique experience.
Do I Have a Pre-Existing Email List?
Email is one of the strongest marketing tools to use right next to advertisements for your campaign. Unlike social media where content is often lost in the feed due to the algorithm, email is reliably delivered directly to the top of your investors’ inboxes.
Email is a great way to create a personal connection with your investor community, while also keeping them updated on important campaign milestones, momentum in the company, product updates, and relevant content.
If you don’t have an existing list to start talking about your campaign to, no worries. Here’s what you can do to start building your list:
Collect contacts from your personal network (friends & family, LinkedIn connections, former coworkers, etc.)
Create a landing page with a lead magnet
Create a pop-up survey
Pitch your email newsletter on your social media accounts
Run a lead form campaign on Facebook
These strategies also help foster a loyal customer base, which will help you attract and retain brand advocates.
Do I Have a Marketing Manager?
“Creating a few quick ads and writing a blog post here and there won’t work.” our CEO Jason Fishman noted in his Forbes feature, “Marketing Doesn’t Work.”
And he’s right.
Marketing takes constant effort, creativity, and problem-solving. We like to say you have to constantly test, optimize, and scale. With that comes a lot of moving parts that are best managed if at least one point person is held accountable for marketing tasks and metrics, and ultimately maximizing investments on the campaign.
That’s maybe you as a bootstrapping entrepreneur, but we’re pretty sure you have a lot on your plate, where your time can be maximized if you have a team supporting you. Thus, we highly encourage you to either bring in an internal CMO or marketing manager or outsource your marketing to a team that specializes in equity crowdfunding and digital fundraising.
Do I Have a Marketing Strategy?
Knowing exactly what you need to do for your marketing campaign before you go live on your equity crowdfunding platform is absolutely essential. Historically the first few hours and days of the campaign are significant in driving initial momentum.
These first few days are easily some of the most important days in your campaign, and if you don’t know what you plan on doing for marketing during this time, you’re losing out on major investments.
Thus, by the time your campaign launches you need a strategy in place that will hit the ground running and carry you through the finish line.
But what exactly goes into your marketing strategy?
We suggest you identify:
Advertising audiences and channels
Content production (blogs, podcasts, webinars)
Content Distribution (social media, email)
Social media engagement and posts
The bottom line is your marketing strategy is the keystone in your campaign, and without it, everything else is at risk of falling through the cracks.
Go Into Your Crowdfunding Campaign Prepared
Making the decision to go into an equity crowdfunding campaign is a big choice. We encourage you to only take the leap if you have the time and financial resources to do so. More importantly, to only commit to the process if you’re ready to do so.
By mapping out these very crucial questions to prepare your campaign, we hope you know what needs to be done to set yourself up for success.
If you feel like anyone of these areas is lacking, then it’s essential for you to prioritize that area to strengthen your campaign.
If you need help, then lean on us; use us as a resource.
We’re in your corner to help you hit the cap in your crowdfunding campaign.