Crowdfunding has experienced massive growth since inception, evolving from a small platform in 1997 to an established resource for startups and respected businesses alike. This rate of growth means two things: first, the marketplace is likely to get bigger (indeed, The World Bank has predicted that the crowdfunding market will represent $93 billion of investment by 2025); and second, that budding entrepreneurs will need to be adaptive and keep a close eye on the trends if they want a slice of the pie.
As such, we’ve put together a few tips to help you keep up – and keep winning – in 2018 and beyond.
Tip #1: Beat copycats and minimise risk by staying a step ahead
If your startup revolves around tech and you’re hoping to secure some investment, be aware that the game has really changed in the past few years. Where simple products that solved an obvious problem found some of the earliest successes on crowdfunding platforms, the market has boomed to such a degree that those with more straightforward ideas have found themselves crowded out – the simpler the idea, the easier to copy, after all.
The only way to outstrip copycats is to act fast – and prioritise innovative, complex ideas that can’t be plagiarised with ease.
Tip #2: Make sure you’re ready
As above, we advise that you act quickly to stay ahead of would-be copycats, but this doesn’t mean rushing to launch. For a start, if your product isn’t ready to be dispatched but you give away a plethora of details regarding the concept, you make yourself more vulnerable to plagiarism; but, most importantly, you run the risk of running before you can walk. If you secure funding based on an untested idea, your investors are not being given a proper picture of the risks involved – which could lead to spiralling costs, an unimpressive return on their investment, and damage to your reputation. Test and prototype your product or service and cost out the process as fully as possible – from manufacture to marketing to packaging and delivery – before launching a crowdfunding campaign.
Tip #3: A bog-standard page will no longer cut it
Whilst in the early-mid 2010s the simple act of putting up a crowdfunding page with some information might have been enough to net you some real interest, things have moved on in a big way. Video is essential, now; a marketing tool that has become so commonplace that it’s expected viewing for any investor or crowdfunding aficionado. But it doesn’t stop there: you’re advised to include as many extras as you can afford (illustrations, design schematics, animations).
Crowdfunding is now so popular that your page needs to be special to stand out from the crowd, so don’t skimp on your marketing budget. At the very least, you need to budget for a professional product video.
Tip #4: Consider advertising
If crowdfunders have learned anything since 1997, it’s this: a crowdfunding platform alone might not be enough to secure the funders they need. If you’re looking to create a real buzz, you may need to look elsewhere.
Paid advertising really works for crowdfunding campaigns – and it needn’t break the bank. Once your crowdfunding campaign has started to gain momentum, a few well-placed Facebook or Google ads can help you achieve that spike in interest that you crave.
Viral channels deserve consideration, too; a new phenomenon that has risen in popularity over the past few years, platforms like Viral Thread can introduce crowdfunding campaigns to a powerful new audience. There are paid options for such platforms but these haven’t been tested extensively enough to advocate; instead, make sure your video is tip-top (as per point #3) and then reach out. Viral content planners tend to favour innovative, exciting material, so crowdfunding campaigns are a perfect resource – and if your video is picked up, they could put your product in front of hundreds of thousands of potential sponsors.
You don’t need to run a costly campaign to make your crowdfunding dreams a reality: just be prepared to spend your money wisely, don’t always go for the safest option, and test, test, test. When it comes to the latter, Crowdfund Campus offers the perfect solution via our innovative Sandpit tool – a chance to test your ideas and campaign strategies in a realistic, simulated marketplace environment. Contact us today to learn more and book a free demonstration.