Crowdfunding Marketing: Creating a story

There is a youtube video of a talk given by a man by the name of Darren Marble, the CEO of CrowdfundX. He has shown that there is a method to the success of a crowdfunding campaign. He mostly talks about equity crowdfunding, but the three principles he talks about in his talk are just as applicable to other crowdfunding campaigns. You’ll see in a minute.

darren-marble

The three elements of Crowdfunding

  1. Crafting a story
  2. Producing the story
  3. Distributing the story

Part 1: Crafting a story

There are a couple of things he tells about this, but the most important one is that you have to create a story that emotionally connects with the audience. The impact of your company, product or service has to be much bigger than just making money for yourself. You should ask yourself the question: “What is your contribution to society?” and be able to answer this very concretely. In other words, as Simon Sinek would have asked it, “Why do you do what you do?”. If you have the specific and concrete answer to this question you can start with step 2, that is producing the story, preferably visually.

Part 2: Producing the story

And a visual one at that, at least that’s what I got from the talk. Darren talks again about a couple of questions you need to ponder on as a business to really know what it is all about and why your story is more compelling, better, funnier or just more authentic than that of the other. The questions to ponder on are:

  • What does your company really do?
  • How are you different than your competitors?
  • How are you going to make money?
  • How are you going to return the money to the investors? Or in our case: how are you going to show our backers that it is not only for a good cause but it creates the impact they want to see. Another way is to provide perks. Small or large gifts that come as a counterpart of the donation.
  • Why the backers need to take action now? In other words: How do you create an urgency with your crowd that they feel they have to give money this instance.

This is one of the more important and cognitively more difficult challenges to counter when you have a campaign I’ve already seen. Now the part where it is actually all work.

Part 3: Distributing the story

In this part they explained or better said Darren explained what they exactly did to distribute the story. He shows that the best campaigns make a huge community. To create this you need to do a lot of different things. He talked about PR and blog outreach, the journalists and bloggers they helped out, two months of preparation, email marketing, lots of press hits and with this creating a huge community.

For example the amount of effort putting into this one CF-project they had. They spend 50.000 on the campaign and roughly got 1 million back.

During this campaign they reached out and try to use 1000 journalists and bloggers to write about the project, had dozens of press releases, used digital marketing tools like: thunderclap, reddit, AMA check, product hunt campaign and hacker news.

Darren also talks about paid media. 80% of their budget goes to Facebook ads. To lock the target audience. With this you can target your audience very specifically. So if your definition of your target group is valid, it can have amazing results. The way to do that is to check your first 500 investors. Get their emails. Facebook matches them u to people that own the profile and does an analysis of the demographics of  this baseline audience. This creates a look alike audience/persona and Facebook gives you 500k to 1 million people with the same demographics. Then buy 100.000 ads and use them to target new investors.

One of the last tips he mentions and als adds that it is maybe one of the most important things to consider when doing business with another company is: “You have to believe in the company you’re doing business with”.

Conclusion

To get a very large community in a small period of time for a crowdfunding campaign you need to invest money into Facebook ads and a large enough team to execute the other activities that will be needed. Creating a target group, structuring and creating your story, setting up a list with journalist and bloggers, contact them all try to draw attention from the conservative media and much more.

Since we don’t have a budget, or at least a very small financial source we can use for this campaign, we aim to use the other mentioned methods. We’ve been busy with many things that are being called under the attention of this movie, which is, I think, a good thing. For example we have made long contact lists, have used and are using digital marketing (social media and mailing), We have created a storyline and with that a tagline “We take them to the starting line”.

I think it would be very interesting to see how Facebook in this sense works. I’ve only had the liberty to check out Facebook insights these last couple of weeks. This was very helpful, but I think when you have some budget to spend on it it becomes even more interesting. The ideal place to find, communicate and getting involved with your target audience.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

– Bas

 

An introduction meeting with UT

Just before summer break we had a meeting with a three of associates of the University of Twente, Jaap van Tilburg, Juan Manuel Jauregui Becker and Rob Geerts. When I asked I was allowed at this meeting. One of my first official meetings I had every had the honor of being part of, which was very interesting and to be honest a little overwhelming for me, but nevertheless I was very happy that I could be a part of it.

During this meeting we have discussed what the opportunities are of collaboration between the UT and Delitelabs. The University is profiling herself as the “entrepreneurial University”. Two large projects they have helped build up are for example Venturelab and PC3 (Product Co-Creation Centre), but more on that later.

The Three Gentlemen

jaaptilburg
Jaap Tilburg was one of the professors. He is now a entrepreneur in consulting and innovation for the last 15 years. He is the CEO of a company that is called Van Tilburg innovation BV and Program manager at Venturelab.

A little about Venturelab:

“VentureLab East offers business development support for technology-based start-up businesses and is a business growth accelerator for well-established companies. Our one-year business development programme jump-starts and provides sustainable growth for young businesses, as well as long-standing companies, which aim to grow further and more rapidly. We are located in Enschede, in the Netherlands.” – http://venturelabinternational.com/

juanjaregui

Juan Jaregui Becker studied in Venezuela and does research in Product Development and Design. He has done a TEDx talk with the title “the power of product development for social change”. He is one of the professors that we still have contact with and are actually planning an event from 10 till 15 October. To see the preparations of this event or the review of the event that will be coming up just click on the provided links.

robgeerts

The third professor that joined us was Rob Geerts. He has studied at the University of Windesheim in Zwolle. Has been teacher in Logistics & Economics and Retail has been a product manager at Superior Electronics.

The meeting

With these gentlemen we have discussed a couple of possibilities of a collaboration between the University of Twente and Delitelabs. Both parties first laid down detailed information about their own projects and their outcomes of this meeting. Delitelabs started for example in Valencia and had their first two courses their. Especially because the unemployment rate in Spain is very low. At the time of the courses in Valencia the rate of unemployment in the target group youth (15 to 25 years old) was more than 50%. Christof did also a course at the organisation THNK, with whom we are still collaboratively working. They are one of the network advisory boards of DL. Just as Wework, which is a co-working space. During the first two courses they provided a free space for the winners of the pitch events that were organised at the end of the course. Another organisation that really helped us out was the organisation ID&T which provided us with a free office and working place for about a half a year at the industrial area at Sloterdijk station.

We already talked a bit about the initiatives that the University of Twente is cooperating with. Venturelab and PC3 are two of them, KEB (Kansrijk Eigen Baas) is another. The common factor in all these initiatives are that they have been set up to stimulate and offer guidance to young starting entrepreneurs.

So if you read carefully the collaboration between DL and the UT, especially in regard of these initiatives, is ideal. We have the same vision, or at least outcome. We want to help people to develop and stimulate their entrepreneurial skills. We both think that these skills are very valuable and are actually the skills that we now see that can help people to help themselves. You see this everywhere in the world and this is what we want to stimulate.

At the end of the meeting we agreed to have a followup meeting where we will discuss possibilities regarding tangible activities, probably in the form of an event. Luckily this really happened. You can read about the arrangement.Really looking forward to it. It will be a prototyping event where our students will be guided in the process by students of the UT. One week of creating new ideas, forms and business models that will be revised and sharpened. Read about it here!

Conclusion

So excited that we are going to probably have an collaboration with the University of Twente! Hopefully we will soon hear what we can maybe co-create.

 

Sources:

Coaches

Second talk with my substantive supervisor

Today I had a talk with my supervisor about my proceedings, followups and the concretisation of my Plan of Attack. The new PVA was posted on the 20th of June. Remarks from the last time were about the subquestions that were not well enough defined. Today when we were talking about it. It seems I need to change the main question due to changes made in the substructure of the subquestions. I need to think more about the concrete idea what I want with my main question, which can be for example: Creation of a crowdfunding campaign toolbox / Campaign movie about the course of your research and implementation.

The main question was to large

Moreover the research I’ve done so far which leads me to believe that the implementation of my findings will be way to much work for one person to do on his own. There are whole teams implemented to work on crowdfunding campaigns from what I’ve seen, heard and read so far.

When is my thesis a success?

Another thing is the success. When do I think that my thesis is a success? So in other words, how will I define that success? So that I know when I have reached it. Another question to ponder would be: What is our message? That’s indeed exactly what we have to figure out. One sentence or a few words that define our mission as a company. So that we can use that message as a tool to filter out actions that we need to take or not.

Conclusion and my follow ups

Two places where I can look for answers are Experts and having interviews with them. Which I’m currently pretty busy with, next week I’ll be speaking with a crowdfunding professional and a online marketing professional to see if I can learn something from them or to see if they have any suggestions on how to move forward with my endeavours. Also take a look at the competition how they do it. Take notes. This last one, I had not thought of yet, so this one I could pretty much benefit from. Food for thought!

– Bas