In our last installment, we covered utilizing an algorithmic strategy across three core activations: content, advertising and targeted outreach. We touched on the importance of first-party data for scalable targeted audiences and the magic of retargeting. We pointed to some of the content themes that investors respond to, including technology/innovation, team and really leaning into the identity of leadership. People are investing in visions that match their own.
In this installment, we’ll dive a little deeper into the successful strategies and tactics our agency has employed in over 125 equity crowdfunding (ECF) campaigns, raising over nine figures across verticals since 2014.
Ideally, your message is being communicated on five to six channels. We typically recommend email and blog (or article distribution) with four social pages including Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. If your audience isn’t on one of those channels, choose another. TikTok and Telegram have wildly divergent audiences, yet one may be closer to your target than another.
Updates and emails are critical. When campaign owners update their supporters, they raise an average of 126% more than if they do not.
Each crowdfunding portal provides an “Update” section, allowing you to communicate directly with people who have shown an interest in your campaign so far. Post here weekly. Parse out elements from those communications for organic social posts.
The most important thing you can do in any ECF campaign is to showcase momentum. People want to be on the winning team. Share your wins shamelessly and gratefully and watch your campaign grow.
Below are my recommendations, in order of importance, for most ECF campaigns (on average). These can shift on a case-by-case basis.
• Campaign update/email newsletter/blog.
• Social content.
• First-party publishing.
• Third-party validations (press mentions, testimonials, etc.).
• Shareholder meeting updates.
• Partnership announcements.
• Milestone announcements.
• Increased YOY revenue (if relevant).
• Hiring new team members.
All of this progress, when documented and shared, can push people into action at a faster pace.
Advanced content approaches include webinars, white papers, published articles, infographics and investor videos.
One smart move is to boost your organic posts (your social posts), which will help broaden your audience, making retargeting efforts more fruitful down the road.
If you’re in the list-building phase, run lead-generation ads to gather email addresses. You want to be pushing the same themes in your advertising as you are in organic. Organic posts that perform well can be used as full-blown ads.
We like to test, optimize and scale campaigns based on performance testing audiences against one another to discover where the sweet spots are and expand on those.
For investment campaigns, first-party data of historic investors can compound your efforts.
Everything you do in the first two-thirds of your campaign should be geared toward retargeting. Most successful campaigns meet or exceed their goals in the final 72 hours. This is because most of the late-stage investors have been eyeballing the campaign for days to weeks, watching the needle climb and making their assessment. Retargeting this pool will increase touch points to the most likely audience.
Seeing testimonial videos from investors, partners and founders makes the opportunity more real. A video ad to register for a live webinar can be money very well spent.
We’re always sharing the return on ad spend (ROAS) with our clients as our primary KPI. We want them to see how much each dollar they spend makes them in return.
We encourage founders to send 100 LinkedIn invites to targeted investors each business day. With this tactic, we’ve seen an exponentially higher response than we historically would over email. To elaborate, from this approach, we would recommend messaging new accepted contacts in order to drive responses. From those responses, we would seek larger-level investments, generally with an offline conversation in the funnel.
So, even though LinkedIn outreach is more fruitful than email, why did we put email at the top of the list? It’s faster to build an email list through paid traffic.
But the important thing here is not to limit yourself. The real point of this article series is the importance of engaging more than one tactic simultaneously. In fact, I’d recommend all three to start, based on a strategy. Pull back if something isn’t working, but isn’t it worth trying? We can point to a simple axiom here: All our successful campaigns have engaged all activations. All campaigns that did not engage all activations did not meet their goals. Does that mean that every campaign that used all these tactics hit their goals? No. I’d say 4 out of 5 campaigns that use all of the above tactics meet or exceed their goals.
That’s the point.
Recent announcements from the SEC raising cap limitations to $5 million will shift the landscape a bit, and we’re expecting to see larger spend commitments from fewer candidates.
Normally in a raise, you’re not validated until you’re at $500,000 or $1 million ($1.07 million is the current cap for RegCF), which makes raising in the current environment more challenging.
Lastly, we’re publishing as coronavirus countermeasures are being implemented. We’re recommending a digital-first approach for all businesses and seeing a tremendous increase in traffic, the effectiveness of brand-centric content, and the power of associating a brand with a worthy cause.
Nothing means more to me than seeing startups reach their raise goals. I trust this puts you ahead. Go, fight, win!