Award-Winning Crowdfunding Platform for Business in South Africa

Jumpstarter, being a registered Non-profit organisation, is here to help and share our insights / knowledge with others on the key takeaways and actionable lessons we discovered, which should be used for your next crowdfunding project and general marketing efforts online! 

Whether or not you ever run a crowdfunding campaign, there are lessons to be learned that can be valuable to any marketer, business owner or entrepreneur. When it comes to raising awareness or promoting a brand, product, service or cause, the usual marketing channels of content marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media strategy and public relations journalist blogger outreach are what is necessary to find and connect with people and customers.

The main difference with crowdfunding campaigns compared to marketing a business or start-up online is the time frame – normally marketing or SEO takes 12 to 24 months to see good results, but with crowdfunding you usually only have 30 to 60 days; so it’s marketing on turbos!

#1 Plan with your marketing team prior to the campaign launch

Set clear goals with your marketing team before hand.  Begin by explaining and detailing action items to your team members as to what you’re actually trying to fund, whether it’s a tangible program, or a more varied use of proceeds, such as support for your overhead costs, etc.

Also, make sure you define your goals with each team member and how you will measure their performance.

#2 Having a good press list is key

It is never easy to get famous journalists that work for major news organisations  to respond or pay attention to your cause, or even write about or run your story.

We have two tips for this section;

  • Sometimes smaller and more niche news sites can be very effective in getting your message out and even better at reaching people who are relevant (i.e. people who actually care about your cause and donate.)
  • You never know how many alumni from your college you attended who now work for major news outlets.

#3 Constantly posting updates from your campaign

This is a great way to keep people updated about what has been going on since you started the project, and the more it progresses, the more people are willing to believe in your cause because they see you are active in the cause!

#4 Large Prizes

Unless you have a large company or large backer in line before the project begins, large prizes may not be the best thing to add on the crowdfunding prize list.  You really need to know ahead of time what will be offered and have some contacts in mind that will be available to donate.  Medium size prizes seem to be the most effective.

#5 “all or nothing” model

Your campaign must completely hit your project goal (“all or nothing” model.)  If your project does not reach its goal, you don’t get to keep any of the money earned, and pledges received become credits for users towards other Jumpstarter projects.

#6 Use video and images to tell your story 

Jumpstarter lets you embed Youtube video/s within the body of your project.  Remember that the more people use visuals, the more dimension you create for your cause.

Examples of videos and  images used in campaigns are things like updates from the field, interviews with the founder and real life examples of how the product or service makes a difference in peoples’ lives.

#7 Social Media Strategy and Recruitment

Crowdfunding platforms and their subsequent successes are largely connected to social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+.  Let’s briefly review the phases that a typical crowdfunding launch follows.

  • First, we witness the soft launch, which lends itself very much to social media outlets.  This phase is where you use your social connections on the Internet during a (generally) one week period and contact the people who you deem to be your strongest campaign advocates.  Who were your past, most promising fundraisers?  Where are your passionate volunteers?  Who are your core supporters?  How do you get them to come back and join your campaign?  Along with social networking, keep your phone handy and your email lists even handier.  You will want to contact these close friendly connections personally so they feel like members of your inner circle…trusted confidants that you chose to contact first…some of which will be high powered influencers.
  • When it comes to Twitter and Google+, we advise using some of the same strategies applied when attempting to gain followers for ongoing campaigns. Performing a good themed keyword research, created search hashtags for competitive analysis – use what is hot and trending in Google+ and  follow the followers of similar organisations, since those followers are more likely to support similar causes.

#8 Communication & Transparency 

One of the most important keys to having a successful campaign is to have a clear goal in mind that you can communicate to readers.  You need to have a crystal clear message that your customers can understand and, certainly, how your customers can identify you.

With regards to transparency, make sure to let people know exactly how their money will be used.

#9 A professional website matters and helps convert pledges

You cannot escape this lesson and that lesson is to have an attractive, professional website.  On the Internet, you are not interacting face-to-face with people, you are interacting with them in a virtual space so your website is your first, and sometimes last, impression.

Add clear calls to action buttons and banners to help followers and website visitors get involved directly by donating and volunteering through the website.

#10 Building any company or brand’s name out on the Internet has the same principles

  • Content marketing is key.
  • Use helpful images, video, blogs and whitepapers.
  • Use and hire professional writers that will tell a story and convey a message and build credibility and solidify expertise with people.