8 tips for a successful startup crowdfunding campaign

Crowdfunding can be a great way for entrepreneurs to raise money for a promising company and create buzz around their products. To run a successful startup crowdfunding campaign, you’ll need to be strategic, target the right people, and tell a compelling story. How do you do all that? Keep reading to find out.

The crowdfunding market is projected to grow to $300 billion by the year 2030 and it has been predicted that there will  be over 12,000,000 campaigns online by 2023.

Some of our alumni have been extremely successful in raising money via crowdfunding. Last year, UK tempeh brand Better Nature raised £1.6 million in just two days, making it one of the fastest-funded plant-based crowdfunders to date. 

Meanwhile, Pink Albatross, a vegan ice-cream startup based in Spain, recently secured €907,989 in an oversubscribed Crowdcube round. Their original funding target was €500,000.

We’re not trying to say that crowdfunding is a surefire way to raise capital. In fact, only around 50% of campaigns are reportedly successful. However, with careful planning, a solid launch strategy, and the backing of your community, you can help to improve your chances of being on the right side of that statistic. Here are our top eight tips for a successful startup crowdfunding campaign.

Choose your platform wisely

Do your research. There are lots of options out there and you want to be sure to use the platform that is the best fit for your campaign. Pay attention to the reach that platforms are managing to secure, as well as the type of audiences that they have, and make sure that they’re a good match for your startup.

You’ll also want to check out what marketing support the various platforms offer and what languages, payment options, and other tech features they support. Sign up for the newsletters of the platforms you’re considering in order to see the kinds of campaigns that they share, and be sure to check out which previous campaigns have been the most popular.

Be strategic

Your campaign does not start on the day that it goes live. It should be planned well in advance so that you have time to map out the project, put together the materials that you need, and build hype around the launch.

Tom Horbye, Head of Campaigns at Seedrs, noted that companies that raise 60% of their target in the first week of their campaign have more than an 80% chance of being successfully funded.

That means that you’ll want to create a buzz around your crowdfunding campaign before it goes live so that people are ready to pounce on the opportunity to support you when it does. Consider all the ways that you can reach out to people and what materials you’ll need – including press kits, email templates, and social-media strategies.

Startup investors: better nature raise via crowdfunding
Better Natures raised £1.6 million in two days with a crowdfunding campaign

Tell a compelling story

The two main elements of a crowdfunding campaign that investors typically buy into are the product and the team. Be sure to showcase your unique product offering – but don’t forget to tell your own story. We’ve spoken to many investors who have told us that the team is the most important part of a startup and it’s often what convinces them to back a company.

Investors and other funders want to know exactly who they’re supporting. This is your chance to inspire confidence about your product. Tell your audience who you are, what your background is, and why you’re the exact right person or people to make your company a success.

Create a professional video

Crowdfunding campaigns with videos earn 105% more than those without videos. This is your opportunity to inject some personality into your campaign and to let your audience see the amazing people behind the project.

Video content is also one of the best ways for attracting attention on social media. If you don’t have the skills in-house to create a professional-looking video, hire a videographer to do it for you. Make sure to share as much information as you can with them, so that they can bring your video to life in just the right way.

Panel of investors at the ProVeg Incubator Startup Demo Day

Build and harness a community

Your existing networks are a great place to start. Partners, investors, colleagues, and friends may want to invest or help you to spread the word. They may also be able to introduce you to new contacts who are willing to support your campaign.

Consider creating a dedicated email list and continuously adding to it as your circle of contacts grows. Also, think about the communities that you’ve already built through channels such as newsletter mailing lists and social media. How can you harness your existing contacts to engage with your new campaign?

As you roll out the campaign, it’s important to keep your followers engaged and updated. Research shows that campaigns that update followers regularly raise an average of 126% more than those who do not share any updates.

Target your marketing

This starts with a targeted message. In order to drive your campaign forward and actively encourage people to support your startup, you need to communicate your mission and vision clearly, in a way that resonates with your target market. If you try to appeal to everyone, you will not be successful. Identify your audience and use this as a guiding light when crafting marketing content – from copy to images to video – and everything in between.

Next, you have to decide where you will promote your startup crowdfunding campaign – and there are plenty of options. You should aim to spread the word far and wide while focusing the majority of your energy on the channels that bring you the greatest value – in this case securing money for your company.

For example, PR can raise a lot of awareness about your campaign, while targeted newsletters and LinkedIn posts might bring you a higher number of dedicated investors. Monitor where your leads are coming from as the campaign progresses, so that you can update your strategy to be as effective as possible.

Finally, don’t forget about your chosen crowdfunding platform as they could be able to promote your campaign for you. Speaking on the podcast Bossing It,  Better Nature Co-founder and CMO Elin Roberts, said that the marketing they did with Seedrs for their crowdfunding campaign was extremely effective because the people coming there were “already in the mindset to invest”. Seedrs also had data on people who had previously invested with them in other plant-based companies and might be interested in similar ventures.

successful startup crowdfunding campaigns seedrs
Startup crowdfunding campaign examples from Seedrs homepage

Take inspiration from others

Crowdfunding is quite unique in that the fundraising process, and much of the information that goes along with it, is shared publicly. That means that you can check out what other startups similar to yours have done in the past. What worked? What didn’t work? Take inspiration from previous campaigns in order to emulate the bits that you like, and that were successful, and take note of the elements that you need to avoid.

You’ll want to pay close attention to other plant-based or food-tech startups, since that’s the field you’re in, but researching companies that are different to yours can also provide a fresh perspective and bring new ideas to the table.

Get commitment from backers before launching

First impressions matter. Imagine that, on the day of your campaign launch, potential funders land on your webpage only to see “0 pledged”. This could be off-putting because it subconsciously signals that your project is perhaps not worthwhile.

Try to have a 20-30% commitment to your campaign before you launch. The most successful startup crowdfunding campaigns are fueled by momentum. Starting off with a sizable base signals that your idea is a good one and that people should buy into it before they miss out.

This is where your community and existing networks come into play. Be proactive in reaching out to them. You could even offer exclusive rewards or benefits to those who commit to pledge early on in the game.

For more crowdfunding tips, check out the first episode of our podcast, Meet the Food Innovators, where we chat to Christopher Kong, one of the co-founders of Better Nature. You can subscribe to the podcast  anywhere that you already listen to audio content.

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