It’s a very exciting time to be a start-up in Australia, with changes in legislation last year meaning equity based crowdfunding is well and truly “open for business”. This is also fantastic news from the perspective of the average Aussie looking to be part of the next great idea. By definition, equity crowdfunding means that almost anyone can invest in the startup ecosystem:
“Nearly anyone can participate in financing new innovation and reap the benefits of any future value increases, an opportunity that was previously reserved for high-net-worth individuals.”
– Forecasting Success in Equity Crowdfunding
From the perspective of startups and SMEs, this is an incredible development: the way equity crowdfunding works means that previously untapped markets for capital investment and avenues to grow are accessible like never before.
But with reward comes risk, and it’s never easy to get someone to part with their hard-earned cash (for good reason!). Capital is particularly critical when you’re in the early stages of your business, with many a start-up failing because of lack of funds; at the same time, being early-stage means that your business can be seen as higher risk, leading to a Catch-22. Almost any Aussie entrepreneur has heard the story of Melanie Perkins of Canva crashing on a friend’s floor in Silicon Valley, pitching what would one day become a “unicorn” multi-billion-dollar company (but receiving hundreds of rejections in the process).
Perkins had a great idea; turning that idea into reality required funding, and that required a compelling narrative, a compelling business model and the ability to interest investors and convert that interest into capital.
Fortunately, with the advent of equity-based crowdfunding on platforms like Birchal, it’s easier to reach investors without flying across the world or sleeping on floors; but just like face-to-face pitching, businesses engaged in equity crowdfunding have a limited time to tell your story, engage the reader and make them believe in your idea, your business and your people: in other words, you need effective equity crowdfunding marketing, which shares similarities with traditional investment-seeking in some ways, but in other ways is a whole new ball game played largely in a digital sphere. Neither digital knowledge nor investment knowledge alone will get you where you need to go – equity crowdfunding marketing is all about bridging that gap.
It’s also worth noting that an unsuccessful equity crowdfunding campaign can be damaging to your brand and future equity crowdfunding attempts – so equity crowdfunding marketing is something you want to get right, first time and every time.
So, how do you turn clicks into capital, and become an equity crowdfunding success story? As a digital marketing agency specialising in equity crowdfunding marketing, here’s some of the tips we’ve learned along the way.
1) Share your “why”.
The average equity crowdfunding investor won’t invest merely because of dry, hard-to-understand financial models: they invest in an idea, a team, a business they can believe in, and a compelling story of prospective growth. Sure, financials are essential for your business, but from a marketing perspective, what you need the most is to share your “why” – why you are different, why you’re a better choice than the next-best alternative, why your people are the right team to lead the business and unlock the potential of your product or service. Equity crowdfunding marketing requires a compelling narrative, convincing investors that they want to be part of your journey.
2) Have a fantastic business plan and pitch deck.
Plenty of great ideas started on the back of a napkin, but both for the sake of seeking equity investment and for your own success, preparation is key – and a robust business plan will help you turn interest into investment, while acting as an overarching strategy for where you want to go and how you plan to get there.
A pitch deck is more than a pretty elevator pitch or a condensed business plan – it’s an attractive, engaging summary of your business, the problem you aim to solve, and why your product or service and your people are uniquely positioned to do so. When you’re reaching out to potential investors on platforms such as LinkedIn, it’ll generally be the pitch deck that they’ll look at first before diving into a detailed business plan – you’ve got a short window of opportunity to attract their interest with a great pitch deck, so make sure you do it right!
As equity crowdfunding specialists, the Glide Agency has experience in pitch deck creation: just another way in which we’d be delighted to support you on your equity crowdfunding journey.
3) Understand and leverage social media.
It goes without saying that social media is a great way to drive traffic to your equity crowdfunding campaign’s landing page, but there’s more to it than that: your outreach strategy on LinkedIn shouldn’t be a carbon-copy of what you’re doing on Facebook, and in fact the way we build an audience on LinkedIn is completely different. If you’re using both platforms yourself, this will make sense to you – they don’t serve the same purposes in your life. The way you present yourself on LinkedIn, as well as the sort of interactions you have and seek, are quite different from Facebook; you may be more open to engaging with strangers about business on LinkedIn as a professional platform.
At the same time, you may be more open to advertising on Facebook – perhaps you’ve Liked sponsored posts, clicked through on ads that caught your eye, and so on. You’re not wearing the same hats on both platforms, and when you’re marketing your equity crowdfunding campaign, you need to think strategically to reach your target audience using the right messaging in the right place.
4) Build your brand from Day One.
You should start generating leads for your equity crowdfunding campaign well before you launch the campaign itself. Effective marketing for your business and its offering means you can build a following of high-quality leads from day one. By nurturing a community of brand loyalists who have genuine interest in you and your product, you’ll have an opportunity to build buzz and excitement in the lead-up to the launch, posing a unique opportunity to convert people who know and love your brand into investors.
“What you’re really seeking is to be trusted, to be heard, to be talked about and to matter.” – Seth Godin
5) Keep the ball rolling.
During the recent equity crowdfunding campaign for our client Tiller Rides, our bespoke outreach activities on Facebook took place in two stages, matching Birchal’s equity crowdfunding campaign structure: Expression of Interest, and Conversion. The second stage involved remarketing to users who had expressed interest during the first stage, in order to convert that interest into investment.
Keeping the ball rolling was critical here – Facebook is a very busy place, and it’s easy even for an idea that you’re passionate about, and would like to follow up on, to get lost in cat memes. By proactively keeping our Interested audience engaged, we were able to contribute to Tiller Rides’ successful crowdfunding campaign – a $1.067 million fundraise on a $15,000 marketing spend.
Lead generation is not enough – equity crowdfunding campaigns must also nurture leads. Make sure that emails and messages from potential investors are responded to promptly, maximise the value of your database, and retarget strategically so that you can best position your campaign for success.