Whether your crowdfunding campaign fails or succeeds is often decided long before your campaign actually starts. With billions of people connected via the internet, you have an incredible amount of networking power. There are so many groups and online communities for virtually every industry and topic: if you want to get backers, you need to reach these online niche communities. But if you wait until your crowdfunding campaign starts to make connections, then any outreach will probably be perceived as merely advertising and you won’t make it very far. Thus, the process of online networking and community outreach must begin months BEFORE you launch.
Online message boards and forums
People congregate online in many different ways. It used to be real-time chatrooms, but now “forums” and “message boards” are how niche communities usually communicate. You’ll have to create an account and profile, which usually states how long you have been a member, as well as how many posts you have made. “Active” members that make lots of posts and actively contribute almost always have more influence than newer members that rarely contribute. Brand new members who self-promote usually get called out by other members as nothing more than spam – don’t be that guy !
Spend time searching for popular online communities in your target industry, and get in as early as possible. Be genuine, contribute quality content, and when the time comes to start your crowdfunding campaign you will be in a much better position to attract backers.
Blogs and news sites
When it comes to blogs and news websites, you also want to get in touch as early as possible. Many of the most popular blogs plan and schedule content days or weeks in advance. If your campaign is already underway then by the time you get published it may be too late.
Furthermore, when crowdfunding, you need the publicity and positive momentum early in the process: the more successful you are the more credible your campaign looks to others. If weeks go by and you are still far from your target, it deters new backers. This unfortunate catch-22 is well known within crowdfunding circles, which is why the pre-crowdfunding stage is key ! As soon as you launch you want your pre-crowdfunding contacts to contribute to build momentum and credibility.
In-person networking and meetups
If you really want to do it right, then find local groups, clubs, and in-person meetups in your area. Check out sites like meetup.com to find entrepreneurs with similar interests. Face-to-face meetings and relationships will almost always carry more credibility and weight than a few email conversations. It may seem like a lot of work, especially if you need to travel to find one, but local meetups can really foster creativity, create powerful connections, and ultimately gain true supporters and backers.
The bottom line: start early, be genuine, and contribute quality content to whichever online communities you decide to join.