Many entrepreneurs consider equity crowdfunding a no-brainer. You have a great idea, an innovative product, and/or a disruptive business model ‒ why wouldn’t the crowd invest?
You may be surprised to find out, however, that the majority of equity crowdfunding campaigns never reach their minimum funding target. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of clear messaging. If you can clearly communicate your proposition in a way that resonates with investors and activates their imagination, you’ll stand a far better chance of getting funded.
Clear, compelling messaging is the key to a successful crowdfunding campaign. It’s the thread that runs through all your pitch materials telling investors why you are special, why they should invest, and why now is the perfect opportunity.
So how does one create compelling campaign messaging?
Find your story
When assessing clients to work with, I always look for a good story – either the founder story, a lightbulb moment, or something personal that led to the idea behind the business. So, ask yourself: what’s the human and relatable part of the campaign? What was the story that brought me to this point?
Telling a good story is probably the most undervalued part of campaign messaging. Founders often jump to their idea, USPs, or the traction so far. Of course, these aspects are important, but it’s the story that triggers emotion, creates memories, and builds relationships.
Don’t be afraid if your story is long-winded and unfocused to begin with, you can always trim and make it more concise. The most important thing is to get it down on paper!
The one-minute pitch
Every entrepreneur will be familiar with the elevator pitch ‒ that 20-second snapshot of your business that communicates all the key information. Of course, there is more to an investment opportunity than the basics of the business, so the 20 seconds needs expanding.
That’s why, when I run equity crowdfunding training programmes, I get our entrepreneurs to start by creating a one-minute pitch presentation. They note all of the good things about their business in a succinct way before developing these points into a short script that can be used as a crowdfunding video.
By keeping the video script short and succinct, it forces the founders to focus on the best, most unique aspects of their business and leave the less important things out. It also creates a clear, coherent message that can then be used across the rest of the campaign messaging.
Meeting an unmet need
Once you have your founding story and one-minute pitch nailed down, it’s time to consider your value proposition. Who does your product or service help? What unmet need or problem do they face? How well does it meet and solve their needs? How many people have the same need? How urgent is the problem?
You can have a fantastic product, but unless it addresses an unmet need, it fails to offer real value.
One good exercise to help pin your value statement down is to consider other solutions or products that offer something similar. What needs are they addressing? How is your solution different? What makes it unique?
Often the best new business ideas aren’t those offering something entirely new, but those that dramatically improve on previous solutions in some important way. Disruptors can only improve on existing solutions to shake-up an established industry.
Finding your target audience
Your key messaging needs to be meaningful to your target audience, otherwise you will struggle to capture their imagination. The essential thing to remember is: know who you’re talking to.
Don’t try to appeal to everyone, it’s impossible and will muddle your message. Instead, research your customers and build customer profiles. Then do the same of your investors. In both cases, think about who they are, where they hang out, what they read, what channels they are on, etc.
Not only will building target profiles help you tailor your messaging to each audience (depending on the medium), but it will also help you find the right channels to reach them. Investors, for example, are more likely to use LinkedIn regularly and read trade publications, making PR and LinkedIn outreach two key channels. Whereas, individual supporters may be more likely to spend their time on Facebook and watching videos on YouTube.
Knowing how your audience understands your product and industry, as well as where they spend their time online, allows you to hit them with meaningful messaging that will increase investment in your campaign.
Test your messaging
The final step is to test your messaging. The easiest way is to ask friends, family, co-workers, investors, even strangers what they took away from your messaging. Did they immediately grasp your business idea? Were they moved by your founding story? Did they pick up on the key USPs you wanted to convey? Did they understand the benefits?
It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the time it took for them to understand the key messages. If you found that you had to talk for several minutes before they understood, then your key messages aren’t clear or concise enough. They should get the basics within a couple of sentences and understand most of the business in around a minute. Any longer and you will struggle to communicate properly to your actual audience.
Communication will always determine the success of crowdfunding campaigns. There are lots of great businesses out there running equity crowdfunding campaigns, and yours needs to stand out in all the right ways for you to hit your fundraising target!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Auckland is a crowdfunding specialist and founder of TribeFirst, a global equity crowdfunding communications agency that has helped raise in excess of £25m for over 60 companies on major equity crowdfunding platforms, with roughly a 90% success rate.
TribeFirst is the world’s first dedicated marketing communications agency to support equity crowdfunding campaigns and the first in the UK to provide PR and Marketing campaigns on a mainly risk/reward basis.
John is also Virgin StartUp’s crowdfunding trainer and consultant, helping them to run branded workshops, webinars and programmes on crowdfunding. John is passionate about working with start-ups and sees crowdfunding as more than just raising funds; it’s an opportunity to build a loyal tribe of lifelong customers and supporters.