Eat Sleep Cycle partner Lee Comerford tells us why you should consider running a crowdfunding campaign and provides some top tips for running your own. Don’t forget to check out the Eat Sleep Cycle Café crowdfunding campaign & get invovled in the project!
If you are a business owner, & especially if you have experienced hardship from the pandemic & want to kick start something & engage with your community, I advise you to seriously consider running a crowdfunding campaign. – Lee Comerford, Partner of Eat Sleep Cycle
What is a Crowdfunding Campaign?
A crowdfunding campaign is a way of raising money from your family, friends, supporters, customers and even ethusiastic strangers. There are various types of crowdfunding campaigns including rewards based, which I will discuss here.
Why should you consider a Crowdfunding Campaign?
Your friends and family, your customers, local and international, all want your business to succeed and how can they help you if you do not provide a structure for them to do so? If your business has been through hardship they will respect your efforts to turn things around. It is the perfect time to get people engaged in your project. As well as the monetary benefits, a crowdfunding campaign is an excellent way to market your business, especially if you are expanding, offering a new product/service or want to change your brand image in some way.
At Eat Sleep Cycle we were faced with limited support from banks as we wanted to fund building a new cafe next door to our bike shop. Because the cafe was owned by a local Catalan business we also had a need to market to the local community to explain the project. We wanted to use the expansion as a repositioning of our brand, linking it even more so to our base Girona. We used the campaign to forge stronger collaborations with local suppliers who would be involved in the rewards. This has created a win-win situation and attracted local and foreign press, escalating the campaign and making it even more successful.
Top Tips for Making the most of your Crowdfunding Campaign
Seek expert help:
A number of crowdfunding campaigns fail because they do not meet their target. As well as wasting your time and money this will not be good marketing for your business.
It is worth paying an expert to help you create your campaign and give you guidance throughout the campaign. Trust me, it will pay back. Our approach, the content we are creating, the platform we are using and our communications during the campaign have all been influenced by Valenti Acconcia. We absolutely could not have made it a success without his help.
You need a strong network to start with:
I would say that the only prerequisite to running a crowdfunding campaign is that you already have a strong network and access to them via channels such as email, instagram and LinkedIn. Of course there will be some surprise supporters and strangers who love what you are doing and get involved, but you will already know most of the contributors. The challenge is packaging the project, explaining it in the right way and maximising the contributions.
A pre-campaign is key
You will be keen to get going right away, especially if you need the money! More haste and less speed is the first rule. It is critical that once your campaign actually launches you hit the target in the first week. If you do not, it is very likely the campaign will not succeed. A pre-campaign is used to generate interest, collect emails of people who you are relatively sure will contribute and give you confidence to open the campaign proper. Everyone will be asking “where do I type my credit card details?” during this time which can be frustrating. Be patient, when the campaign opens they will contribute and you need hundreds more just like them.
Make an excellent Crowdfunding Campaign video:
Having checked out some other crowdfunding videos, there is a direct relation between the success of the campaign and the quality of the promotion video. It is absolutely worth paying a proper video maker to film and edit a quality video. This will involve a script, recruiting actors (use your own staff, customers and friends) and many hours of preparation. We made our Café Crowdfunding video special in this way:
- We told the truth about our situation and what happened to our business through the pandemic.
- We included as many of our existing and new staff as possible and of course it is our own customers who say why the project is special and others should get involved.
- We included some humor and tried to make the audience laugh. We do not take ourselves too seriously in the video.
- We presented in 4 languages to show our international nature and always respected the local Catalan language, Spanish and English.
Rally Your Supporters – & Pick Up the Phone!
Of course it is impossible to personally email 12 thousand people so you will send out a newsletter. When you receive personal replies try to answer them yourself. I picked up the phone and called some of the most interested people to understand what they liked about the project. I learnt a lot about our supporters and what they want out of being involved. You will be surprised just how supportive people are!
Collaborate with other Local Businesses
Why be the only business that benefits from your campaign? If you can include other suppliers or businesses in the campaign they will help you share it and gain you access to new supporters. We offered a range of prizes including stays at local hotels and kit made by a local manufacturer. They appreciate the marketing and helped us in the build up to the campaign. Think about all the different angles you can benefit from the campaign.
Running a crowdfunding campaign takes a lot of effort and is not cheap. We had to make it our #1 marketing priority for several weeks. We justify this investment by not viewing the campaign on its own, but part of a journey to create an even more engaged customer base. We will be running more campaigns and hope to focus more on solving social and environmental challenges like getting more people cycling to work. There are massive intangible benefits to our brand image and local integration that are difficult to quantify but we hear it from the people we speak to everyday! To read more about how much this project is costing, see the previous Eat Sleep Cycle blog “Eat Sleep Cycle Café – How Much Is It Really Costing?”
Want to support our café crowdfunding campaign?
The campaign is now live! Our new sustainable cycling jersey, among other rewards, are now available to order for a limited time only via our café crowdfunding campaign.
Join The Team
You might have noticed – Eat Sleep Cycle is expanding and we’re looking for fellow cycling fanatics to join us as we enter our next phase as a cycling tour business, bike shop, bike rental centre and now, café! If you want to join us, then take a look at our available roles.
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