- People will share your message, if it makes them look clever. This is why social networks are packed with Einstein quotes.
- People will share your message, if it makes them appear generous to their friends or community
- People will share your message, if they think it will make them look informed, ahead of the curve or cutting-edge.
- People will share your message, if it’s remarkable. Extremely satisfied customers tell their friends when they receive an amazing service.
- People will share your message, if they are paid to. Such as bloggers who write sponsored posts, affiliate marketers and advertising providers.
- People will share your message, if they are part of your community and want others to join in.
- People will share your message, if they believe it will help you and they care about you.
- People will share your message, if it’s baked into your product or service. When you see someone using an Apple MacBook in public, there’s an illuminated apple on the rear of their screen.
- People will share your message, if it says something they aren’t brave enough to say for themselves.
- People will share your message, if they believe it’s of great value and that their friends need to know.
Since Kickstarter brought crowdfunding into the public spotlight in 2009, it has become one of the simplest ways for aspiring businesses to raise the necessary funds to pursue their endeavors. So what is crowdfunding exactly? At its simplest, crowdfunding is a method of raising small amounts of money from a large numbers of people online. The fundraising method had drastically changed the landscape of the startup scene in recent years, now requiring a set of skills that wasn’t needed in the past and making it something to keep an eye on going forward. If you’re considering undergoing a crowdfunding campaign it would benefit you to take these 10 tips under consideration to give yourself the best chance of success.
1. Set a realistic goal
Undertaking a business endeavor isn’t cheap. It costs a lot of money and man hours, but before you begin to ask for money its important to take an objective look at your business plan and compare it to similar business that have taken the crowdfunding route before you. If you’re asking too much, your potential investors might not view your idea as a realistic enterprise.
2. Maximize visibility by using a popular platform
Making your potential investors comfortable goes a long way when you’re trying to raise money. The easiest way to do this is to use a reputable platform such as Kickstarter, GoFundMe, or Indiegogo that has been in the public spotlight for some time.
3. Optimize your pitch
A clear, concise message is important when pitching your vision. If your goals aren’t easily explained or your funding needs not clearly defined it’s likely that you won’t be able to get your project to take off. Take the time to evaluate whether your pitch is the best that it can be so that it resonates with your audience. Make them want to contribute to a great idea.
4. Know your s**t
You’re not going to be able to raise the amount of money that you need without people asking questions. Make sure you’re able to answer any questions that potential backers might have and that you can delineate how their money is going to be spent. Being able to answer investors’ questions quickly and thoroughly shows a maturity and level of professionalism that will make people take you and your vision seriously.
5. Take advantage of your established connections
Some crowdfunding campaigns spawn from a desire to expand an already existing business. If this is the case then your best bet to raise money early on is to reach out to already existing customers. Whether you maintain contact with them via a newsletter or word of mouth, make sure that you let them know what you’re trying to do.
6. Share your success
It’s easy to understand why most people might be hesitant to jump aboard with your idea. It’s a risk that either will or won’t pan out. Showing the numbers is a great way to help build confidence in your potential investors. By this I mean to say that you should show the number of people who have contributed to your crowdfunding campaign as well as how close you are to your funding goal. It’s also a great idea to share updates on the progress of your vision.
7. Social media is your friend
Social media is one of the most powerful tools you can use to drive traffic to your campaign and is one of the biggest changes to the way that people have raised money with crowdfunding. Posting regular status update and engaging with your audience provides exposure and lets people know you’re not just in it for the money. Be a real person, not a corporation. It creates a relatable experience that people will want to engage in.
8. Offer rewards to your investors.
As is the case with any business, providing incentive can do a lot to build an audience and motivate investors. While you may have the occasional person who altruistically invests in your vision, it doesn’t hurt to offer something in exchange for someones support. Most crowdfunding platforms are great at helping you implement a tier system wherein you can assign different levels of rewards based on how much a person invests. If you’re idea is worth people investing in, those people are worth thanking in some way.
9. Any press is good press (mostly)
Assuming you’re not just out to con people out of their money, taking your idea to the press can do nothing but bring good exposure to your campaign. The press is always looking for a fresh story and people have a natural affinity for the underdog. Send out press releases to local publications and TV stations to get your product/idea out there.
10. Give Thanks
At the end of the day, if your campaign sees itself succeeding it’s important to thank the people who helped get you there. Not only is it common courtesy, but it’s also a reflection of the kind of business yours will become, and creating a positive image for yourself can only help to gain more followers and potential customers.
If anyone had asked me just a couple months ago what I thought about DJ Khaled I most likely would have responded, “who? That annoying dude that screams his own name and ‘WE THA BEST’ over every annoying club anthem ever and does nothing else? He’s a joke.” Today, my answer to that question is very very different. Today, if you asked me what I think about DJ Khaled I’ll say, “he’s smart. He’s loyal. He’s the best. He’s arguably the most supportive person in my life. He’s a social media sensation, a marketer, and dare I say it, a revolutionary.” So what happened to sway my opinion you ask? Pure and simple, I followed him on Snapchat.
At some point in the last few months DJ Khaled took to snapchat, thought it a great idea to make his username publicly available, and starting broadcasting his lifestyle to millions of would be fans like myself, making it the fulcrum of his resounding social success the way that Instagram has been for Kim Kardashian. His infectious Khaledisms such as “Major ? alert,” “Cloth talk,” and “They don’t want you to win” have steadily worked their way across other social media platforms and even snuck into daily conversation amongst millennials. Whether people are saying these things ironically or jokingly is irrelevant. The point is that they have caught on and generated an insane demand for more everything from DJ Khaled (ANOTHA ONE!), that most other public figures and major companies would salivate over. So are there lessons to be learned from DJ Khaled that you can follow? You bet your ass there are.
Major ? #1
Capturing emotion and creating personal moments is what marketing is all about. Is your company taking customers behind the scenes? Are you taking them through your routine, sharing breakfast, or living it up at a nightclub? DJ Khaled makes it a point to share the intimate moments of his life whether it be hanging out with Diddy and Rick Ross or checking to see what Chef Dee made for breakfast. He makes you feel like you’re a part of his day and then he proves that you are in a major way: Fan Luv. Beyond letting viewers see his life, he invites them into it, often posting the address of where he’s going to be and inviting any of his fans to come see him, creating minutes long stories of his own and allowing said fans to record their own 10 second max snap of the fleeting time they got to be a part of the DJ Khaled microcosm. He’s establishing a genuine emotional connection and relating to his fans and not just boasting about how many he has. And lastly, he doesn’t just go home and call it a day when it’s all said and done. He reminds us all to be grateful and count our blessings, something that all companies know, but very few express.
Major ? #2
You should care about your brand than anybody else and you should let everyone know it. There is no doubt in my mind hat DJ Khaled would bet it all on his brand being “THE BEST.” His brand, from the music he produces to the clothing he sells, is the accumulation of his life’s work and the grind he’s had to put in over the last two decades to get to where he is now. Khaled knows this and takes it upon himself to impenitently tell the rest of us over snapchat, often wearing clothes and flip flops from his We The Best line or listening to his own music during his “elliptical talk” work outs. Repetition of these not-so-outlandish statements is vital to his success. He knows in his heart that he’s the best and he won’t let the rest of us forget it. It’s as if he took a page out of the public speaking book. Tell them what you’re going to show them, show them, then tell them what you showed them. DJ Khaled is the master of this kind of repetition, and it works. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t be wearing a pair of his flip flops right now. For those who have the gall to call him out or disagree, DJ Khaled would like you to not “play yourself”, “bow down”, and “just know,” because.
Major ? #3
This key follows directly from the previous one. Marketing means nothing without a decent product. While the quality of his clothing line cannot be derived from simply watching DJ Khaled’s snapchat (which is why I bought a pair of his sandals. They’re super comfortable.), what cannot be argued is the vitality and success of his music. You can’t say you’re the best at something without having the proof to back it up and Khaled can do that. Over the last decade DJ Khaled has had anthem after anthem go platinum. These were all before he was on snapchat too. He is the living embodiment of what it means to have a top quality product before you can even start thinking of pitching it to the masses.
If you have ever worked or still do work within the world of marketing, chances are high that you know the differences that differentiate earned, owned and paid media from one another. As a company that aims to serve small businesses in Austin we’ve found that small business owners to more often that not be on the opposite of the spectrum and not know what these differences are or why they matter. That being the case I thought I’d take a little time out of my Friday night to explain the differences.
Simply put, earned media accounts for brand exposure your company has receive through word-of-mouth. Whether it’s the content of your website or your social media channels, your customer service reputation or community influence, earned media refers to the recognition you receive as a result. This often comes in the form of mentions in the press, reviews and recommendations on sites such as Yelp and Glassdoor, shares on social media sites, content you post in collaboration with other companies and more. Some of the benefits of earned media are that it’s the most credible (because it comes unsolicited from people not connected to your business), it’s transparent, and its long lasting. However, there are a few negative trade offs such as you not being in control of it. Take a look at the trainwreck that used to be Amy’s Bakery. Negative press killed that business (Not that it wasn’t deserved). Earned media is usually at the top of the funnel for lead conversion and is what gets people initially interested in your company.
Whereas earned media is uncontrollable, owned media is just the opposite. You are in full control. From the graphics you feature to the words you type, the way your company is perceived through your channels in in your hands. The most common types of owned media come in the form of your website and social media pages but may also take shape as blog posts, case studies, whitepapers, etc. The primary goal of owned media is to provide value to leads as they try to find out more about your company without being overly promotional. Think educational content. What do you want people to know about you, your company, and your resources. Because you have complete control you can tailor this however you want, but be wary. Just because you can say whatever you want doesn’t mean you should. Being hyperbolic or deceptive is a sure-fire way to lose trust and credibility.
Last but not least is paid media. As is the case with owned media, you are in full control of paid media. Paid media at its roots is a way to promote content and drive exposure for your company and in today’s world of technology there are a multitude of ways to do this. Paid media also brings you full circle back to earned media. Have you ever seen a funny commercial and then told a friend about it, or even made them watch it? This is a simple example of that conversion. Advertisements on TV, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more are the most obvious examples of paid media, but there are certainly more. It all depends on where your target audience likes to congregate both digitally and in the real world. Besides full control, another benefit of paid media is the immediacy of it. Being able to identify what’s in demand and custom tailor a quick solution for people to latch onto is great. The negatives are that in the growing digital realm where ad blockers are present, a lot of paid media is now treated as unwanted clutter.
As 2015 comes to a close I’ve found numerous marketing websites churning out their annual marketing trend lists for the upcoming year. The tradition of publishing these types of marketing trend lists has been held for as long as the industry has been around and its not going anywhere so long as technology and the marketing industry continue to evolve. And believe me, they are evolving. From ad blockers and wearable tech to Snapchat and Periscope, the threshold of a new age is being reached, and as always, we must move with it. So without further ado, in no particular order, here are the top 10 marketing trend lists for 2016.
In the age of infobesity, it’s more important than ever for companies to generate and pump out killer content that stimulates and engages audiences. In fact, seventy percent of marketers have claimed that they are pumping out drastically more content this year than they have in recent years. Without hesitation I can guarantee you that most of the content that will be pushed out will be of a visual nature. In the constantly evolving landscape of digital marketing, visual content is more important than ever. The advent of ad-blockers has given us an opportunity to rethink how we approach the development of advertisements on the internet, giving reign and incredible importance to visual approaches such as site fabric integrated infographics, videos, comics, photos, memes, and more, and it’s about time. In a recent Forbes article documenting the rise of visual content, it is noted that in “the case of reading, our brain decodes visual information 60,000X faster than text.” Youtube has already surpassed Yahoo and Bing to become the 2nd largest search engine in the world and it’s precisely because visual content and storytelling, again, are more important than ever when it comes to marketing. So, how do marketers take advantage of visual content? What follows is a list of my top 5 visual content webinars from Youtube that you can use to understand, develop and supercharge you visual strategy.
1. Visual Content Marketing: Capture and Engage Your Audience by Marketo
2. Social Media Visual Content Webinar with Guy Kawasaki, Peg Fitzpatrick & Mari Smith! by Mari Smith
3. How to Easily Discover Great Visual Content for Facebook by Post Planner
4. Westchester Digital Summit – Seeing is Believing, The Power of Visual Content by Westchester Digital Summit