ATB BoostR Resources

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The crowdfunding dip

You’ve taken in a lot of information about rewards-based crowdfunding, plus you’ve planned and launched your BoostR campaign—and right about now you’re probably experiencing what’s known as “the crowdfunding dip”. This module is going to focus on the common challenges entrepreneurs face during their crowdfunding campaign with tips on how to overcome them.

Let’s get started!

What is the crowdfunding dip?

The crowdfunding dip is the time between when your loyal supporters kickstart your funding and last minute supporters come through. ATB BoostR’s most successful campaign to date, bakery Sugared and Spiced, had a dip that lasted about 40 days, and they raised almost $60,000 with 424 supporters. So, don’t worry if there’s a drop in sales mid-way through, this is normal.

Crowdfunding rewards purchased each day bar graph

If the image above is not showing up correctly on your screen please click the image to open it in a new window. 

How to combat the crowdfunding dip 

Host a (virtual) crowdfunding party 

A crowdfunding party is a great way to boost the excitement about your campaign during the lull—even if your party has to be online for the foreseeable future. It’ll give you something fresh to talk about on social media and it’s a great way to build community around your cause. 

Selling tickets to your virtual party as campaign rewards gives you extra cash and a reward that you don’t need to fulfill after the campaign has ended. Keep in mind that using a platform like ATB BoostR that has a fixed funding model you might not get reimbursed for any party expenses if you don’t reach the total funding goal.

If you’re online, make sure to showcase your rewards and provide a link in the chat for people to easily make purchases during the event. If you’re lucky enough to host an in-person event in the future, have samples of your rewards and tablets on hand for people to purchase rewards. Do everything you can do to make it easy to support you.

Here are some tips to make the most of your crowdfunding party:

You can host virtually via:  
  • Zoom: free accounts allow only up to 40 minutes per call—depending on the length of your party this may not be the best option. You don’t want to have your supporters abruptly cut off because your party is cut short. Yikes. 

  • Google Meet: free and no limit on how long your meeting can be. Just share the Google Meet URL in your calendar invite and anyone can join! 

  • Microsoft Teams: free and easy to use, can run via browser or Teams app.

Invite your business partner, friend, or family member to help co-host your event.
  • Clearly define your roles within the event to make sure that there’s no misunderstanding of who’s doing what.

  • Brainstorm your event with them. Ask what their expectations would be if they attended a party like this. What would make it amazing or not-so-amazing? 

  • They can welcome guests as they join your party, make sure you don’t miss any question in the chat, and do a runthrough with you before the event so you can avoid any tech hiccups during the real thing.

Remember to keep your environment safe and comfortable for your guests.

Set expectations for your guests. Here are a couple we use at ATB:

  • I agree to conduct myself with honesty, integrity and act in a professional manner. 

  • I agree to privacy and confidentiality. Other event attendees may share information that is sensitive. I acknowledge that under no circumstance will I harm the trust extended to me by sharing or misappropriation of information that I have acquired through attending this event. 

  • I agree to uphold the law, rules and regulations. 

  • I agree to be ALL IN! I will aim to have fun, connect with other attendees, and will be positive in my actions and words. 

To charge or not to charge for the event.

According to The Bizzabo Blog, 74% of online events are free. We find that because free events have a low barrier to entry, we often see a fraction of attendees compared to the number of people who say they’re interested. For that reason, we’d recommend charging at least a small fee to attend. Also keep in mind that it’s best practice to sell more tickets—or have more people confirm your event—than you need since you can expect a drop off.

During the event
  • You and your co-host should be on camera or in-person before the event and be the last ones to leave.

  • Welcome each guest as they join, even if you’re hosting a digital event. Roll out the red carpet for them and make them feel special! A shoutout from the host can go a long way.

  • Start with an icebreaker to get people talking, even if it’s just in the chat box. 

    • What is your favourite local business you can’t live without? 

    • If you could be anywhere in Alberta right now, where would it be? 

  • Explain what BoostR is and why you’re running a crowdfunding campaign. Ask your audience if they understand and encourage them to ask questions at any time.

  • Have any important links ready to go and drop it in the chat—like your BoostR link, website and social media profile(s). 

  • Most importantly, don’t sell too much! This is a perfect opportunity for you to connect with your supporters on an emotional level and build relationships. Sales will naturally flow from established trust.

How to make your event special
  • Create a special limited-edition reward for your crowdfunding party attendees. It creates a sense of urgency to purchase, but you’re still offering them a high-quality, high-value your reward. 

  • Have a raffle draw for attendees who show up. Remember not everyone who said they would attend will actually be there. So reward the people who are! 

After your event
  • Thank your attendees for showing their support. Whether they boosted your campaign or showed up for moral support, they made time for you and your business. 

  • Send them a survey to better understand the success of your party. Google Forms is free to use and can be embedded directly into an email. 

  • Follow up with any attendees as you see fit. Did someone have unanswered questions? Did someone have tech issues and have to leave the party? 

Not used to using a video conferencing platform? Watch this helpful (and super-cheesy) video for do’s and don’ts. 

It’s really important that your connection is secure when you’re using video conferencing like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams. Make sure to keep your computer security up to date.

 

Put effort into your updates 

Keeping people updated on your successes (and your real-life struggles) gets people excited and personally invested in your campaign all over again.

Here are some ideas for updates you can incorporate throughout the campaign:

  • An update every time you hit a major milestone: 25% raised, 50%, 75%, etc.

  • Sharing any media coverage you get

  • Thanking your supporters

  • Retweet or repost content from your fans on social media

  • Create simple video updates to share progress, thoughts, and feelings

  • If a friend sends a lot of referrals your way, reward them publicly

  • Keep the updates section of your campaign page up-to-date so that visitors see that you’re actively engaged

One thing that bakery Sugared and Spiced did during their record-breaking ATB BoostR campaign is they continued working towards their goal of opening a bake shop even while they were crowdfunding.

In addition to the types of updates listed above, they updated the crowd when they met with architects and developers, and visited potential locations. This showed their crowd that the campaign’s momentum was already causing tangible results.

 

The hierarchy of referral strategies

Referrals are a must to spread the word about your crowdfunding campaign. Whether you’re encouraging your loyal fans to get your campaign out there, collaborating with an influencer or reaching out to a local news outlet, plan to execute your referral strategy after your campaign has launched. Why? At this point, your campaign will have gained some momentum, and you want new folks in the crowd to see that your campaign has social proof.

The hierarchy of referral value looks something like this:
  1. Referral from a friend

  2. Referral from an influencer you trust

  3. Referral from traditional media news outlets

While these referrals range in effectiveness, we recommend that you use all kinds of referrals, and use them often. It may feel like overkill to you, but it usually takes someone receiving the same message seven times before they act.

Referrals from friends 

If you want to harness the power of your friends (and get access to all of their friends) make them feel special by sending them a personal email as opposed to a group email blast. A personal referral from a friend is the most valuable, so it’s worth doing it right.

Make it as easy as possible for your friends to help you spread the word, and simultaneously control your brand messaging by giving them a pre-written email they can forward. Pre-written tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram images will make it easy for them to promote you.

Be strategic about the friends you put this amount of effort into. Remember to include people in leadership—like the manager of your softball team or the CEO of a company—because these folks can make a huge number of referrals on your behalf by simply forwarding your email.

Make it fun for your friends to help you—host a (virtual) party to treat them for their support. 

Referrals from influencers

“Influencers” are high-profile people on social media who have the power to affect the purchases of others because of their authority with their audience. Consider them the modern-day fashion bloggers, spanning every industry.

The best social media influencers to work with are probably the ones you already follow—they’re likely subject matter experts in your industry. If you can share high-quality imagery and easy to incorporate information, it makes their job easier and they’ll be more likely to help.

Often times influencers will want to shoot their own photography or interview you themselves to come up with their own story concept. Trust them to do this well—it’s their job to create quality content that drives traffic.

If you send them information or product before you launch, make sure the influencer doesn’t post anything until your campaign has been live for a few days. This way the traffic generated is directed to your campaign once you’ve gained momentum.

Do your homework before to look into an influencer’s reputation. You don’t want to associate yourself with someone who isn’t aligned with you or gives snarky reviews.

Referrals from traditional media news outlets 

The main value of referral from traditional media news outlets is repeating your campaign to people who are already aware of it. TV and paper coverage isn’t likely to positively influence a new customer—the chances of them taking a break from the TV or paper to go to the crowdfunding website and buy a reward is slim.

 

Troubleshooting your campaign

We reflected on your campaign so far in our last module. You can keep those questions handy as you troubleshoot your campaign. We wanted to run through some common challenges you may face during your crowdfunding campaign, and equip you with how to overcome them.

“My campaign started out weak.” 

We’ve seen several campaigns that had a slow start and still managed to get funded. The key is to get that momentum going. Start working on engaging your main followers, explain that you need to hit your goal in order to get your funds and that your funders will get their reward. 

Typically your first funds will come from your inner circle of friends and family, and ambassadors to your brand—use their support to get momentum going and show others that this is a campaign they need to be part of.

“My rewards don’t seem to be interesting enough”

The most successful rewards are those that carry a sense of urgency. Create a limited-edition reward that’s exclusive to the campaign, or offer a unique design or a one-time only added value. Don’t just discount your rewards, add something extra. Consider partnering up with another business and add their offering to your rewards.

“I’m halfway through and losing momentum” 

Not to worry—every campaign will lose momentum. Typically, the first and last two weeks are when the most funding comes in. Expect to lose momentum in the middle, and to get it back, keep hustling and promoting. Use paid ads, engage your followers, share new rewards, explain to your market the “why” behind your campaign—just keep doing what you’re doing.

“My friends and family aren’t interested in supporting me.” 

We’ve often heard stories where friends and family said they love the idea but when it comes to pulling out the credit card, crickets.

Time to get new friends! (Just kidding.)

In all seriousness, a lack of support from your inner circle may mean that your business isn’t ready to go to market yet. Talk to them—what needs to change for them to fund you? You can learn a lot and refine your idea through their feedback.

“I’m almost to my goal but can’t seem to get over the finish line.” 

Remind your supporters and followers of the sense of urgency. Regularly share the campaign deadline and how much funding you still need. Reach out to businesses or followers who’d be interested in purchasing a higher valued reward—talk to them and encourage them to fund you.

“My followers don’t understand how crowdfunding works. They think they’re donating funds or don’t get why they can’t get the product now.” 

Use your social media, emails, newsletters and other updates to educate your followers. Make short videos for Instagram stories, keep re-sharing your story and goal for the campaign. Sometimes your followers need several small stories to get the full picture, understand crowdfunding and fund your campaign.

“My social media isn’t taking off.”

Revisit the social media tips we shared in the social media module. Are you targeting the right people on the right platforms? Are you doing too much selling? Get into a rhythm with your social media, campaign updates, and engaging with your audience—but most importantly, enjoy the process!

 

Remember—you’re not alone and we’re here for you every step of the way. Feel free to shoot us an email at atboostr@atb.com and we'll help you out.

When you hit the crowdfunding dip, as any crowdfunding campaign will, there’s no need to panic. It’s totally normal, and even the most successful campaigns have faced the same obstacles. Using the advice and tools from this module, you’re equipped to combat the dip and gain the momentum you need to finish your campaign strong.

Want to jump back into the BoostR resource hub? Click here.