More and more, crowdfunding has become a popular way of launching new products. You can get access to the capital you need, gain market validation, hedge some risk, and even pre-sell some of your product. But how do you convert viral excitement for your product into a flesh-and-blood, thriving business?
In this post, we’ll talk you through the steps to take in the immediate aftermath of hitting your funding goal to ensure that you make the transition from funded startup to a stable business with sustainable growth potential. The post-campaign phase is going to be an especially sensitive time in the life of your business, so it’s important that you move not just quickly, but strategically.
1. Get to Know Your Backers
You probably did a bit of market research before you rolled out your crowdfunding campaign, so you may know who your target market is, but it’s time to take that one step further. Crafting customer personas is one of the best ways to lay the proper foundation for growth marketing campaigns.
Looking at hard numbers and data about the people who funded your campaign will help you build a three-dimensional picture of who you’re selling to. Once you’ve converted that data into a persona, you can use that to determine which tactics you should experiment with first, because you’ll know where the customer is going to be and how you should be speaking to them there.
Once you’ve filled in all the details about your current customers, you can feed that back into product development. Knowing your audience—and we mean really knowing them—is key in ensuring that you not only make them happy with this one product but continue to build the kinds of products that will keep them coming back for more.
2. Get Your Website Up and Running
Once your campaign hits its fundraising goal, your first thought will probably be about fulfilling your commitments to backers. But at the same time, you’ve got to make sure you’re laying the groundwork necessary to bring in even more new customers.
The best way to do this is to make sure you have an attractive, user-friendly website to direct people to. Choose the platform that best fits your ecommerce needs (Shopify, WooCommerce, etc.), and then focus on building pages that will easily and consistently convert. There are a few elements that need to be present on your pages to make that happen.
Clear Pricing Info
Don’t make people hunt for the numbers. If they have to scroll through paragraphs of text before to figure out how much the product costs, you’re bound to lose people. Put your pricing information front and center. Yes, this may weed out potential customers who are not willing to spend what you’re asking, but setting those clear expectations upfront will prevent customer frustration in the long run.
Trust Indicators (Reviews, Testimonials, Photos, etc.)
Your company is new, and anyone can raise funds on a crowdsourcing site, so the onus is on you to prove that your product is worth purchasing. You can do this by showcasing indicators of consumer trust for potential new customers. Your site should include high-quality images of your product(s) as well as reviews from verified purchasers and/or customer testimonials.
Seamless Checkout Process
Cart abandonment is a regular struggle for anyone who manages an e-commerce site. Consumers these days seem to have very little patience for slow processing, so it’s important that your checkout procedure be as painless and intuitive as possible.
Optimized for Mobile
Every year, more and more commercial transactions are taking place on mobile devices. While you need to make sure your desktop site functions smoothly, you really need to make sure your mobile site is optimized as well as possible for the most popular devices. Keep an eye on things like loading times, pop-ups, navigation, and visual design.
3. Scale Up Your Team
With limited time to deliver backer rewards and limited funds with which to do it, you may be tempted to take too much on yourself in an attempt to avoid adding payroll to your list of costs. But now is not the time to wear all the hats. You need to level up your team, but you must do it smartly.
Remember that hiring too quickly can hurt you, and so can hiring the wrong people. The pressure to deliver can feel really strong, but keep in mind that these hires are building the very foundation of your business. You want to make sure you’re bringing in the best possible people!
With that in mind, remember that now is not the time for high-level specialists with ultra-focused skill sets. You want someone who can plug-in where they’re needed and bring energy, effort, and results. Look for candidates that are scrappy, creative, and flexible.
You can hire someone to come on full-time and in-house, or you can partner with an external contractor or team to help support the initiatives that are a top priority for you in this phase. If you hire out-of-house, make sure that your partner is integrated fully into your business. They should function as a natural extension of your company, not a separate third party.
Regardless of which direction you go, make sure whoever you hire has done something like this in the past. Look for five or more years of experience in scaling brands with special attention paid to the consistency of their strategy and execution. They should have a visible, proven track record of growing startup revenue.
4. Establish Processes and Start Collecting Data
The real strength of a good growth marketing plan is assessing data and using it to make informed decisions about product development and marketing campaign direction. There are a few standard data and analytics tools that all startups should leverage from the beginning.
This free service is absolutely essential for helping you gather data about how people are interacting with your website and how you can improve. It will integrate seamlessly with AdWords and other platforms that you’re likely to use for marketing, and it allows you the option of fully customized reporting. It can help you beef up the design of your site, determine where to focus your social media dollars, and aid in tracking your goals. It’s really indispensable.
Retargeting is one of the best ways to recapture current and potential new customers and drive sales. Facebook Pixel is an analytics tool that will track your website visitors so that you can serve them targeted ads on Facebook in the future, and keep up with what happens when they return to your site. It should be a key component of your social media plan if you’re using Facebook Ads.
Google Ads Pixel
Similar to the Facebook Pixel, this tool will allow you to track what actions customers are taking after they interact with your ad. This data is invaluable when you’re making decisions about where to focus your ad spend and how to increase conversions.
Google Search Console
This tool works in conjunction with Google Analytics to help you develop a fully realized vision of how your website is functioning. Where Analytics focuses mainly on user data and demographics, Search Console also helps you identify malware, improve website performance, and determine how website visitors are finding you in the first place, whether through pages that are linking to you or through search queries.
These five tools are just a starting point for collecting the data you need to develop a robust growth marketing plan, but implementing them as soon as possible after your campaign is funded will ensure that you’re making the most informed decisions, even in these early days of your business.
5. Tackle the Low-Hanging Fruit
Once you’ve got your website up and running, your team together, and you’ve implemented some core processes for collecting and analyzing data, it’s go time. Look at what the numbers are telling you and quickly identify which channels are going to provide you with the highest possible ROI. Then hone in on those and work to scale them.
Here at Tuff, we always make sure to revisit the customer personas and user data to help us prioritize which channels and tactics to tackle first. Some of the most common campaigns we initiate from that point include:
Social media is one of the lowest-cost advertising platforms available, and if you leverage your data smartly, you can get even more bang for your buck. Focus on delivering strong, relevant content to highly targeted audiences to see the best possible returns.
Utilizing this channel could mean your product landing in front of thousands more potential customers. It’s simple to use, but it’s important that you understand how the bid system works if you want to maximize your returns, as competition in this space is steadily increasing.
As we mentioned above, serving retargeting ads to customers who have already visited your site can be a powerful driver of sales. If done correctly, it can also be great for your budget. But there is a fine line to walk here, as customers can become annoyed or feel a sense of privacy invasion by seeing the same retargeting ads over and over again.
The more people who see your business in organic search results, the less work your paid ads have to do to bring in qualified leads, right? Optimizing your website for search engine crawling is, therefore, often one of the best ways to stimulate strong ROI. Pay attention to not only your on-page optimization for product pages, but all your site’s content.
Receiving funding for your product is such an exciting time, but there are pitfalls aplenty on the other side of crowdfunding campaigns. This is a time to move with intention and purpose and set the stage for not just fulfilling backer rewards, but for the entire future of this business venture.
If you’ve just completed a crowdfunding campaign and you’re not sure where to go from here, the Tuff team can help you make sense of it all. We’d be happy to set up one of our free 30-minute strategy sessions to discuss your business’s unique challenges and strengths. We’ll bring actionable tips, and together, we can explore the best possible routes for achieving and maintaining profitable growth for your new business.
Derek is a digital marketer based in Boston, Massachusetts with almost a decade of hands-on SEO experience. He finds it meaningful, challenging, and exciting to develop, test, and implement new SEO strategies. When he’s not auditing websites and optimizing content he’s usually backpacking and exploring new cultures.