Category: Awaiting Moderation

Return On Crowd

Introduction

Though funding is often the main goal of a crowdinvesting, it can also a fantastic way to gain visibility and grow your investor base. Crowdinvesting benefits extend far beyond the capital that can be raised. Crowdinvesting is all about the building an excited and engaged crowd. Without this crowd you will not be able to raise any fund for you project or offer. I am going to talk about the value of the crowd. Many people in the crowdinvesting realm are always looking for the return on investment. The return on Crowd is vital to receive a return on investment, but the return on crowd is even larger than the return on investment based only on dollars. The return on crowd is about the return on relationships.

Branding

The Brand is the single most important element to a business or project. Your brand is the position that has been carefully established as a set of investor promises and overall experiences based on communication and service to your investors. A positive brand experience will reduce competitiveness, customer confusion and dissatisfaction. A brand will show its form in all investor touch points which is vital for a great brand experience.

Crowd Building

Building an excited and engaged crowd will require unique messaging that will engage investors at the emotional level and then resonate with them enough to elicit an emotional response. Remember in today’s online world that moves at the speed of internet grabbing information is like taking a drink out of a fire hydrant, your campaign must quickly establish a unique brand voice that can cut through all of the fast paced noise and connect at an emotional level. Once this unique messaging voice is found your campaign will achieve its two major objectives increasing brand awareness and raising the capital for the campaign. If the emotional connection is not made the campaign may be dead on arrival.

Market Validation

Market validation is the process of determining whether your product is of interest to a given target market. Market validation involves a series of interviews with people in your target market, but in the world of crowdinvesting this happens online and comes with an immense amount of data. The market validation process is expanded and the cost is reduced by being online.  there is an undeniable need and significant opportunity for social entrepreneurs to leverage online platforms to access investors, and for investors to access greater dealflow.

Social Proof

When potential clients show interest in your startup’s product or service, you’ve generated social proof. This is essentially showing that other people believe in what you’re doing. Social proof can influence people to take actions and make decisions differently than they would if they had relied solely upon their own judgment. This will bring investor to you offer based on the other people that are investing in the project.

Promotion

Media coverage could include a feature on your company in a popular news station, blog, or print publication. Press coverage will generate more eyes on your campaign and create brand awareness for your offer. It’s also a great way to bring in investors outside of your personal network. Throughout the course of your crowdinvesting offer, you’ll have the opportunity to engage supporters and grow your audience.

Data

The value of data to businesses is tremendous and very expensive, but through crowdinvesting developers are able to collect a lot of data that you will be able to use in their business and in future campaigns. With each crowdinvesting offer you are able to collect a lot of data. This data is invaluable.

Investor Interest

Investors are interested in ambitious developers whose ideas have garnered traction and social proof. Whether they read about your new offer on a popular blog, or hear about your innovative campaign from a friend, a successful crowdinvesting offer is a great way to capture investor interest.

Takeaway

Crowdinvesting is a great way to raise funds for you offer, but you may find that in the process of running your successful campaign you are able to grow your brand reach and brand awareness, receive an immense marketing and PR benefit along with the other benefits mentioned in the above post. Before you overlook the new kid on the block take a long and hard look at crowdinvesting your next real estate development.  

A Blogger’s Role in Crowdfunding

Introduction 

The objective of this post is to define the role of bloggers in the crowdfunding industry, explain the need for a blogger outreach strategy, and provide guidance for implementing an effective blogger outreach strategy. Bloggers are the new journalist of the digital media age. The days prior to the emergence of the Internet your Public Relations strategy could be built on relationships with a few journalists, but in today’s new global communications ecosystem there are new rules of engagement and our goal is to touch on the essential tactics needed to build these vital relationships.

Bloggers Are People

The first and most important rule to remember is that bloggers are people and as such must be treated accordingly. They are not tools to be used and placed back on the shelf until the next time the need arises. Bloggers are writers that unlike their predecessors, journalist, are not constrained by the traditional media business models. Bloggers are usually personal writers that have a passion for writing about a niche market or subject. They have a much broader range of freedom to pick topics and they have the ability to inject there opinion into their writing.

Blogging is Social Media

Blogging is social media driven and what that means is that any digital technology that provides a means to engage in dialogue is social media. Bloggers want to provide high-quality content to educate its readers, and bloggers expect high-quality engagement from its readers and followers. Bloggers love comments and from these comments relationships are developed. These transparent interactions on the blog and on social media platforms build trust that is the foundation of online relationships.

3 Steps to Blogger Outreach

Bloggers outreach should begin with a genuine desire to build a lasting trust based relationship with the blogger. Here are three ways we recommend building a trust based relationship with bloggers.

  1. Read old blog posts and comments to get a better feel and understanding of the blog and its culture.
  2. Read the current blog post and begin to comment where appropriate trying only to be helpful or to ask questions. (No promotion of product or service)
  3. Follow the blog on social media platforms and share high-quality content from the blog with you networks.

Key Takeaways

The power of the Internet has had an immense impact on communications. The Web and Social Media provide a medium of communication that in a matter of minutes information can reach millions of people with internet connections and search engines. Information can reach its audience directly and its reach can be expanded exponentially by influencers such as bloggers who pick up on it and write about it.

Branding Your Crowdfunding Campaign

Introduction 

Today there are a plethora of digital communication tools that can be used to engage our target audience. From social media, websites, and blogs to new IP targeting tools. It seems that the options are endless and more innovation is coming to the market daily. The marketing sector has more option than ever before, but as a crowdfunding campaign manager, how do you continue to innovate and grab the attention of the consumer, and engage them to most importantly keep their attention and engagement?  A digital presence is vital for any crowdfunding campaign, but it is also important to keep your brand tangible.

A Strong Brand

A strong brand presence is always the result of intelligent effort. Insights are not captured from holding an internal meeting with a company’s marketing team. Insights are not captured from solely speaking to a few employees. Insights do not come from guessing who the customers are and then mapping out what the team thinks they think. While these efforts contribute to the discovery process — alone they are not a rigorous approach.

The Value of Insights

Innovative strategic work transforms brands and shifts perceptions, quality work is grounded by insights. Insights derived from qualitative and quantitative research focused on the customer, the offering, and the crowdfunding campaign’s brand. Insights don’t just appear. They are sought out. They are discovered. They are revealed. It’s a process. It takes strategic business planning. Crowdfunding is a business strategy and must be approached as such.

What might not be clear is that while many crowdfunding campaigns use the words customer discovery, but not all discovery processes are the same. And neither are  the outcomes of this vital process. The objective of the discovery process is positioning the brand and articulating its value proposition — is to identify a brand’s unique point of difference before launching a crowdfunding campaign, but during the pre-launch phase of the campaign. Asking the questions over and over again What makes a brand special, better or different? The point of differentiation must be connected to data-based evidence, meaning it must be able to be defended, owned, and true.

Brand 101: A brand represents everything you are as a company. Everything that you say and do shows your prospective customer who you are. It’s your “dress,” the way you talk, your slogan, your signage, your messaging, your social media sites and so much more.

To figure out who you are as a brand, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is my positioning statement? (Where is my space in all of this clutter? What does my company offer that no one else does? Why are we special?)
  • What is my messaging platform? (Why should anyone care? What’s in it for my customers?)
  • What’s my brand persona? (Who is my target customer? Who is my company?)
  • Positioning and messaging are a huge–and often underplayed–part of a company’s brand.

It’s time to start working on the visual components of your brand. When creating your brand, it’s important to take its various components into consideration: logo type (the word), mark (commonly referred to as a ‘logo’,) and color scheme.

  • The logotype is a distinct font that represents your company. It should be meaningful to your brand.
  • Bold, curious, flirty, simple–fonts speak visually to your prospective consumer and should be an extension of your brand persona.
  • The logo, or the symbol, supplements the logo type. If your brand is edgy, be edgy! If your brand is laced up, be more formal. However, always remember that your logo should help you make your mark on all things visual.
  • It should work well in black and white, not just in color.
  • Additionally, you should be able to use this mark on any design work–print or online.
  • Think about how it will be displayed on social media, on eblasts, on brochures, on t-shirts, or on uniforms… just to name a few visual outlets.
  • The color scheme. It should use one or two primary colors, one accent color, or colors of differing value.
  • Creating a strong brand color scheme will facilitate your brand’s flexibility across print and online, and it will also help make your brand visually appealing.

Understanding Crowd Investing

Regulation Crowdfunding

On Monday, May 16th, 2016 Regulation Crowdfunding became legal. As a crowdfunding consultant that had worked many years on many reward based campaigns I thought the day had arrived and the floodgates of retail investment had finally opened and the tsunami of retail investment dollars would lift all boats. The democratization of capital formation was here in the world would be all good.

A Slow Start to the Process 

As we know that was not the reality of the Regulation Crowdfunding. It has come out of the starting gate much slower than most had expected. My vision of crowd investing has always been that it is a great tool for economic development at the neighborhood and community level. A way for small local businesses and small real estate developers to access the much needed capital that they are denied in the traditional funding ecosystems. Having spent most of my life living in inner-city areas and realizing the need for capital in these communities that hold billions of dollars of latent economic activity I embraced crowdfunding and now crowdinvesting vehemently.

The Crowd Is Paramount

Many of the rewards campaigns that I managed or consulted on were created by minorities and women, so I truly saw my value as someone that could help people raise capital and create a solid long term business for myself. I come to the crowdfunding world as a digital marketer and not from the world of finance, so my company was at once focused on building and engaged and excited crowd for campaigns. I realized the crowd was vital for a campaign to be successful and that if you did not build an excited and engaged crowd you would not receive the funding. This was my mantra that I preached to every client or potential client and in my blog posts.

A Global Perspective

I had the honor and opportunity to participate on the Marketing and PR panel at the 2017 Crowd Invest Summit the largest crowd investing event in the world and one of the glaring takeaways for me at that event was that crowd investing campaigns require an excited and engaged crowd of investors as much as rewards campaign needs it. I was on the stage with some of the leading PR and crowdfunding minds in the industry and the message was constant building the crowd through marketing and PR was vital for Regulation Crowdfunding campaigns.

Buy The Block

I returned to Louisville with a renewed desire to change the inner-city West Louisville community using crowd investing. I was very fortunate to meet Lynn P the founder and CEO of Buy The Block the first and only regulation crowdfunding platform founded by an African-American women. We had a vision that was very similar and we set off to change the world of inner-city access to capital for small businesses and real estate development through a collaboration. Along the way I have met some dynamic and passionate people that have helped me on this endeavor.

Lessons Learned

What I have found must take place is the building of a crowd and for me that has ment being as much a community organizer as a crowd investing consultant. Bringing together pastors and other community leaders and educating them on the economic opportunity and empowerment that exist in their communities through  crowd investing and other forms of community capital. Many of the neighborhood residents have never invested in any type of financial vehicle in their lives. No mutual fund, IRA, 401K, and many have never even owned a home, which is the major financial asset in the vast array of the American middle-class wealth arsonal.  

Educations is Vital 

Educating the community on crowd investing and how it works by providing workshops and other community training. Using social media to build interest in how crowd investing can be a game changer for each individual as they become investors and how that effort can change the dynamics of the entire community. Providing training for small developers to learn the skills needed to develop small infill real estate projects in their neighborhoods. Professing the principles of Locavesting and why it is such a powerful strategy for developing inner-city neighborhood at the grassroots level.

Takeaway      

Like rewards crowdfunding, Regulation Crowdfunding, at the inner-city neighborhood economic development and wealth building level will require a focus on building an engaged and excited crowd. The crowd that must be developed will require a vast amount of education that focuses on the individual investor and their willingness to invest. We are literally creating a new retail investor class that has never had the opportunity to invest in a financial assets in their entire life. We are training and building a class of local investor that will become both customer and brand advocate for the same businesses where they have put investment dollars. This is an uphill battle, but we are working to tap an emerging domestic market worth billions and provide a social return that will benefit the United States’ as demographics continue to change.