The genius behind crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter and IndieGogo reaches beyond the obvious. There’s no question that the actual funding portion is brilliant, more than viable, and even very popular, but the overlooked aspect is the marketing.
Yes, some sales are guaranteed up front through the funding process, but the best advertising and sales thrust you’ll ever have will be from your backers. If you have 10,000 backers, that’s an almost guaranteed 10,000 walking, talking billboards for your product. They’ll want everyone else to know that they’re backing it either to brag or to share good information that everyone hasn’t heard about. With a new product, you need to spread the name as far and as fast as you can.
People Purchase What They Recognize
Ask yourself, how often do you consider or even buy something you’ve never heard of before when you’re shopping? Undoubtedly that’s going to happen sometimes, but more often than not we tend to buy things that carry some kind of name recognition. Either you’ve bought it before, or you’re familiar with the brand, or you at least are aware that the brand or product exists. When you’re launching a new product or brand, one of the best ways to potentially up your sales out of the gate is for that familiarity to already be there.
The crowdfunding model builds word-of-mouth advertising right into the process, but whether or not you go the crowdfunding route you can still create that same kind of buzz ahead of your launch. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to hold your launch until you have already created some buzz. And of course, the fastest way to spread some buzz is on social media. Actually, a good social media buzz will also help a project get crowdfunded to start with.
Get Your Channels Humming
Before your launch, you should spend at least several months building interest online through social media accounts, a blog, and with advertising. When you get to launch, you want as many people as possible saying “yeah, I’ve heard of them”. You also use your fan base on social and through email as your initial sales base. A blog full of great content and an active Youtube channel will help you climb in the search engine rankings so that, at launch, a search will actually put your site in the results. Active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, and other channels also give you a captive audience when it’s time to get the register ringing.
The best way to build that kind of momentum and awareness before your launch is to use social media management software to post across multiple channels at once and monitor engagement from a single location. This will allow you to gain maximum reach and engagement without having to spend an inordinate amount of time posting, monitoring, and responding from several or more different sites or tools.
Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch
Obviously you never want to spend money you haven’t seen materialize yet, but there’s nothing wrong with estimating and planning. Being active on social channels and other places on the web and using a good social media dashboard will get the buzz going about your product, but you need to be able to both monitor that buzz and analyse it if you’re going to make the most of it.
Your software will have reports and analytics on positive and negative sentiment about your brand or product, as well as the number of mentions and any responses. These are metrics that will need to be closely monitored from the very beginning so that you can establish a baseline from which to plan your growth. They are also very important for knowing how to engage your fans or mentions in order to convert talkers into buyers. Knowing how effective each post or campaign is helps in adjusting new campaigns or posts and in fine-tuning your marketing overall.
Make a Budget
Unlike the good old days when social media was a freebie in your marketing budget, it now costs real money to get results on these sites. That doesn’t mean it will break your bank, but if you think you’re going to get noticed and shared for a product without buying ads, I’m afraid the new algorithms have already figured out your little plan. 2015 is the year that social media marketing has got to become a line item in your budgeting plan.