Statistics on the equity crowdfunding campaign, the form of financing through which start-ups and SMEs raise capital from investors in exchange for the sale of company shares, show steady growth over the years both in Italy and abroad.
Starting an equity crowdfunding campaign, however, is not in itself a guarantee of success. There are many factors that can contribute to a successful campaign; however, we can certainly say that having a good product is not enough.
In the mix of ingredients that determine the success of a fundraising round, a key role is certainly played by the communication strategy.
The role of founders in strategic communication
There is no point in going round and round about it: in order to convey an effective message to the public of potential investors, you have to put your face to it.
All too often, the founders of start-ups and SMEs are convinced that they can remain behind the scenes, leaving the organisational machine of the campaign to do all the work, as if the fundraising round could somehow live a life of its own or thinking, wrongly, that the company’s products or image are enough to guarantee the success of the campaign.
However, companies are made up of people, and being able to come into contact with the people who embody an entrepreneurial reality is fundamental for those who must grant trust, all the more so since it is not just a question of buying a product but even of becoming a partner.
After all, who would become a partner of someone they do not know?
In addition to the goodness and economic sustainability of our business project, investors must have confidence in the people who represent the company, which is why it is important for the founders to tell their story and tell the project in person.
Marketing and communication for equity crowdfunding
Cosa intendiamo quando parliamo della comunicazione mirata ad attrarre gli investitori verso il nostro progetto imprenditoriale?
What do we mean when we talk about communication aimed at attracting investors to our business project? As for all traditional companies that launch themselves on the market to conquer consumers, it is certainly essential for start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises seeking investors not to leave the definition of an adequate marketing strategy to improvisation.
It is therefore correct to give space to all the canonical activities we might expect from a company in the launch and promotion phase: from events to media relations, from social media marketing specifically for equity crowdfunding to advertising planning.
And yet, doesn’t it seem that something is missing? Yes, something is missing from this list: people.
Entrepreneurs on the front line: how to help your company find investors
So, if founders play such a central role in the success of a crowdfunding campaign, how can they actually get involved in helping the company reach its funding goals?
Play it early and use the time
Thinking that crowdfunding starts with the launch of the campaign is the first big planning mistake to avoid.
The preparatory work for raising funds actually starts much earlier and the entrepreneur must be able to use the months before the campaign starts to establish and cultivate relationships that will prove decisive once the campaign is underway.
For example, let’s think of a startup in its first round of financing: the founders will have to make every effort to activate as much as possible the network of proximal relationships that very often constitute the basis of the first financiers.
We refer here to the famous 3Fs of family, friends and fools, i.e., relatives, friends and “fools” who will be the first to put their trust in our entrepreneurial project. We have to work with them to explain our activity and the possibilities of return on investment.
Be careful, however, not to take it for granted that the promises of even the people closest to us are translated into concrete actions: very often what seems like spontaneous and enthusiastic support does not translate into an actual investment at the time the campaign is launched.
Making use of time also means building relationships with stakeholders outside our family or friendship circle and involves investing personal energy with many local players, such as institutions, accelerators and incubators, all of which will prove decisive for the success of our crowdfunding.
Personal branding and storytelling
Building a brand, which is not just the company’s brand, is another fundamental step to help the success of our equity crowdfunding campaign.
It is often believed that focusing on the personal branding of the company’s founders or key people can somehow distract from the company itself. In fact, the opposite is true: strengthening the personal brand of entrepreneurs will make the messages to potential investors much more credible.
Personal branding should therefore be seen as an essential part of the company’s storytelling, transforming the company’s key people, or rather the entire team, into storytellers and then into the protagonists of a personal story.
Activate the community
Building a credible narrative and solid relationships is, as we have seen, essential to accompanying the company in funding rounds.
However, building relationships does not only mean getting in touch with as many people as possible (provided they are on target with our objectives, of course), but it means acting personally to ensure that they are relationships that generate value.
Virtually all marketing manuals draw attention to the need for a company to identify a specific market niche towards which to direct communication for the promotion of its products or services.
The concept of niche, which insists on the need for the verticalization of the company’s proposal, must however be flanked by that of community, i.e., a group of people united by a sense of belonging and sharing values and objectives.
Founders are therefore called upon to capitalise on relationships by working to activate their target community.
All too often, it is left to the communication agency to amplify its message to the widest possible audience. While it is undeniable that numbers play a (big) part, the real turning point is the involvement of our community, i.e., the level of support for our cause.
Establishing direct contacts, organising meetings at events or working on relationships through video calls, phone calls and personal emails will be unique opportunities to keep the attention of our stakeholders and stimulate them to support us in the most delicate phase of our project by generating involvement.
Using social channels
As we know, social media has become an essential channel for corporate communication. A company involved in an equity crowdfunding campaign will certainly activate communication on social platforms, making the most of the various channels. Personal profiles can also play a key role in supporting the company’s strategy.
The key point is to avoid founders becoming entrenched in communication through corporate channels.
In practical terms, the important thing is not to be on as many platforms as possible, but to have the best possible presence on the right platforms.
Using personal social channels is a way to amplify corporate messages by grafting the human component and exploiting the possibility of creating one-to-one relationships with our target audience. If you have liked this article and want to join the community where we continue to bring out the latest from the crowdfunding world. Subscribe Now!