An innovative idea, an ambitious project, a timely business plan. These are all essential ingredients for a startup that wants to enter the market to offer its products or services, but something is missing: the demand or, better yet, the community, that is, the group of people who, driven by a common interest or need, rally around the startup and its founders.
Grow Your Equity Crowdfunding Community
All the best marketing manuals insist on the need for a company to identify its own market niche with a specific demand to satisfy. If the concept of niche, however, evokes the theme of verticalization and that of responding to a need for consumption, the concept of community, on the other hand, refers to an empathic and relational dimension, to a sense of belonging that finds its backbone in the idea of sharing: be it an interest, a need, a value system or, better yet, all of these things together.
If therefore, the community develops around empathy and relationships, it is evident that for those who want to finance their startup through equity crowdfunding, the members of the community can become the first financiers.
How to build a community
A community grows with the company and is therefore destined to change its shape with it. Depending on the phase in which a company finds itself, the community will take on different connotations. If, for example, we find ourselves in front of a mature and well-known company, it is very likely that the community will develop around the loyalty to the brand and its products, while in an initial phase, although always starting from the presence of shared interest among its members, the community can be the ground for probing the requests of possible consumers and for testing the first products or services that the startup intends to put on the market.
In order to create the right level of involvement in the target audience, it will be essential that the startup is able to tell its story, its mission and its products, creating a shared value system that will become the focus of the relationship with its community and will develop a sense of belonging and involvement that is called engagement.
Whether the community develops primarily online or offline makes no particular difference, what matters is that the company is able to build a coherent story through the appropriate use of storytelling.
The ways in which to establish a relationship with one’s community are obviously innumerable: they range from direct contact to the use of social media or, even better, through a website and a blog that allow to build valuable content for one’s interlocutors and to provide updates on the development of the business project.
Another aspect to consider is the size of the community itself. It’s natural to imagine, especially in view of the funding round, that the number of people in the community is a determining element for the success of the campaign. However, although it is undeniable that volume can be important, the real determining factor is the degree of involvement. Communities with a high involvement rate are the most valuable.
Moreover, we must not forget that users and potential clients of our community will be inclined to become our ambassadors and to trigger a virtuous mechanism of word of mouth that will activate the mechanism defined as a referral, so that new users sensitive to our themes will be inclined to enter our community, making it increase in volume and, above all, in value.
The role of the community in the Equity Crowdfunding campaign
The closer the moment of the launch of the equity crowdfunding campaign approaches, the more important the community will become to the success of the campaign. If we are sufficiently good at building valuable relationships, we can be fairly certain that the members of the community will turn into investors.
It is therefore clear that the effort in terms of communication and involvement must reach its highest levels when the launch of a fundraising round is about to commence.
The possibility of community members becoming our first funders can be explained by two reasons: on the one hand, they have already shown that they believe in our idea and our project, and on the other hand, the peculiarity of equity crowdfunding will allow them to become an integral part of our business and even have an economic return.
In the phases leading up to the start of the campaign, it will therefore be fundamental that the relationship with our public becomes as intense as possible, and the most important figures in the company itself must come into play.
This is why direct contact, the possibility of organizing opportunities to meet through events or even keeping relationships alive through video calls, phone calls, personal emails, will represent unique opportunities to keep the attention of our interlocutors and stimulate them to support us in the most delicate phase of our project.
Let’s not forget the ability to amplify our message, which is in the hands of our community: if members feel involved, they will use their own channels (social in the first place) to spread our initiative and this will not only allow us to expand our audience but also collect a positive return in terms of social proof. Finally, the importance of fostering the relationship even after the funding campaign has ended should not be underestimated. Not only because our investors, and in general our entire community, deserve an adequate follow-up that informs them of our successes and the next steps in the development of our project, but also, and we would say above all because the investors will have become true partners of our company. All the investor relations initiatives will prove to be essential to ensure the loyalty of investors and guarantee their support in the subsequent funding rounds that will lead our startup to continue its growth towards a fully completed and mature business model.