Crowdfunding is not necessarily a new idea. The community supported, pre-order model has been around for centuries, but with advancements in its accessibility and the technology behind the thousands of platforms around the world, it’s making huge strides.
With multiple applications including donation-based, lending-based, rewards-based, and equity crowdfunding all seeing monumental growth across the board, creators are raising huge sums of money to bring their dreams to life, and while crowdfunding may have been designed to raise capital for your new venture, the underlying characteristics behind the mechanism that make it so powerful are in its ability to build a community around a project.
In crowdfunding, the project owner’s ability to build that community will ultimately decide their fate. Backers and investors don’t want to just throw money at a project to simply get a stake or reward in return. They want to be a part of something big, and want to feel like they’re making a difference. By giving away a piece of your project through equity crowdfunding, there are huge opportunities to build a strong following that can serve more purposes than just providing capital.
So how can your investors support your project after your equity crowdfunding campaign has come to a successful close?
You’re building this project to fill the needs of a certain customer, and while it’s your idea and dream behind the development, bringing those customers into the development process by asking for their feedback and opinions can be a powerful starting point for showing them you truly care about what they want or think will work.
Perhaps not all of your equity crowdfunding investors will be using what you’re building in the future, but many will most likely have valuable insights that can help innovate and improve your offering, helping you to produce it more in-line with what the market wants.
Bugs are an unfortunate part of any new project. Whether it’s an early batch of product prototypes or a few new website features, your investors will be willing to help test and improve the project they’ve staked a claim in.
It may take a reward or discount of some sort to motivate them to make sure everything is up to par, but their technical feedback, perspectives, and experiences can be invaluable as you drive your project through the development lifecycle.
They’re already providing you capital, so why not give your investors more opportunities to get involved in the development of your project?
They have skills and are anxious to put them to work, and opening up your project to contributions by your investors can truly give them an opportunity to put their name on your project.
From engineering design to brand marketing, finding ways for your investors to play an even deeper role in development can give them a unique experience they can’t get anywhere else, as well as give you the chance to reduce development time and costs too.
Investors want to see your project brought to life, so they probably won’t hesitate to spread the word of your new project, especially if it’s something they could see their friends and network using in the future.
In the equity crowdfunding model, your success is their success. Again, it may take some convincing through rewards or discounts, but few things can be as powerful as customer testimonials or community-driven promotion.
Customer acquisition is tough when you’re crowdfunding, and investor acquisition through equity crowdfunding is no different, so one of the biggest ways your investors can help you out once your equity crowdfunding campaign is over is by staying on board for the long-term.
Turning your early adopters into long-term supporters can be tough, but as they stand as stake-holders in your project, it should be a necessary task to undertake to insure everyone stays up-to-date with your progress, happy with your offering, and motivated to support you in the future as you grow and hopefully launch new campaigns.
As a founder, building and maintaining a strong and trustworthy community around your project is crucial for success in any form of crowdfunding, and as equity crowdfunding continues to mature, a baseline for investor relations will surely emerge for projects that engage in the funding mechanism.
For now through, it’s up to project creators to maintain their relationships with their investors on their own terms, and to make the most out of those relationships to keep everyone engaged and active throughout the life of the project and for future launches as well.