You have grasped it. The key to Crowdfunding and online success is directly connected to the size and quality of your crowd.
A “Crowd” as we describe it, is your community, your tribe, and in some cases your super fans! They are tuned into you as a business, and you have nurtured them to know, like and trust you.
That is key. It is not always about the size of your list BUT how engaged they are.
If you are reading this article and are conscious you do not yet have a crowd then fear not you are in the right place.
Lets kick this off with tip number one:
This is a crucial step! In order to grow your email list, you first need a place to store and manage said list.
Who can we recommend to manage email?
MailChimp offer a free “Get Started” level. As it currently stands they allow you to have up to 2000 contacts, one main list to feed those contacts into and 10,000 monthly email sends. Check out their pricing plans here.
A lot can be achieved on this free level so don’t be put off! If you are starting out then MailChimp is worth an explore. There is nothing to stop you changing email providers in the future should you outgrow MailChimp’s free level so wish to shop around.
2. Convert Kit
If you want to kick things up a gear, and are happy to invest in a tool or perhaps you exceed the 2000 contacts quota then Convert Kit is an excellent choice.
Firstly, a quick introduction into what a lead magnet is incase you are unsure of the concept.
“A lead magnet is offering something of value in exchange for an email address.”
This is a powerful and incentivised approach to growing your email list.
Let’s say for instance you are a food related business. In this case perhaps a lead magnet such as “Sign up to receive Top 20 Summer Recipes!”
You are probably recognising the concept now.
So looking at the steps from lead magnet through to sign up -
Step 1 - offer something of value on a landing page (AKA the weekly recipes delivered into your inbox)
Step 2 – you then promote that landing page link via Social Media
Step 3 - ask for name and email
Step 4 – send to thank you page informing them the lead magnet is on its way
Step 5 – Et Voila! You now have their email to continue building a relationship with them. That could look like, offering some more value, surveys, business updates. Build that know, like and trust factor!
Let’s list several lead magnet examples to get your creative juices flowing:
NOTE: This is just a short example list, there are oodles of options, and not all of the above will necessarily be suited to your business but hopefully this gives you an idea.
RESOURCE: We created this guide to take the guesswork out of running a successful crowdfunding campaign...
(See what we did there…!? Lead magnets demonstrated first hand.
A blog can do wonders for your business in so many ways:
Fresh content for google (start to climb those google ranks with great copy)
Build that know, like, trust factor with your readers
Opportunities to link out to influences/collaborators
Somewhere to promote your lead magnets
Share what makes your business unique
Content that you can then post and share on social media
The key to a blog is to be original and consistent.
By original we mean, authentic and fresh copy that you have created from your fair hand and expertise. By all means be inspired by other peoples blogs!
In terms of consistency, the aim is to post on the same day and time every week, fortnight, or month. Whatever your chosen frequency is. If you can post weekly all the better! This will train the google bot’s to visit and index you regularly – great to climb the google ranks!
TIP: Do you need some blog topic inspiration? Check out UberSuggest, a fantastic free tool from Neil Patel that can help you identify content in your industry that has been well received and shared.
Would your business concept suit having its own online community (AKA crowd.)
For example, we make the most of the online community through The Crowdfunding Academy Group. In this group we can swiftly resolve issues far quicker than email, provide inspiration and advice, and understand our crowd’s pain points so we can find a solution and best service that crowd.
The environment of an online group is all about community. It allows you to build powerful relationships with your audience and provides the opportunity for them to get to know, like and trust you.
Now, communities are not suited to every single industry however if you can see an angle where it can work for your business, great!
Avoid shoehorning a community together just for the sake of it.
Beginning an online community is not a decision to be taken lightly, it takes commitment, showing up regularly, and in some cases a fair amount of moderation.
In addition, to manage expectations, gaining traction in your community can take time, avoid getting disenchanted.
Hang on to the fact that it can be an incredible way to grow your crowd!
TIP: The key to a successful online community is truly serving your audience and having their success at the heart of the group. It is not about the hard sell, but instead it is all about inspiring and guidance. Solving their problems equals business insights for you.
What is an influencer?
An “influencer” is a term given to someone with the power to influence purchase decisions of other crowds due to the knowledge and standing they have in their particular field.
If you are starting out or wishing to develop your own standing in your niche, building relationships with relevant influencers is a powerful way to accelerate your growth.
What forms do influencers take?
Let’s narrow it down into three categories for you to focus on.
How you do locate influencers in your niche?
Again, we go back to a tool we have already recommended, a great option is to use UberSuggest to locate articles that have gone viral on a topic that relates to your industry. Locating these viral articles and blogs demonstrates that the author has the influence and knowledge to reach a large crowd.
Another technique could be to simply google “Top “X” blogs” and insert your niche into the space.
This could look like:
“Top cookery blogs”
“Top coaching blogs”
“Top wine blogs”
Do not take the results a face value but do some research into each one. Place them into UberSuggest and view the results. Check out their social following.
Along the way you may also gain inspiration for blog topics you may wish to write!
These are many techniques for locating influencers, but these two strategies we have shared will get you on your way to influencer marketing success.
What is the best way to connect with an influencer?
In our opinion, Twitter.
Twitter is a brilliant platform to build connections. Consider these four simple actions:
Challenge, should you choose to accept it!
Find and connect with:
2 x Bloggers
2 x Journalists
2 x Social media influencers
Why not set yourself a timer of 30 minutes to keep the focus!
Demonstrate your knowledge and expertise for all to see!
Being helpful and active in spaces that suit your business niche is a great way to build a crowd.
As we have mentioned, in order to build an engaged crowd you need to give them reason to know, like and trust you.
Answering questions from the goodness of your heart is a great way to do this.
Where, how and when you might ask?
Communities and forums are a great place to start.
“Quora is a place to gain and share knowledge. It is a platform to ask and connect with people who contribute unique insights and quality answers.”
TIP: If this crowd building technique catches your eye, consider placing a slot of time in your diary every day to dip in to your groups of choice, be present and answer questions.
BONUS TIP: If there is a profile in your forum or community of choice ensure you complete it with any of the following: Name, website, community link or email.
Let’s make it easy for people to follow up with you and join that crowd!
So imagine if you could write a blog for an established and successful influencer?
I bet you can see how that would extend your crowd reach. Borrowing someone else’s crowd is an incredible crowd building hack.
Where do I start with guest blogging?
So look back to those influencers we spoke about a little earlier.
That could be a great place to start, particularly if you have been putting the work in to building a relationship with them.
In addition, visit their website, scroll down to the footer and in some cases you will see that they have a “contribute” tab or perhaps a “guest blogger” tab - look out for terms that signal they welcome blogging contributions.
This technique goes beyond your list of influencers.
Another technique is to perform a tactical google search. Place this into your google search bar:
*Keyword* “guest post by”
For instance we would search: Crowdfunding “guest post by”
(The "" are an important aspect to this search so be sure to include them.)
We received some great options – and hope you did too.
NOTE: Guest blogging also has the huge bonus of building back links.
In short, a back link is when another website links into yours. More often than not when you submit a guest blog for publish you will be credited with a link back to your website. The better the website authority linking in to you, the stronger the back link.
Google loves quality back links! It demonstrates to google that you are serving your audience so well that other businesses are prepared to link in with you.
Et voila, you being to climb the google ranks – questions - do you appear on the first page of google? Could you see yourself benefitting from back links?
Powerful, powerful crowd building strategy.
Podcasting is one of the best ways to build a relationship with an audience, largely because it is founded in audio, and listeners can gain a great sense of a person through that medium.
So this plays in your favour. Podcasters who are consistent often have an incredibly loyal and dedicated audience, which means, if you can be interviewed on their show it is a natural endorsement to you that you can be trusted.
How do I get interviewed on a podcast?
A great first step is to sign up to Podcast Guests.
It is a free tool and their sole purpose is to connect podcasters with great guests, and vice-versa, to connect guests with relevant podcasters in order to expand their audience and reach.
You’ll receive a weekly email from Podcast Guests with a lists of opportunities to appear as a guest.
If one catches your eye, you complete the form and it whizzes of to the podcaster for their consideration.
What makes a good podcast guest?
Podcast Guests have put together a free guide on what makes a good podcast guest. In this guide they share with you what is takes to be a good podcast guest, how to leverage guest appearances to expand your crowd.
P.S In this instance you do not even have to part with an email address, it is just waiting there for your to download directly.
TIP: Is this out of your comfort zone?
You may have noticed we have gained momentum as we have gone down the list of crowd building tips. Remember, the most effective means of crowd building are often those out of our comfort zone to begin with.
On which note, we would like to invite you to create an account all the same - what’s the harm in signing up and getting a feel for the opportunities that arrive in your inbox. You may surprise yourself.
Podcasting has exploded in recent years, with over 7 million adults in the UK tuning in every week there is a slice of the pie to be had.
You can find a podcast on most topics ranging in a variety of formats:
If this captured your imagination, head over to the apple podcasts app if you are on iPhone or google play if you are on android and search the available podcasts in your niche, see what you discover you may be inspired!
What are the benefits on podcasting?
What does starting a podcast involve?
Let’s be realistic, podcasting is a commitment, and if you can’t see yourself sustaining that effort them perhaps it isn’t the right time for you. Let’s give you a little insight:
So, did podcasting capture your attention?
Challenge: Find a podcast in your industry and listen to 3 episodes, this will give you a great idea as to whether you are intrigued by podcasting.
Be a guest on one of those podcasts, what better way to gain insight that to be a guest on a podcast yourself!
BONUS: Tune into this interview where Anthony interviewed Ben Adam Smith about how he built his crowd by launching a podcast:
So we have just been discussing podcasting and the benefits of delivering content via audio (excellent to build the know like and trust factor of a relationship).
Now, if we kick it up a gear, VIDEO.
Video in general is becoming an increasingly important ingredient to growing your online presence.
The crowd you can attract will all consume content in a different ways. Some may be podcast listeners, others written content, and then there are those that consume video – or perhaps all three varieties!
Could it be leaving money on the table if you are not considering video material to grow your crowd?
Let’s face it, if you are reading this blog, your are perhaps looking to grow your crowd ready for crowdfunding. If this is the case then you have plans for a campaign on the horizon! When crowdfunding your campaign video is a key ingredient to your crowdfunding success, so perhaps this is a concept you may wish to get a little more comfortable with sooner rather than later.
The uses for video are diverse, here is some inspiration for you:
TIP: The trick to video is to START. Not to be judgemental at that first video and stop. But to understand that you will grow along with every single video you create. It is those that push through the barrier that succeed.
So there we have it, our Top Ten Tips to Grow your Crowd!
Hopefully this blog article has given you some fresh ways to get out there and attract your crowd.
Let’s emphasise one last point, we do not expect you to go away and tackle all ten points today. Focus on quality rather than quantity, pick one point and master it before moving onto the next.
Overwhelm can be very unproductive indeed, and we don’t want that for you!
Is there a strategy that you are utilising that we have not mentioned? Comment below, we’d love to hear it!
To your crowdfunding success,
Ali Jane Selwyn
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