How to market your crowdfunding campaign

In her book Cash From the Crowd, Sally Outlaw, founder and CEO of crowdfunding website peerbackers, reveals the secrets of funding your business with help from colleagues, peers, family, friends and even perfect strangers through a crowdfunding campaign. In this edited excerpt, the author offers details on the three groups you should approach when marketing your crowdfunding requests.

The term is crowdfunding, as in: You need a crowd to fund your idea. There are three groups you'll need to include in your marketing strategy, and each of these will require a different approach:

1.         Your existing personal network of friends, family, and acquaintances like co-workers and neighbors.
2.         Any subscribers, followers, or fans in your social media world.
3.         The new audience you want to attract.

1. Personal network: As you look through your email contacts, Facebook friends and LinkedIn communities for those who may help support your campaign, put them into separate lists of friends, family, acquaintances and business associates. Each of these groups will require different messaging. You wouldn't send the same note about supporting your project to a business associate as you would to a family member or good friend. Those with whom you haven't recently communicated will need a more extensive introduction to your crowdfunding initiative vs. closer friends who may have heard every detail of your business and impending campaign.

It's also important to look over your contacts to identify "super" connectors and promoters in your own network who'll help you spread the word. You'll want to get these people involved as early as possible in your campaign by asking them to play a larger role in your efforts. You can start by asking for their input on any of your campaign elements and having them preview your page. The hope is that they'll begin to feel a part of your efforts and invested in your success.
Whatever you do, make sure you're reaching out in a personal way and enough in advance to genuinely reconnect. As one of the entrepreneurs I spoke with pointed out, "I wouldn't want to get an email from somebody I haven't spoken to in two years saying 'Here's my campaign.' "