I chuckle when I read news releases from companies announcing they’ve filed with the SEC to raise “up to $50 million” through Reg A+ equity crowdfunding. Why? Because most of them completely underestimate the effort required to generate even the first $1 million in interest from the crowd.
Successful Reg A+ campaigns demand powerful storytelling and a multichannel marketing effort to drive awareness, reservations and investment. Assuming your company has the substance, here are five proven marketing strategies to position your equity crowdfunding campaign for success.
1: Excite Your Audience
The best campaigns feature videos that rouse emotions and make personal connections with the audience. For Elio Motors, we came up with the idea that consumers could “Alter the Course” of transportation by reserving shares. Reg A+ allows everyday Americans to invest in private companies for the first time in nearly a century. Videos that communicate empowerment, ownership and participation are a great way to inspire your target audience to take action.
2: Email Acquisition Campaigns
If you don’t already have thousands of customers or are not a B2C business, you should consider coordinating one or multiple email acquisition campaigns before launch. To be clear, I’m not talking about purchasing email lists, which tend to have low open and click-through rates.
Email acquisition campaigns like this Gleam contest for XTI Aircraft drove a lot a buzz on social, and tied directly into the heart of XTI’s Reg A+ campaign. We’re averaging a 30 percent open rate on emails acquired from our Gleam contest, which account for about 10 percent of XTI’s total reservations as of this writing.
3: Influencer Marketing
How do you get your brand (and campaign) in front of hundreds of thousands or even millions of people? By having influencers deliver the message for you, of course. Influencer marketing is a savvy strategy that can deliver big results when carefully planned and executed.
For the Elio campaign, we flew out 15 YouTubers to LA for an exclusive test drive experience, GoPros and cameras in tow. All we asked is that they wait to publish their videos until the campaign launched, and to link to the campaign page in their video descriptions.
This effort resulted in some amazing content such as this video from auto enthusiast SaabKyle04, which has been viewed almost 200,000 times. On top of driving reservations or direct investment, influencer marketing can build valuable brand equity for your company, quickly.
4: Innovative Digital Marketing
Every campaign needs a strong social media marketing plan, but you can’t stop there. Sites like Reddit, Hacker News, or Product Hunt are usually not on the radar of companies launching Reg A+ campaigns, yet they can yield amazing results when used in conjunction with traditional digital marketing tactics.
Case in point: despite securing major coverage from CNN, Fortune, Entrepreneur, Popular Mechanics and others, the #1 source of traffic for the XTI campaign was from a Reddit AMA chat with Amelia Rose Earhart, XTI’s Investor Relations executive. Amelia’s AMA generated almost 3,000 comments, was the #2 item on Reddit for the day, and drove 15 times more traffic than the CNN feature.
5: Media Buying
Facebook ad buying has been one of the most effective strategies in driving reservations for our clients’ campaigns. Once we have the first several hundred reservations for any campaign, we load the emails into Facebook, create a Lookalike audience, and execute ad buys against it. We A/B test multiple ads and optimize our efforts in real-time using proprietary technology.
Programmatic buying — providing highly targeted ads without labor-intensive tasks — is another strategy that allows companies to connect with consumers in the moments that matter. Programmatic is a great way to maximize ROI and frees up companies to focus on other campaign aspects such as creative or overall strategy.
If you’re considering a Reg A+ campaign for your company, you need a dedicated team and a comprehensive marketing plan in place before you launch. In the words of Abraham Lincoln: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.”