Brenda Bazan and Nancy Hayes are CoFounders of MoolaHoop a crowdfunding platform that helps women with small businesses reward their customers and themselves. You can get started at www.moola-hoop.com. Are you planning a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for your business? The key to a successful campaign is to offer appealing Rewards that encourage supporters to act immediately. The best potential supporters are your current customers who want you to succeed and want to tell their friends about the cool Rewards you are offering! Offering appealing, well-priced and unique Rewards encourages pledges. It is important that you price the Rewards so you can deliver them cost effectively and still be able to invest funds in your business growth project. Think about what it will cost you to deliver each of your Rewards. If you have only a small margin remaining after subtracting material and shipping cost, you may not yield enough funds to invest in your business growth goals. What Rewards can you offer that are unique and creative, yet also allow you to deliver them cost effectively? Here are some tips: 1. Rewards that represent value or uniqueness can command a higher price A one-of-a kind experience or “special treatment” is a good way to offer a Reward that conveys exclusivity and a sense of urgency (you can only get it if you pledge to the crowdfunding campaign). Some examples are:
- Name one of your products after the person who pledges
- Feature the pledger’s photo and story on your website, in your blog or post it on the wall of your store or place of business
- Offer to conduct a class in your area of expertise– if you are a cake decorator, offer a class in cake decoration. People love to share experience with their friends….make one of the Rewards a special class just for the pledger and their friends!
- Provide a brainstorming session or coaching session via email, phone or Skype.
- Design a product just for them – using their fabric or materials or their design (in some instances).
- A behind the scenes “tour” of how your product is made or your service delivered
- Host a party for the pledger and friends – especially if you have a unique venue or your business is a food product or related service
- Invite them to an event where they can see the draft designs of your product and provide feedback
2. Offer your Product or Service in a new and different way If your Rewards are the same products and services that you offer currently on your website, and at the same price level, there is no real reason for someone to pledge now. They can get your product or service anytime. Also, you don’t want to fall into the trap of discounting too heavily. And, unless your business is T-Shirts, we would suggest not creating a T-shirt just for the campaign (unless it is unusually clever). That is a large cost to you and it takes you away from your main business. The same goes for pens and coffee mugs. Some examples are:
- Offer first availability of a new product
- Offer an exclusive product or service just for the campaign such as a design or fabric that won’t be produced for the general public.
- Scarcity works. Offer a limited number of a special product or service.
- Offer a monogrammed or signed version of your product
- Bundle your product or service with an add-on (massage and nail service)
- Offer your product or service in a new way (monthly lessons for a certain price)
3. Pay attention to the cost of delivering low-priced Rewards It takes a lot of time to prepare, package and deliver a lot of low priced Rewards. So, think about this especially on the low end. Are there some great electronic Rewards you can offer? Can you restrict low end Rewards to things that can easily be shipped or can be redeemed at your place of businesses? Some examples are:
- Send a PDF of existing written content or photos
- Download a video of content of value (a lesson on how to post to Facebook, tips for styling outfits, an exercise to ease tension)
4. Something for Everyone While you are targeting customers and potential customers, it is also helpful to have Rewards for people who want to help you, but aren’t going to use your product or service. Some examples are:
- Offer to list the pledger’s name on your site or in place of business
- Suggest some of your Rewards that could be gifts
- Indicate that if they don’t want the item for themselves, you will donate it to charity in their name.
You can create Rewards for your campaign that are exciting to your potential supporters and that they want to share with their personal networks. This can help your build your“crowd.” Importantly, you can create Rewards that help you reinforce the loyalty of current customers, attract new customers and build your brand. Of course, you can get funding to help you get your business to the next level.