4 Tips for Marketing Your Small Business and Attracting Funding
by Wil Schroter, Fundable, CEO
As the largest business crowdfunding site, we at Fundable have a lot of experience in helping small businesses grow and find capital through crowdfunding. Savvy marketing is crucial to your success, no matter what stage of the game youre at. But what many entrepreneurs may not realize is that good small business marketing can play a huge role in achieving funding success.
Marketing is important for both rewards-based and equity crowdfunding. Businesses that launch rewards-based crowdfunding campaigns offer pre-orders of their product and services as rewards for backers who support them. No equity is given up, but the business is responsible for fulfilling the rewards it promises. Its also important that it drives traffic and interest to its Web page in order to be successful. The best way to do that is great marketing.
Equity crowdfunding for small businesses also requires some marketing legwork. Investors will comb through a business's online presence to ensure they are making a good investment, so its equally important that you have a marketing plan in place before approaching investors for funding.
The tips below will help you increase your social following, garner media attention, leverage your personal network and raise the small business funding you need to grow.
1. Create a Positive Digital First Impression
First things first: As you market your business, be sure to regularly review all social media platforms professional and personal to ensure youre always putting your best foot forward. Think of your social network profiles as virtual business cards; they have a profound impact on investors and backers first impressions of your business and you as an entrepreneur.
2. Cultivate Your Audience
Its important to recognize that your fans and followers have shown an interest in what you do and should be rewarded with interesting and engaging content. Simply sharing advertisements for your services or product wont attract a lasting and active following. Mix up what you share to include industry stats, infographics and fun (but relevant) information, and spend time interacting with your followers so they know theyre important to you. This also ensures that investors or backers wont be alienated by spam-like content when they look you up, and will instead find a thriving community of supporters.
3. Unleash the Power of the Press
A great article or mention in a notable publication can be a huge step forward for your small business marketing strategy, increasing your credibility, bringing in new customers and getting you in front of potential investors. To land a media placement, youll need to do some research and spend time reading up on the journalists who cover your industry. Once youre ready to start contacting journalists, remember to tailor your messages to each one so they know youve done your research mention an article you enjoyed, or the fact that youve seen them write about products like yours in the past.
4. Mine Your Inbox
Many people are surprised by the number of contacts theyve aggregated over the years through email conversations. Take the time to inventory your email network and ask your contacts if theyd be interested in hearing about your business. Spreading the news about your business to those who say yes is a great way to find new customers, vendors and advocates. Just remember, you cant send email marketing messages to people who dont give you permission to do so. And much like journalists, you dont want to spam your email list with a generic email. Creating a customized message using a reputable email marketing service will increase the likelihood that your contacts will share the news with others in their own networks. Email networking is frequently how entrepreneurs are introduced to their first investor, through a shared acquaintance. This makes it especially crucial that you take the time to customize your message, so people feel a strong affinity to you and your business, and are compelled to spread the word.
These four essential tips to marketing your small business should cover the basics and be enough to get you started in the right direction. At the end of the day, just remember that there are two things you need to know inside and out to succeed at marketing your small business while fundraising: your product and your audience.