Crowdfunding – Community Building

Now is the time to send the influencers on your list an email and asked them for advice about your campaign. Be sure to mention that you read their post/article/book. If you mention that you enjoyed reading it, you will increase the likelihood they will reply to your request. Prioritize your list of influencers and focus on sites and people that are the most active. Read and share information in your topic area to build trust with them before also asking them to support your campaign. Even if you do all the right things, expect about a 10% return rate on your cold contacts. However, with a few good social shares, some campaigns have been able to boost their return rates to 15-20%.

Start sending out emails to your list as you count down to the launch to build momentum. Now is the time to try to get committed backer support prior to your launch date. If necessary, make their pledge contingent on reaching a specific funding level. For example, you might say, “Can I count on you to support us at the platinum level if we raise 20% percent of our goal?” If they are not receptive, ask, “How about supporting us at the gold level?” If necessary, go all the way and ask, “Will you at least support us at the $10 High-Five level?” If you don’t ask, most people will not pledge because this is the point in the campaign where you begin to ask for their pledges. Based on successful campaigns, your goal should be to get about 20% of your target amount in pre-launch pledges from your network.

Another effective way to build a community is to have a launch party. The best launch parties build enthusiasm for the campaign and have a creative twist to make them memorable. Perhaps you can buy a canvas and some paint from an art supply company and encourage everyone at the launch party to contribute to a painting you will post on the blog and giver away as a reward after the campaign. Don’t be afraid to be creative and don’t forget to ask for pledges at the launch party.

Your list of committed backers is different from the ideal backer since your committed backers at this point likely include family and friends. Drew Johnson, a colleague of mine that ran a successful reward-based crowdfunding campaign for TechWears shared the following advice. If he had it all to go over again, he would have scrubbed his look-a-like list when he used a Facebook ad campaign to find backers. Drew had collected a list of about 500 people who signed up at his various demos and craft fairs where he demonstrated and sold his unique TechWears products. His initial thinking was that since the 500 on his list stopped by his booth, engaged with him in a discussion about his product, and were willing to sign-up for his mailing list that they were all potential backers. Unfortunately, many on the list were “tire kickers” who signed his list more out of politeness rather than genuine interest. When he used his list in a Facebook look-a-like ad campaign, the demographic he targeted was not the audience that was actually looking to buy geek-wear as he calls it. In the end, it cost him more money and did not get him the conversion rate he was hoping for from the ad campaign. Therefore, if you plan to use a Facebook ad campaign and use look-a-like list, you should scrub your list to remove those people not likely to be your ideal backer.

What are your plans for building a community for your next campaign?

Note: this post originally appeared at

Purchase Order

The Evolving Journey of the B2B Buyer

Daniel Heimlich posted the following photo on his LinkedIn page. Not sure who the conference speaker was, but the five statistics represented on this slide — from well-respected organizations like Forrester Research, IDC and Harvard Business Review — are a good representation of how B2B prospects are behaving on their “buying journey.” I’ve seen many of the statistics (or close approximations) individually, but not in one spot like this.And since my team and I make our living by connecting B2B buyers with B2B sellers, we are vitally interested in how the buying journey is shifting over time.

B2B Buyer Stats 2016

Let’s make this discussion actionable by taking each of the buyer journey stats and discussing what we can do to take advantage of specific trends:

  1. 74% of B2B buyers conduct more than half of their research online before talking to a salesperson. Companies that ignore this fact and adopt a sales-centric approach to the front end of the buying journey do so at their own peril. Prospects no longer can be considered sheep to be sheared according to your selling process, but rather individuals with unique experiences who want to chart their own path. In other words, they want to you help them buy, not sell them.
  2. 5.4 people are now involved in the average B2B buying decision. This stat can be a bit misleading: Some companies may involve 10 people in a decision and others just one. But the point is, you need to know the correct number for each prospect, as well as their names, titles, and influence on the buying process. It’s also important that you implement the right technology to monitor what each of these influencers is doing before they engage with your sales force. Many deals are lost because the sales rep is surprised that someone from the prospect’s company appeared at the last minute and stopped the sale. Don’t let this happen to you.
  3. 75% of B2B buyers use social media to research vendors. While this quote from IDC doesn’t specify what they mean by “use social media,” the point is that the vast majority of prospects do search for what others are saying about you and your competitors, particularly when it comes to product specs, pricing, ratings and reviews. Make sure you are well represented in all online media likely to be looked at by prospects during their buying journey.
  4. 90% of B2B buyers say they never respond to cold outreach. Harvard Business Review got this one right. If 90% of potential B2B buyers are reluctant to even have a conversation, it makes the job of the cold-caller, cold-emailer, etc. much tougher. This is why you should shift some of your marketing initiatives from push to pull marketing. Conversion ratios will be higher and your selling cycle will be shorter – two very good things.
  5. 74% of buyers choose the sales rep that was FIRST to add value & insight. My reading on this is that you want to make sure of two things. The first is obvious: Hire and train reps who can add value plus insight. The second is not so obvious, but equally important: Make sure your value-add reps get a chance at the deal because your online presence supports the 75% of prospects who do their research online before engaging with a rep.

By the way, I am by no means a blind follower of statistics. As Mark Twain said, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics. But these particular stats are backed up by our experience and data working with many B2B companies. By understanding the B2B buyer and preparing for the new buying journey, you will be much more effective in finding and closing business.

This article was originally posted January 20, 2016 at