Your Crowdfunding Email Strategy

PR, social media, and other forms of one-to-many outreach can drive visitors, but these visits don’t always translate into funds.

We’ve found that email outreach is the most effective way to raise money: the conversion rate from email is 34% higher than other forms of outreach. Email works because it’s personal, highly targeted, and easy to track and replicate. It’s also easier to plan around email. You know how many email addresses you have, whereas your reach through social media and PR can be unclear.

HOW Big Of An EMAIL LIST Do You Need?

We recommend that you try to raise 30% of your goal in the first 48-72 hours of your campaign. Most campaigns that eventually hit their goal have strong launches, and the best way to launch with momentum is by sharing your campaign with a strong email list.

You can use your goal and average contribution to get a rough estimate of a desirable email list size. First, figure out what your average contribution will be (probably your product price) and what your goal is. Then use our mailing list calculation (which we’ve included as a separate article) to calculate the target size of your email list. The calculation uses an estimated conversion rate of 7.3%. We’ve run hundreds of successful crowdfunding campaigns, and we also talk to lots of folks who’ve run their own successful campaigns. 7.3% is our conversion estimate from across all this experience. It is however, an estimate, and may be high or low, depending on how qualified the emails on your list are.

 

Most clients are surprised at how a high number the calculator produces. It’s eye- opening, and intimidating. But it’s pretty accurate, and if you can hit it you can be very con dent in your launch. If not, you’ll want to supplement beyond email with other forms of outreach as well.

How do you build UP Your list if you’re not at the calculated size?

Start with a landing page that allows people to give you their email address and use social media outreach, ads, and other methods to send any interested parties to it. If you’re building your own landing page, we suggest creating a “coming soon” page on Squarespace. Once you have your landing page built, you need to drive traffic. A few simple ways to start:

  • Include it in your email signature.

  • Encourage friends and family to share it with their networks.

  • Start sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and on Reddit.

  • Attend events and ask people to sign up in person.

    To more actively build your list, plan out an email gathering campaign. You could use Thunderclap to coordinate a social push towards your landing page, which will help you gather emails from your extended network. If you have something else you can offer as an incentive, you could also use Gleam to run a competition to capture email addresses.

    There are many more resources online that can help you build out a list. Here are a few guides on the topic:

  • Each email should have one clear action item: Share, Contribute, etc. (Multiple action items may confuse your email list).

  • Include nice images, especially if you have a product.

    As you near your launch date, there are four emails that you should plan on sending to get the biggest impact on and soon after launch:

    One Week Out:

    Send an email letting your audience know that you’re planning on launching soon and they’re eligible for a secret deal. They can even send friends to your landing page to share this deal, Include links to social media and pre-written messages (maybe use Click to Tweet to embed one) to drive social sharing.

Three Days Out:

Share the specifics of your special deal. We recommend a discount for anyone that contributes in the first 48 hours. You can replace it with a similar perk at full price (or at an early-bird discount, if you have more than one tiered discount).

Launch Day:

Notify your list that you’re launched, and they have a limited time to claim their perk. Make sure to include an image of your product as well as a call to action button (Contribute Now! Pre-Order, etc) front and center, above the fold.

Week 2 of campaign:

Email everyone on your list who hasn’t contributed and offer them one final special deal (though not as good as the original) to try and persuade them. Check the list of contributors to avoid emailing people who have contributed. You can download this on the Contributions tab of your campaign. In this email, you can let them know that they have 48 hours (ideally on a Monday or Tuesday) to claim a discounted, secret perk.

PRO-TIP: How To Test Ideas About Your Campaign While Gathering Email Addresses

You can use Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, or any other type of paid placement to test out assumptions you have about your campaign. Unsure if your fitness wearable appeals more to urban twenty-somethings or suburban moms? Run ads targeting each, direct them to your landing page, and see which type of ad converts the best. This will give you an idea of what messaging works. Don’t know the best price point for a perk? Run ads with the same copy but different price points and direct them to your landing page. If there’s no difference in conversion, the higher price point might not be a problem.

UP-SELL WITH EMAIL DURING YOUR CAMPAIGN

Do you have a deluxe version of your product you’d like users to upgrade to? Does having multiple units give them a better experience? Is there any new or additional perk that you’d like people to make another contribution for?

If you have some natural up-sell for your campaign, like those I mentioned above, an up-selling email campaign can be a powerful tool to raise funds. In this campaign, you’ll use the Secret Perk tactic I mentioned above to offer previous contributors special deals.

To do this, you can pull your list of contributors (you can download this on the Contributions tab of your campaign dashboard) and try to decide what you’d like to offer different groups. If I’ve bought one widget, maybe you’d like to offer me 25% off of our original price.