Crowdfunding During Election Season

Written by Tom Dadourian

Crowdfunding During Election Season title card

It’s election season in the US, and you might be wondering what effects that will have on your crowdfunding campaign. We recently held a webinar with Indiegogo’s Stacy Bradford to answer just this question, and we want to share the key takeaways with you here.

And in case you were wondering: this information is applicable in a lot of situations, not just during election season. This advice is helpful any time you’re launching a crowdfunding campaign during a busy advertising time. Think about trying to launch a golf product during the Masters, or a tech gadget during CES, or any other product launch that would take place while everyone’s attention is somewhere else. The tips in this article will help you break through the noise, whatever that noise may be.

Announce early

A recent study found that there will be over $1.8 billion spent on advertising during this election cycle. That means that there’s a lot of noise out there, and it will be more difficult to make your voice heard above it all. The best way to break through is by announcing your project early. We normally recommend that you announce your launch date a week in advance, but right now, you’re better off giving yourself an extra week. This gives you a larger window of time to connect with your community and more chances to engage and get them excited. Don’t limit yourself to one or two channels with your announcements, either—take advantage of everything available to you, like your email list, Facebook group, Twitter, Instagram, texting, Facebook events, and anything else you can think of. Get your message out to as many people as you can.

Use proven audiences

Think about buying advertising space like looking for real estate: if you’re looking to buy somewhere popular where a lot of other people are bidding, it’ll be very expensive. Facebook is the real estate in this case, and everyone wants a piece in the run-up to the election, so the prices are high. You can lower how much you spend on ads during this time by using proven audiences.

If you’ve run ads before, then you know which audiences are best for you, so you should start with and stick to those. If you’re new to Facebook advertising, start by advertising to audiences close to your product. The broader you are, the harder it is to get in front of the right people, so you want to use things like remarketing (advertising to people who have already seen your product) and lookalike audiences (getting Facebook to suggest new audiences for you based on audiences you’ve already proven work for you, like your email list).

Take advantage of the renaissance of email marketing

More people are online now than ever before. According to a recent study by Mailchimp, click rates are up more than 20%, unsubscribes are down more than 12%, and email open rates are up 5%. You can take advantage of this by making sure your email marketing is top-notch and reaching out to nurture your community through your email list. You’re not competing for attention as much through email as you are on Facebook, and you’ve already paid for those leads. They’re your owned traffic now, so take advantage of that fact to communicate with them through email.

Start with better creative

Your creative is your copy, images, and video—any content that you’re putting in front of your community is known as creative. In less congested advertising times, you can afford to test a lot of different creative to find out what the absolute best performing ads are, but that can be prohibitively expensive during election season. You’ll still want to test your ads, but make sure that you’re putting out the best of the best to start with, not just selecting things at random to see how they’ll do.

There’s a little-used trick that can really help you decide what creative to run with: seeing exactly what advertising your competition is using. Chances are good that they’ve done some testing already, so you can look at their ads and see what’s working and then base your ads off of that. To do this, search for your competition on Facebook and navigate to the Page Transparency section. Click on See All, then scroll down and click on the button to go to the Ad Library. You’re in!

Optimize for mobile

As we said earlier, there are more people online now than there ever have been before—and most of them are browsing the internet on their phones. This means that if you want to make sure you’re converting at the highest rates possible, you need to make sure that everything you present to potential backers is optimized for mobile. To be very clear: you will lose customers if your page takes too long to load on mobile, or if there are display issues, or if something else is wrong. At LaunchBoom, we see 80% of our leads, reservations, and sales come from mobile, so making sure that everything works just as well on mobile as it does on desktop is critical to your campaign’s success.

Find advertising alternatives

The closer we get to the election, the higher your cost per impression will become, and therefore the less sustainable it will be to continue advertising. Pausing it entirely without finding another way to drive traffic will slow down or even kill your campaign, so you need to find other ways to bring people in.

You should be building relationships with PR partners who can then drive people to your campaign page. Consider reaching out to influencers on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Facebook; if you can find people with a following in your product area, offer to send them your product so they can do a review and direct people to your campaign. Talk to your crowdfunding platform about ways to get newsletter or home page placement; there are already people in that community who are looking for cool new things, so they’re more likely to purchase than a cold audience. Even things as simple as posting to your own Facebook page and getting your friends and family to share the post can help. If you can think of a way to get your message out there without spending money on it, it’s probably worth a try.

Present a better offer

If you want to get people to pay attention to you when there’s so much other stuff available, you need to give them a reason. You could consider doing a giveaway related to your product, like a free unit or a limited edition accessory that makes your product even better (think a special token for a board game or a limited edition color of your product). Make sure that this isn’t something totally unrelated to your product; the leads generated from an Amazon gift card giveaway won’t be qualified at all, so you’ll be throwing money away.

Another thing to consider is a collaboration with other companies. Think of three companies with products similar to yours, then reach out and ask to do a giveaway together. This way, everyone contributes to the prize and gets their name out there, and likewise, everyone gets the leads that the giveaway generates. A bigger prize will also often lead more people to enter, which means more leads for everyone.

If you can think of a fun way to get people to learn more about your product, go for that. When we worked with Project EVO, we implemented a quiz funnel in their ads. Instead of running an ad that looked like an ad, we made a quiz based on brain type, which is integral to how the product works. People weren’t clicking to purchase a planner; they were clicking to find out if they were more like Oprah, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, or William Shakespeare. Making it fun led to the cost per lead dropping from around $3 to around $0.40.

Create specials based on current events

If your campaign is live during election season, you can run a flash sale or secret perk based on voting. Send out an email asking if the recipient voted early with links for yes and no. Make the “yes” link go to a secret “I voted!” perk with a special discount, and make the “no” link go to something else—maybe a page encouraging them to vote, or a funny video, or something else. And don’t worry that some people who didn’t vote will click yes and get the discount anyway—a sale is a sale, and hopefully the reminder from your campaign will inspire them to do it anyway. It’s a way for you to increase the value for your customer, which helps you rise above the noise.

 

Whether it’s election season, the holiday discounts logjam, or some other time of year where it can be hard to break through the noise, the tips above can help. If you’re not sure what will work best for your campaign, set up a meeting with us—we’ll be happy to help you figure it out!

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