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How to Start a Crowdfunding Agency

Published by Salvador Briggman. Find him on Twitter.

Crowdfunding is a hot marketing topic!

I’ve watched as more and more social media marketing and PR agencies have been asked by their clients to help run a successful crowdfunding campaign.

And… there’s a reason. Kickstarter campaigns that seem to magically “blow up,” actually invest a lot of money in a high quality video, promotion, and advertising.

With this article, I’m going to share a few pointers as to how to go about starting your own crowdfunding agency.

Before you know it, you’ll be raising money for premium clients on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and other crowdfunding websites.

1. Identify Your “Key Skills”

Not every agency is created the same.

Some, like Funded.Today will specialize in using Facebook ads to get backers to a Kickstarter campaign. Aside from a hefty upfront fee, they’ll also take a percentage of funds raised from the campaign.

Others, like PRMediaNow might focus in on the public relations aspect of a crowdfunding campaign. They’ll go about getting reporters, journalists, and bloggers to write about your Kickstarter campaign.

Finally, there are those who offer a suite of services, like Command Partners, Vann Alexandra, Agency 2.0, and more.

There are several key pillars that go into a crowdfunding campaign that raises money. These include:

Ask yourself, where do your skills line up in this list?

2. Create a Professional Website

I can’t overstate this point!!

We all judge the value of an offer or a business based on it’s design.

Don’t believe me?

Ask yourself… why are all expensive restaurants beautifully designed?

Why is it that when we see a well-designed car, we assume it’s expensive?

If you walk into a store and see a few select handbags that are presented alone on a table, you can almost bet that they’re going to be expensive.

Human beings naturally equate good design with high value. The mental shortcut is that it takes “a lot of time” to design something, therefore it must command a premium price.

Plain and simple, having a professional-looking website is going to allow you to charge higher prices.

Thankfully, it’s super easy to set up a well-designed website. All you have to do is:

  1. Set up a WordPress based website. You can use a hosting company like Bluehost to do this. I use Bluehost for all of my websites.
  2. Install a premium theme. There are many places you can find great looking WordPress themes. Themeforest has a great selection in particular.
  3. Congrats! You now have a website!

I know that not everyone wants to use WordPress as the CMS for their website. You could also look into SquareSpace. I would not recommend Wix or Weebly.

Once you set up an attractive website, it’s going to make it much easier to get your very first crowdfunding clients. People will be less likely to assume you’re an amateur and just click off your site.

3. Draft The Contracts & Boring Business Stuff

I gotta admit, I find this part of business to be super boring. But, it’s extremely important.

When you take time to draft the skeleton of contracts and go through the nitty gritty that forms the foundation of a service contract, you’ll ensure you’re ready to hit the ground running when you secure your first client!

In addition, make sure to hash out all of the corporation’s legal and accounting details before you enter into your first agreement.

There will also always be the standard miscellaneous tasks that come with forming a new company. These could include:

  • Setting up a business bank account.
  • Choosing payment or invoicing providers
  • Signing up for a CRM to manage clients
  • Assigning email addresses
  • Printing out business cards
  • And much more.

These tasks might not be fun, but they put you in a position to succeed. Getting them out of the way now will make it easier to focus on growing your sales in the future.

4. Attract Your Initial Clients

Finally! You’re ready to attract your very first clients and hopefully have a “crowdfunding success” on your hands.

There are a lot of different ways to begin to gain attention in the crowdfunding community. First, I’ll list out a few of the online communities that you can use to find potential project owners.

Make sure that you’re adding value when you join these communities. Don’t just spam the link to your new website. Take a second to interact, answer questions, and engage with the community members.

Aside from interacting with groups online, you can also message creators directly on crowdfunding platforms themselves. Of course, these include:

In case you’re wondering why I included WeFunder, I’ve seen a lot more marketing agencies pop up centered around equity crowdfunding, like CrowdFundX. I think there’s an opportunity in this segment of the marketplace .

If you’re just working to get your very first clients, I think there’ s a lot to be said from simple social media engagement. You can quickly identify who’s planning on or currently running a crowdfunding campaign. Then, you can reach out to them and offer assistance.

It goes without saying, but these websites include:

Early on, it’s okay do to things that don’t scale. Your goal should be to learn as much as possible about your new clients so that you can, in the future, form better marketing campaigns.

I also think there’s a lot to be said for in-person events. Go on Eventbrite or Meetup to see what types of entrepreneurial events are happening in your area. It’s easier to develop trust and make an impression in person.

Finally, not matter how good of a marketer you are, you need a high quality product that has demand. Make sure that the project that you choose to work on has legs.

Along with having a great product, you should also work to have a positive relationship with the entrepreneur or founder. Be sure to set realistic expectations given their budget. Just because you can take on a campaign doesn’t mean that you should.

5. Get Testimonials and Celebrate Successes

It’s harder than ever before to develop trust online. Customers, business owners, and crowdfunding campaign backers are skeptical.

The best way that I’ve seen to break through that barrier of skepticism is to curate high quality testimonials that underscore the value you deliver with your services.

There are several different mediums that you can draw from:

  • Written testimonials and quotes.
  • Auditory testimonials, like podcast interviews or soundbites.
  • Visual testimonials, like recorded videos.

When we engage in an entirely new activity, like raising money online, we tend to look to other entrepreneurs as a source of information. If we google a company’s name and find a lot of negative reviews, we’re going to be unlikely to hire them ourselves.

Having a few key genuine testimonials will help you convince website visitors to join your email list and enlist your services.

Along with curating a few testimonials, I’d also recommend celebrating your success! Don’t be shy. Toot your own horn. No one’s going to do it for you.

Ultimately, it’s all about the small businesses that you’re helping. Put them in the spotlight. Showcase what they were able to do with the money that they raised. By sharing THEIR success, you’ll also attract more customers.

6. Join and Interact With The Community

Lastly, we all know that success in any arena comes down to the quality of relationships that you have within the overall community.

Take the time to connect with other crowdfunding experts and service providers on LinkedIn. Join an online forum, like KickstarterForum or Crowdfunding Forum.

As other companies begin to get to know you, they’ll help spread the word about your services and possibly even refer clients!

Since you’re the newcomer on the block, I’d take the perspective of… how can I help other people in the industry?

This is the key to developing positive relationships. You have to be the one adding value to the other person in the early stages. Don’t expect anything in return.

Over time, you’ll form friendships and lasting business relationships within the crowdfunding community.

Connect With Me!

If you haven’t already, take a sec to reach out to me. I can’t promise it, but in the past I have had crowdfunding experts and agencies on the podcast.

Typically, these individuals will share crowdfunding tips, strategies, and new techniques with the audience. It’s a great way to get your name out, and also get some business.

If you haven’t already, pick up a copy of The Kickstarter Launch Formula and leave a review on Amazon. This is a good resource for anyone who’s looking to join the crowdfunding industry. It has a lot of my best fundraising strategies that I’ve shared throughout the years.

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