Tips to launch a crowdfunding platform

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Are you planning to launch your crowdfunding platform soon? Here are some suggestions that might be of help:

With the market growing every day, you need to have a clear, well defined value proposition and a narrow focus. In what niche do you position your platform? How do you differentiate from other websites that provide a similar application? What value-adding services are you offering? If you are able to write in one, simple sentence your value proposition, it means you clearly found what will be your position in the market.

Build an Active Crowd

To have a successful crowdfunding platform you need to have a large, loyal and active community. And this is going to require more effort than what you might think of. You need to generate a buzz around your new platform and this is possible only being proactive in promoting it . The starting point should be defining the target audience. Is the platform limited to professional investors or open to anyone? A good value proposition will help you doing that. Once the target community is set, it has to be reached. How? Even if there is not a best way for that, it is advisable to try both online and offline marketing strategies. For example, try to think where your target community would hang out or what events it would attend and try to be present at those venues. A personal approach is a good way to start to get known. Another approach would be to leverage on your personal networks to get introduced to multipliers. These are influencers, with huge networks, that can help you increase exponentially your user base. In both cases, make sure you already put up a landing page, where interested people you met can leave their emails and get notified as soon as the website launches. Press can also be a valid option, but sometimes it is hard to access, especially if your platform is not novel enough. However, do not give up. Try with bloggers and local press, first, who might show a bigger interest, since they are positioned in your same ecosystem or based in the same area. With their help you may be able to eventually reach mainstream press. Last, but not least, once you have a community on your platforms, it is crucial to keep the dialogue going, if you want to foster loyalty.

Get Projects on Board.

Being in a two sided market, you also need to put effort in growing the project initiators base. At the beginning, we suggest to carefully select the first projects on your website. They should be interesting and not too many, so that you can focus on them and help them to reach their funding goals. In fact, from a press perspective, it is far more newsworthy a project with a nice story that was successfully funded than one that wasn’t . It is, thus, for you desirable to start in the right way, with the first projects successfully closing their campaigns and the journalists happy to write a story about it. In order to attract the first projects you can consider a “call for ideas”, just like startup incubators often do. Your initial support to the web entrepreneurs is crucial for kickstarting the platform. Then, once you have a more established audience, your level of support to the initiatives on the platform may also decrease.

Get your Web Entrepreneurs / Investors to Promote the Platform.

Having a successful crowdfunding platform means having reached the critical mass, which is a quite hard objective to achieve. One thing that might help you is having the web entrepreneurs and the investors on your platform acting as website ambassadors and promoters.  For this purpose, it is necessary to really curate both sides of your initial community  – i.e. project initiators and beckers –  and make them feel like they’ve been selected to be part of something new. This is what is called community management, that is the key activity for making users feel that way. In fact, a successful community management strategy will encourage users to act themselves as promoters and advocates of your website, bringing in new community members.

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This post was originally published as part of Startup Europe. The European Commission’s Startup Europe initiative was created to connect web entrepreneurs across Europe, providing networks, resources and information to help them startup their business and grow, creating new jobs and transforming the economy and society.
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