6 Ways to Get Press When You Feel Like You’ve Tried Everything Else

Generating Press

A crucial part of marketing your business is getting press coverage. It’s a guaranteed way to put your brand in front of a large, usually local, audience. This can equal huge growth, except there’s one problem.

Press coverage seems impossibly hard to get.

This is because most of us have never learned how to do it. You can master every inbound and outbound marketing trick in the book but still run for cover when someone mentions a press release. It can also be intimidating. How do you possibly pitch to journalists and reporters that are probably getting dozens of requests just like yours every single day?

First, you don’t give up.

Second, you learn a few new tricks for getting the press coverage you want and need to grow your business. The more you know about something, the less intimidating it becomes. Getting press is no different.

Here are 6 strategies that will make getting press easier than you ever knew it could be.

Connect with Influencers

If you’re having trouble getting press, it’s time to reach out to someone who might have a bit more clout in the in the community. We’re talking about influencers, and they can be a small business’s best friend.

Influencers are people, usually with a sizable following, that help you promote your business. Small and medium-sized business can take advantage of local or industry-specific micro-influencers to help them gain attention from the press.

The theory is simple. The more of a following you have, the more interested the press is going to be in you. Audiences are more interested in news about personalities they already know than a new business that’s relatively unknown.

Influencers are an easy way to overcome this disadvantage.

Begin by searching for local micro-influencers that are already getting some press attention. Don’t be afraid to stalk their social media to see who’s interacting with them. Do you recognize any names from local media? How about posts that are media related? And, finally, do a Google search and see where their own PR is coming from.

Once you find someone you feel is a great fit for helping spread your brand’s message, start interacting with them. Become active on their social media, and soon they’ll begin to recognize your name. When commenting or messaging, make sure to mention your common interests, and what you both contribute to the community.

Influencers don’t always come free, but they’re more likely to partner up and help expose your business to the press if they value and respect what you’re offering. So, it’s important to build up a relationship with them before approaching them about an influencer opportunity.

Know Who You’re Pitching To

Reaching out to the press isn’t an intuitive thing. In fact, it’s something that most people don’t do even once in their lives. It’s natural that your first few attempts will come with some uncertainty, but you signed up your chances if you keep one thing in mind.

Know who you’re pitching to.

Different media outlets, although they might seem similar, vary widely in the type of press they give and the angle they take. You can pitch until you’re blue in the face, but if it’s not matched to the outlet then your PR efforts will be left cold.

It’s crucial to really understand each media outlet and their unique voice. For example, you might have two news outlets in your area. They need to take different angles for both to survive in the market. If you want press, it’s your job to learn what those differences are and craft a pitch that appeals to their general concept.

Finally, don’t waste time begging for press from dead-end outlets. If a local paper caters to the over 50 crowd, but your target market is in the 25-30 age bracket, it isn’t worth your time. Spend your resources where it matters, on outlets that match your business’s goals and audience.

Blog with a Focus on Evergreen Content

Here’s a tip. Getting the press you want takes some prep work.

Few people have the social standing to ask for press and get it instantly. That’s ok, you probably don’t want a life where the press is following your every move anyway. But, it would be nice every now and then.

One of the best ways to prep yourself for media coverage is by creating content that’s share-worthy. This means that if you haven’t started with that blog yet, now’s the time.

First, a blog can be a tool to get you noticed. It’s a chance to share your expertise, knowledge and maybe even a bit of wit with the rest of the world. The perk here is that your blog is sharable on social media, which means there’s a chance to expand your audience exponentially.

This is great, but how does it help you get press? Well, you’re going to focus on evergreen content. Evergreen means that something is timeless and provides value no matter if it was written last week or last year.

Most media outlets have blogs or at least opinion pieces on the websites. Once you’ve created fantastic content for your blog, your next goal is to get it shared in these venues. This might mean learning who manages the page or who the primary contributors are and then cozying up to them on social media to establish yourself and build a little recognition.

Is this strong press? Not exactly, but it is something, and it puts your name in front of the very people who can provide you with the press your business needs.

Newsjacking

Newsjacking is the art of capitalizing on a popular news story to get a little press for yourself. Considering that there’s some type of breaking news going on in the world every second, there’s no shortage of opportunity. The main obstacle that businesses come up against with newsjacking is time.

Or lack of it.

Breaking news has a very short life cycle. It builds, it peaks and then it fizzles on the ground before it dies. Since you’re probably not clairvoyant, you don’t know when that peak will be, or how long it’s going to last. You need to jump in on the upward slope before it reaches its boiling point.

This tells you a bit about newsjacking, except how to do it. Rest easy, here are a few tips.

First, set up news alerts to clue you in on happenings in your industry.

Check activity daily for your keywords. See a spike in traffic? Find out what’s going on that has more people using it as a search term.

Don’t have tunnel vision and learn to reach beyond your own industry. For example, if you’re in the construction business, a surge in forest fires on the opposite coast can still be an opportunity to promote the value of your business when the unthinkable happens.

Act fast. When you spot a newsjack worthy event, don’t sit on it, not even for a day. Start creating content right now.

Post that content to social media and pitch it to media. Tag media that’s posted on the same story. For example. “Read more at…”.

This is also a prime opportunity to approach media and offer to be interviewed if you are seen as an authoritative expert in a relevant industry.

Tweet the Press

Want a way to get a journalist’s attention fast? It’s all about the tweet.

In the age of social media, a journalist or reporter that’s not on Twitter is a rare find.

For people in their industry, who are in the public eye, being on Twitter is almost a career essential. This is great news for you because Twitter is an excellent tool for making connections. All you need to do is learn their names and follow them on Twitter.

Then, get busy strategically crafting relevant tweets that include their Twitter @handle. Do this right, and you’ll get their attention. Just don’t go overboard. Remember they’ll get a notification each time you tweet at them, so take it easy and avoid looking like a crazed fan.

Be Active in The Community

Finally, the best way to get press in your community is to become part of it.

Getting out there and taking part in community activities and programs is a great way for your business to get recognized. Don’t miss an opportunity to become involved in community events, especially ones where the press is likely to show up. Everyone loves a team player that wears their community love on their sleeve.

Have you built up some confidence yet? Great! Now put it into action and start getting the press attention that’s going to help you crush your media building goals.

Top Questions Investors Ask Part 4

Top Questions Investors Ask Part 4

“People who ask confidently get more than those who are hesitant and uncertain. When you've figured out what you want to ask for, do it with certainty, boldness and confidence. Don't be shy or feel intimidated by the experience. You may face some unexpected criticism, but be prepared for it with confidence.” Jack Canfield

Being prepared can help you answer investors’ questions with confidence and certainty. This is the last in our four-part series of common questions investors can ask. While this is not an exhaustive list, we hope that it will help you be better prepared to ask for what you want with confidence. Today we will cover intellectual property, financials, and your financing round.

Your Intellectual Property, Patents or Trademarks

The intellectual property (IP) of your business can include trademarks, patents, copyrighted designs, and confidential information. Your company’s IP is extremely valuable; they can set your business apart from competitors, be used as security for loans, provide a revenue stream if sold or licensed, and can be an essential part of your branding and marketing. Here are some of the questions you may get about your company’s IP.
• What key IP does your company have?
• How was your company’s IP developed?
• Can the IP be liquidated?
• Are you looking at infringing on the IP of another company?
• Would acquiring IP from another company add value to your company?
• What proof or confidence you have that your company’s IP does not violate the rates of a third party?
• Is it possible that any prior employers of a team member have a potential claim your IP?

Your Company’s Financials

When you get to this stage, be prepared to walk an investor through your financials including your profit & loss statement, balance sheet, and financial model. It isn’t uncommon for an investor to request a special session for the financials and bring an analyst with them. Here are some questions you might get asked.

  • Which key metrics does your leadership or management team focus on?
  • Are there factors that have been or will limit faster growth?
  • How much burn do you expect to happen until the company achieves profitability?
  • Are you setting aside a stock option pool for employees?
  • What is the capitalization structure? How much equity and debt has the company raised?
  • What are the company’s three and five-year projections?
  • What key assumptions lead you to your projections?
  • When do you expect the company to be profitable?

Your Financing Round

This group of questions helps the investors get a better idea of who the other players are. They want to know how much money has already been raised (if any) and where it came from. Knowing what the equity structure looks like is usually a key component.

  • What will the proceeds from this round go to?
  • Are there existing investors and will they participate in this round?
  • Which round of funding is this?
  • How much funding are you looking to raise in this round?
  • Who holds equity and how much do they hold?
  • Have you done crowdfunding before?
  • Has anyone else invested in this round?
  • Has an accelerator or incubator already committed funds?
  • Does your company have any convertible loan notes?
  • What is your company’s desired pre-money valuation?

While it’s natural to be a bit nervous when pitching new investors, the best thing you can do is to be as prepared as possible. While our series is not an exhaustive list of possible questions, it can be an effective tool. Making sure you have answers to the questions in our series is a great place to start. We even recommend you take some time and practice answering the questions. As Jack Canfield says so well; prepare, prepare, prepare so you can ask for what you want with boldness and confidence.

Top Questions Investors Ask Part 3

“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” –Bobby Unser

Preparing to pitch investors can be intimidating but understanding the questions most likely to be asked can help you overcome your nerves. This is the third article in our series about questions investors commonly ask. Today we will cover traction and early adoption, any downsides or risks, and your exit strategy. These questions don’t represent an exhaustive list but can give you an idea of where you might need to spend some more time preparing.

Does Your Company Have Traction?

Traction can take many forms that can vary based on your business type. Having early traction of some kind can put you in a more favorable position with investors.

  • How many users or customers do you have?
  • What is your average churn rate?
  • What do you attribute the early traction to?
  • Do you have plans for accelerating or building on your current traction?
  • How many downloads, subscriptions, likes, shares, or sign-ups do you have?
  • Do you have any celebrity endorsements?
  • What is your social impact?
  • What is your engagement on social media?

What are the Downsides, Risks, or Threats?

Starting or growing a business of any kind is inherently risky, and there are always threats of some kind to consider. Investors are usually asking the following questions to test your tolerance for risk and your sense of where your business and the marketplace really is.

  • In Your Opinion, what are the principal risks in this business?
  • Do you have any legal risks?
  • Are there product liability risks?
  • Are there regulatory risks in your industry or specifically with your product or service?
  • Is there the capacity to distribute risk across your team?

Is there an Exit Strategy?

Investors are looking to make some money as well as being part of something they believe in. Therefore, they will want to get a feel for how and when they will be able to exit and earn the return on their investment.

  • Do you anticipate going public with an IPO or going the merger and acquisitions (M&A) route?
  • If you got the M&A route, who will be the likely acquirers?
  • Considering the given market comparables, how will valuation of an exit be determined?
  • Do you have any similar examples?
  • Financially, where do you see your company in five years? Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • When do you see this exit transition happening?

Some of these questions may really make you stop and pause. That can be a good thing. It’s important to think through some of these tougher questions you may not have considered before and know where you stand. For more preparation questions you can check out part 1 and part 2 of our series of articles. Next week we will be looking at the final three areas of questions: financing round, financials, and intellectual property.

Top Questions Investors Ask Part 1

Top Questions Investors Ask Part 1

“To be prepared is half the victory” –Miguel de Cervantes

Whether you are putting together your pitch deck or prepping for an interview with an investor, the more prepared you are, the better. Especially if this is your first time through the process of investors and fundraising, it is easy to get overwhelmed and even a bit intimidated by the questions. So here are some top questions you need to be prepared to answer. Remember questions are good, it usually means you have piqued the investor’s interest. You can practice responding to these questions with your team until you feel comfortable.

Today, in part one of our series on investor’s questions, we’re going to cover general questions, founders, and available market. While this list is not exhaustive, we hope it gives you a place to start preparing.

General Questions
If you are using a fundraising platform like Crowdfunder, then these questions should be part of your pitch deck so when you get to talk to an interested investor, they may or may not revisit them. Investors want to know what your company does and why they should be interested. These are essentially your icebreaker or big-picture questions.

  • What does your company do and what makes it unique?
  • What big problem does your company solve for your customers?
  • How big is the market for your product or service?
  • How big can the company get?
  • What is your end game?

Company’s Founder & Key Team Members
For many investors, particularly in the seed or round one level, they are looking for the dynamic, dedicated leader with vision and a solid, experienced team. The types of investors you want to work with are the ones who are investing in a vision, a dream, a team, and not just in it for the money.

  • Who are the founders or founder and the key team members?
  • What motivates and drives the founder or founders?
  • What experience does the team have?
  • Do you plan to scale the team over the next 12 months?
  • Why is this the team to take this company to the next level?
  • Are there gaps in the key team that need to be filled?

Available Market
Investors are looking for enough growth potential to make it worth their investment. You will need to demonstrate that the market for your product or service is large and growing. Do your research! Be familiar with historical as well as upcoming trends in your market. Be prepared to be able to cite sources for your claims.

  • What percentage of the market do you currently hold (if any)?
  • What percentage of the market do you intend to take and what is your timeline for doing so?
  • What is the actual size of the addressable market?
  • Why does your company have the potential to increase market penetration?

In this article, “Top Questions Investors Ask” we’ve covered what kind of general company questions are common. We also touched on what you need to be prepared to answer about your team and the market. In our next article, “Top Questions Investors Ask Part 3” we will cover questions about your products and services, your competition, and customer acquisition.

Who Does Equity Crowdfunding Work Best for?

Who Does Equity Crowdfunding Work Best for?

Do you have a great business idea you want to get off the ground? Is your company ready to jump to the next stage of growth? Do you want to launch a new product or service line? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, congratulations!

These are all stages when it’s common for business owners to realize they will need an influx of cash to make their dream possible. Equity crowdfunding is one of the fastest growing methods for raising capital but is it a good fit for your company or business idea? Answer the questions below and see for yourself.

Do you have a plan?
The importance of having a solid business model or plan cannot be overstated. There are different types of business plans and methods for developing them. Regardless of which direction you go, the plan should include the items below:

  • Company description
  • Market analysis
  • Organization and management
  • Service or product line
  • Marketing and sales
  • Target market(s)
  • Funding request
  • Financial projections

Are you prepared to not own 100% of your company?
Equity crowdfunding is not like “traditional” crowdfunding where investors are donating an amount of money for a prize or a discounted rate for the product. With equity crowdfunding, investors get to own a percentage of your company in exchange for the money they are putting into your business. As the business owner, you can determine the amount of equity you are willing to give away to investors. For example, you can choose to allow investors to own 15% of your company and you retain 85% ownership. Understand though that there is a direct correlation between the amount of money invested and the percentage of ownership. Usually, the more money you are asking for, the more of your company you will have to let go to shareholders.

Are you ready for the accountability?
As we mentioned before, you will have shareholders. These are the investors who have given you their money and now own a percentage of your company. This means you could have a group of people you need to communicate with on various topics including how the company is performing. If you want complete autonomy and the idea of being answerable to a group of shareholders is not appealing to you, then equity crowdfunding may not be a good fit for you.

Are you ready to participate?
Companies like Crowdfunder provide a platform for you to connect with investors, but this is not a “build it and they will come” scenario. To have a successful, public, equity crowdfunding campaign, you must be willing to be an active participant in the process of building and maintaining momentum. A plan for marketing your campaign and getting it in front of investors is a must. An effective campaign includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Create a dynamic company profile on the platform
  • Fill out the investment profile
  • Tell your story! Investors often want more than just numbers to invest in they want to invest in you. Connect with them by sharing your story
  • Leverage social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., to raise awareness of your public fundraising campaign
  • Actively follow up with interested investors

Equity crowdfunding is not a good fit for every company, but if you answered yes to the questions above then come check out or platform! We’re excited to get hear your story and work with you to get your dream funded.

What are Venture Capitalists and Investors Looking for?

Whether you are a start-up looking for seed money or a seasoned business wanting to get to the next level, an infusion of money into the company is often the best way to get there. Turning to the investor and venture capital (VC) world is more and more common. If you are wondering what investors and VCs might be looking for, you are not alone. This article is the first in our series on what investors what to see, and we’re going to be focusing on the people side of the equation today.

Investors are varied, and so are the things they look for. While there are some foundational items, know that each investor or VC will likely bring their own twist to the table or put more value on a different area than another. That being said, you can use the list below to take a good look at your company and get it ship shape for investors.

 

It starts with PEOPLE.

The foundation of any company is its people and many investors who look to the CEO or the founder(s) of a company as the primary piece they are investing in. This type of investor usually cares more about the person leading the company than even the product or service. Still, others place a lot of emphasis on the personal at the top but consider it just one of several metrics they look at. Regardless of which side an investor leans toward, they all are consistent about what they look for in people.

Investors want to see a mindset of persistence and passion about the product, the business, and the industry. Growing a business is hard, and as many of us know, it will put us in the place of facing unexpected challenges. Typically investors and VC have already walked this road. They know what it is going to take to make a successful business happen. They look for those qualities in the company leader and their key team members.

While the founder or CEO is always on the hot seat when seeking out investors, having a solid team in place is also pivotal. Common questions VC’s look to answer are:

• Does your team work together well?

• Do they have the same passion for the product or service that you as the founder or CEO have?

• How much experience exists in your the team?

During the period of building relationships with and pitching to investors, remember that they will be watching how quickly you respond to emails, phone calls, text messages, etc. If you take days to get back to them now when you are “courting” them, it can send the message that you either aren’t interested or that you’re not reliable.

Even though not all investors base their entire funding decision on the founder or CEO, just know that it is a vital part of every VC’s decision. So let your passion for the product, the industry, the customers, and your employees come through in your interactions with investors. You got into this business for a reason and so did your team. Be real. Be transparent.

In our next installment in September we will take a look at what VCs and investors are looking for in your product or service.

Meet David Lasorda: Crowdfunder Venture Consultant

David Lasorda1

David Lasorda has a background in the financial services industry, with over two years of experience in FX and derivatives trading at Guggenheim Partners. He transitioned into entrepreneurship as founder of Lasorda Family Wines, a role that has prepared him well to join the Crowdfunder team as a Venture Consultant.
David currently works as a Venture Consultant for Crowdfunder. This role consists of scouting interesting and attractive startups that are seeking funding, and then sourcing select deals onto the Crowdfunder platform where they are marketed to prospective investors. Once a company is identified as a good fit for the platform, David works directly with the company founders to build out the fundraise campaign and compose newsletter features to boost investor interest and drive traffic to the deal. In addition to sourcing new companies for the platform, David also assists on the Investor Relations side of the business, corresponding with new platform investors to learn about their investing background and help them get acclimated to the crowdfunding platform.

Continue reading…

Crowdfunder Interviews Modbook

 

 

 

Modbook is a company currently accepting reservations on the Crowdfunder platform.

They make the macOS tablet that Apple won’t — a full-featured, all-in-one pen tablet convertible for power and performance dependent Mac users. Led and advised by former Apple managers, Modbook has successfully established a strong brand with a proven record of manufacturing and shipping Mac-based solutions, and has built an active business platform powered by a reliable, flexible and scalable e-commerce system serving customers in 70 countries to date.

The Crowdfunder team sat down with Andreas Haas the CEO to discuss Modbook’s business strategy and growth.

 

Crowdfunder:

Steve Wozniak is a titan of personal computing and an impressive part of your diverse advisory team. How did you get him and the others to join your venture?

Andreas Haas:

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to meet and work with some of the most capable and talented people from all over the world during (and after) my tenure at Apple, and a lot of them are still part of the team supporting my vision to create macOS-based tablet computers.<

Steve, however, I met through the unlikeliest of friends, an accomplished Mixed Martial Artist who started talking to Steve about my project during a video shoot they were doing for a commercial. Steve was instantly intrigued. My friend put us in touch, and I got to work with one of my technology idols.

When I coach freshmen startup entrepreneurs, I always encourage them to leverage all their friends and family first. They will give you the most honest feedback on your ideas and if you are really onto something, they will be your greatest ambassadors.

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Crowdfunder:

Your unconventional approach to reimagining Apple Macs impressed Steve Wozniak, a well-known technology enthusiast. Which aspects of the Modbook story compels investors to join and what are the top reasons for them to pass?

Andreas Haas:

The decision to either invest or pass really turns on two sides of the same coin – understanding our unique niche, where we are the only company on the planet that makes macOS-based pen tablet computers, and that it is safe from Apple.

The Mac segment of the growing pen hardware solutions market, primarily targeting the creative industries, exceeded $1.8bn in 2016 with about 1.5m users. They typically spend $4k or more to cobble together Apple high-end notebooks with other 3rd-party pen hardware like Wacom pen-enabled displays or windows tablets. However these workarounds are cumbersome, inefficient, and ultimately lacking when compared to the smooth and powerful all-in-one solutions we’re providing.

Apple’s current extremely successful business model is built on an effective and deeply ingrained platform strategy of distinctively splitting their mobile offerings into macOS-based notebooks vs. iOS-based iPhone/iPad tablets. It is this strategy that creates the need for our products in the first place.

Ultimately, our niche is safe because Apple would have to throw out their winning business strategy to address the needs of our $1.8bn revenue / 1.5m user market. Just in the last year, Apple generated an estimated $275bn in revenues from over 210m happy customers, whereas our niche barely represents ⅔ of 1% of their business.

As such, it is highly unlikely that Apple will pursue this, or as Apple CEO Tim Cook says: “Apple feels strongly that customers are not looking for a converged Mac and iPad”.

Crowdfunder:

There are myriads of PC vendors, but only two companies offering Macs, you and Apple. Given how fiercely protective Apple is of its intellectual property, how is this done?

Andreas Haas:

Like Shelby for Ford and AMG for Mercedes in the car industry, Modbook fills a high-end niche by transforming genuine Apple laptops into MacOS-based tablet computers. The MacBook Pro base systems come from Apple, we make the conversion kits and perform the transformations, and the customers receive their shrink wrapped Modbook tablet solutions, custom built to their individual specifications.

Due to this unique approach, when I launched the 1st. Generation Modbook back in 2008, Apple initially embraced us by signing us as an Apple Proprietary Solution Provider and later transitioned us into becoming an Apple Premier Developer. We are also proud to count Apple among our longest customers purchasing our Modbook solutions.

Being a respectful Mac citizen and keeping our solutions 100% Mac Developer guidelines compliant not only earned us our accepted place in the Apple ecosystem, it also ensures that our Modbook tablet computers support all macOS applications out of the box – if the app runs on the MacBook Pro it will run on the Modbook.

Crowdfunder:

Most hardware companies manufacture their products in Asia, but you are building your products right here in the US. How do you make that work?

Andreas Haas:

Actually, building in the US is a critical part of our business model and it took years to perfect our own special brand of Just-In-Time manufacturing.

It relies equally on the unique hardware abstraction layer design we developed for our Modbook product line, as well as on our location in Southern California where we are able to tap into the same wealth of advanced aerospace engineering and production capabilities that other inspiring ventures like SpaceX are building their successes on. Here we have created a networked supply chain that is both highly capable, scalable, and most importantly quickly adjustable.

The combination of advanced design, plugged into local US-based production, allows us to efficiently and expediently include new features and updates Apple regularly phases into its MacBook products. This enables us to take full advantage of the technology lead Apple is bringing to our products like the revolutionary Touch Bar we’ll be incorporating into the upcoming Modbook Pro X.

Turning potential obstacles into advantages not only improves your chances for success, but it also creates barriers for potential competitors.

Crowdfunder:

You still consider yourself a startup company with its major breakout product launch, the Modbook Pro X, coming up this year. However, at the end of 2012 you launched the Modbook Pro which is still available from your website. Can you tell us that story?

Andreas Haas:

Building a successful hardware business requires a lot more than completing the product development.

Many startups struggle to get their ideas manifested in the first production batch, only to then fail at one of the challenges arising from building a solid infrastructure to run the actual business around their product.

We used the Modbook Pro, put together from development milestones of the Pro X project, to build, thoroughly test and optimize as many of the business processes we expect to need.

For example, we created our own online store capable of advanced custom product configuration, rolled it out to multiple countries, and ran it with country-specific pricing and currencies, and honed our ability to sell, ship, deliver and service products to customers in 70 countries.

Furthermore, producing prototypes or pre-production units will not show how the planned manufacturing technologies and processes will actually perform during live production.

For example, we initially adopted a sheet metal forming process with secondary machining for parts to achieve certain cost reductions. This process worked great for the prototypes and pre-production, but when we ramped up to production numbers the yield dropped so dramatically that we abandoned the process for the Pro X entirely.

Only real life transactions and product movements across the globe will allow you to work out the kinks in your business infrastructure, and we used the Modbook Pro to do that on a better controllable scale.

Crowdfunder:

There are many computer & tablet vendors and even more peripheral makers, vying for customer attention and combined spending billions of dollars in marketing. How can you as a startup company with limited resources rise above that fray and reach your target audience?

Andreas Haas:

In my experience, for a hardware business, the most effective strategy per marketing dollar spent is to establish a solid initial market footprint with a properly conducted product launch.

The key to the success here is the amount of media coverage you can generate. A launch presents a golden opportunity for your story to get picked up by the news media and rise above the fray at a fraction of the marketing budget needed otherwise.

In addition to having all your marketing material prepared on the front-end and your sales team ready to follow through on any leads on the back-end, you need to have created as many press evaluation units of your product as you can afford, pre-pitched and pre-matched to news outlets your target audience is likely to pay attention.

The story about your product being new, constitutes a perishable asset with a hard expiration date. Once the first news reports have been published, it will require increasingly more effort to get coverage. In fact, an underwhelming product launch is a lost opportunity nearly impossible to make up for afterwards.

Crowdfunder:

There are many computer & tablet vendors and even more peripheral makers, vying for customer attention and combined spending billions of dollars in marketing. How can you as a startup company with limited resources rise above that fray and reach your target audience?

Andreas Haas:

This latest fundraiser was to be our first conducted under Rule 506(c) of Regulation D, allowing us to broadly solicit and generally advertise our private offering to accredited investors.

The main reason for switching to general solicitation, namely its ability to reach a (much) larger number of potential investors, is also the key to our decision to host our campaign with Crowdfunder.com. Compared to all other platforms we researched, Crowdfunder.com offered the best means to overcome the challenges posed by widening the audience of our fundraising efforts.

In Crowdfunder.com we found a platform that (in no particular order):

• … has one of, if not the largest, built-in community of accredited investors while providing the tools and mechanisms to actively reach out to them.

 

Our Crowdfunder.com marketing package presented our venture in short order to a huge number of potential investors through newsletters and social media posts, and provided us with tools to actively identify and reach out to individual investors.

 

• … offers tools to measure and track the results of your fundraising efforts. Those backend tools allow you to focus your efforts on the initiatives showing the highest results.

 

Not only can this help improve your conversion rate, but it also helps you make better use of your most precious commodity – time.

 

• … provides one of, if not the most, advanced environment to both prepare and present the campaign to interested investors.

 

The platform’s powerful backend tools make it easy to compose a great campaign page, guiding you through the process step-by-step and making sure that all important aspects about your venture are covered. Once your campaign is live, your venture is presented to visiting prospects in a well laid out and clearly structured way, designed to quickly capture a potential investor’s interest and then provide in-depth information at his fingertips.

 

• … contains a well developed set of tools and mechanism to collect and follow through on all generated leads.

 

If your marketing is doing well, you will see a lot of contacts registering their interest with you to learn more. The built-in mechanisms and tools help move those contacts further down the sales funnel while gauging their individual interest levels. This allows you to identify and focus your efforts on those closest to a decision to invest

 

One of the key challenges we experienced in dealing with leads generated through this latest campaign compared to the investor contacts we developed in the past, is to keep our response times for follow through on inquiries down – there are (happily) just so many more inquiries to deal with. The last thing you want to happen is to let a potential investor lose interest, because it took too much time to get back to him with that document.

 

Crowdfunder.com’s tools can only get you started down the road to closing investors. Therefore, before you launch your campaign, you really should have:

 

• mapped out exactly how you intend to guide a potential investor to closing,

 

• figured out how you are going to track the progress for each individual lead,

 

• identified who is going to help you on your team and how exactly you are going to collaborate,

 

• determined what information and/or documents you intend to or are willing to share

 

• everything actually prepared, in place, tested and ready to go.

 

Once your campaign starts, time you have to spend on any of the above, will be time lost following through on potential leads, which could cause you to lose out on potential investments and likely curtailing the success of your campaign.

 

The views expressed herein are those of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of the company. This post may not be reprinted or disseminated without our written permission.

Get To Know Jenny Kim, Crowdfunder Developer

 

jennykimJenny Kim is one of our developers at Crowdfunder.

We interviewed her about being a woman in Tech and her experience working on our team.

Jenny has a background in neuroscience research and education research in the STEM fields at UC Riverside. During her time at UC Riverside, she made a purposeful effort to seek out female mentors who were doing research. She soon became interested in developing and building her own software applications. Jenny’s background as a pre-med student drove her to make a positive impact on people and society, this time through the democratization of code.

Jenny believes that

“Public policy and the democratization of Tech should work in tandem with each other. You can use Tech to provide people access to healthcare, knowledge and resources who otherwise wouldn’t have access.”

That’s what she does in her spare time. 

As for her work at Crowdfunder, this is Jenny’s first job in Tech.

“I did a computer programing bootcamp with General Assembly and was developing and working on my own apps. I was applying to jobs and attending networking events to meet with founders and other developers. I met Steven Mcclurg (President of Crowdfunder) at a startup fair. I talked about my background, what I was doing and what I was developing outside of my job search. He seemed interested and introduced me to Crowdfunder’s CTO, Mark Schwartz. I met with him the next week and became involved in the company soon after.”

jennypic
Being a female developer can be challenging. Stack Overflow's research shows that only 5.8% of developers are female, an upsetting statistic. At Crowdfunder, our developers are over 65% female and our entire team is over 50% female. Crowdfunder believes in equal opportunities and encourages its employees to learn and grow in their positions. Jenny said,

 “I think it’s really reflective of the management that we have more female employees than male employees. In Finance and in Tech that’s unheard of. They take on female junior developers who don’t have extensive experience but grow into their roles.”

A study by Comparably shows that women in Tech in Los Angeles (our home base) make 34% less than men. At Crowdfunder, we believe in pay transparency and our management has partnered The Pink Ceiling with to provide support for women's led or focused entrepreneurial businesses. Jenny said

“Crowdfunder is really committed to empowering their employees.”

 “In my career, I’ve always been driven to do meaningful work that I am passionate about."

Crowdfunder fits that criteria for Jenny. The Tech and Finance industries have a lot of work to do when it comes to gender equality. At Crowdfunder, we try to lead by example. We work to hire women for equal pay, and support women led companies. We’re proud to have Jenny on our team. Her creativity, skills and intelligence have helped our company succeed.

 

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