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Credibility, content, connecting: The 3 “C’s” of effective equity crowdfunding

The latest entry in a series following social enterprise Thankyou Payroll continues as CEO Christina Bellis describes her learnings from running an equity crowdfunding campaign.

There’s been a lot going on behind the scenes of our equity crowdfund campaign. We’ve found that following the three “C’s” have been key to making sure we could maximise the number of eyeballs across our PledgeMe page, and most importantly, keep investment interest high.

CREDIBILITY

Why is this important, and how do you make it happen?

There are  three main reasons why we’ve started this list with credibility:

  1. You’re asking people to put their hard-earned money behind you. You need to ensure you have a good level of transparency and are honest, and that the info you’re providing has been put together with thought, care, and due diligence.

  2. When you are a confident and competent company that people trust, they will be more inclined to spread the word on your behalf. Word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing, and, as a bonus, it’s free!

  3. Credibility helps you in the long run. It’ll attract new customers and awesome staff, it’ll give you social equity when you need to communicate difficult messages (like introducing a subscription pricing model) and it will give your shareholders greater confidence in your decisions.

A classic but terribly cheesy quote, “The most expensive thing in the world is trust. It can take years to earn and just a matter of seconds to lose”. But when you’re crowdfunding you don’t necessarily have years to build credibility.

So, what do you do?

The first thing is to be (or get) clear on your brand image. Is your look consistent? Do you have a defining tone of voice? What are the best ways to portray your business values?

Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 10.38.20 AM.png

At TYP, we value our staff, our community (which includes our clients), and our planet so it was important to us that we effectively demonstrate this through our communications.

Thankyou Charitable Trust (Thankyou Payroll’s philanthropic arm) gifts BGI $10,000 for their Challenge for Change programme.

We’ve been highlighting our people, our background and our philanthropy through a number of channels, which brings us to our next “C”...

CONTENT

Keeping that quality content coming.

After you’ve created your initial investment pitch (in our case, we made a detailed Investment Memorandum and a campaign video featuring our awesome dogs) you’ll need to continue giving your audience something to engage with.

Think creatively and consistently! Your content needs to be aligned with your brand (how it looks, sounds and feels) and it needs to stand out from the crowd. We’ve used the Thankyou Payroll dogs throughout our campaign (because who doesn’t love dogs?) and have been repurposing our initial investment pitch video clips and investment memorandum infographics to keep the look and feel of the content consistent.  


Staying true to our values, we told our story through our staff. We did this through a series of blog posts written by each of them. You can read them here:

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Sharing GIFs from our crowdfund video.

Once you’ve thought about your content, be sure to keep people in the loop. Potential investors absolutely want to know the ins and outs of your company, updates on the crowdfund progress, along with any future opportunities and developments. Our newsletter has been a major channel for keeping people informed, as well as sending updates through our PledgeMe page, social media, blogs, and using traditional media outlets (TV, print, radio).

You’ll also want to think about different types of content at different stages of the campaign. At the beginning, your content will need to let people know about the campaign at a high level (general awareness). Part way through, you’ll want to provide content that will help re-engage people and potential investors with the progress of the campaign, keeping them interested. Next, you’ll shift to providing content that will help your crowd make the decision to invest! For us, offering statistics on our targeted return on investment, and our impact to date, have been popular content for helping the fence-sitters jump over to investment.

CONNECTING

And finally, and perhaps most importantly, be sure you’re connecting with your crowd

Take a moment to really think hard about who you’re trying to reach. Since Thankyou Payroll is a social enterprise, we’re particularly interested in people who want to invest in impact.

Once you’ve scoped that out, let’s talk tech. There are some fantastic digital tools which facilitate connecting with your crowd.

As a first step, make sure you use Facebook Ads (we’re pretty sure that most of your crowd will be here, as Facebook just clocked more users than there are people in China). Here you can choose specific targeting, from interests to demographics, even to people who are friends with those who like your page. There are a lot of options for custom targeting, so have a play around to make sure your message is reaching the people who matter to you.

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Then try different connection mediums. We ran a due diligence webinar, giving potential investors another opportunity to ask us their questions and get further information on what they want to know about, and to help them overcome any barriers while deciding whether to invest with us.

Christina, Tomoe, Hugh and HB hosting a due diligence webinar.

We hope that you’ve learned something from our crowdfunding journey so far. And whatever you’re crowdfunding, we hope that the three “C’s” might help you along the way.

Want to keep up with our campaign? Sign up for our newsletter to get an insight into our approach.

Part 1: Capital raising through your crowd: An insider's look 

Part 2: How to create a kickass equity crowdfunding campaign, Thankyou Payroll-style 

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