A Network Asset Map is the anchor to your campaign. It is your starting point, your reference, as well as your lifeboat when your campaign feels like it’s sinking into oblivion.
There are several ways of compiling a NAM, and it is dependent on whether you like to create visual mind maps, hand-drawn – or whether you are an excel spread sheet fiend. A NAM is simply a list of everybody you know personally and professionally;
- Those who owe you a favour (great for thinking up rewards)
- Those who owe you money. (great for first day donations)
- Those who know somebody who knows somebody who may be interested in what you’re doing,
- Those who are influential in your field through blogging or tweeting.
- Friends and family
- engaged networks in your area of interest
Organise your map into different categories and then split those categories into different methods of communication. There may be some who don’t use twitter or facebook but who are incredibly influential when they pick up the phone. Others may only communicate on LinkedIn or by email.
Next write in comments as to how you know these people and any other comments – this will help you to prioritise.
1 Around 70% of donations on a successful campaign are from friends and family. We take this to mean contacts who know and trust you (they don’t have to be close family and friends), so if you can identify and prepare as many people before you launch the crowdfund, the sooner you will reach 70%. From that point onwards those who don’t know you are more likely to trust your campaign and donate.
2 When things are quiet, you can scroll through your NAM and work out who you haven’t contacted yet. The team behind Medicine’s Dark Secrets had a NAM of 250 contacts. Half way through the campaign and when it was quiet we reminded them to go back to their NAM to see how many people they were still to contact. They still had over 100 to contact. Knowing this revived them, and they went on to exceed their target by over $2,000.
If you want to find out more about creating a Network Asset Map contact us here.
While we wish every great idea that turns to crowdfundng reaches it’s target, the reality is that you probably won’t hit your target. On kickstarter it’s only around 40% of projects that become fully funded and on Indiegogo the rate goes down to only 13.68%! (on the flexible funding option)
In our experience the key factor has been peoples lack of capacity. They simply don’t have the man power to have at least three people or around 15 hours to devote to working on the campaign every single day. Crowdfunding is not a last minute ditch to make some quick cash. It all comes down to your level of preparation, 3-4 months should put you in the right frame. During that time try and increase your social media presence but make sure it’s an engaged following where people and chatting, commenting and liking.
So here are some tips.
On launch day already have 10%.
2/3 of the way in have something new to say/ new angle
Your rewards have to entice and be worth the value your putting on them as well as relevant and of course fun names help!
Have a capacity of at least 15 hours per day to spend on the Crowdfund
In the articles I’ve linked to below they contribute the success to;
- making sure you have a video- people like to see who’s behind the great idea for trust and reassurance
- Your social media presence pre launch- they showed that the number of your facebook friends is related to the success rates
- To try and get featured on the homepage- though this is pretty much up to the platform to decide
- Setting your campaign to be 30 days not 60- You’ll get tired and bored just like your fans/customers
For more stats head to http://www.indiewire.com/article/indiewire-compares-crowdfunding-platform-success-rates or http://www.appsblogger.com/behind-kickstarter-crowdfunding-stats/ .
Our friends who make fabulously nutritious pizzas have asked for our help with an idea of theirs. They desperately need a new van to keep up with demand at events for their pizza’s and to be able to go to new events. They thought crowdfunding would be a great way to help them reach their goals, so we have helped them prepare everything that they will need prior to their launch last week.
Whilst they have featured in the TV series The Entrepreneurs, that showed the ups and downs of getting their product to the wider market, and won many awards such as The Scottish EDGE, Best New Product and have also been acknowledged as a business with the highest impact, yet they still face tough challenges. As their blog shows they have had a particularly bumpy ride with their past sampling vans.
Like any crowdfund, there are several challenges faced and the key here is ensuring the tone of voice is appropriate. This is a highly visible start-up and they have their products in several supermarkets. However, they are still a start-up, and finding smaller amounts of funds for new projects is a massive challenge. Remember Nucoco? We crowdfunded £12,000 for their branding and packaging for the same reasons.
SoLoCo have helped with their campaign strategy, rewards and social media strategy up until the launch. Eat Balanced have taken it on from there, and I think they have hit exactly the right tone of voice, producing fun imagery to show what the funds can buy. It won’t be easy, but it is one to watch. I wish them well!
If you would like to support them and get your name on their new van – or spend a day with the Eat Balanced team and Professor Lean tasting pizzas, click here.
What’s under your feet? Could you be living above an undiscovered Roman settlement?
Archaeology Scotland are celebrating an important time in their calendar- Scottish Archaeology Month- and to kick it off they are planing a dig of national significance. The residents of Fairmilehead are being asked to explore a square metre of their gardens to dig for evidence of Roman habitation. Due to conflicting historical maps a group of archaeologists believe that a temporary Roman Settlement could have set up camp in this area. These findings would fill in the missing piece of a trail of roman settlements found across lowland Scotland.
The dig is mostly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund but for Archaeology Scotland to really do everything they want for the weekend they need to raise an additional £1500. SoLoCo is helping by giving them the tools and knowledge they will need to engage with their existing membership as well as by reaching out to new members to explore community archaeology; skilling up people interested in the past with the know-how to find hidden treasures in their own back garden, without needing a huge team of archaeologists behind them.
Contributors to the Roman Quest weekend will be taught how to dig and identify remains, they will also be invited to the end of weekend party and will get the chance to see what has been discovered and what those findings mean. And for those who fund £150 they can participate in a private dig with a Roman historian at their side.
The more households who can participate, the more information they can gather for the archaeologists and historians. If you live in that area, or know someone who does and want to join in then please contact Dianne Laing at Archaeology Scotland.
If you would like to contribute to the fund and join the after dig party, just click here!
Last month saw FirstPort’s Founders Fund successfully complete a crowdfund raising £4235, which was £1235 over their target. So, how did they do it?
SoLoCo helped them to work out their messaging, campaign strategy, social media strategy and appropriate platform to raise funds for the ‘Barry Ayre Award’, an award won by social enterprise City of Play.
The £3,000 target was to celebrate the achievements of the outgoing Chair and Founder of First Port, Barry Ayre as well as those of social entrepreneurs who FirstPort have supported over the years.
So this is what we did.
- Helped to Create a Network Asset Map of all the social enterprises supported by FirstPort as well as other social enterprise network organisations in Scotland.
- Identified the appropriate messaging based on the SoLoCo crowdfunding pillars: reputation, branding, social media engagement, networks, geography and hook.
- Identified relevant rewards
- Identified the appropriate platform – in this case buzzbnk.
Challenges and our solution.
Having identified the networks and how to communicate with them, we wanted to work on a strategy that counteracted the ‘big dip’, the time half way through a crowdfund where activity tends to ease off. The aim is to find something that will re-energise the campaign; you want to attract new audiences without boring those who funded you in the early stages and you really want to keep the momentum going.
Because the crowdfund was for an award, we announced the shortlist two weeks before the end, and those who donated could also vote for who they wanted to win, which meant that the friends and families of the shortlisted entrepreneurs wanted to join in and share the crowdfund too.
- Really work on your network Asset Map. Are there people who you know you can call on to donate on Day 1. There is nothing worse than seeing a crowdfund with no money in it’s first week.
- Work out what your hook is – why will people want to stick their hands in their pocket for you?
- Make sure your rewards are relevant to your campaign. T-shirts and wristbands may be easy to organise, but is it really something that your target market wants?
- What can you do half way through the crowdfund to revitalise the campaign, bring in a new audience? (if you’re bored, so are your followers!)
- Ask around from other people who’ve crowdfunded – what is the customer service, technology been like to use?
If you have an idea and would like some help to crowdfund it contact us here
We have gone slightly off piste with this post but it was so good that it got to skip the queue! I came across this Ted Talk and it reminded that this is what happens when you are engaging with people on a crowd fund. They believe what you believe and that’s why they want to be a part of it. Make the time to watch it, it’ll be worth it.
The Conversation Prism is an evolving piece of research by Brian Solis.
It tracks different social media sites and is a super cool infographic that highlights that there is more than Twitter and Facebook out there to reach enthusiasts- even though we talk about them a lot. This is it’s fourth incarnation and shows that there are 26 different social networking services and shows the major companies in those categories. It is useful when you don’t really know where to start and are working out which sites you want to have a presence on.
This is a beautiful piece of information and showcases that you can not possibly gain a presence on every social network and identifying where your audience spends their time is crucial to saving you time and money.
For a closer look head here Conversational Prism Downloads
This project was unique in that they didn’t want us to raise awareness of a Crowdfund but to engage with British enthusiasts of Iceland that had recently visited. An interesting challenge to tackle- as it was a new angle for us to target such a specific kind of person over social media. They wouldn’t have a traditional Network Asset Map and they weren’t looking for donations so how do we reward the people for taking the time to complete the survey? Thankfully they were providing accommodation for a 4 night stay for 2 as an incentive, but that only rewards 2 people, what about the other 98?
It raised many interesting questions but glad to say we were successful.
So how did we find 100 adventurous Brits who had travelled further than the main city of Reykjavik into the rural outskirts?
Well let’s go back to basics of understanding our methodology. Authentic engagement, turning apathy into care and developing this into conversion of your followers.
- Transparent, honest engagement with your followers
- Conversation with followers and customers
- Focused direction in line with your vision
We came to terms with Icelandic Farm Holidays current social media presence and how to work from there. With only one Brit currently liking them on Facebook it began to seem like a bit of a steep hill to climb. However if we weren’t asking people to donate money, just their time, it should be easier right? Time to get creative.
Creating a twitter account and using a genuine tone of “here we are, this is what we would like to do, can you help us?”, gained us a reasonable level of response and getting retweeted by TinyIceland and Inspired by Iceland got us halfway to our target but while we would normally expect Twitter to be leading with results we were gaining a lot more conversion from Facebook, a bit of a surprise for us. To capitalise on this we placed an advert on Facebook and were excited as the responses started pouring in. The ad was very effective as we didn’t just link it to our questionnaire, it lead to a page of conversations and questions that people had previously posed, so we were engaging with enthusiasts, talking and listening to them and then showed them the questionnaire, in this way I think we got a lot more people to respond. In retrospect Facebook is a lot more personal for people and the people we are targeting are going to have an emotional attachment to the country through all the good memories they have there. Nothing highlights this more than the fact that we took out a Facebook ad for a raffle being held for Back Out There and we haven’t had any response from that, knowing the target audience and how they use social media is critical.
We have been set a challenge in the name of engagement. An Icelandic holiday company, Icelandic Farm Holidays, approached us and asked to find 100 British people who have been to Iceland in the last 18 months, who stayed outside the capital Reykjavik. The aim is get feedback from tourists about their travels to Iceland, so they can market and engage more effectively directly to those who would relish the idea of exploring rural Iceland. And the challenge felt like a fun one, so we took it on.
So, how do you find 100 adventurous Brits who have visited and stayed in the far reaches of Iceland?
This has had us thinking, a lot. Using the methodology that we’ve developed for crowdfunding to create our social media campaign we realised that there was one big gap. Where we would usually use a network asset map to establish connections from the crowdfund owners, we are trying to find people that our client doesn’t know and hasn’t yet met. By cracking this, we will be able to help crowdfunds to extend their reach quicker outwith their friends and family.
We want to be as transparent and authentic as possible as our client is offering truly authentic Icelandic experiences throughout rural areas with real Icelandic people. Getting back on their feet after the financial crisis has been tough for Iceland, and tourism is one industry that can really help.
There is a plethora of forms of online communication. We have Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and Reddit- and then we have the more traditional forms such as email and telephone. Each tool reaches out to a different type of person in a different way. And we have to think about tone of voice, content and ultimately ‘conversion’ – in this case completing a survey, the ‘reward’ being a chance to win 4 nights for 2 accommodation in a rural location.
So the search is on. Oh, and if you know of anybody who has been to Iceland in the last 18 months and stayed outwith Reykjavik send them to this link!
When you “don’t know what to do”, you seek information. Then you may know what to do, but the danger is you don’t do it. So, what we want to focus on is the WHEN to do it” because this helps you to avoid procrastination. The infuriating “should I” “could I” thoughts that take over your mental processes and permit you to rationalise your procrastination, delay your action to accomplish your goal.
If you check out the timeline at the bottom of the page you’ll see what you do in different stages of a crowdfund, from the pre-planning, all the way till after the crowdfund. We find this helpful when helping to coordinate successful campaigns. The colour differentiates the different stages, the upper block that runs consistently throughout is your engagement – We see honest engagement with your audience and networks as a core to sustainable enterprise development.
We have assumed that in the initial strategic planning stage you have already vetted your project/ idea as a good Crowdfunding opportunity (if you don’t know, ask us as we can help you to assess the feasibility of your project). Each stage prior to the crowdfunding is extensive in itself and deserves full attention to detail.
In summary, use this timeline to assess where you are in your process and what you need to do to get to the next stage. If you need any help, get in touch.