Traditional sources of raising capital involve a lot of in person meetings. So much so that Crunchbase recently referred to the old mechanism of raising capital as “death by 1000 coffees.” As Jason Frishman, Founder and CEO of Netcapital in Boston notes, this method involves jumping from meeting to meeting with potentially qualified investors who will listen to your pitch and decide if they want to invest in your company.
So what do companies do when they don’t have the time to meet with that many investors and how do they pivot when the current COVID-19 pandemic has eliminated the ability to have in-person meetings?
Well, companies can turn to crowdfunding for a completely online source of raising capital. The entire process from engaging with prospective investors to completing the investment can be done from home with a decent internet connection.
So how do you as a company get in front of those investors to present your pitch?
Online advertising, social media, and email newsletters are all great promotional tools to direct prospective investors to your campaign page. Once they arrive on your page, you can use a strong campaign video and pitch deck to give them the information they need to make an investment decision.
However, it's difficult to answer every investor question in a video or a pitch deck, and you do lose the face to face interaction with investors. So there's another tool that should be included in your crowdfunding toolkit...webinars!
Webinars give you the ability to meet with hundreds of potential investors at once. It also gives investors the opportunity to ask questions directly to you. This helps to increase engagement and to build trust between the management team of the company and the investors you are looking to onboard.
The most common form of a crowdfunding webinar is a pitch presentation. You can walk investors through your pitch deck as you would at any live speaking event or coffee meeting. And by leaving some room at the end of the presentation for questions, investors can ask any questions they may have, which might even be the most important part of the presentation. If you can’t get to all the questions, make sure to provide responses to them in your post webinar email to the attendees.
You could also host additional webinars to help complement your overall pitch, without overwhelming investors with the same information. Consider hosting a product demonstration; interview people within your industry to discuss the overall market and then highlight your positioning and unique selling proposition; even ask some customers to join to give a testimonial on your product or service.
Here’s why we think you should be putting webinars at the forefront of your promotion strategy:
Crowdfunding makes the private capital markets accessible to everyone. Rather than having one-on-one meetings or seminars that are restricted to a single location, you can make your pitch available to everyone through a webinar. You can give hundreds of prospective investors the opportunity to hear your pitch for free and you can also repurpose the pitch by making the recording available for later viewings via your social media channels.
In our recent pitch deck article, we discussed how pitching in-person utilizes anecdotes and stories to really create a sense of authenticity. We don’t always get to convey those stories through a pitch deck, but a webinar gives you the opportunity to show the authenticity of the person or people behind the company. This creates a greater sense of trust and transparency between companies and their prospective investors. Depending on the type of webinar, it can also be an opportunity to help grow your thought leadership in the industry.
As with all of your crowdfunding promotional activities, the objective of a webinar is to get prospective investors to take action and invest (or at the very least visit your page to give your campaign a follow). Indigo Marketing Agency did an analysis of webinars for financial advisors and found that webinars can have up to 20-40% conversion rates versus the 2-5% conversion rate for email marketing. So although they can require more effort to put together, you could be looking at a more impactful return for your campaign.
Promoting your crowdfunding campaign can be time consuming and for some companies they may not have the internal bandwidth to execute on all the activities they have planned. Webinars offer the ability to automate more of your communications. Not only does it help grow your email list by having attendees register for the event but you can also email the webinar out to your larger email list and promote it through the campaign page for greater visibility. Another option to consider is editing your webinar into smaller, focused sections, which can be scheduled over the course of a few weeks on social media.
We’ve been moving towards a more digital environment for years. In the last few months, that adoption of technology has accelerated both for businesses and for personal use.
Webinars are a great way to communicate with a lot of people while still maintaining that vital sense of connection - and that sense of connection is what makes crowdfunding such an impactful form of raising capital. Now that you’ve made the decision to host a webinar, click below to download our Webinar for Crowdfunding Checklist. This is designed to help you maximize the success of your crowdfunding campaign’s secret weapon.
You’re now all set to host your very own Crowdfunding Webinar! If you're after more information and ideas on how to handle campaign comms, why not check out our other resources?