Online or Offline, your opportunity for success is far greater if you communicate among your social and professional network and let the world know what you are doing, and why they should be interested. Do not keep your business a secret. It will only make your success that much harder to achieve.
The size and potential reach of your network of people will be directly related to the probability for success of your crowdfunding campaign. The bigger your network, the bigger your reach of potential investors. The bigger your reach, the better your chances of reaching your funding goal. If just 500 people give you an average of $500, you will raise $250,000.
However, do not be lured into a false sense of security that all you need to do is list good projects on a Funding Portal and the investment dollars will find you and roll into your campaign. Over time, that will happen as your track record of success is posted on the Web for the crowd to judge. However, initially you will need to work your network and any other network you can access, to tell your story and the opportunity that you want to present.
So how do you generate prospects?
Ways to Generate Prospects
1. Locate Prospects
- First and foremost work within your immediate sphere of influence, which would be a family and friends list. Who do you know? Write down their names, or better yet, download them into a spreadsheet. Get fifty names, numbers, and preferably email addresses and start to contact those folks with a message from you telling them what you are working on, how they may be able to help you, and most importantly, help themselves.
- Additionally, use your social network. If you do not have at least 50 friends on Facebook or LinkedIn, you need to work on getting 50 such connections.
- Always think about referrals and how you can encourage such behavior from your network. In the legal services business referral always seem to be the best clients. Of the fifty plus names on their list, who do they know? Almost everyone has 50 names on their list of connections, but some people have hundreds and thousands on their list. Popular public figures sometimes have millions of people connected to them. Expand your sphere of influence with their sphere of influence.
- Do not forget the old fashioned “three-foot-rule”. The three-foot-rule means anybody within three feet of you gets asked. You bump into people all the time. Say “hello” and politely introduce yourself. Tell them about your business or ask them immediately about where they are from and what they do for a living. Keep handouts available like business cards and possibly a tri-fold flyer on your company.
- E-mail is a critical tool. Prospective investors can get information in the morning, noon or night or whenever it is convenient for them. We all live a life so busy and so complicated that we are not always available at that exact moment in time to take a call or to make a call. You just don’t have the time or resources to waste. Utilize e-mail. It is critical to your long term success and required if you employ crowdfunding as a money raising technique.
2. Groups and Organizations
Every community has all sorts of networking groups. Get involved with them and be a part of different community events.
- Find real estate Meet-up groups on the Internet, which are groups of individuals who are interested in meeting and networking with other persons having a common interest, in this case real estate investing. There also are local real estate groups that are likely affiliates of the National Real Estate Investors Association (National REIA) where both investors and lenders participate.
- Chamber of Commerce. Become a member of your Chamber of Commerce as they have luncheons and dinners and informative events throughout the community which will keep you abreast of what is happening in your marketplace. It will keep you in front of a lot of new people with fresh ideas and spheres of influence.
- Newspapers. Be sure to include a phone number and email where they can contact you or a website that they can pull up and explore. This is an inexpensive way to get your message out and to create interest, especially in smaller local papers.
- Monthly publications, such as the Senior Directions or the senior papers, have a publication that comes out monthly. You do not want to just run one ad; you want to run consistent ads so people get familiar with your presence.
- It takes normally six to twelve ads for people to recognize you and trust you. We suggest that if you are going to run an ad in a monthly publication that you do so for at least a year.
4. Your Marketing Package
- Your marketing package should consist of, among others things, business cards. Your name and pertinent information should be on the front and on the back of the business card.
- A tri-fold on your background is a great idea. Discuss what you do in the marketplace.
- You always want to give them something more than just a business card. Most people give business cards out and nothing more. You want to give them something that tells a story so you do not have to stand and talk.
- Have a website built, even if it is just a few pages that describes you, your company and your focus and experience. If you do not have a website, people today believe that you really don’t have a business. Not having a website in today’s world suggests you are not very good at marketing your most valuable product.
Need Assistance to launch a website?
If you have never set up a website, you may feel anxious. Don't worry! Just move forward and do your best. You will be surprised by how easy and affordable setting up a website can be. Here are some of the things you will be using for your project.
- Create An Appropriate URL: You can buy some web addresses at GoDaddy for about $15 annually.
- Find A Host For Your URL: This can also be obtained from Godaddy.com for a $9 monthly fee.
- Crowdfunding websites are extremely user friendly and simple with plug and play themes and have many, if not all, of the features you need for success.
The key to a successful marketing plan in this business is to say less and less to more and more people. Leverage your time by having your marketing material continue to work for you while you are sleeping.
5. Direct Mail
Direct mail works best in several areas. Number one; get the information out ahead of time. Target it to the specific groups you want. For instance you can focus on professional groups. Talk to a variety of list brokers, to determine cost and the scope of their lists.
6. Courthouse records
You can go to the local Courthouse and search through the real property records to see what private lenders are lending money in your town, as their names and addresses will often be on the recorded mortgages. You can then contact them by mail or otherwise with your direct mail piece or flyer, etc.