The Crowd Supply Guide: Marketing and PR

Behind every successful crowdfunding campaign there’s more than just a great product, there’s also a solid marketing strategy. But probably the most frequent lament we hear from our creators is “I’m no good at marketing.” We have two responses: (1) we can help and (2) you’re better than you think.

This page will help you by outlining some fundamentals for promoting your product and campaign. We’ll also provide help and advice throughout your campaign in the form of coaching, editorial support, social media promotion, and general support and guidance.

Very, very few Crowd Supply projects warrant hiring an outside PR & Marketing firm, but if you think it’s needed, we can help you explore those options.

Getting an early start on marketing and PR tasks is very important. Some things, like community building, will take time and effort to build up. Other things, like your campaign page and early updates, need to be ready on campaign launch day. That’s why one of the first milestones in preparing for launch is defining your community by understanding your users. So we ask you a series of user-focused questions at the very start of your campaign, so that your messaging is clear and defined at the outset. Please take some time to carefully work through the Messaging Milestone, as well as the suggestions provided here. Your responses will work to shape the entirety of your campaign.

Tell a Story

You know your product is awesome, because you created it to fill a need or achieve a goal - help the world see your vision. Product messaging and an effective storyline are critical to a great marketing campaign. Think of your product as a hero on a quest to solve your user’s problem. This is an important exercise that will become the foundation all of your marketing materials, your product campaign page, website copy, and so on.

The “Write Your User” page and this blog post look more closely at this topic. The Issues in the GitHub Messaging Milestone are there to help you put that advice into practice.

Activate Your Personal Network

  • Make a project contacts list. Who in your personal or professional network would care about or want this product? This includes colleagues in your project's area, people you’ve met at networking events, past customers for related products, online forums, friends and family, and so on.
  • Email this group a link to your pre-launch page, along with a personal request for them to share it with others who might be interested or supportive.
  • Don’t be pushy or spammy in online groups - be a contributing part of their conversation and culture and add value.

Develop Your Community

Community development should start well before your campaign launches, and will serve you well during and long after your campaign. Community members are fans of your product, your customers, influencers in your product’s market, and vocal champions who will share the product with others. Think of them as collaborators in your product’s development.

  • Join communities related to your campaign, in person and online.
  • Look outside the popular social networks for specialty internet forums, groups, or message boards where your audience can be found. Actively engage with them by answering questions, being helpful, and connecting with others in the group.
  • Are you a contributor to an open source community that would love what you're building? Tell them about it.
  • Identify local meet-ups, groups, clubs, book stores, etc., where your target community can be found. Attend meetings and ask to give a presentation to the group.
  • Ask for input on your product. Some of your best feedback might come from the very people who want to buy your product.
  • Ask backers to share your product with others.
  • Give prototypes to influential target users of your product so they can test it and give feedback or create early case studies for you.
  • Don't forget, your manufacturers and providers are part of your community. Tip: tag your manufacturers (e.g., @atmel, #macrofab, etc.) in your posts to increase both their visibility and yours.

We’ve created a Community Directory to help you find your people. If you know of a resource we should add there, let us know!

Remember, don’t be spammy, pushy, or exploit the community jut for your own sake. Ask for feedback, contribute back to the community with your own feedback and help, enroll them in your vision.

Social Media

Like it or not, social media is an integral part of your product marketing plan. Because it’s important, we’ve devoted a whole guide page to engaging social media.

Consider a Press Kit

For almost all Crowd Supply projects, a press kit is overkill; your campaign page will do the job. However, if and only if you think your project is going to get a lot of press attention and you are working with a professional PR person, a press kit might make it as easier for journalists, bloggers, and reviewers to write about your product and get the images they need for an article. Having a standardized kit will make it easier for you to respond to requests for info and collateral.

Public Relations and Media Outreach

Pitch the press to let the world know about your product. Here are some best practices for pitching the media:

  • Build a targeted list of writers and bloggers likely to be interested in your campaign. Do some research to see who’s been writing about similar projects.
  • Email them a concise, personal email about your product and why you think they’d be interested.
  • If you can, build some extra working prototypes you can use to send a review unit to members of the media and interested communities.
  • If they say "no thanks," remove them from your list. If you don’t hear back, do not follow up until you have a significant update, e.g., you hit the halfway mark, met your goal, etc. Three follow-ups during the campaign should be sufficient.
  • Be tactful and considerate. Many reporters get literally hundreds of pitches a day. Be informative, but never ever rude, spammy, or pushy.

Question not answered here? Contact us to see how we can help.

The Crowd Supply Guide: Table of Contents

For Everyone

For Backers

For Creators

Getting Started

Before Your Campaign Launches

During Your Campaign

After Your Campaign Concludes

Subscribe to the Crowd Supply newsletter, highlighting the latest creators and projects: