Answering Your Marketing & Crowdfunding Questions

By Florence Adrian 14th Feb, 2020

Since you’ve embarked on your entrepreneurial journey, you’ve often imagined having someone with knowledge and experience to answer your marketing or crowdfunding questions and help you through the process? Imagine no more! Tessa Ashford, the Director of Marketing and Simon Solotka, Chief Marketing Officer at IdeaPros shared what they know with our fellow entrepreneurs in this show. Read on and learn more!

1. When do you start crowdfunding?

When you have an incredible prototype, you figured out how to fund manufacturing then you are good to go. There are various components and phases in crowdfunding. You will do audience building and pre-marketing first, then the first raise that will take you to the next platform, and after that, you will start selling directly on your website. Think about money in time and where these cash flows hit.

“Prototypes can be useful, innovative, and sexy.” -Simon Solotka

To start crowdfunding, at least two out of three of these factors should be fulfilled. Also, think beforehand if crowdfunding platforms are the best choice for your idea whether that’s apps, services, and small-niche products. They work best when there is already an existing audience.

2. How safe is crowdfunding if you don’t have a patent?

“You can break a few rules, but you have to follow most of them. The rules you break make you innovative .” -Simon Solotka

In the case of intellectual property, patents don’t protect well early innovations. It takes many years to get a patent, so people usually introduce a product when they submit for it, and the patent is awarded once the product is already on the market. Patent-pending status can be useful. If you disclose an innovation by marketing it without a patent, someone else could do it.

When you are in a startup phase, it is crucial to move fast. Test your product, and see if people like it before making any big decisions. Learn more about patents HERE. 

3. What happens if you have an app instead of a physical product?

With physical goods, manufacturing costs you a lot of money, while with apps you will pay for software development, but scaling is different. For this reason, crowdfunding is used more for physical products. With apps, you should think about a lean startup minimum viable product approach, creating a version that establishes whether or not anybody is interested in it. Once you know there is an audience, you grow, raise money, and invest further. You will need to invest money in advertising, great videos, and optimization. 

“The key thing is to find your audience and figure out a way to touch them.” – Simon Solotka 

It helps to have a well-identified audience that is not too narrow. In the early phases is more about getting users than making money.

4. How do you build a database and reach these people?

Find affordable ways to reach audiences, through Facebook advertising, influencer marketing, B2B approach, different online & offline communities. At IdeaPros, we have a Launchpad where we tell people about our products and see if we can interest them. Organize contests and use social media resources that help you build a list. Once you have people on our list, we need to think about strategies and budgeting to reach them. Keep in touch with your audience and nurture it, however small it is at the beginning. Use CRMs, automation, and retargeting ads. Think ahead about how your customer service is going to look.

“You can start with a database of 30 people and nurture them.” — Tessa Ashford

5. When do you share a rendering of your product for marketing purposes before the crowdfunding?

Don’t share a rendering, share the reality of your product. Kickstarter doesn’t let people use renderings anymore because it made them think they could take a product to market without a prototype. Prototyping is important. Also, if you share a rendering, you are giving your competitors an early start. 

6. What’s the full scope of crowdfunding, and how much time and money should you commit to the project?

Even simple projects require a lot of time and energy. In the entrepreneurial space, the budget on your time has no limit. If you want to go more in detail on this, we have a whole show about crowdfunding that you can watch HERE. 

7. Can crowdfunding determine the scale of a product or app?

If you have a good crowdfunding campaign it can lead to future success. But if the product is destined to succeed, crowdfunding can be seen as a vehicle to get you more visibility. 

“If people are willing to give you money for something before you’re able to deliver it, then that speaks volumes about the goodness of the thing in the first place.” – Simon Solotka

8. How do you find groups and build connections for a truck accessory without discussing your project?

Lots of people have trucks in America, so if you have something great, then chances are you will be successful on the market. You can connect with audiences ahead of time on forums and groups you can join. In the beginning, be there, don’t publish anything, and observe how the groups work, what gets the most attention. Like, comment, and eventually start sharing valuable information that might lead to your product. 

9. Does Kickstarter work for makeup brands?

Yes, it does, especially if you’ve done something in the industry previously. 

Have more questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us.

The “Idea Pros” at IdeaPros have the resources, experience, and tools to help you at this step or any step in the entrepreneurial journey.

We partner with entrepreneurs at any stage and who are ready to invest their ideas. Apply for an interview and let’s explore partnering together.

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