With all the innovative gadgets, bright ideas, and wacky concepts out there, it’s easy to forget that crowdfunding is as much about community as finance. So we thought it was high time we focused on a campaign that was using crowd financing to fund something other than a product launch.
Based out of Montreal, Arielle Beaudin is a woman on a mission. This successful entrepreneur wants to help other would-be business owners get a foothold in their respective markets. She’s launching a reasonably priced, co-working space that offers inhabitants a supportive, collaborative environment from which to launch their companies. She found the perfect location, but her chosen office space needed some TLC, so Arielle turned to crowd financing to generate the capital she needed. A few months later, this savvy businesswoman succeeded in smashing her original funding target by a whopping 40%.
Since she didn’t have a tangible product, Arielle’s rewards were social media-based (she offered all but her top backers shout-outs and promotions in exchange for their support). This led to an interesting phenomenon. “We would give a shout out to people who contributed a certain amount,” Arielle explains. “And then they would share our post, which attracted a lot of attention to our campaign.” Inadvertent or not, it’s not a trick we’ve seen before at The Crowdfunding Formula, and it’s certainly one worth replicating. Arielle agrees, “I would say that constantly putting our campaign out there on social media and posting it in different groups, getting people to share it, and sending private messages really got people’s attention. The more people you expose the campaign to, the more contributions you are going to get. Social media was our primary marketing tool. It was very important,” she adds.
What about press coverage? “That was a challenge.” Arielle admits, “The media were more interested in the outcome than the campaign, but we contacted a huge array of journalists, so we did still get some good coverage — more so once we reached our target.” This is a paradox Narek likes to call ‘The Green Bar Effect’ (it’s also something Ran Cory picked up on in his interview). It refers to the popularity of campaigns that have achieved a significant percentage of their goal amount. Success breeds interest and backers would rather contribute to a successful campaign than one they perceive to be less successful.
Not that that was something Arielle had to contend with. Thanks to her dedication and hard work, her co-working space is now up and running with its first batch of workers already settling in.
So, does she have any tips for someone looking to replicate her success with crowd financing? “It’s not easy,” She warns. “Many people seem to think that crowdfunding is a walk in the park, but it’s not. Before you consider crowdfunding, it is important to be very serious about your project because there are many, many steps. You need to start promoting your campaign before you have even launched it, and then you have to make a good campaign video with a story that will grab the attention of the audience you are trying to reach, and then you have to promote it as much as you can in the short time your campaign runs. This might seem easy at first glance, but it isn’t. It demands a lot of discipline and research; I mean people won’t just throw money at you.
Like most things in life, you need to work for it.”