Help Fund A Veteran Blog

The Art Of Marketing To The Crowd

 

If you subscribe to the notion of ‘build it and they will come’ when it comes to building and marketing your campaign, that would be considered an EPIC mistake.

 

The success of your campaign and having the ‘crowd’ get behind your business goals is predicated on the effort and preparation invested. Now, while there hundreds of action items to consider when marketing and launching a campaign, however, we encourage you to consider putting to action these tactics below.

 

1) A good starting point is to ask yourself these 3 questions:

 

·      What inspired you to serve in the military?

 

·      What is the purpose in launching your business?

 

·      How will you get your customers to become your very own brand fanatics?

 

 Simon Sinek, delivered a very powerful TED talk, find it, below.

 

http://bit.ly/1VR6yfQ

 

2) Consider these questions:

 What are key characteristics (demographics and interests) of

 your target audience?

 

·      How much research do you need to invest learning about them?

 

·      Which mediums will be most effective in reaching your target

 

 audience? (Social media, blogs, radio, TV, phone book, etc.)

 

·      What actions need to be taken to reach your audience? (Content

 creation, networking and relationships, phone-calls, etc.)

 

3) Consider these 3 suggestions:

 

·      Create a powerful 'About You' video for Help Fund a Veteran.

 (This can also be utilized on your website too). This video MUST

 capture your background, problem aiming to be solved, and your

 call to action.

 

·      Take high quality pictures of your product or service being

 offered.

 

·      Create a content calendar that will record exactly what you plan

 on marketing and when to publish.

 

4) Consider adopting these marketing strategies in your campaign:

 

·      Friends & Family - Invite your circle of friends and family to

 check out your campaign page on HFAVET. They have the

 potential to be your biggest support. Encourage them to share

 your campaign on their social media sites and to pledge a

 generous amount to your vision.

 

·      Colleagues - Chances are, many of your co-workers are

 cheering you on and are more than happy to spread the word or

 even pledge money from their own pockets.

 

·      Social Media - Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn,

 Google+, Pinterest, and Snapchat can be very powerful tools to

 help elevate your marketing campaigns at a very low cost.

 You don't have to be active on every single social media network.

 Try starting with 2-3 platforms and really being creative and

 consistent in posting content. While it is free to utilize these

 platforms, consider investing in targeted ads, which will help

 expose your business message to people who can help support

 your vision. Aim to create and post content daily.

 Encourage your followers to join your journey and engage with

 your posts.

 

·      PR (Public Relations) - Capturing the attention of local,

 regional and national media outlets can be a very powerful

 strategy to increase awareness of your campaign. Consider

 reaching out to your local news station and present your press

 release packet to them.

 

·      Bloggers - It is important to build relationships with influential

 bloggers that have an audience that may relate to your brand.

 Consider reaching out to bloggers via introductions from friends.

 Don't be selfish and just ask to get publicity, rather, take a

 different approach and see if there is anything you can do to

 support the blogger.

 

·      Email - Build your email list early in your campaign and do it

 quickly! Consider pre-scripting your emails when your campaign

 goes live to provide your supporters information in order to save

 valuable time. Email providers such as Mailchimp.com offers

 great tools for free.

 

·      Analytics - Measuring where your traffic is coming from is

 important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your

 marketing campaign.

Top 3 Crowdfunding TIPS & QUESTIONS

 

TIP #1

A good starting point is to ask yourself these 3 questions:

1. What inspired you to serve in the military?

2. What is the purpose in launching your business?

3. How will you get your customers to become your very own

brand fanatics?

Simon Sinek, delivered a very powerful TED talk, find it, below.

http://bit.ly/1VR6yfQ

 

TIP #2

Consider these questions:

1. What actions do you need to take to educate people about the

problem you are trying to solve?

2. How will you inform people of the solutions your business has

created to help solve the problem?

3. What are your competitors doing to solve this problem?

4. What kinds of interesting and compelling content can you

 

create to educate and engage people about your business?

 

TIP #3

Consider these questions:

1. What are key characteristics (demographics and interests) of

your target audience?

2. How much research do you need to invest learning about them?

3. Which mediums will be most effective in reaching your target

audience? (Social media, blogs, radio, TV, phone book, etc.)

4. What actions need to be taken to reach your audience? (Content

 

creation, networking and relationships, phone-calls, etc.)

 

Strategic Social Media

How To Rally A ‘Crowd’?

The use and success of crowdfunding in the past decade has really gained momentum massive thanks to the prominence of social media.  By definition, crowdfunding itself is a type of social media in which networks of people virtually exchange information and support ideas.  However, just creating a crowdfunding campaign on a platform—like HFAVET or even other huge platforms—will surely not reach enough people to gain an adequate response to achieve your campaign’s goals.  After all, a key component of successful crowdfunding is rallying a “crowd.”

Although the HFAVET platform aims to support and promote its campaigners’ initiatives as much as possible on its own social media platforms, it is important that each veteran entrepreneur makes use of social media platforms to promote their own individual campaigns as well. 

*Note: These need to be separate from your personal social media accounts where you post pictures of your dog and children at your day job.  Your social media sites should focus exclusively on your crowdfunding campaign’s mission and goals. 

Which Social Media Platforms Are Best?

Each social media platform has its own strengths and weaknesses, and also attracts its own unique community of followers.   

When selecting the digital social media platforms that are best suited to your crowdfunding campaign, it is important to consider these few questions:

·      Who are your products targeting or going to benefit? In other words, who is your “perfect” customer?

·      Where do they spend the majority of their professional time?

·      What is their favorite social media platform?

·      If you were your “perfect” customer, how would you want to consume information about your product?

Face, Tweet, Hashtag, Link or Pin?

Now that you have considered the products and target customers unique to your business, the next step is to learn about the features and followers of each platform to understand which are most compatible with your campaign.  This will help you know which platforms to use and how much time and content should be invested using each one. 

Facebook:

1.4 Billion Users 

Typically the social media core of businesses, Facebook provides opportunities to reach very high volumes of diversified people.

Tips: Build up engagement with your followers.  Do not expect that your followers will naturally engage with you.  Give regular updates on your campaign’s progress and try asking your followers questions and encourage them to write comments. Ask questions both related to your campaign and even those you might ask a friend.  Ask questions like what inspires them, what gets them out of bed everyday, and if they love someone who has served in the military.  It is also important that you try to respond to every follower’s comments.

Also, always try to include visual photos or videos in your posts.  The more eye-catching your posts are, the more likely your followers are to read your messages when scrolling through their busy Facebook feeds.

Twitter:

Approximately 284 Million Users

Twitter enables people to innovate and share ideas instantly.  Users can send and read each other’s posts, known as tweets.  Tweets are short message posts of up to 140 characters, published on the author’s profile and sent to followers of their page. 

Twitter is a useful tool for immediately engaging with followers on important updates.  Given that 80% of Twitter followers use the mobile app, the use of Twitter will help a crowdfunding campaign maintain continual contact with followers and customers, which will ultimately allow you to mold your brand around your followers’ lifestyles.

Tip: Over 500 million tweets are sent out daily; that equates to approximately 5700 tweets per second.  If your audience is not online right when you post your campaign’s tweets, then the odds are that they are likely to miss your message. Posting several tweets throughout the day will increase the chances of reaching a higher percentage of your followers.

LinkedIn:

300 Million Users in over 200 countries

LinkedIn is a platform that connects professionals to increase productivity and success.  LinkedIn allows professionals to send messages, endorse and connect to others via mutual contacts. 

Tip: Try connecting with leaders and influencers in the same industry as your business.  Post blogs on LinkedIn sharing your own business’s experiences that might help others in the industry. 

Instagram:

300 Million Users

Instagram focuses on sharing photos and video content, while allowing users to share and give feedback on posts.  Instagram will allow your campaign to craft a visual experience for your followers and contribute to your branding processes.

Tip: For every photo or video posted on your campaign’s Instagram account, try including a lot of related hashtags in the caption.  Try hashtags like #HelpFundAVeteran #Veteran #Military #Entrepreneur etc.  This will lead Instagram users who are searching for specific topics to your campaign page, and will ultimately increase your number of followers. 

Pinterest:

40 Million Users

Pinterest connects people through ‘things’ that they find interesting.  Pinterest allows its users to collect ideas for projects and categorize things based on their interests.  Pinterest engages a primarily female audience.  You will be able to add pins of your products with links to your website or crowdfunding page. 

Tip: Add posts (called pins) to your Pinterest board that are relevant to your business’s industry.  This will attract followers who are also interested in your business’s industry and related products. 

Benefits of Strategically Selecting Your Social Media

With so many options of different platforms to utilize to help promote your business, the use of social media during your campaign may seem overwhelming.  That is why it is critical to focus on selecting the platforms that will most benefit your individual campaign and appeal to your “perfect” customer.  Choose the networks where your potential supporters are most likely to be found and that are most compatible with your individual campaign.

Choosing the best social media networks for your business will not only help your project raise more capital to finance your business, but will also build a community of supporters, help you acquire and retain customers, and ultimately increase brand loyalty and sales long term.

Crowdfunding For Small Business

 

The popularity of starting your own business in today’s economy has never been hotter.  With popular mainstream shows such as ABC’s Shark Tank appearing in millions of family rooms, entrepreneurship seems to provide a lot of value to the decision making process of taking the risk of starting a business.

 

Now, let’s dive into the metrics of veteran owned businesses. 

 

  • Majority Ownership

 

There are approximately 2.45 million businesses established where the managing partners retain majority equity in the business.  Wow!  Of these, there are approximately 491,000 that employ individuals and close to 2 million are considered self-employed. 

 

  • Key Highlights

 

We are always striving to add value and generate sales, right?  Well, our veterans seem to be accomplishing just that.  Veteran-owned firms had sales of $1.220 trillion, 5.793 million employees, and annual payroll of $210 billion. Employer firms were responsible for 92.3 percent of the receipts, $1.126 trillion.  These are impressive figures.

 

  • Crowdfunding For Small Business

 

We believe that the backbone of America is truly predicated on small business.  Crowdfunding, Help Fund A Veteran in particular is a new innovative approach in which military veterans can grow their business by simply creating a profile and telling all of their family and friends about their journey, while acquiring working capital without taking out a loan. 

 

Interested in learning more about HFAVET?  Shoot us and email!  info@helpfundavet.com

 

Reference: www.SBA.gov

 

 

Why HFAVET?

Why veterans should consider creating HFAVET campaign

Crowdfunding projects

Military veterans with any business or organization idea should consider using the Help Fund A Veteran crowdfunding platform to raise capital and watch their visions come to life.  Crowdfunding is a new way of raising capital for a business venture, and there are several benefits offered that traditional financing methods lack.  Using a crowdfunding platform like HFAVET will allow vetrepreneurs to attract a much larger pool of backers, as opposed to a select few investors, to support their endeavors.  The capacity of crowdfunding to reach a larger number of supporters may ultimately lead to high customer loyalty, especially in the early phases of a business venture. 

Help Fund A Veteran: A niche platform

While there are several crowdfunding platforms, Help Fund A Veteran is the only online crowdfunding platform designed exclusively to assist military veterans in raising the capital necessary to start and sustain successful events, franchises and businesses.  This means that our platform attracts backers that are interested in specifically assisting veterans and entrepreneurial business ventures.  There are several benefits to utilizing a niche platform like HFAVET for a crowdfunding campaign.  When using a massive crowdfunding platform, campaign creators run the risk of having their project be diluted by other campaign initiatives on the platform.  HFAVET caters to veterans and their supporters, and ultimately offers opportunities for like-minded members of the military community to connect. 

Why backers should support HFAVET campaigns

Supporting and inspiring U.S. troops

A key component of Help Fund A Veteran’s mission is helping veterans make the transition into civilian life by supporting their business dreams.  We believe it is truly important that our troops realize that there is a hopeful future after their career in the military.  Your support will help assure veterans that they are capable of initiating there own business ventures and will play a role in giving their ideas proof of concept.  Your support and contributions, however big or small, will demonstrate that there are resources available to veterans and will ultimately inspire veterans everywhere to pursue their business dreams. 

Rock star vetrepreneurs

Veterans also make excellent entrepreneurs.  Read our blog below to find out why the military fosters qualities that transfer into successful entrepreneurship.  Backers can feel assured that their money is being put into the hands of hardworking, organized and goal oriented individuals who have served our country. 

Incentives given by vetrepreneurs

 

Each campaign on HFAVET offers unique incentives to contribute.  Look out for the different rewards offered on each of the campaign pages. 

Rewarding Crowdfunding

A key component that distinguishes crowdfunding from traditional methods of financing business ventures is the different incentives that attract investors and backers.  Unlike investors of traditional capital-raising methods who gain equity, backers of crowdfunding platforms give money in exchange for the opportunity to be involved in something with a more abstract meaning.  It is up to the creators of crowdfunding campaigns to give meaning to their projects and essentially create an experience for their backers. Offering excellent rewards is one of the best ways to capture attention and encourage support.  That is why it is so crucial to be thoughtful in the types of rewards offered on a campaign.

Create enticing rewards for all price tiers.  Have high, medium and low price categories to attract people of all backgrounds.  Also, don’t be afraid to be bold and put a big reward up on your campaign.  It may seem risky to have what may seem like an unrealistically high price tier, but even if only one backer gives $300 in exchange for a $200 reward, that is still $100 raised for your campaign.  

Here are some ideas to help you get thinking of the types of rewards you might want to offer on your campaign:

Thank backers directly or give something that represents their contribution to the growth of your business

Because HFAVET is a platform that especially attracts backers interested in supporting business ventures, it might be enticing to offer rewards that allow your supporters to track your business progress.  Offer your backers a monthly newsletter that updates them on the status of your business and different projects going on.  Maybe offer to list your backers on your company’s website, or try writing them handwritten letters thanking them for their contribution. Keep in mind that personalized rewards give backers a unique experience that they won’t find from supporting any other business. 

Give them a copy of the actual product

As part of a reward on your campaign, offer to send backers your business’s actual products or services.  If you are the author of a book, send your backers a copy.  Also try offering something that represent your business’s brand or product.  For example, reward your backers with merchandise that has your business logo.  Send your backers mugs, t-shirts, caps and totes. 

Share your skills

Think about your own skills and talents, and whether or not there is opportunity to share your knowledge.  Try creating a pamphlet with tips in your specific areas of expertise and sending it to your backers as a reward for their contributions.  Maybe even go as far as setting up a phone call or video workshop in which backers can personally ask you questions. 

Be creative!

Perhaps the most successful crowdfunding campaigns are those that offer creative and unique rewards.  Don’t be afraid to be different and create rewards that may seem totally off the charts.  Have fun and offer interesting and quirky prizes.  Give your backers a story to share!

The powers of the simple sidebar

The rewards you offer in your campaign are a way to showcase your creativity as an entrepreneur and ultimately demonstrate the values of your business. 

The most important thing to realize about crowdfunding is that every single project should benefit its backers just as much as its campaign creators, and it is ultimately up to you to determine how.  Attract backers with excellent rewards and have fun creating them!  

 

 

 

 

 

Why Veterans Make Excellent Entrepreneurs

 

In 2011, the SBA Office of Advocacy reported that military veterans are at least 45 percent more likely to dive into entrepreneurial ventures than civilians with no experience in the active-duty military.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2007), veterans owned 2.4 million businesses—equating to 9 percent of all businesses in the country—thus employing nearly 5.8 million Americans. [1]

While there are several reasons why veterans feel the urge to start their own businesses, there is certainly a correlation between entrepreneurship and the qualities that veterans develop from service in the military.  Veterans are not only more likely to plunge into entrepreneurship, but they have acquired characteristics that allow their businesses to excel.  Here are some reasons why military veterans make excellent entrepreneurs:

1.) Veterans are effective risk-takers. A major flaw of entrepeneurs is the inability to manage risks—either they are too afraid to take risks or cannot evaluate the consequences of taking certain risks.  Veterans are great at managing risks and working under pressure.  The military does an excellent job of training soldiers on how to calculate risks and understand when to capitalize on an opportunity. Veterans are used to making decisions and operating well under pressure.  Serving in the military has given them both the skills and confidence to run a high-stakes business. 

2.) Veterans have excellent organizational skills, which are crucial for starting up and effectively running a business.  Veterans are organized, goal oriented and used to sticking to a schedule.  The military trains people to work hard and maintain high levels of discipline when working towards a goal.  Veterans are also resourceful. They typically have a lot of experience working with a limited number of resources.  Veterans typically maintain intense focus and are often very stubborn in achieving their goals.  They are experts at prioritizing tasks and understanding the possibilities of success for alternative decisions. 

3.) Veterans have a unique way of networking and building on relationships.  People with a military background are not afraid to seek knowledge from people who are more experienced, even if it means asking their superiors for information.  Veterans not only have the confidence to generate new ideas and reach out to people to build valuable networks, but they also have countless resources at their disposal.  The military community is tight-knit and there are countless networking opportunities and available resources like Help Fund A Veteran. 



[1] https://www.sba.gov/content/national-veterans-small-business-week

Crowdfunding 101

 

Crowdfunding is an alternative way of raising capital for a business, project or cause. Unlike traditional methods of financing a business venture, crowdfunding has the potential to attract a much larger number of investors. The limits of crowdfunding are seemingly endless as it utilizes social media websites—such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn—to promote a new business.  This gives new business ventures the potential to enlarge its pool of investors beyond traditional smaller circles of owners and venture capitalists, who typically have larger stakes in a business or project. 

 

The crowdfunding process includes three actors:

  • Project initiators
  • Supporters of the project
  • The platform that connects the two parties

The Crowdfunding Platform

Crowdfunding platforms provide project initiators and supporters with an easy and organized way of interacting.  The scope of project initiators can range from entrepreneurs, business owners, nonprofit organizations, and even independent average Joes hoping to finance a project.  While there are countless crowdfunding platforms for project initiators to choose from, it is crucial to find one that is compatible with the industry and goals of the project venture. Different platforms cater to certain projects and communities, thus building communities of interest and attracting specific types of sponsors.  Help Fund a Veteran does not fund just any entrepreneurial endeavor; it provides a space for 21.9 million entrepreneurs who served in the military to gain support for their business ventures.  It also attracts people who want to support both startup businesses and our nation’s troops. 

Project Initiators

In addition to potentially tapping into a larger group of investors, the use of crowdfunding platforms offers several benefits.   It gives entrepreneurs validation and confidence in their business ideas.  Crowdfunding also increases exposure by reaching a larger number of people.  By reaching a larger number of investors—typically with lower stakes than traditional project financers—crowdfunding may save entrepreneurs massive amounts of time and energy spent attracting large investors.  Users are able to personalize their campaigns to fit their specific brand and vision.  Even if the marketing processes involved in a crowdfunding project do not result directly in business funding, the use of social media platforms that goes hand in hand with crowdfunding naturally increases exposure, which is the first step in gaining future customers for any business.  Crowdfunding is also an opportunity to educate masses of people by raising awareness about a cause or problem that a business venture is aiming to solve. 

Project Supporters

Crowdfunding not only helps entrepreneurial project initiators, but also benefits the supporters who give money towards a project.  In fact, often some of the most successful crowdfunding ventures are those that offer strong rewards for generous support.  Typically, supporters are given greater incentives for the more money they invest in a project.  Because different crowdfunding platforms also target communities based on certain interests, crowdfunding also gives masses of people the opportunity to support a cause that is near to their hearts. 

Crowdfunding is truly a win-win situation.

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