How to Market Your Investment Crowdfunding Campaign

Here are some tips from two experts, Dan Rosenberg of Real Pickles and Marty Gay of Quimper Mercantile.

1. Plan your marketing campaign in advance

While you’re waiting for the regulatory approval process to be completed, plan how you will market the offering.

  • What messaging will you use? What will resonate with your potential investors?
  • Who and where are your potential investors and how will you target them?
  • Start building your network of supporters and fans as early as possible – both online and face to face.
  • Make a list of potential investors that you already know – think of both wealthy and non-wealthy individuals, nonprofit organizations, foundations, businesses . . . .
  • Talk to leaders in your community and ask for their advice – if possible, talk to others who have conducted successful capital raising and nonprofit fundraising campaigns.
  • Get advice from organizations that have run successful DPOs.
  • Plan at least one event for potential investors.
  • Use an email program like Constant Contact to plan an email marketing campaign in advance – once your offering is approved you should send out an email to your constituency at least once every few weeks.
  • Create a web-based platform that allows potential investors to look at your offering materials (see CuttingEdgeX for examples).
  • Consider making or linking to an existing short video to inspire potential investors. Here is an example of a video about a DPO in Powell, WY that Quimper used.

2. Prime your community

Until your DPO is approved by the securities regulators, you cannot make an offering. However, you can get out into the community and make your organization visible! Attend events, write guest blog posts, sample your product, etc.

3. Consider giving yourself a shorter deadline

DPOs generally can be marketed for a full year and can be renewed indefinitely. However, you may want to put a shorter timeframe in your offering documents to motivate yourself to reach your goal fast!

4. Run your campaign!

  • Reach out one-on-one to potential investors.
  • Send email updates on your progress every week or two.
  • Hold special events such as
    • Factory tours
    • Investor briefings
    • Road shows at various locations throughout the states where you are authorized to make your offering
    • Events co-sponsored with supportive organizations like your local Slow Money or BALLE group
    • In-store tastings and demos
    • Make sure people hear about the offering from multiple sources – ask others to spread the word in their own newsletters, blogs, social media, etc.
    • Send out press releases.
    • Update your web site regularly with your progress.

More Tips

  • Don’t make assumptions about how much money any particular person is able to invest – you may be surprised!
  • DPOs are about trust and relationships – don’t rely on professional fundraisers – YOU and your colleagues need to tell the story to potential investors.
  • Focus on the positive, but remind people that Wall Street is a rollercoaster with a long-run average annual return of less than 3%.
  • Make sure people know that they can invest retirement funds in a DPO using a self-directed IRA.
  • If you have existing marketing and sales staff, involve them in the DPO offering process – a DPO is about marketing your organization and that is what these people know how to do! But be sure to comply with your states’ requirements about who can sell the offering without a broker’s or sales license.



How to Raise Capital Perpetually with a Direct Public Offering

Using a direct public offering (DPO), businesses and nonprofits can raise capital from the public from both accredited and non-accredited investors.  To be able to do this, the organization applies for regulatory approval where investors will be solicited.  These approvals generally last for one year.

At the end of 12 months or upon reaching their funding goals, some organizations may choose to discontinue their securities offering.  Our client, Real Pickles, for example, raised $500,000 from 77 investors in two states in just 2 months.  Since the amount Real Pickles raised was sufficient to achieve its goals, it concluded its DPO.

Other organizations, however, may find that there are advantages to continuing to raise capital for more than one year.  For example, last year Cutting Edge Capital did the compliance work that allowed Farm Fresh to You, a northern California food distribution business, to offer “Green Loans” to its customers through a DPO.  Through its DPO, Farm Fresh to You successfully raised over $300,000.  Farm Fresh to You recognized that the Green Loans from customers were a great source of capital – low-cost and an effective way to get customers more engaged – so Farm Fresh to You decided to renew its DPO for another year!

Since the state regulators have already vetted the offering materials for the first offering, the approval process for an additional year is typically very fast (in most cases just several weeks).

Continuing to raise capital beyond the initial year of a DPO offering allows an organization to meet ongoing capital needs and to benefit indefinitely from the opportunity to allow its community, customers, and fans to become investors.