In raising funds for a project, making pre-sales or taking forward orders has been a way of getting in the money needed. In raising funds to make production runs, to start marketing campaigns, to bring in skills and knowledge to help monetise the concept, or to undertake any matter of commercialisation initiatives, coupon sites offer a quick hit but at a high cost given the discounts that must be offered as well as site fees. But now crowd funding not only offers a greater return, but a deeper and longer term relationship with a more engaged and supportive crowd.
Those who back crowd funding campaigns have been shown to be far more involved than those who simply pick up a bargain through coupon sites. They spread the word to their networks (and beyond), using social media and other methods to tell the world of the projects they have supported. They don’t just buy a bargain, but they by in to the venture or project, becoming advocates for the campaign. For them it is not a matter of making a simple purchase, but gaining a vested interest in the product, the project, and the project creator’s success.
Those that support crowd funding campaigns are not merely customers. They don’t walk away from the sale satisfied with simply having made a purchase as a one-off interaction with the project creator. They are believers, the first followers, and mavens for the campaign and the project. They are the ones who don’t just say they LIKE you with a thumbs-up symbol, but like you by reaching into their wallets. They are more than satisfied customers – they are enthusiastic advocates who buy in, body and soul. They haven’t just made a purchase from a early stage company, but actually played a part in helping it get started – a badge they were loudly and with pride.
For the project creator, crowd funding offers an option that doesn’t involve the level of discounting that they have to give away on coupon sites. With the huge discounts they need to give to punters on discount sites, as well as the high fees that must be paid to site operators, the project creator must sell huge volumes to raise the money they need to fund their projects. Crowd funding offers them a low cost of raising capital, putting much more directly back into their pocket.
With crowd funding campaigns typically running for anywhere from 30 to 120 days, there is a longer buy-in period for the crowd to get to know about the campaign. Coupon sites only give the public a matter of hours, or a couple of days to take advantage of a price pointed offer, but a crowd funding campaign lets the crowd build a real relationship which leads to far deeper and longer lasting engagement with the project creator.
A crowd funding campaign offers the project creator far greater control over their own destiny than a campaign on coupon sites. Through crowd funding, the project creator is able to establish a direct line of communication and have dialogue with their fan base, whereas coupon sites tend to become the face of the product. Coupon sites do not allow for any intimate connection between the project creator, the product, and the fan base, and this is the main reason why campaigns on coupon sites offer little or no residual value to project creators.
Coupon sites offer little more than a short, sharp hit during which the project creator has no interaction with the audience, and for which they have to give away a lion’s share of the margin. Is it then any wonder why crowd funding is the world’s fastest growing form of e-commerce, offering the project creator not only a low cost method of raising the funds they require, but generating the most valuable asset of any project or start-up – an engaged audience to accompany them for the life of their journey.