Think of a person in your network that seemingly knows everyone. You know the type, the host of the get-togethers, the one that remembers everyone's name from high school--and what they are currently up to, the neighbor that sends Christmas cards to 300 friends, family members and acquaintances, or the coworker who always drops a name for each problem, concern or comment that you make. These are Key Connectors.
Key Connectors are gregarious people who thrive on social interaction. They remember names and they are ever-seeking to extend their influence. Perhaps you are familiar with Malcom Gladwell's definition of a Connector, as found in his book The Tipping Point. In this book, he explores how epidemics are spread through word of mouth. Key Connectors are wonderful for word of mouth and even more so for crowdfunding.
While running my crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, I attributed much of its success to my Key Connectors.
Selecting your Key Connectors is important. These are the few people that will add tremendous benefit to your campaign. I purposefully used the word few. Don't attempt to sling together a long list of well-connected people. Keep it intimate and manageable. If you select the right people, then a few is all that you will need.
You and your Key Connectors must be aligned in two areas:
One month before your campaign's launch is a great time to send the first emails to your Key Connectors explaining the high-level view of the campaign. Work out any and all confusion and hesitation during this month so that they are on board, equipped and chomping at the bit for the launch.
Your Key Connectors must be thoroughly informed of timelines and stretch goals, but they also should be given tools like scripts and checklists to make their job as easy as possible. Some items may include weekly contact goals, a press release, template emails for their contacts, special promotion details, local news article or blog featuring your project, etc. Remember you are in charge of this campaign and they are willingly volunteering, so make their role easy to fulfill and clear to understand.
Let's do some quick math. To exemplify a point, let's assume that only 5% of those you contact will back your crowdfunding project. You have 100 contacts, so 5% translates into 5 backers. If you have two Key Connectors each with 100 contacts, you could gain an additional 10 backers (5 per Key Connector). This would be a 200% increase in the count of backers.
That is not all. If you have a business partner or significant other with Key Connectors, your reach will now be 600 people--a 500% increase from your 100 contacts. Refer to the table below.
Contacts Percent Backers Added reach
You 100 5% 5 -
Key Connector1 100 5% 5 100%
Key Connector2 100 5% 5 200%
Business Partner 100 5% 5 300%
Key Connector3 100 5% 5 400%
Key Connector4 100 5% 5 500%
The point of the above illustration is to demonstrate the power of Key Connectors in extending your network.
In short, Key Connectors must be identified to have both an interest in your project and a willingness to share it. You must keep them up-to-date with the campaign proceedings and supply them with the proper tools to target potential backers. It's at this point that you will achieve the exponential reach outside of your network.