As an entrepreneur, you’ve created a product or service. As an influencer, you’ve cultivated an audience. Do you think it’s time the two of you meet?

Crowdfunding platforms are an excellent way to get resources your project or company needs to get started. One resource that’s monumental for brand awareness is influencer marketing. Larissa May knows this first-hand:  her venture, #HalfTheStory, is a unique online space for anyone to share their stories about social media.  #HalftheStory is a place of conversation, celebration, and recognition of the challenges that come with maintaining a digital presence.

Larissa recently joined Muses to connect with influencers whose audiences are interested in sharing stories about their life offline, and created a crowdfunding campaign on iFundWomen, with a goal of raising $20,000.  To understand the scope of effort required to achieve this through traditional channels, consider applying a scenario from Forbes to Larissa’s plan to utilize influencer marketing:  according to crowdfunding experts, the most popular contribution amount is $25, with average contributions range from $80-$120 across platforms.  If all of Larissa’s funding came at a conservative rate of $15 per person and assuming 3% of visitors actually fund her campaign, Larissa would need to reach at least 45,000 people, 1,350 of whom decide to donate. That’s a big ask from strangers!

Now imagine if Larissa connected with 15 influencers, each with a following of at least 45,000 people. On average, 30% of Instagram followers see any given post.  Suddenly, Larissa’s reach has expanded to 202,500 people and of that number all she needs is 1,350 to donate! Doesn’t her goal now feel more achievable? That’s because it is!

And this is why we at Muses decided to partner with iFundWomen, a crowdfunding platform for women-led startups and small businesses. iFundWomen has a pay-it-forward model to directly reinvest 20% of standard fees into live campaigns on the site and provides dedicated, crowdfunding and business coaching for everyone on our platform.

Influencer marketing is the secret sauce for your crowdfunding campaign, and Muses is the influencer blackbook in your back pocket. Numbers aside, here’s why influencers may exceed the expectations I’ve just set.

Influencers offer organic reach.

Whether a product review inspires a purchase or a social post inspires someone to follow the business ,  influencers drive organic, word-of-mouth results—what marketers calls the Multiplier Effect.  Every time one person shares a post from someone else’s network, that post is exposed to their friends, families, and friends of friends, and even better — those people click!

User-generated content gets 4x higher click-through rates on average and a 50% drop in cost-per-click when it comes to paid advertising.  That’s an enormous benefit.  Who doesn’t want their crowdfunding campaign to catch fire?

Influencers offer brand trust.

According to AdWeek, 93% of consumers find user-generated content to be helpful when making a purchase decision.

Applied to crowdfunding, tapping into an authoritative yet familiar voice can really boost your chances of winning over a fan. People like to defer to authorities and social influencers are exactly that — authorities in your shared space.

Influencers are positively niche

“Social acquisition is 80% community and 20% sales,” says Shanelle Mullin is the Director of Marketing at Onboardly. It’s true. And crowdfunding campaigns are built on relationships just as influencer marketing.

McKinsey’s research suggests that messages that circulate within tight-knit networks tend to have a much greater impact than those shared among high volume, highly dispersed groups. So, the smaller your following, the higher your chance of reaching a larger percentage of those followers. Fashion blogger Svetlana Mushta corroborates this with her own estimates that “reach varies from 50% to 60% of follower count” for accounts with up to 20K followers.

Bear in mind, if you are reaching out to an influencer for the first time—a 21st-century “cold call” of sorts—you’ll have a significantly lower success rate when you throw them a pitch.

Don’t use a template when you reach out to influencers. Rather, introduce yourself and initiate a conversation. You want to have a “did we just become best friends?” moment with your influencers. If they’re not passionate about your brand or product, their promotion of it will ring false to their savvy audience (if they promote it at all).  The proof is unequivocal.

It’s up to you.

Today, social influencers embody the most credible voices in our current media landscape, and it’s possible to drive high engagement rates for even small audiences, driving the best results for your crowdfunding campaign to the next level.

For the startup with a concept prepped for public introduction and the influencer with an audience who’s ready to listen, crowd-funding platforms are the natural choice for an effective collaboration.  But before you get there, you have to find the influencers and build a relationship. The perfect partner is out there.   It’s up to you to connect.