You spent weeks, maybe even months or longer preparing your campaign. You thought you had the greatest idea in the world – all your friends and colleagues told you it was so creative and clever. You did some research beforehand. You even had a high-quality pitch video. But your campaign failed by a mile. Below we discuss some of the factors that may have contributed to you not reaching your funding goal.
You didn’t do pre-crowdfunding marketing, outreach, and networking
The pre-crowdfunding stage is arguably more important than the actual campaign. The idea is that when you press the “launch” button and go live, you should already have a huge list of confirmed (or highly targeted) backers. This could have been from marketing on your own website, a general landing page to collect email addresses or take a survey, personal conversations, or discussion via online forums and message boards. And don’t forget close friends and family, who should hopefully be contributing right away. You can take a look at our Pre-crowdfunding Networking article for more information about online outreach and joining niche online communities.
You didn’t properly communicate with backers during the campaign
Your backers will be asking you questions in the “comments” section of your crowdfunding page. Depending on your idea and pitch, you may have a lot of skeptics and doubters. Some people may even be rude and very impatient for responses – in rare cases people may directly or indirectly say you are a scammer or that achieving your project is impossible (technically, financially, etc). Therefore, you need to properly and professionally respond to all of them – no matter how ridiculous they seem! Your perspective is different from everyone else, so don’t assume that people see your idea, hard work, and vision as you see it. They don’t know what you are doing behind the scenes unless you tell them!
Your pitch video was not professionally edited or optimized as a “pitch”
Take a look at the videos of successful crowdfunding campaigns – they usually have things in common. Most successful videos are under 5 minutes in length (and ideally around 2-3 minutes long). They are filmed by professionals and feature music and sounds. They are clear with a call-to-action directed to viewers to get them excited. There should be enough information to impress people and get them interested but not too much – people lose interest quickly! The rest of your crowdfunding page is where you go into the real details.
You were too confident, or conversely, not confident enough
Crowdfunding is not a sure thing. Sure you see the occasional project that is created by a large company with hundreds of thousands of dollars in their marketing budget. Those projects go viral, get funded, and it was never a question as to whether the campaign would succeed or if the product and rewards would ultimately be fulfilled. It was a sure thing. But that’s not your typical situation – most projects do fail and many that hit their goal never end up delivering the product. Make sure you properly address your potential issues in the “Risks and Challenges” section and other parts of your page. Choose your words carefully – don’t “guarantee” anything unless you are truly guaranteeing it.
Your crowdfunding rewards weren’t planned out well
Most campaigns usually include a small pure donation option, as well as a copy of the item being crowdfunded. But then you need to use your imagination – create unique, exclusive, and creative offers that make people want to get in early. Limited edition and customized items are common. People also love recognition, so some sort of mention that they were your first and earliest supporters can be attractive. Spend hours browsing successful campaigns in your industry to see how they structured their reward tiers.
Your idea just isn’t that great
Of course your friends, family, and coworkers were impressed when you mentioned your idea. Most people aren’t going to want to insult you or break your heart. They probably don’t know much about crowdfunding and serious social media marketing, so to them it sounded so cool and revolutionary. But in reality, your idea was nothing special and didn’t stand out from the thousands of other crowdfunding campaigns out there. Nobody saw the need or had the desire to fork over their money. Sometimes that’s the unfortunate reality, and you should consider the failure as a learning experience that brings you one step closer to your next successful venture.