Before you dive headfirst into this article, be sure to read about all the crowdfunding mistakes you can make during your pre-launch and how to avoid them.
Let’s get started.
1. Setting the wrong funding goal.
As a campaigner, you need to set an external goal and an internal goal for the project.
The one we focus on here, the external goal, is the one listed on your page. It’s the practical goal that allows you to do things like meet manufacturing minimum quantities or have enough funds (with buffer room) to actually create and deliver the product. Here, it’s critical that you find the absolute rock-bottom point at which you know you can find a way to move ahead with production, and make that your goal.
Why? Because the campaign progress in relation to the external goal will trigger certain promotions at different milestones. Setting an external goal that is too high to achieve can set yourself up for failure if you don’t meet those milestones. A reasonable external goal, however, ensures you will have the greatest chance of success. In all your pre-marketing activities, you’ll need to keep this goal in mind first. Do everything in your power to get to that.
2. Not telling visitors why you’ve launched on crowdfunding.
You must clearly articulate why you need the money. Believe it or not, some people don’t do this. It might be to fund the first run of production for a hardware project, or to hire actors for your film project, or to source raw ingredients for your new bakery – whatever it is, tell people why you’re here in the first place.
In some cases, you already have the funds, but don’t have the market validation for your project just yet. Tell people that you’re ready to deliver, but just need to understand how many people want the product in order to ramp up production adequately. Be open and transparent as to why you’re on crowdfunding and you’ll be rewarded.
3. The video isn’t “good”.
According to the most recent statistics, the odds of a campaign being successful without a video are basically zero.
Video is not only the first thing that people have access to when they arrive on your page, but it also lets you best showcase the product. It’s the one main opportunity you’ll have to use sight and sound to convince visitors that your project is worth backing. For your marketing, invest time and money into a good video.
4. Launching without quality visuals.
Crowdfunding campaign presentation is the key to your success. It’s the main online “storefront” for your project when it is live. It’ll have to capture attention, instill trust and help convert visitors into backers.
If it looks like you spent no effort on your campaign page, how will visitors trust you with their money and delivery of what you promised them? You can either hire a designer to help with this part of your project, or choose to do it yourself with a free tool such as Canva.
5. Not cleaning up typos.
You must remember that people will be giving you money to support your project. If you are unprofessional in any way, they may feel that you’ll be unreliable in other ways.
The trust factor is incredibly important for an online project so don’t give people an excuse to not give you money. And although each campaign page will have its own definition of perfect, it better be polished.
6. Make sure people know who you are.
I’m baffled at how many projects leave this off.
Humans are relationship-oriented; it’s how we’ve survived this long. When visitors come to your page and browse your project, they need to know that there are real, trustworthy people behind the scenes. These people need to be able to trust you with their hard-earned dollars so don’t hide behind a curtain.
Tell people who you are and show them why this project matters to you. Have headshots, a blurb about yourself and get verified on the platform you launch on.
7. They have too many rewards.
Choice paralysis is a real, scientific phenomenon. By having too many rewards, you’ll confuse visitors and deter anyone from backing.
I encourage you to start off with the most basic rewards and build up your campaign as you get more backers and more support. Launch your project with the core offering (this should be your product) and begin including add-ons and stretch goals as you move forward.
8. Not sending out (enough) emails.
Your email list is a treasure trove of goodies. On there, you’ll find people who have subscribed to be notified of your launch, but have yet to convert into a backer. These people are interested, but just need that final push to become a backer.
Continue to email them.
Let them know that there are a lot of other people who have backed (everyone feels the FOMO), that quantities at the best pricing are ending soon, and other social proof points you can send. Show them so much value that they go from considering your product to absolutely wanting it.
9. Not sending out backer updates.
Backers are people who have literally spent their money to support an internet stranger (you) to create something new that doesn’t exist yet. It’s kind of absurd how much faith they have in you and your project.
It’s your job now to maintain that trust because in the next 30-60 days, backers can refund their contribution at any time. Continue to send updates celebrating your milestones, letting them behind-the-scenes of your operation, and thanking them for being with you on your journey.
10. They ignore referral incentives.
Word-of-mouth marketing drives 5x more sales than any paid channels. Online, the closest you’ll get to word-of-mouth marketing is a referral program.
Be sure to initiate a program and enlist your loyal backers into the program. Since they want to see your project come to life and they think it’s “cool” or “useful” enough to back it, they’ll be more likely to share it with their friends and family. At the end of the day, you as a creator should also never say no to some free marketing and promotion.
11. They don’t leverage the power of cross-promotions.
On Kickstarter alone, about 5.5 million people are what we call repeat backers. They come to crowdfunding again and again to back projects. These people love the idea of bringing a new product to life or are fascinated by the entire journey. No matter the reason, make sure you’re getting access to these people through cross-promoting your project with other campaigns.
12. Not replying to comments from your backers.
Communication is essential for any crowdfunding campaign. Heck, it’s essential for any relationship since it’s the basis for any form of trust. From the time you launch your campaign, you will be bombarded with a lot of questions.
Don’t neglect them.
Those people are actually interested in your project and are curious to learn more. Some even have incredible ideas of how to take your project to the next level. Make sure you respond to comments and questions and make sure you do it fast.
13. They stop actively promoting the project.
Your work doesn’t end after you press the launch button. But rather, you’ve reached the next level of work. At this stage, you must continue to outreach and promote your project every single day to get the word out there. Your project will only go as far as the people who actually see it. Get in touch with platforms that have amassed a large backer following, outreach to journalists, send an email to popular bloggers in your niche… continue getting the word out.
Bonus: 3 key questions to achieve success
Familiarize yourself with this list of mistakes and review them often. It’s easy to get caught up in the nitty-gritty details of a launch that the big picture gets pushed to the wayside. Make sure you know where you can possibly trip up, and how to solve the problems that come up.
If you need help you get launched, visit the resources section where you’ll find templates, guides, and worksheets to get you ready to launch and fund.