Whoever said crowdfunding is easy money was lying. A significant amount of crowdfunding campaigns fail, and for a number of reasons: bad timing, sub-standard rewards; your goal may be too high, you may not be maximising social media, your product is not good enough, you don’t have a video… the list is endless.
But failing at a crowdfunding campaign can actually be good for you. There are plenty of ways that a failed crowdfunding campaign can benefit your product, if you decide to pick up the pieces and start again. This is your chance to take a breather, work out your mistakes and improve on them.
LEARNING FROM YOUR MISTAKES
So, you’ve failed. The first thing to do is compile a list of what you think were the mistakes, and avoid them in round 2. Every campaign is different, but trust your instincts and be honest – you’ll know which areas of your campaign were weaker than others.
One example of a failure that ultimately succeeded is the Coolest Cooler. The campaign was doomed from the start, and the mistake was a simple one – launching a campaign for a summer product in the winter (November 2013). Consequently they did not reach their $125,000 goal. They subsequently relaunched in the summer of the following year and decreased their funding goal (to just under what they had originally raised in their first campaign). These two simple tweaks made all the difference and the campaign went on to raise over $13 million, making it the second highest-funded Kickstarter campaign ever. Unfortunately, due to other circumstances, the company has had severe issues with releasing their product – but their current problems are unconnected to their crowdfunding campaign.
Thin Ice, the “first weight loss clothing line” is another example of using past mistakes as a learning curve. For their first campaign the company hosted a launch party to raise some pledges for the product. Unfortunately, the WIFI signal at the venue was weak and they were unable to raise much money on the night. Ultimately, only 30% of their goal was funded. The second time they chose a different structure for their campaign, focusing on the first three days of the campaign to build momentum and receive funding for their product. Rather than hosting a launch party they joined forces with a media company and used their services to showcase their product. They reduced their pledge target to $15,000 and bingo – by the end of their campaign they had raised over half a million dollars.
A CHANCE TO TWEAK AND IMPROVE YOUR CAMPAIGN AND YOUR PRODUCT
Take a look at the Rocketbook Wave, the cloud-ready microwaveable notebook. After its first campaign failed the project creator decided to switch platforms from Kickstarter to Indiegogo. They recognised their mistake was including all the information in their campaign video – so potential backers who were unable to play the video were left out of the loop. For the relaunch they added infographics, clearly laying out the different perks. This worked! Over $1 million was pledged towards their second campaign.
A FAILED CAMPAIGN DOES NOT ALWAYS EQUAL A POOR PRODUCT
All the above campaigns were relaunches. However, actor, director and writer James Franco only had one campaign for his Palo Alto Stories project, which had a flexible funding goal on Indiegogo. Even though the actor fell short of his $500,000 target by almost $175,000, his selected goal meant that he was able to keep all the funds pledged. The positive string of comments in support of the campaign showed Franco there was an audience for his films – so they were made.
SUPPORTERS CAN BE USED AGAIN
Your original supporters can give you feedback, tips and suggestions for what could work better. Their encouragement can be priceless when you’re relaunching. Inform the supporters from your first campaign that you’re relaunching. That way you are sure to have a solid support base when you launch. New potential backers will see that a campaign already has a buzz about it, and are more likely to get involved themselves.
As the popular saying goes: if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again. Don’t let setbacks put you off your goal. Recognise that you failed, distinguish what did or did not work, and try again. Stay in touch with your supporters – because crowdfunding is all about communication. Make sure you give updates on how you’re progressing – and you could be onto a winner!