Some crowdfunding projects seem to succeed against all odds, while others that should be slam-dunks fall far short of their goals. What separates the funded from the funded-nots?
You can scour Kickstarter’s 2011 year-end stats for tips, but if you really want to minimize your risk, here are 7 mistakes to avoid on your quest toward getting fully funded.
1. Asking for Too Much… or Too Little
How much money do you need to accomplish your envisioned project? Ask for too much and people might think you’re crazy (or just greedy); ask for too little and they’ll doubt you actually know what you’re doing. See how much money other projects in your field have been able to raise. Is their range of success compatible with your project’s needs? (And would you know what to do with that money if you had it?)
2. A Bad Promo Video
Most crowdfunded projects produce a short video to explain the project’s merits, the creators’ vision, and the basic tone that backers should expect from the creative team and the finished product. Your video doesn’t need to look expensive, but it does need to be effective, and give potential backers a reason to believe in & get excited about your project. (And, whenever appropriate, humor helps.)
3. No Clear Budget
Asking for a specific amount of money is not the same thing as knowing how that money needs to be most efficiently spent. Outlining your project’s itemized budget lets potential backers know where their money is going, and sharing your budget is a major stepping stone that separates the projects that just look interesting from the projects that actually stand a logical chance of producing their envisioned results.
4. Lousy or Overpriced Perks
People want to get something cool or useful in return for donating to your project, and they expect those perks to be commensurate with the amount of money they’ve given. If you’re producing an app, a book, a film or any other tangible product, make sure your backers will receive a copy of the finished goods at a reasonable price point. Likewise, if your new gizmo will retail for £30, backers should receive one at £30 or less; don’t overcharge them up front for something they can pay less for later.
5. Failing to Promote
Some people think that simply having a crowdfunding project is all they need. They made their promo video, they designated their perks, their posted their budget and stated their case… and then they never told anyone. And when their fundraising time was up, they were shocked to discover that people hadn’t searched their project out all by themselves, as though the world is filled with people who are desperate to find excuses to hand you money.
Whether you have a crowdfunding project online for 30, 60 or 90 days, that means you have 30, 60 or 90 days to get as many people to pay attention to your project as possible — each and every day.
6. Failing to Inspire
Of course, no matter how much promotion you do, nothing helps a project succeed like the enthusiasm of others. Is your project’s story something that your family, friends and coworkers will get excited about and want to share with their friends? What about your peers in your field? Bloggers? Journalists? Complete strangers? A project that makes sense to you is a one-person quest; a project that attracts believers as it grows becomes a group effort whose odds of succeeding continually improve.
7. Giving Up Too Early
So, you’re halfway through your funding timeline but you haven’t even raised half of your total goal yet? Here’s where the funded separate themselves from the funded-nots: they work their project even harder (and smarter) than they had been. They realize their initial approach isn’t working, so they start tinkering. Maybe they need a new description, a new video, new perks, or to find ways to appeal to new audiences. But one thing is certain: they’re going to spend their project’s last few days climbing toward their goal, rather than walking away from it.
Crowdfunding is imprecise. Don’t hinder your odds by making obvious mistakes that give your potential backers an excuse to click away before they buy in.
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