10 Reasons Why Your Campaign Failed (or is going to fail)

I’m sorry if you are currently crowdfunding or thinking about crowdfunding and the title of this article is the last thing you wanted to read. But, I’m hoping you happen upon these words while you are still in the planning stages. And if not, I hope you will give crowdfunding another shot and you’re a ROCK STAR this time around!

After coaching, mentoring, and consulting more than 1,000 project creators and their projects, I’ve seen a few things that unsuccessful campaigns have in common.

While this isn’t an exhaustive list – nor are the reasons in order of importance – this list is a handful of some of the most common reasons campaigns don’t reach success, in my opinion.

Reason #1 Launching in silence

You failed to tell anyone about the campaign and essentially launched in silence – A rookie mistake that some creators make is launching their campaign without telling those around them first. It’s a bad sign if the first time someone is hearing about your campaign is once it’s live.

How to fix: Start telling your friends, family, and social networks about something coming soon. You can choose how much information to share with each group. The goal is to build excitement and share your journey with them. The repetition of you speaking about your upcoming campaign is critical. Ideally, people should have heard about it 5-7x before the launch and some of those times should have been you explicitly asking them for their support.

Image source:  Kristina Flour, Unsplash


Reason #2 No transparency

Your campaign wasn’t/isn’t transparent. Make sure your supporters and backers are clear about what the funding will be used for. Even if this seems like it should be obvious, make sure you spell this out in your campaign. Also, make sure you are following up with them on social media, email, and etc. with how things are going after the campaign. This is all apart of transparency. Transparency also includes adding your face to the campaign and/or letting backers know who is behind this amazing idea.

How to fix: Be sure to have key ways that you will keep your audience in the loop before, during, and after the project. Even if you are just touching base a few times per month to let them know when they will receive their items, or how their dollars are making the impact you promised on the campaign page. Show pictures and video where applicable.  Something else to keep in mind, people buy from people so tell your story, show your face, and let them know what their support will mean for your business, idea, or venture.

Image source:  褚 天成, Unsplash


Reason #3 Competing messages

You have competing messages in your campaign pitch and your audience is confused about what your main focus and goals are. Like ‘they’ say, “the confused mind always says no.” And trying to cram too many competing messages into a campaign can be detrimental to its success.

How to fix: Get very clear on what your message is around the product, service, or idea you are launching. Keep the main thing, the main thing. It can be helpful to have someone proof all copy, SM posts, and the campaign page before launch. Preparation is key to making sure you stay on message.


Image source: Miguel A. Amutio, Unsplash


Reason #4 Not sharing, isn’t caring

You didn’t share the campaign enough after the launch. According to Fundera, a successful campaign admin posts an average of four times throughout their campaign – likely much more depending on the length of the campaign.

How to fix: Have a strategy around when and how much you will share the campaign. If you are working in a team make it everyone’s responsibility to get the message out there. For example, share when you reach milestones like 30 percent funded, or share if you have an amazing result like the campaign reached 75 percent funding the first day or in the first week. Not only are you keeping the campaign in front of people, but you’re also showing social proof that people want to be a part of what you’re doing.


Image source: socialmediaatoz.com


Reason #5 The ‘crowd’ comes before the ‘funding’ 

You didn’t build your crowd of supporters before launching the campaign. Don’t forget, the ‘crowd’ comes before the ‘funding’ in crowdfunding. You need an engaged audience and fans to support your campaign, especially in the early hours of the campaign.

How to fix: Build the crowd. They are the ones who are going to make or break your success. If you’ve done a campaign before and it didn’t go so well this is probably one of the top reasons. You need people. And they need to be engaged, nurtured, and really buy into your messaging BEFORE you launch something and expect them to all come running. I’m not saying you need an army of 10k people before you launch, I’m saying start to build relationships with people, warm the audience you do have, and see who your message attracts in the warming phase. Once you know this, seek out similar people and see if they are also attracted to what you’re offering.

Image source:  Free To Use Sounds, Unsplash


Reason #6 The campaign has no imagery 

You skimped on the campaign imagery. There are no prototypes, reviews, artwork, or photos to help people connect to your vision or prove that you’re serious about your idea.

How to fix:  Think about if someone you knew asked you for money and told you they needed it to create something, but didn’t have any type of imagery for you to look at to prove they were at least working on something. Would you trust them? The answer for most people is no. At the very least you’d be a little skeptical. Now imagine a stranger on the internet asking you the same thing. And 99.9 percent of the time, the answer will be no. Create a robust campaign complete with images, social proof, prototypes, video, and other graphic representations of what you are doing.


Image source: Justyn Warner, Unsplash


Reason #7 Your rewards aren’t appealing

You aren’t offering rewards that appeal to or resonate with your target audience – or you’re not offering anything at all. If your campaign is for charity and a reward isn’t required, this may not apply. In that case, you need to make supporters feel extra special.

How to fix:  If you are running a reward-based campaign, part of your overall strategy needs to be coming up with rewards that sell. Something or many things that would appeal to the people who will be supporting you. The whole idea of doing this is to get people to buy into the product or the service, so reward them by giving them at least that. A few exceptions include when a project creator is raising money for the actual prototype. Even in this case, there is still likely a reward like being a first-round tester, etc.  Charity campaigns don’t have the same rules, but there is still a strategy around the “reward” categories that those types of campaigns can benefit from.

Image source:  allmyfamilycare.com


Reason #8 Unrealistic expectations

You’re expecting the platform to market the campaign for you or that as soon as you go live all of the platform’s patrons will be magically notified.

How to fix:  As you may now know, that DOESN’T happen. It doesn’t even make good sense from the business standpoint of the platform. Imagine if you were a patron on Kickstarter and every time a campaign launched they sent you an email. You would quickly become highly annoyed and probably unsubscribe.  Not good for Kickstarters business. Instead, platforms rely on you bringing a portion of your audience to them during your crowdfunding campaign. You’re likely to capture the attention of other patrons on the site but usually only after your campaign starts to gain some steam.  Do your pre-marketing, and warming before the campaign launch, and make sure your fans are supporting you before you expect to gain the attention of the platform or anyone who hasn’t heard of you or your project before.


Image source: projectinsight.net


Reason #9 You are throwing money at the problem

Your crowdfunding success isn’t contingent upon paid traffic only. In other words, you didn’t think much about the entire crowdfunding strategy and instead thought you would just run ads to reach people.

How to fix:  There is definitely something I see way too often. I’m looking at you non-profit sector. Look, I’m not saying that there isn’t a time and place for paid traffic in your strategy. What I’m saying is most people don’t have any organic marketing going (i.e. no relationship building has happened yet), and they are running ads. Ads, that they want to convert people into backers or donors.  STOP doing this. Save your money and spend a few months doing some content marketing and engaging with other people, like your customers. Then, when you are 70-80 percent sure who they are, employ an ads strategy.


Image source: www.moneymagpie.com

Reason # 10 You skipped the DIY

You off-loaded the campaign to someone who doesn’t have intimate knowledge of your idea, passion, venture, or organization. It’s a good idea to be as hands-on as possible during your first crowdfunding campaign.

How to fix:  This is another unfortunate mistake I see way too often. I’ve even be asked a few dozen times if I would take over a campaign and run it. If this is your first instinct, you may need to take a step back and really assess what you’re expecting from this campaign and how not being involved will impact the product, service, or idea you are launching in the not-so-distant future.  Get involved. Learn this process. It is smart to hire people to help and those who have the expertise you don’t have, but it is very important that you are the director and you approve everything that happens in every phase.

Image source: mytexturedworld.blogspot.com


Are any of these reasons resonating with you? If so, that is great. The first step to correcting is knowing what’s wrong in the first place.

Leave me a comment and tell me what questions you have around this topic or any other crowdfunding-related topic. I would love to nerd-out with you on the subject!

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