56% of all Kickstarter campaigns fail. Don’t let yours be one of them! If you take note of these five common mistakes, you won’t go far wrong.
1. The cause is unattractive
It’s oh-so-easy to blame the failure of a campaign on not having enough fans, but most of the time this is complete nonsense. Most people’s own extended networks are enough to raise a significant amount of money, but you must show them something worth backing.
Remember that how you explain a cause is just as important as the cause itself. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the narrative is just an afterthought. This is your only opportunity to impress.
2. The goal is too high
The Kickstarter community is not some pool swimming with large-scale investors. As far as musical Kickstarter campaigns go anyway, nearly all investors come from people’s personal connections. Setting a goal is hard, but there is a simple calculation you can do that works in most cases.
Make a list of the friends, family, fans and associates who you expect to back you. Find the total and then assume that just under half of them will back you. Then multiply that figure by the average pledge per backer on Kickstarter of $60.
It’s not just a question of creating a campaign, sitting back and hoping for the best. These campaigns need proper management for a long time before and afterwards. Do what you can to sell the concept one-on-one. Send personal emails, speak to people on the phone, speak to them face-to-face etc. etc. Then you need to be ready to respond once the campaign’s live… keep that conversation going!
It’s understandable that bands/artists may be a bit funny about being direct and asking for money. Most of us are. But seriously – you must get over this if you’re going to be successful. To inspire people to invest you must show them how much you believe in the cause and how much you need them on board. The only way to do this is by being passionate and direct.
4. Giving up
People tend to do things at the last minute – that’s just life! Therefore you need to give your campaign a chance to reach its goal. There’s nearly always a lot more investment at the end of a campaign than at the beginning, so stick with it and don’t pull it.
5. Ropey Rewards
Pledges tend to be made on the basis of how much somebody can afford rather than how much a backer is seduced by a particular reward. You need to make sure that you have the right range of pricing to cater for your audience.
Be wary of having jumps in price that are too high. For example, if you had a $20 reward and then the next level up was a $50 reward, what would happen to all the people who could only afford $35? Obviously, each campaign is different – how big your increments are depends on the size of the top investment versus the size of the lowest, but make sure you do your best to stop people falling in between two pledges.
Think of how you frame the rewards too. If you’re selling a CD for example: are you selling it to people as a pre-order where they’re simply getting the CD for the usual price, only earlier? Or are you selling it to them as an item that will cost more than they would normally pay, but that the extra money is effectively a fundraiser for a wider cause?
A lot of the above is very simple, but it really works. Think long and hard about these five things and hopefully you will never see the dreaded “FUNDING UNSUCCESSFUL” message being plastered across your campaign.
You might also want to check out this article on the most successful Kickstarter campaigns ever.