Why Won't People Back My Campaign? There's only two problems a campaign has to solve. pt 2

(Part One)

And we're back!

Last time we covered two common mistakes that really beef up a campaign's conversion pudding; lack of credibility indicators and confusion. We're going to continue this series of how to waft the fart-cloud of low conversion rate from your campaign.

3. Weak or complicated calls to action

On a related note to backer confusion, you need to know exactly what actions you want your backers to take with every communication.

  • Do you want them to pledge to your campaign?
  • Tag a friend who would be interested in your campaign?
  • Give you feedback on why some tiers aren't selling?

Depending on whether you're posting a message on Facebook, putting together an ad campaign, or writing a campaign page update, every piece of communication you send out into the world needs to have a clear purpose and goal, otherwise why are you talking?

If we don't tell the eyeballs what we want them to do, they won't do it. Remember, a crowdfunding campaign is all about finding eyeballs and use your page to magically turn them into dollars using your magical medieval money-alchemist talents.

To some campaigns, this might feel like over-messaging and talking down to backers by beating them over the head with the same statements every communication. It's not. Clarity and direction helps both parties. Murkiness is death. Weak calls to action are like your significant other asking you to pick where to go for dinner, but then saying every choice you make sucks gorilla butt.


And before you worry too much about CTAs coming across as stilted and too-bussinessy, here's the top highest-converting CTAs I used on pop up banners for the Joking Hazard campaign and C&H Adventure Game campaigns:

Headline: "Less than 24 hours to get the Kickstarter Exclusive Joking Hazard Red Box! Click fart to get yours while you still can!"
Button: "FART"
Performance: 15% Clickthrough to campaign page

Headline: "Quit your job to play our game!"
Button: "F U BOSS MAN"
Performance: 8.2% Clickthrough to campaign page

Had a lot of fun with those, hah.

Use your own brand's voice of course, probably shouldn't use those headlines for selling a children's book. All that matters is that your CTAs are clear, simple, and effective.

4. No communication with backers

Your campaign page has a messaging, comment, *and* update section for backers to contact you. You need to respond and, more importantly, *listen* to your backers on each of these three different contact points every day your campaign is live.

Yes, it's complicated managing all of that communication on top of social, email, press, and seance, but part of the allure of Kickstarter is the feeling of directly working with creators on developing their project. A backlog of unanswered messages is a red flag to potential backers that they won't be listened to, even during the honeymoon phase where a campaign should be on their best behavior.

Look at any failed-to-deliver Kickstarter page and you'll see how sour the comment section turned.  Now imagine your campaign is live, and people going out of their way to tell potential backers "Don't back this campaign, they don't listen for shit. They're bad people who hate puppies, naps, and extra cheese on things that don't need extra cheese."

5. Your campaign doesn't have a video

I realize this is basic and 99% of campaigns already know this, but no video for your campaign is maximum dumb. Your campaign is 85% more likely to fund with a video. All the most-funded campaigns of all time have a solid video.

6. Garbage traffic

Not all traffic is good for your campaign. If the people you send to your page aren't already super-interested in what you're creating, then trying to increase your traffic won't be effective. If you're creating a graphic novel celebrating great women in science, 100 visits to your page from female STEM teachers is worth more than 10,000 visits from random web traffic.

Garbage traffic is common with campaigns sell buy backer email lists / shady marketing services that solicit your campaign offering "super giant sexy lists of backers who BLEED MONEY". These services focus on selling you how much traffic your page will get, but traffic alone doesn't fund a campaign, it's traffic AND conversions. Garbage traffic doesn't convert no matter what you do to improve your campaign because they don't want your product on any level.

When you're working on marketing strategy for your page, don't focus on trying to collect traffic from big names just because they've got huge social media numbers. Focus on marketing to traffic sources that already want and love what you're making and you'll have a much more pleasant campaign.


So that's it! Whenever you're running your campaign and your conversions are looking sickly, you know to check that:

  1. You've got credibility indicators
  2. Your page isn't confusing
  3. Your Calls to Action are simple and clear
  4. You're communicating with backers
  5. You've got a video
  6. You're not chasing garbage traffic

Get these right and you're well on your way to getting INFINITE MONEY FROM INTERNET STRANGERS SO FAST YOUR BANK WILL THINK YOU'RE COMMITTING FRAUD! (Not really, but it's fun to say.)


Haven't launched your project yet? Maximize your conversions ahead of time by going through my free campaign page audit.


Why Won't People Back My Campaign? There's only two problems a campaign has to solve. pt 1

It's been a week. You've been stuck at 23% funding for three days. Despite beating your keyboard senseless every waking hour, no one is buying. The "cancel funding" button becomes more and more tempting with every stagnant hour.

"Why won't people back my crowdfunding campaign?"

You're desperate for an answer.

By now you've got messages from a slew of crowdfunding PR companies, Facebook Ad gurus, and backer email lists offering their solutions to help "save" your campaign. Most of them are crap. 

Look at this actual Reddit exchange. Holy crap. "We always have an email correspondence..."

Look at this actual Reddit exchange. Holy crap. "We always have an email correspondence..."

Why are so many so scammy? Because 90% of your eventual traffic is determined long before you hit the launch button on your campaign. Remember the 40-72 Rule about when you should launch? 

"Ok sure but that's not helpful to me now. My campaign is live, why don't people back my crowdfunding campaign?"

It's actually simple.

When it comes to a live campaign needing funding, there's only two problems you can have:

1. Not enough traffic to your page
2. Your conversion rate it too low (what % of traffic to your page turns into a sale).

That's it. A crowdfunding campaign page is essentially a fancy online pre-sale, and it abides by the same rules of selling anything online. Your job is to find eyeballs and use your campaign page to magically turn them into dollars, like some kind of magical medieval money-alchemist.

For this series, we're going to talk about low conversion. Everyone understands traffic, so too many campaign owners spend all their time chasing only traffic, but a low conversion rate is a deadly fart cloud that haunts a campaign, chasing away backers like a spooky ghost at an abandoned theme park. Worse yet, most campaign owners are completely oblivious to the smelly smell that spells their campaign's doom.

So how do you know you've got a conversion problem?

First we need our current conversion rate to know where we stand. Open up Google Analytics for your page and see how many sessions your campaign page has gotten, and then look at Ecommerce conversion rate. (Note1: If you missed this step, here's instructions for Kickstarter and Indiegogo.) (Note2: Conversion rates will always be higher during the first 3 days and last 3 days of your campaign , so use these number guidelines are only effective outside that range)

Use this handy doodle dandy guide to see how your campaign stands up:

  • <1% There's fatal flaws in your campaign
  • 1% Aw shitburgers
  • 3% Doing well
  • 5% Hell yeah.
  • 10% You're kicking ass!

If you're at 5% and above, you're doing amazing. Give yourself a round of applause and do a back flip of joy (whichever is easier).

If you're below 3% though, take a big whiff of your page because there might be a campaign-killing fart cloud lingering around. Let's assume this is the case.

So how do I pass this gas?

There's no 100% works-every-time solution to low conversion because at it's core, the question we're really asking is "Why aren't people buying?" and that question can have an infinite number of answers including:

  • They were distracted by work and forgot to back your project
  • They were looking at their phone while driving and got pulled over by a cop
  • They'd rather spend money on vintage doilies
  • They ate too many hot dogs and now their tum tum doesn't feel good
  • They don't like the way your left ear looks
  • And many more completely stupid reasons!

Jokes aside, there are a few massive reasons that come up time and time again in stalled campaign pages. We'll go into two of them today.

1. Your page lacks credibility indicators.

With failures like the autonomous drone Zano faking product footage, and the Peachy Printer stealing all the backers' money to buy a house, backers are well aware there's a whole lot of bullshit and scam projects out there. It's gotten so bad that IndieGoGo is even threatening sending collection agencies after projects that don't deliver.

The safest response when seeing something ask for money on the internet should be "Are they full of shit?"

If a backer doesn't trust you, they're not going to buy.

One of the ways we address this issue is by adding Credibility Indicators, which are anything that helps reduce a backer's default fear & distrust of a campaign.

Here's some common Credibility Indicators that help boost a page's trustworthiness:
- Testimonials (video are best)
- Your team's history with similar projects
- Product demonstrations
- Development & testing history
- Previous experience
- Product photos
- Press accolades
- Proof of your product/project's current development status.

While you don't need all of these on your campaign to be successful, the more Credibility Indicators your page has, the less likely you are to lose sales due to lack of trust.

Now that we've helped address trust, let's address the next big fart cloud that stinks up campaigns.

2. Your page is confusing.

*If something can be misinterpreted, it will be.*

Learn this phrase, love it, own it, become it, take it to dinner, then do all of that in reverse.

The internet is all about fast, constant, attention switching between social media, email, YouTube, and in my case, mountains of stupid memes. Right now I've got 13 tabs open, 6 of those are half-read articles, facebook open on my phone, and Spotify playing a generic EDM playlist. Distraction is the way of life on the internet. If your page has too much text, complicated diagrams, difficult to understand wording, or otherwise doesn't make sense to someone paying 30% attention, you're losing more sales than you realize.

Let's get your page cleaned up.

First, turn off all distractions and read through your page and comments while chanting the mantra "if something can be misinterpreted, it will be." Emphasis on turn off all distractions.

Start with these questions:

  • Are the graphics too big, too small, too cluttered? 
  • Is the text easily readable on desktop AND mobile? 
  • If you squint your eyes, does anything on the page become to muddy?
  • What assumptions are you counting on your bakcers to know? 
  • Are multiple people asking the same "stupid" question? 
  • Are certain tiers not selling? 
  • What other elements do similar pages have that mine doesn't?
  • Am I getting bored reading this?

These are great questions to start asking yourself, but to really improve your page, we need to go deeper by asking for outside opinions. A personal spot check is useful, but you and your team are too close to the project to spot the real points of confusion that could be fart-ing up your page. It's hard to see the shape of a mountain when you're standing on top of it.

Find a trusted friend / acquaintance / influencer / stranger / captive that isn't familiar with your page, and ask them to take a look and narrate to you what they're thinking as they navigate through your page. You'll catch more errors seeing the page through a beginner's eyes than you will with your own.

Fix those points of confusion and you're well on your way to de-stinking your campaign.


Now that we've addressed these two items, we're one step closer to have a better-converting page and hopefully clearing away that fart cloud that's been turning off backers. We'll continue on improving conversions in the next installment of this series.


Haven't launched your project yet? Maximize your conversions ahead of time by going through my free campaign page audit.


How do I relaunch my failed Kickstarter?

So your campaign failed. Whether you finished the thirty days or shut it down early, it still hurts to see all that effort come out for naught.

But there's no need for seppuku, as much as as that may sound. Your project is far from over.

Many campaigns don't fund on the on the first try only to smash their goal the second time. The Tau Ceti board game went from failure to $105k on their relaunch.  Coolest Cooler failed their first campaign only to end up earning $13 million for their second campaign. (Unfortunately, they completely screwed up campaign delivery and were taken to court, but this article is all about the fundraising stage.)

So yeah, we can raise more money the second time on a campaign, but failure hurts. You're out time, ego, resources and cash. How do we minimize our risk of failure on this next run at the campaign?

Let's get into it.

1. Absorb that sweet, sweet information into your brain.

Unlike a project launching for the first time, one major advantage you have with a re-launch is all the yum-tastic data you've now got. This lets you know where to focus your efforts on the relaunch based on who *actually* contributed, not just who said they would. 

 -What were your biggest traffic sources?
 -What were the most profitable traffic sources?
 -Which tiers were most popular and which ones weren't?
 -What was the average pledge amount?
 -How did press talk about your campaign, if at all?

If you had Google Analytics enabled, you can also answer
 -Who were your backers? 
 -What countries and languages are the most common?
 -What was average time on page? (Is your video too long?)

Your project page and social media comments are also great sources of insight thanks to all the little knowledge nuggets backers have graciously left for you.
 -What were people talking about? 
 -Were they unsure if your product worked or not? 
 -Were they unhappy with the price? 
 -Did backers feel listened to?
 -Was something confusing? 
 -Did the backers say nothing at all? 

Everything you see, or don't see, tells you a story.

Make note and adjust your strategy.

2. Extract sweet, sweet information from your backers' brains.

One of the biggest failures of a campaign is being infected with the dreaded Me-Disease. Me-Disease is a crowdfunding campaign disease where the creator uses the words "Me", "I'', "Myself" more than "You", and "Yourself".  

It's fatal 90% of the time.

How do you know you're campaign has become infected?

Listen to your video and read your page. Tally up each"Me", "I'', "Myself" and each "Your" and "Yourself". If you're not talking about your backers at least 3 times as much as you talk about yourself, you might already be infected.

Thankfully, literally every person surrounding you has, within them, a small dose of the cure for Me-Disease. All you need to do to draw the cure out, is ask. How convenient! 

Even though your project hasn't hit funding, that doesn't mean your backers will tar and feather you. Anyone who willingly put money down on your project for the first round is someone you need to talk to in order to prepare for your relaunch. Plus, they're full of the cure for Me-Disease. So let's make like a brain mosquito and suck, suck, suck!

Using campaign updates, emails, or other messaging, get in touch with your backers letting them know that you're planning a relaunch and you'd love their thoughts on how to improve things. While not everyone will reply, the few who do will be completely invaluable because those are backers likely to to help 

Here's a list of questions to ask your previous backers, pick and choose as you like:

What did we do right with the campaign?
What did we do wrong with the campaign?
What was your opinion of the funding goal and tiers?
Was shipping a concern?
What was the opinion of the video?
What would make you pledge again?
What should we change on the page?
What on the page was worrying or confusing?
Were there other projects you've backed or would consider backing?

Once you've got a big sample of the cure for Me-Disease, you can take your re-launch one step further into success-town by asking all your previous backers to review your relaunch campaign page (in draft mode). Not only will this help you refine your page further, but it'll also help ensure they're there to back on day one again.

3. Eat and digest all these brains.

Literally eat brains. It'll make you smarter probably. I dunno. Makes sense to me. I'm not a doctor.

Anyway, you've got mountains of data now to relaunch your campaign. Assemble everything you've learned to build your new campaign & messaging. Follow the normal pre-campaign process with your new tweaks, and you're well on your way to a much stronger launch.

(Need a quick refresher on what a campaign page needs? Check out the Campaign Page Audit.)