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

(Part Two)

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 is 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:

  • <0.5% There's fatal flaws in your campaign

  • 0.5% Aw shitburgers, could be better

  • 1-2% Doing well

  • 3% Hell yeah.

  • 5% You're kicking ass!

If you're at 3% 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 1-2% 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.

(Part Two)