11 Indiegogo preparation mistakes
1. Not creating a video for your campaign
According to Indiegogo’s CEO Slava Rubin, if you use a video with your campaign, on average, you’ll raise 114% more money than if you don’t. Campaigns with a video have average contributions that are 12% higher than campaigns without a video. In addition, Indiegogo data shows that having a pitch video makes you 2.4 times more likely to get featured on our homepage. In fact, 79% of featured campaigns have a pitch video.
2. Adopting a “build it and they will come” mentality
You may think that your project is awesome and that once you put a project online, the world will beat a path to your door. However, this is simply not the case for 99% of the crowdfunding projects I’ve seen. Yes, you need to believe in your project, but you also need to plan to drive your own traffic.
In my last article, Prototypers vs. Typewriters, I explained how even the best product in the world needs to be marketed before gaining traction. If there was no Steve Jobs, arguably, Steve Wozniak would not have been able to turn his hobby project into a personal computing revolution.
I would recommend setting aside at least 6 months for the preparation phase of your campaign. Begin building up your twitter presence, forming a relationship with bloggers and influencers, and getting involved on forums and online communities.
3. Spelling, grammar, and formatting mistakes.
This is a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you the number of campaigns that I’ve seen on Indiegogo with simple spelling, formatting, and grammar mistakes. Also, I have seen campaigns that look like walls of text that are difficult to read. This Indiegogo blog post goes more into depth regarding formatting the text of your campaign page. I’d also recommend checking out Copywriting Tips for Crowdfunding Campaigns.
4. Not including images.
Images are a great way to break up paragraphs of text, convey messages, and engage potential backers in the story behind the project.
It takes 30 minutes to do a simple microsoft word or excel pie-chart breakdown of costs. Using a screenshot program or print-screen function, you can crop this breakdown image and upload it so that backers can easily see where their hard-earned pledges are going.
You can also use images to show backers what you’ve already completed for the project (prototypes), and you can introduce strangers to members of your team. Remember, developing rapport with strangers is one of the hardest things to do online. Any way that you can convey your mission and what you have already accomplished will go a long way to establishing trust with your new audience.
5. Failing to build a media list and marketing strategy
You must be proactive in getting the word out. In Wired’s interview of Danae Ringelmann, the cofounder of Indiegogo, she was quoted saying:
“Use social media and email. We’ve layered in a lot of those tools — funders will be prompted to tweet out and put it on Facebook, and that will amplify your word of mouth campaign. But be proactive and use the updates. Campaigns that use them every one to five days raise 100 percent more money than those that don’t.”
Social media is one way to get the word out about your Indiegogo campaign. You can also access a larger audience via bloggers (guest blogging, pitching bloggers, giveaways) and journalists (pitching and selling a story).
I usually recommend that creators spend a good 6 hours on google generating a list of bloggers and journalists relevant to their campaign. Once you have that list, begin building a relationship with the writers’ content months before you need something from them. This could include: commenting, sharing their content with mentions, emailing them regarding awesome stories, etc.
For more information, check out Getting media attention for your crowdfunding campaign and 6 tools you can use to find bloggers in your niche.
7. Forgetting to research similar campaigns and the crowdfunding industry.
Just as if you were preparing to run a marathon, it’s important to research what to expect at mile 5, mile 10, and mile 20. What preparation should you be doing leading up to the marathon? What have other runners said about this particular route?
Looking at similar Indiegogo campaigns (successful and unsuccessful) in your category can save you a tremendous amount of trial and error learning when you actually do launch. In addition, reading up on “why people pledge” to crowdfunding campaigns and the best practices in the industry will save you headache and disappointment later down the road.
8. Expecting something for (almost) nothing and planning to spam your campaign link.
“Stop using the word ‘donations’ – people have contributed to your campaign because they want to stay in the loop to know how the project is developing so update them, keep your campaign refreshed with new videos and photographs, build a relationship with them, even ask them questions on your product, film, new ice cream flavors!” – Indiegogo blog.
There is no such thing as something for nothing. What value are you going to be delivering to your backers? How can you involve them in your project or give them the emotions they are searching for? Sometimes these emotions can be feelings of contribution or helping out a cause. Other times, backers want to get excited about new technologies and or join help change the world through new movements.
The worst thing that you can do is throw up a project on Indiegogo with the mistakes listed in this blog post and begin spamming your link across forums, google+ groups, and send emails with only the link to your campaign and a few words like “You should write about my campaign.”
9. Overlooking pre-launch preparation tools.
There are a lot of pre-launch tools that can help you build a buzz prior to launching your Indiegogo campaign. I’d highly recommend checking out PitchFuse, a new pre-launch tool that helps creators gather a crowd before launching an Indiegogo campaign. It’s free to use and you can also do a giveaway if you have a cool product.
I am involved in this website and will be helping to promote cool Indiegogo campaigns on this site in the coming weeks.
10. Underestimating costs.
I recently wrote about common Kickstarter mistakes when estimating reward fulfillment. Many of these items apply to Indiegogo campaigns. However, Indiegogo is unique in that should you choose to run a flexible funding campaign, you may need to fulfill rewards, despite not having enough money to go through with your project. This is an important scenario to keep in mind when estimating costs for fulfilling your Indiegogo rewards.
If you know that you won’t be able to finish or complete the project without reaching your fundraising goal, and the actual product produced is included in one of your reward tiers, then it may make more sense to do a fixed funding campaign so that you will be able to deliver on your rewards.
11. Viewing crowdfunding as a one-time tool.
The sad fact about crowdfunding is that there is anywhere between a 50-60% failure rate. Many creators do not successfully raise money for their project. However, since there is such a low barrier to entry, if your Indiegogo campaign doesn’t work out, you can always relaunch or relaunch with a new idea.
Try to adopt a longterm view when going into the project. Yes, it’s a lot of work preparing for and running an Indiegogo campaign. From social media to media outreach to constant selling/marketing, it will feel like a part-time job. However, the skills you will learn are invaluable and are applicable to other areas of your business.
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