What to do if your CrowdFunding Campaign Fails

CFB News Wire, Hopefully you won’t need this chapter. But it’s better to pack an umbrella and miss the rain than forget and get drenched, so we’re including it nevertheless. After all, the majority of crowdfunding campaigns do fail. It’s not the ideal outcome after so much hard work, but like any other negative in the business world, there is much to learn and grow upon from this experience. So what should you do now?
Step One: Take a deep breath and accept it.
Before you move forward, it’s critical to acknowledge that one thing or another wasn’t quite right. Still, your campaign most likely wasn’t a complete failure, so your next step is to to review what you got right and what you could’ve done better.

Rob Wu, CEO and Founder of CauseVox, emphasizes first looking at the positives of a failed campaign. Ask yourself:
Which strategies worked?
Which tactics paid off?
Why did donors contribute?
What are you proud of? [1]
Understanding what you did well will give you an idea of where to build upon when you relaunch as well as help the whole team to stay motivated. Too often, failure has the possibility of ending the original vision entirely, which shouldn’t be the case. The key is to learn and build rather than be broken by failure.
Once your head is clear and you’ve acknowledged what you did right, it’s time analyze what you and your team did poorly. While it won’t be fun, this process shouldn’t be as overwhelming because you now understand that it wasn’t all for nothing. Address the following questions with as much brutal honesty as possible.
Big Picture Concerns
Did our product or service really fulfill a need?
Did we focus too much on certain aspects? Are we sure these were as important as we’d assumed?
Did we pursue the wrong channels?
What slowed down the campaign? [1]
Questions 1 through 4 are for you and your team. Question 1 is probably the most important because all the marketing in the world can’t sell a product no one wants. Take a long hard look at the product itself before moving on. If you spent a lot of time and money trying to attract backers via Twitter, but you find that Facebook was a more valuable source of traffic, then that’s an easy fix the second go around. If you think you marketed your campaign to the wrong demographic, then look at the backers you did get and try to find more people like that when you relaunch.
Little Picture Concerns:
Did we set the funding goal too high?
Did our product page/video send the wrong message?
Did we launch on the wrong platform?
Little picture concerns are for your inner circle, people whose honest opinions you trust. Tell them that now is not the time to spare your feelings. Ask as many people as possible how they perceived your product message, your story, your video, your rewards tiers, and anything else about your campaign. From product page copy to video editing, leave no stone unturned.
Step 1: Improve upon previous campaign.
Once you’ve dusted yourself off and learned from your mistakes, your motto is remove it or improve it. Likewise, if you did something well—for example, if a particular blogger resulted in excellent traffic or your promotional video went viral on Facebook—play it up more than ever. Emphasize what went right and fix what went awry. The advantage here that you didn’t have before is that you know what works and what doesn’t.
Step 2: Stay connected with backers.
Regardless of whether or not the first launch was successful, remain in touch with those who did back you. If they believed in your campaign before, they’ll most likely care about your campaign the second go around.
Step 3: [For Kickstarter campaigns] Be prepared before failure.
If you choose to use Kickstarter as your platform, your campaign page will remain up after your campaign ends. You can go back to the original product page and post updates and a URL for the relaunch, thus making sure that no backers were lost.
Crowdcrux writer Salvador Briggman writes, “if you know your campaign will fail then before it closes add a link and use a 301 redirect to link to the relaunch page once it’s online” [2]. Briggman also recommends updating the old page with a new promotional video a few days before the relaunch, so your original backers can get your new campaign off on the right foot.
We hope you don’t need this chapter, but if you do then know this: it’s not the end of the world. It sucks to put a lot of effort into something and have it not work out, but plenty of unfunded campaigns go on to find success. The most important thing you can do is learn from your mistakes and relaunch your campaign better than ever before.



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