False promises you’ll receive during your crowdfunding campaign (and why you should avoid them)
When you’re running a Kickstarter or other crowdfunding campaign, you’re going to get a lot of messages from people promising to get you more backers and to share your campaign with hundreds of thousands of people.
It may sound tempting, especially if your campaign is off to a slow start, but don’t do it!
These companies contact so many creators in the hopes that some of them will say yes. Then, they’ll take your money and you’ll see little to no results.
You’ll often receive messages in your Kickstarter inbox or they may even email you directly if they can find your contact info. Your best step is to ignore them. You can even report them as spam if you choose.
If you’re going to work with a marketing company, you want to find a reputable one on your own and arrange this well before your launch date. They will help you to build up your audience pre-launch, which is a much more effective approach to take than trying to bail out a campaign after it has already started. These marketing companies can then also run ads and promote your campaign while it is live to keep up the momentum if you choose.
However, no marketing company will be able to save a failing campaign after it has already launched. If you find yourself in this position, you’ve already lost your opportunity to build a following and fund on day one or day two. So, you’re better off deciding whether to continue or shut your campaign down and launch again later with a larger following, depending on your situation.
No matter how big or small, how successful or how poorly things are going, if you run a crowdfunding campaign, you’re inevitably going to hear from a bunch of these companies who want to take your money. So, I wanted to share my experiences and what you can expect (and how you should react to these unsolicited messages).
Whether you fund or not, you’ll likely receive at least a few messages from marketing companies within the first couple of days of launching your campaign.
This is an example of one I received on a previous campaign:
Congratulations on your project launch! Just came across it! I saw your campaign can use some support to gain traffic.
Promoting your project is the key to a successful campaign. Our targeted Social Media Advertising and PR Outreach services could help you increase your chances of being successful at an affordable one-time fee.
To show our support we will also make a complimentary $50 PLEDGE/CONTRIBUTION to your project.
We create and fully manage paid/sponsored advertising campaigns on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter (COSTS INCLUDED). Our marketing experts can help you promote your project to the right audience driving quality and targeted traffic. We will also write a professional press release article about your project and distribute it to hundreds of media outlets and more.
Get started today and receive your $50 pledge! This complimentary pledge is available for you until 09/08/21!
Have questions? Feel free to contact us at any time VIA the Contact Form our website:
Best of luck with your campaign
This looks like a very generic message that they probably send to thousands of creators… because it is. They didn’t even sign off with a contact name. But at least they took 5 seconds to copy and paste my name into it though!
Here’s another example:
“Do you need someone that can help you get the exposure you need in a short period of time ? If, yes I can definitely deliver, I have reviews from a third party site to prove it.
Here is a few more little stats that will help you make your decision. please just visit **********”
This one was much shorter and to the point. But still, no thanks. My campaign was already doing well and it funded in 25 minutes, so I don’t need your help to get it funded thank you very much!
If your campaign isn’t off to a great start, it’s really tempting to reply to these messages that promise to give your campaign more exposure or run ads to bring more people in. But don’t do it!
Manufacturers Coming Out of the Woodwork
You’re also going to hear from a lot of manufacturers. But if you did your homework, you should already have chosen one and you should know exactly what it will cost to have your game manufactured in different quantities. After all, how would you have been able to price your game accurately and know what funding goal to set without this information?
These manufacturers will reach out to you over email or even Facebook, asking if you’re looking for a manufacturer for your game and offering to help you out.
Just politely decline, letting them know you’re already working with a manufacturer that you’re happy with.
Partnering and Cross-Promotion
You may also be contacted by other creators looking to promote their projects or more likely to cross-promote projects.
I’m a big fan of partnerships and I included some discussion of partnering with other game designers (as well as podcasters and others) in this article. When done right, partnerships can be a very effective way to bring more people to your campaign page.
However, not all partnerships are going to be beneficial to you.
On my campaign for Relics of Rajavihara: Montalo’s Revenge, I was contacted by someone selling a French Press coffee maker, suggesting we’d be a good match for each other and asking to do a cross-promotion with me.
Another creator, who designed a cutting board, also asked if I would be interested in a cross-promotion.
Needless to say, these two requests were ignored. If I had partnered with either of them, this likely would have actually hurt my campaign rather than helped it. I would expect that some backers would feel that I was just trying to shill for another company and they may cancel their pledge. I also didn’t feel that many of their backers, who supported their campaigns for coffee presses and cutting boards would have much interest in my board game!
So, if you’re going to partner and cross-promote with anyone, make sure it is really relevant to you, your game, and your backers, and that it is a project that you also strongly believe in.
Wrapping it up
In most cases, it’s best to ignore these requests. They will only cost you money and heartache. Nobody can rescue a drowning campaign, so don’t throw good money after bad.
If you’re even thinking about launching your own campaign next year, you’ll want to check out the Crowdfunding Success Course, which is now open to the public. You can even save up to $400 when you join by this Thursday at 9pm Eastern!
Regarding your first example, can you provide examples of them not delivering results?
Did you give any of them a shot to help you get more leads?
Hi Matt! I’ve talked to a number of other creators who have signed on with one of these types of companies. They have all said the same thing – they didn’t see any noticeable change in backers after the marketing effort. One of the problems is that these firms may have a large mailing list, but they aren’t your target audience at all (they’re not board gamers). You’re much better off using a concentrated marketing effort targeted towards board gamers who would likely enjoy your game.
I have worked with an Instagram influencer in the board game space and it did seem to generate a few sales, but nothing huge. I was not interested in working with any of the marketing companies that reached out to me based on the experiences others had discussed with me. If I were to hire a marketing company, it would be one that I researched and I would definitely start working with them on the pre-launch rather than part-way through a campaign, which is much less effective.
Hi Joe – I’ve run six campaigns so far and always get a ton of messages like this. One thing I’d add – quite a few of them say they will contact a large list of KS Superbackers, with various claims as to how effective that will be. Based on this, I contacted most of the Superbackers I know (ie ones who have backed my campaigns before) and they all said (a) most didn’t recall getting approached in this way and (b) if they did, it wouldn’t influence them to back. They all said that’s not how they find games – it’s much more about the attractiveness of the project, or backing a creator they already know and trust. Finally, I’ve lost count of how many marketing companies claim to have been behind the successes of Pebble, Exploding Kittens etc. They can’t all have been 🙂 Cheers – Ian
Great points, Ian! Thanks so much for sharing your experience as well.