23 April 2014 | 31 Comments
Yesterday I was contacted by the project creator of a struggling crowdfunding campaign. He’s been getting a lot of messages from campaign boosting services–companies that claim to give your project instant exposure, tons of backers, and increased visibility on the crowdfunding platform you’re using–and he wanted to know what I thought about those services.
My initial reaction was, “No, stay away!” There are a few reasons for this:
- You’re missing the point: If your campaign is struggling to the point where you’re considering services like these, there’s probably a number of other aspects of your campaign that aren’t working. Driving more people to a product that isn’t priced correctly, doesn’t look good, or isn’t pitched well isn’t going to help the campaign.
- Predatory Practice: There’s something predatory and sleazy about these services. People put their dream projects on Kickstarter, and when they don’t do well, they get a little desperate and might spend money in ways that they really shouldn’t. Campaign boosting services cost money but don’t offer any guaranteed return on investment.
- Impersonal outreach: I prefer more organic methods of building a fan base, like building relationships and connections with people.
But when I shared that last point, I realized something: I advertise my campaigns on Board Game Geek. There’s nothing personal about that type of advertising–it’s a standard banner ad.
There is a key difference between targeted advertising and campaign boosting services, though: A generic campaign boosting service will reach a broad spectrum of people, many of whom probably aren’t even interested in your project category. However, if you’re running a board game campaign, Board Game Geek is the perfect place to share that project–that’s the exact audience you’re trying to reach. I spent $700 advertising Tuscany on BGG, and I raised about $12,500 in funding as a direct result.
Regardless of how you decide to advertise your project, I would make sure you revisit my first point above. If you’re struggling to get up to 10-20% of your funding goal, there is almost certainly something else going on with your project that is preventing people from backing it. So before you spend money on targeted advertising (which, to be clear, I advocate over campaign boosting services), make sure you first get some honest feedback from people (like here, here, and here) to see what else can be improved.
Has anyone used a campaign boosting service for their campaign and has some empirical data to share?