When does it make sense to relaunch a project that didn't hit its goal the first time?
Personally, before asking the question 'when', I would take a good, long look at the reasons behind the original project's failure to fund, and ask myself 3 questions:
1. Was I asking for too much money? Take a look at your bare minimum needs, and if the only thing that killed your project was not quite reaching your goal, lower your goals, tweak your rewards, and try again.
2. Did I build enough of an audience before launch day? If you still haven't done this by the time you are ready to restart your failed campaign, you might not see a different result this time around. Take what you learned from your failures, and use those lessons to help build a good following before you relaunch.
3. What did other similar projects do to succeed where mine failed? Did they have better presentation (graphics, videos, write-ups, reward levels, etc), do they have a support base that you could tap into (blogs, social media groups, fans with similar tastes), and finally - did they do more research before hand (ideally, 90% of the work should be done before launch day - if not, do a little more prep before your relaunch).
I'm with Ryan on this one. If you're asking for less money, you better be clear about how you're scaling back your project. Otherwise you're revealing that you got greedy in the first place ;)
Kickstarter can be a form of market research. If your project failed the first time, you have to figure out what went wrong. It could be that your publicity strategy was not involved enough, your goal was too high, or that there is something undesirable about your project or pitch.
I'd be weary about relaunching before completely understanding what went wrong.
There are two instances where I believe that this makes a lot of sense. Let’s break it down.
The first situation would be when a campaign just narrowly misses its campaign goal. This happens from time-to-time, and unfortunately most crowdfunding campaigns are an all-or-nothing affair. I’ve seen some campaigns fail simply because their goal was too high, and they didn’t achieve enough critical mass to clear the final stretch, which can be as high as a few thousand dollars, or as low as a few hundred.
Another very different situation can happen with a campaign that didn’t do well at all its first time around. For the sake of the argument, let’s say that you tried to run a board game campaign five years ago, but for whatever reason, it only managed to raise a fraction of what was needed. In the duration of those five years, you may have spent time honing your craft, building a community, revising your art, talking to other board game creators, and playtesting your game with friends and family. In that time, the factors that may have prevented your campaign from succeeding may have dramatically changed.
To be clear, the first scenario doesn't have to mean "immediately", and the second doesn't have to mean "after many long years". Timing here isn't black-and-white. The important time to make a decision is when you feel that you're ready, that you have the resources put together to present a great pitch and an even better product, and you're confident that you can meet the minimum goal.
Full disclosure - this commentator works at BackerKit, a post-campaign platform for project creators.
I have personally helped several campaigns get funded by relaunching their projects including Buhel SGO5 (failed and re-launched successfully raised over $400K), Kalipak (Failed and Relaunched) and Sobam Gear. (canceled and relaunched) Each of these three campaigns had familiar characteristics that gave us a strong reason to recommend a relaunch. So let me explain what those are:
There are several known reasons why Kickstarter campaigns dont get funded at first.
- 30% : The biggest is not having enough initial momentum to get the public validation you would need to kickstart your campaign. If you failed to build a strong audience in the beginning but by the end you are over 30% funded, this means you could relaunch your campaign and if you can bring all of those backers on your first day you will be able to get a lot of love from Kickstarter algorythym, and get a lot of new backers who are seeing that a lot of people already backed your project.
- Funding Goal: The second reason most campaigns fail is that they did not do their homework to determine if their funding goal was really the bare minimum they needed to make their product. Some campaigns will add marketing budget, reimbursement expenses that can sky rocket their funding goal, and in the process shy away people who will see that funding goal way to high to reach and thus wont back your project. By reexamining your funding goal you can relaunch with a much lower funding goal that will be your public goal and work internally to reach the goal you desire.. if people see your goal as realistic you will convert a lot more backers!
- UVP: Defining the WHY, WHAT, HOW reasons for your campaign will be crucial when you launch, in some instances we have seen an amazing product that started explaining what its product did after going into a long story of how they got to Kickstarter. Attention span on Kickstarter is about 15 seconds.. if you are not communicating your elevator pitch in the first section after the sub headline you are loosing your audience and your rank in your product category!
- VIDEO: Kickstarter has some great insights on your video play and % of people who complete your video, if your video has less than 35% completion you need to redo or edit your video. Video is a crucial part of your success so you need to make sure you can get the audience you need.
- Shipping Costs: My head starts spinning when I think of this.. but its true.. you might be loosing a lot of backers by adding super expensive shipping cost! Make sure you have the right pricing so you can convert as many backers as possible. Go to USPS office and get actual quotes by asking pricing for shipping your container size and weight to several countries.
With a little more than 300 startups funded with Crowdco we can tell you these are the most common reasons to go forward on your relaunch plans!
Typically 4-5 months is recommended as the longest you want to wait before relaunching without beginning to lose a large number of the original backers. Keep posting monthly updates to your original backers and try to ensure they are as engaged as possible.
One to four months. (Accepting of course that no one answer is perfect for every campaign/situation.)
It needs to be long enough that I believe something changed, but not so long that I don't care anymore.
When you return, make it very clear to backers of the original campaign (via update on that campaign) "what changed", how, and why. Take their feedback from round one, apply it, and let them know. They were kind enough to give it, be kind enough to thank them! : )
Source: Proud owner of 2 re-launched and then well funded campaigns.
Unless you have a _super_ unique project appealing to a tiny, highly identifiable audience there's no reason not to relaunch right away, with perhaps a new video and a few modifications. Will some of the original prospects see your new campaign? Yes, but so what? Say you got 500 backers the first time around - that only leaves 329M prospects who haven't seen your project :)
Good Hart Rug and Textile Studio
I'm glad I found this. My fundraiser is off to a very slow start and after reading your response, I realize that I failed to do #'s 2 and 3 in Blackstone Entertainments answer. I started this project in October of last year and just launched it last month but just couldn't figure out what didn't quite feel right. There are still 12 days to go but I would like to know if I should cancel funding as opposed to letting it run the whole time. Any thoughts on that? I am also new to the whole social media realm and find it exhausting because you do have to be "on" all the time.