What I have Learnt About Crowdfunding Consultants
CrowdFund Buzz is one of a growing number of crowdfunding consultants to provide campaign management services to crowdfunders.
As any service provider or former contractor knows, it is almost impossible to make all of your customers happy all of the time. This could be especially true in the world of crowdfunding project management, where the expected ROI is sometimes measured in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Having said that, a recent thread on CrowdFundingForum sheds some light on one campaigner’s experience in hiring CrowdFund Buzz to provide services during Jacques de Vos’s campaign. One screenshot tells his side of the story.
Almost 6,000 referrals to his campaign resulting in zero contributions. The campaignseeked to fund a “photographic and film study on the impact dive tourism has on dive sites.” It ended with £578 raised on a £6,000 goal. de Vos claims he spent £98 in consulting fees with Crowdfund Buzz, although he was eventually refunded his money.
Others piled on with stories of bad experiences, lack of communication and a lack of success. CrowdFund Buzz founder Matt Cooke hopped into the thread to address these assessments.
Not every crowdfunding campaign is going to be successful. We do everything we can to give our clients the best possible chance to attract the type of press and media coverage that can help them hit their goal. We do this at a budget most crowdfunders can afford. We understand that most people are crowdfunding because they need funds. They cannot afford to invest £3,000 on PR and Social Media. We have developed strategies that help us get our clients very good exposure and traffic at a reasonable price.
We have had issues in the past with finding quality press release writers who can deliver a high quality press release for the budget we need to hit for our clients. In the last two weeks we have completely overhauled our writing staff. This overhaul caused us to be a couple of days behind schedule for a few of our clients. Ashtyn was one of these clients. I was his account manager and I should have done a better job of communicating the delay to him.
Cooke later shares that the outfit has serviced over 1,500 campaigns in the last six months, having driven over 4.5 million people to Indiegogo projects and even more to Kickstarter projects. We’ve reached out to the team to try and secure one missing – and extremely important – statistic: how much cash those referrals have resulted in for campaigns.
There is good with the bad and the ugly here. The good is that by and large crowdfunders seem to be approaching the project marketing services space with their own interests in mind, which is important in and of itself.
Shane Liddell of Smart Crowdfunding LLC explained that some seemingly expect £98 spent with any campaign outreach service to magically result in a successful campaign. He says it isn’t that easy…
Does investing £98 in a marketing/promotional service = hundreds of £’s in contributions? Of course not. If it was so simple then we could say that these promotional companies (including my own) would hold the “holy grail” of crowdfunding success in their hands.
The bad is summed up in the first graphic. £0 on 6,000 referrals suggests one of two things: either the campaign lacked the polish to garner support from the crowd, or Cooke and the team at CrowdFund Buzz weren’t successful in sending the right eyeballs to the campaign. In all reality, it is probably a combination of the two.
Still, it begs the question of whether crowdfunding consultants have the responsibility to turn projects away if they aren’t 100% confident they can actually help them seek funding. I could take $100 to help a dance troupe raise money on Kickstarter, but I don’t know a lot of dancers.
It all goes back to the crowd, of course. Crowdfunding campaigns never benefit from throngs of the wrong visitors. They often benefit from a handful of the right ones. By the same token, crowdfunding campaign creators should be careful to vet any consultants they wish to bring on. They should also ask how that consultant plans on targeting the specific constituency that is most likely to contribute. It’s ridiculous to assume any marketer knows each and every niche they’re catering to. Is the consultant asking the project creator questions about the target demographic? Strategy is a two-way street.
In Cooke’s own words, “Crowdfunding is [not] and will never be easy.”