Troubleshooting Your Campaign: Orphan Perks

Sometimes campaigns offer a perk that nobody buys.

Even with advance planning, market research, and the best of intentions, it can still happen to you: you’ll offer a perk that sounded great on paper but that no one actually buys.

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's "Annie"
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s “Annie”

Since the number zero is unwelcome anywhere on your campaign, it’s worth considering proactively addressing any “orphan” perks within the first few days of launch.

  1. Is the perk central to your project? If people are just not buying your project, you have some work to do. You may wish to make this your “featured perk” at the top of the menu (an option on Indiegogo), update your campaign “story” with some attractive images of the perk, declutter your perk menu, or otherwise make an important perk stand out.
  2. Doublecheck the pricing. Have you accidentally priced yourself out of the market? Or have you failed to describe an important element of the perk that justifies its price? Make sure your campaign visitors understand they value they will get for their money.
  3. Is the perk not central to your project? If not, you may wish to simply remove it to declutter your perk menu. From a crowd psychology point of view, it is much better to have a smaller, well-subscribed perk menu than a longer list with low participation.
  4. Especially for smaller-ticket items, is there anyone you can invite to specifically purchase the orphan perk? Sometimes people are afraid to be the first to do something, unless they are individually asked. If your perk menu is not long and you can’t find a good reason for no-one buying a particular perk, you may just need to give it nudge to get the ball rolling.
  5. For larger-ticket items, check with your Benefactors. If your Benefactors are committed to the project but haven’t shown up within the first few days of your campaign launch, it’s worthwhile having a polite, timely conversation with them.
  6. If you don’t have Benefactors lined up, you should take orphan big-ticket items down. They make you look delusional and may scare prospective backers away. As a reminder, it is extremely unlikely that strangers will emerge with $500+ pledges to your campaign. These “Benefactor” relationships are cultivated in the months leading up to launch. However, if a Benefactor does get on board during the month of your campaign, you can always add a perk for them, or they can simply make a financial contribution and you can work out the details with them privately, without wording it as a public perk.

You can’t control everything when it comes to crowdfunding – but you can control whether or not the number zero is making your campaign look like a loser. It is worthwhile being aggressive in the early days of your campaign to make sure any zeros are eliminated.

If you would like a free  personalized diagnostic of your crowdfunding idea – a $125 value! – please fill out our Artist Questionnaire. We typically respond within two weeks.

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