Here's to my Funding Heroes!
How is success measured?
Surely it is the setting of a goal, then meeting, or exceeding it? The reality of success is unique to each and every one of us, as we all have our own goals or deadlines which we seek to meet using the skills and abilities unique to us as individuals.
Take buying a house for example; a first-time buyer on a starter salary scraping and saving, vs someone with built up capital and a reasonable salary, both buying properties relative to their income. Both of these individuals will be exerting efforts into making their vision a reality, but who will feel the greatest feeling of success on completion? The mature professional with the bigger house, or the new starter with the small flat?
As my crowdfunding campaign draws to its conclusion, you would not be mistaken in thinking that it had failed as we fell short of the funding goal by over 50%, but the reality is quite the opposite!
Before I get into why this has been successful, first let me say a big thank you to my funding heroes who have helped to push my little project along. Starting with my backers, a big thanks to:
Claire - Jo - Carl - James - Savannah - Andrew - Ben - Edis - Jesse
Your orders are being processed and will be with you around mid-November, if not before.
I couldn't have done it without the support of donors who paid into the campaign without the expectation of a reward for their pledges. A big thanks going to:
Chris - Caroline - Sue
and my Mum
Without any of your support, I would never have been able to achieve this and would have had to delay the release of these prints until next year. I am so grateful and humbled by your support in me, and my project. I fear that had I not pushed for this project and put it out there, my procrastination and the ever-present feeling of 'imposter-syndrome' would have taken me over and I might have just abandoned my goals altogether.
Your campaign pledges raised £667.00 before platform fees, which is awesome! Yes, this is short of my funding goal by £733.00, but that's ok, and here's why.
Hindsight is a bitch...
My funding goal was based on the printing and packing materials to purchase 20 copies of 7 different images, which was based on having 10 copies of each for my online stores, and 10 copies for perk rewards. The other thing I heavily budgeted for was international shipping because all the online sales I had made through my Etsy store had been shipped abroad. I wanted to include shipping within the cost of the perks as everyone loves free shipping right? But this huge budget meant there was a pretty ambitious mountain to climb.
The amount pledged to the campaign gives me just enough funding to meet my goal of purchasing the prints and packing materials to stock my online stores, and of course the rewards that have been requested. Without this funding, I would have struggled to get just one print out by Christmas, let alone 7!
The biggest mistake I made was setting far too big a goal by setting a budget for things that were totally unforeseen. This is exactly what you are supposed to do, but in my case, I took things too far. There was no way of knowing how many rewards were going to be purchased, and where they would be shipped to, so I allowed for a 'worst case' scenario allowing for 70 limited edition rewards being posted internationally. Just typing that now, I see how ridiculous it really is.
The chart opposite clearly shows my mistake. The blown-out section represents the proportion of my budget that was not claimed through the campaign, all of which is the surplus I had budgeted for! This represents the additional printing costs, framing, and international delivery costs.
The real downside to having such a large funding goal is that the campaign never appeared more than half backed, which meant that the casual observer would see a project that has some support but does not appear very popular. If I had set a goal of around half the amount, the campaign would have appeared close to fully funded fairly early on which would have had the potential to reach a wider audience.
Failing to meet the funding goal has meant that I missed the opportunity to go 'InDemand' on Indiegogo, where the campaign remains live and can continue to be supported, effectively giving me another outlet to sell my work. As the campaign was not fully funded, this opportunity is closed to me, so I must rely on my original avenues.
The plan to gain early traction for the campaign by asking friends and family to back the project in its first 48 hours to show a supported campaign worked very well. The early activity saw my campaign as the no. 1 project on Indiegogo for around 3 days, but as time went on, it slowly drifted into the mass of projects. To maintain support, I opted for using Instagram adverts to stretch my reach to a wider audience and keep traffic flowing, but these did not work as well as I had hoped, and to be honest, were a little disappointing.
In total, I spent £95.00 on Instagram promotions to boost my presence and direct people towards the campaign. This spend was across three different posts on the platform based on an image from the Travel Inspired collection. These boosts did see some of my greatest activity on Instagram in terms of likes and I picked up a few follows along the way, but in terms of engagement and click to the campaign I found these did not quite meet my expectations.
The promotions varied in duration to mix things up a bit, starting from the first lasting 10 days, followed by the others lasting around 5 days. As you can see from these screenshots, the like count is fairly high compared to my usual level of traffic, but the total amount of comments generated by all the promotions was 7, and clicks to the Indiegogo campaign totaled 86. This equates to around £0.90 a click, which sounds like reasonable value, but I just don't feel that's the case.
It just goes to show how tough it is to make a dent online in today's society, even by paying these platforms for exposure doesn't guarantee you will see it. Or is it just the fact that my work isn't good enough to stand up and be noticed? It's hard for me to say, so let me know what you think in the comments below.
The other mistake I found, literally on the final day of funding, is the tagging of the campaign. In the campaign editor, you are prompted to provide keywords so that the page can be discovered in searches. They have a setlist that contains a number of totally random words, but not a single word was appropriate to my project. I had used the option of 'Other' and inserted my own keywords, but I noticed on the final day of campaigning that the additional keywords I inserted didn't publish!
Could this oversite have cost me precious exposure? I have no way of knowing, and to be honest, I'd rather focus on the fact that I have achieved what I initially set out to do.
With campaigning now over, it's time to move on with the next phase of the project. The funds are soon due to arrive, so it will soon be time to start ordering and signing off on the artist proofs and get the final prints ordered and shipped to my supporters. Once my backers have been rewarded I will begin work on the final phase of my plan, to stock my online stores with the prints and put them out for general sale!
Setting up the listings is fairly straight forward, but each require's high-quality images that display the final prints in all their glory so as to attract prospective buyers. This brings my next big challenge as I am far from being a product photographer, but yet another challenge I must face and overcome! Between now and their arrival I will be making a plan and building a set ready for the big shoot!
Campaigning might be over, but there is still an opportunity to be get involved with this project. For the readers of my blog, I am going to continue to honor the campaign prices for the limited edition prints, so if you want to get your hands on one please drop me a message and I'll get one out to you!
I'd like to say a final thank you to everyone who has put up with me over the last three months as this project came together, your support has been greatly appreciated. Now it's time to get back to normality, and capture some great images!
Thanks all, you're awesome!