What makes a product good for crowdfunding? Before we answer that question, we’ll briefly discuss why people visit crowdfunding websites and what they’re searching for. Crowdfunding audiences are not traditional consumers; they are dreamers. They crave the newest products before they come to market, and more importantly, they are willing to support those same dreamers, entrepreneurs, and creators of the best products in order to make them a reality.
Now, just about anything can be crowdfunded. People with various products, services, or ideas have proven it many times over. Many have been wildly successful, but many more have not. The question “what makes a good crowdfunding project” can be both easy and challenging to answer, because as the opening sentence of this paragraph states, anything can be crowdfunded. No one knows what element of a campaign will inspire an audience, causing it to inject six or seven figures of revenue.
There are assorted reasons why consumers back particular crowdfunding campaigns. LaunchBoom CMO Tom Dadourian uses plain and simple language when asked that question: “People want cool products at a discount.” Crowdfunding provides that opportunity. There have been an abundance of products that are “cool” but failed to achieve their funding goal. What could be more important than the cool factor? Well… a number of things, actually.
What makes campaigns succeed?
If you look at the history of crowdfunding, the campaigns that have raised the most money tend to fall into three categories that have common traits among them. The three categories that have the most $100,000+ campaigns are design, tech, and games. The traits successful products tend to have are the following:
- They have a compelling and/or unique selling point
- The product(s) is highly innovative
- They solve a problem or fill a need
- They are easy to understand/practical
Let’s take a deeper dive into each of these traits with a product example. This will provide a better idea of what each trait means as well as how it can be applied to crowdfunding.
Compelling or unique selling point
The Coolest Cooler (category: product design) launched on Kickstarter in 2014 and raised over $13,000,000. It was a cooler that contained features like a blender, waterproof bluetooth speaker, and a built-in USB charger, among others. Nothing like this had been seen on the market at that point in time. This type of uber design and engineering positioned it from the start to be a successful crowdfunding product. Crowdfunding an original product with unique selling points consumers have never seen before provides people with the opportunity to get a product before their friends can (causing a severe case of product envy). They also lend themselves to clever and inspired content, making the product much more desirable. Take a look for yourself.
Crowdfunding audiences seek out innovative products. A terrific example of innovation is the Loftek Adventure Jacket (category: travel/outdoors). Launched in 2018, it raised over $1,000,000 from over 5,000 backers. This jacket and its seventeen unique features combined the warmth and performance of a synthetic jacket with the lightness and packability of a down jacket. Loftek’s innovation essentially created one jacket that fulfilled the needs of two, but it kept the price at $114. It is not easy to find a jacket with that many features and dual functionality for that price. See the details here.
Solve a problem or fill a need
Everyone is familiar with the expression “Necessity is the mother of invention.” A prominent problem without an effective solution is encountered, motivating someone to tackle the problem themselves. Take back and neck pain, for example. Countless people suffer from it every day. Upon identifying the fact there was not a truly effective solution to help people, Dr. Steve Sudell created the Neck Hammock (category: health & fitness), an easy-to-use, affordable harness device that quickly relieves neck and upper back pain. He launched the Neck Hammock campaign in 2017 and it raised over $1,600,000 from over 12,000 backers. Click here to see more details.
Easy to understand/practical
Products that are easy to understand but don’t require complicated or time-consuming education for the consumer are always good crowdfunding products. Let’s take a look at the bakBlade 2.0 (category: tech & innovation). Launched in 2016, it raised nearly $1,100,000 from over 23,000 backers. The premise of the product was remarkably simple. If a person suffered from unwanted back hair, bakBlade was an easy, safe, and affordable way to remove it. The campaign video did a terrific job of demonstrating ease of use. It did so in a way that went viral, driving a tremendous amount of traffic and revenue for the campaign. You can watch the video and get more insight here.
One thing that becomes evident as reviews come in for these successful campaigns is that they don’t just possess a single favorable trait. Quite often they check more than one of the boxes that make a good crowdfunding product. Rarely is something or someone successful because of a single trait or feature. There are simply too many needs from an audience and too many competitors and options to choose from for a single characteristic to make something a phenomenal success.
However, your product will be well positioned for crowdfunding success if it possesses one or more of the attributes listed. There will be more components needed to make the campaign successful, including access to ad budget, a well-produced video, clear messaging & positioning, etc. But you need to begin with something that is going to strike a chord with crowdfunding audiences and early believers. To quote a lyric from the Grammy-nominated song “Superstar” by Lupe Fiasco: “Did you improve on the design, did you do something new?”
Additionally, don’t jump to the conclusion that if your product falls into a historically successful category (design, technology, games) that your campaign will follow suit automatically. Those categories also have the highest total of campaigns that have failed to achieve their funding goals. To use a baseball analogy, the batters who hit the most home runs are among those with the most strikeouts.
When you’re planning your next product launch, be sure to choose the best go-to-market option possible, which will give your brand its highest chance for success and profitability. If you want to use crowdfunding, do your category research. You should also look deep into the product to ensure you have one or more of these successful traits. Check out our campaigns to see more examples of good crowdfunding products.