Funding Successful contacted me during my crowdfunding campaign promising:
“Funding Successful specializes in Email Campaigning, Project Marketing, Social Media Marketing and much more. We have got existing backers list, individual buyers list, bloggers, Influencers and more. With our services, you get more traffic and backers.”
Additionally, they promised:
“We’re also offering 500 backers contacts who already backed many projects on Kickstarter and Indiegogo.” They also promised market-targeted social media, saying they already had contacts in my specific field (Comics).
I completed my crowdfunding to between 50 and 75% funding, and I figured if I–someone with no marketing background–could raise $2000 on my own, well this service could easily finish out my crowdfunding, yes?
After my $200+ purchase, I received e-mails asking for information about my ‘product.’ I was a little confused as some of the question indicated they hadn’t actually seen my Indiegogo (which again, they promised they knew about me & my field, right?), and they began to talk about “reviews of the product.” Um. It’s a book…that the Indiegogo specifies isn’t made yet? Are we trying to scam people here with reviews of a book that doesn’t exist, or what is happening?
This turned out to be the beginning of a “marketing” nightmare. They don’t respond to emails: out of about 10 questions, I received a reply to one or two. The “social media marketing” campaign didn’t use a single hashtag. Instead of designing promised ads, they butchered amalgamations of my amateur promotional images onto generic crowdfunding spam websites, and created “press releases” in broken English that were never sent out. I was promised a list of comics-specific blog targets, and never received it. I went out of my way to do the work myself, and send Funding Successful a list of comics-specific targets I had amassed, and even THOSE people were never contacted.
In the end, I don’t have a single backer who I can trace back to Funding Successful. I finished out my crowdfunding campaign by myself. I wouldn’t mind this result if I’d seen WORK–but they just rehashed my own script into garbage.
Here’s a “Tweet” they sent out to “market” my Indiegogo:
Wait, how are comics fans supposed to FIND the Tweet, with no hashtags? Where’s the text? What is this, a Tweet to me showing me my own marketing material that I, an amateur, made? Why? What’s worse, they were spamming Twitter with these, without any real rhyme or reason, which of course makes me and my project look like Idiot City.
After a week of this, I contacted their sales department, since the support department wouldn’t respond. I got this reply:
I heard from my support team that you’ve some issues. Can we schedule a call for today to discuss in detail?
Please let me know what time is best for you.
First off, I had written like 10+ e-mails signing my name Jen Finelli. The business is run by Jen Finelli. It’s another really, really clear indicator that the e-mails weren’t being read. But oh well, right? I replied:
It’s great to hear from you! I work in the hospital from 6:30 AM to 6:30 PM (sometimes earlier to later, and often at night) so I wasn’t able to get your e-mail this morning. People were having babies! It would be better to call on the weekend.
However, it would be even better if someone simply replied by e-mail to the questions in the e-mails I’ve sent to Mike and Rich. My very first e-mail listed a few questions, and then as we’ve moved on I’ve become concerned because:
1. It’s become apparent that your marketing team doesn’t know a great deal about Twitter–they sent me Tweets that had 0 hashtags, and no text, even though multiple studies have shown the ideal number of hashtags for interactions and discovery is 2, and it’s obvious to anyone with even basic knowledge of SEO that you MUST have text in the Tweet for it to be searchable. I even sent them a list of hashtags to use to target the comic audience, hashtags I’ve been studying over the past year. (Although quite frankly, if they’re going to contact me about comics crowdfunding, they should have done their homework already. Have you guys actually succeeded on any comics projects, or do you only do tech? Because there’s a huge difference in strategy there.)
2. So far, all the posts I’ve seen from your team have been posts on crowdfunding sites, not media outlets, and certainly not targeted towards comics fans. There was one post on a crowdfunding site that was in the “comics” category, but that really doesn’t count as targeting comics fans, because most comics fans just don’t hang out on crowdfundingwebsitewhatever.com! I was expecting submissions to comics sites, because you all contacted ME, and you promised in your original contacts that the campaign would be targeted. I even sent a list of comics fans they should be targeting individually. Let’s see some targeting.
3. Results. Someone with a full-time medical job shouldn’t be able to out-crowdfund a team of marketers whose full-time job is crowdfunding. Studies have shown the last week of crowdfunding is usually easier, and I’ve already built up momentum by doing most of the funding myself. I needed help this last week because my schedule in the hospital changed, so I trusted that experts such as yourselves would be able to take this home. So far, you haven’t brought in a single penny. It’s all about results, guys.
So there isn’t a lot to talk about, honestly. I’d like written responses to the e-mails I’ve sent, I’d like to see new Tweets that actually have text and hashtags, and I’d like a list of comics or superhero-related outlets that you’re contacting. If your press release isn’t working, then try using the press releases I sent instead, and start incorporating the contests, giveaways, and freebie links I sent in the first e-mail.
I understand that there’s a lot of work that goes into running a start-up, and I feel for you guys, because it’s apparent that you’re a small group of people, and you probably don’t have a professional copywriter. Based on the writing I’ve seen, some of you may be learning English as a second language. I respect that, and I understand that it’s a tough world out there. My parents were immigrants, too. But I’m literally handing you the tools–the contacts, the hashtags, the press releases–and I’m not seeing a lot of willingness to change direction here. I’m not going to expect less of you because you’re a new start-up. If I don’t get at least a dollar over $200 from you guys, there’s going to be a problem, because at that point, I might as well have just donated $200 to my own campaign.
Let’s keep trying, and let’s see results. I raised 30% of my funding within the first two days alone–I’m sure with a team you can finish this last 30% out in the last five.
Looking forward to seeing those Tweets, list of media outlets contacted, contest/giveaway links in the posts, and targeted marketing to the lists I sent,
I never got a reply to this e-mail.
They continued to send me mass generic e-mails and then not reply to my replies to them. They asked me to make THEM a template for e-mail and press release marketing. I was like…uh…isn’t that what I’m paying you to do? But hey, what do I know, so I sent them the two press releases I’d written and an example of the e-mail marketing I’d been doing. I sent them all my marketing pictures, too. My e-mail marketing had raised a ton of my funds, so hey, maybe they wanted to see what I was doing, right?
They literally took my copy, garbled it up with grammatical errors, and just posted it on a bunch of crowdfunding websites. They didn’t write their own press release. They didn’t create an e-mail marketing strategy. They sent me an e-mail marketing template that I had written, to which I said it looked great–because I’d written it–and never created their own copy. They never sent me a single media outlet contacted, much less a comics-specific media outlet.
If people are interested, I’ll be glad to post all my e-mail exchanges, and show all of the “marketing materials” they sent me. But suffice it to say…
Just don’t use Funding Successful.