He’d just hired a well-known marketing company to help spread the word about the second campaign for his comic IMMORTALIS, but the results weren’t what he expected.
In fact, the experience left him questioning everything he thought he knew about crowdfunding.
And as he pored over the analytics, he wondered…
“Is social media really that important?”
In thinking about his experience with the marketing company, Shawn came to some difficult conclusions about why it didn’t work out.
“I assume it’s because we don’t have that name recognition to stand out on social media, so the analytics didn’t have a big enough sample size to get any usable data. If you don't have usable analytics data, a marketing company can't tell you what social media marketing will work…”
In other words, without a huge following on social media already, Shawn couldn't provide much information for the marketing company to work with. It felt like a classic Catch-22:
“Social media and analytics remind me of the Steve Martin joke; How do you make a million dollars? First, start with a million dollars…”
Fortunately for Shawn, he did his own analytics… and he knew exactly where his backers were coming from.
Through analytics, Shawn discovered that one thing in particular drove the most pledges:
“Most of our new backers came from our email list, so I think having the already-invested/ interested people, and keeping them engaged, translates to more paying customers.”
But without a big social media presence, Shawn had to find another way to lure in potential customers. And he realized the answer was right there in front of him... at a convention.
“We get a good bit of audience from Comic Cons. Of those email sign-ups, we have very few unsubscribes and months later still have a high open rate. I think with somewhat of a glut of crowdfunding comic campaigns, it’s more important than ever to realize 50% of what you're selling is a comic, the other 50% you're selling is you. So I think audience building through conventions gets you a stronger, more invested audience.”
Unfortunately, as Shawn soon discovered, there was one flaw in this strategy...
Building your mailing list through a robust convention schedule requires one thing many creators feel they already have too little of: time.
“We had really great success at the one comic-con we did (ABQ, over 160 email sign-ups), so we are filling 2023 with as many comic cons as we can get into. But with travel and actual table time, it takes away from time you can invest in Kickstarter building/ editing/ fulfillment, etc. So we are looking at some time constraints, lol.”
Shawn knows it will be a balancing act. He’s working to improve his processes with campaigns and fulfillment, so he hopes to turn it into a well-oiled machine by the time he gets to Denver Fan Expo in June. (He’s going to need it—more on that later.)
As for convention tips? Shawn has plenty.
“Make eye contact, don’t be afraid of someone just walking away or not talking to you. You already have an advantage, as almost all of the people there are fans of our medium. Take advantage of that.”
The reason Shawn needs to find the right balance between Kickstarter and conventions is simple: he has an ambitious goal of producing 8-12 issues per year through crowdfunding.
To get there, he’s counting on a quick turnaround from end-of-campaign to having a book in readers’ hands.
“Fulfillment is a big thing for our IMMORTALIS series. So having our 2nd Kickstarter campaign fulfill within a month of completion is a big feather in our cap, and proof-positive to our readers. So if we say we are going to fulfill a month after the Kickstarter, we do, and if we say we will release 8-12 issues in the first year, we will.”
To help him reach that ambitious goal, he relies on two things.
“We don’t have every issue 100% complete at launch, but we have them close. Usually the issues will be in the editor’s hand when we start the campaign. And we offer 2 issues per launch. So if we hit our goal of 8-12 issues in a year, it would only be 4-6 campaigns in a year. With the double issue campaigns, it gives us the ability to have a month-long campaign, then a month to fulfill and build the next campaign.”
Shawn sees his quick turnaround for issue 2 as proof that his ambitious strategy is working.
For 2023, Shawn plans a full comic-con schedule, 2-4 more Kickstarter campaigns… and hopefully some cross-promotional titles with some of the great creators in the ComixLaunch Course.
In the meantime, he’s constantly working on his craft, striving to get better at what he does best: writing comics.
“I think, trying to be a successful writer/comic creator, the one attribute that has helped me the most is being an observer of human nature, and translating that to my writing.
“It’s like that old comic chestnut, they’ll come for the art, but they’ll stay for the writing.”
IImmortalis issue 1 and 2, Purity 4 issue limited series, and Force 51 One-shot
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