contract image/svg+xml

What Tactics Can Be Used to Increase the Size of the Target Market?

gamalhennessy Community • Jun 15, 2020

Last week we talked about where your potential readers can come from (See: How Can You Grow Your Target Market?) and the challenges to converting them to comic book readers (See What Factors Limit Growth in Comics?). Today I'd like to look at techniques for dealing with each of the obstacles to increasing your target market. 

Tapping into the potential market involves looking at both the way you connect with people and the way you interact with them. Remember, you’re not trying to change the way people consume content. You’re trying to build a satisfying relationship with those people who are interested in what you have to say. If only one percent of your potential market joins your target market, you can create a significant increase in sales. There are ways to counteract each of the challenges we identified before and spur growth in the readers of your book.

Barriers to Entry: If you can help your potential market navigate the unknown waters of comic book consumption, they could be more likely to join your target market. You can provide this assistance in several ways. You can become an educational resource by review old and new comics to explain who you think the best creators are, what the difference is between comics and other media, when comics come out and where to get them. You could host introductory events or post videos on how to read comics, how to start a comic collection, or how to find comics you love. You can use this educational process to expose your potential readers to independent comics, and then mention your book when the time is right.

Media Competition: The relationship between comics and other media can be complementary instead of combative. The increased popularity of comic stories is raising the profile of the medium overall. While there hasn’t been a proportional increase in comic book sales, awareness of comics is creating the potential for a new wave of fandom. If you position your book to ride the wave of this new awareness through your high concept or other forms of association, you can use the success of other media to your advantage.

Comparative Pricing: While other publishers use pricing models that make it harder to compete on price, the price of your book doesn’t have to follow the same formula. There are options for you to distribute your book at a lower price (or in some cases at no cost to the ideal reader) and reduce the impact of price disparity. Of course, publishing your book still requires costs that need to be covered and all the different alternative distribution methods and economies of scale might not apply to your book, but you’re not necessarily locked into one pricing model that may not be sustainable over time.

Isolated Distribution: New gateway drugs and sales pipelines have replaced the historical models. You can use them to connect with your readers and give them alternative ways to find you. Whether you take advantage of the keyword algorithms of Amazon’s “also liked” functions, or Facebook groups, or social media hashtags, or Google analytics to isolate your potential market, there are opportunities to get your book in front of the right people and avoid the false and non-markets . If you focus on the growing number of independent book stores, book fairs, and other specific opportunities like GlobalComix, you can diversify your distribution options. If you utilize in-app advertising, tie your story to emerging mobile and independent games, or even prominent YouTube micro stars, you can leverage emerging fan bases who share your ideal reader profile. The potential new distribution opportunities have a lot more potential than the spinner racks of the past.

Negative Perception: As an independent comic book publisher, you can help change the image of comics by becoming an advocate for the medium. This goes beyond acting as a spokesperson for your comic and becoming a champion for comics in general. You can engage in discussions with your potential market that comics are not just for children or even for a certain type of adult. You can educate people that comics are simply another way to tell a story, using aspects of their ideal reader profile to capture their attention. You can expand their definition of comics beyond superheroes to all the other types of stories comics have to offer . You can show people that if they can read a meme (which is essentially images and text used to tell a story) they can understand a comic. You can even buy comics for your friends and family based on the types of stories you know they like and deduct the cost of the books as a marketing expense for your business.

Pattern Interrupt: People can alter their routines if you provide enough incentive. If you make the pleasure of experiencing your story greater than the pain of trying something new, then you can achieve what’s called a pattern interrupt. A good example of this can be found in the world of video games where flagship exclusive video game franchises like Halo, Mario Kart and God of War are so popular that people are willing to spend five to ten times more than the cost of the game in order to buy the console to play it on.

Expanding the market for your comic isn’t easy. There is no quick fix to overcoming decades of inertia and systemic issues within the industry. You’ll have to engage and re-engage with your potential market trying different methods in a variety of situations over an extended period of time to build that relationship. It might take years to increase your market, but since it might take years to generate the investment and produce your book, many of these actions can happen at the same time. But the reward is worth the effort. A larger target market means more people reading your comic and more potential revenue for your publishing. If your story can build relationships with people who don’t read comics yet, you can succeed where other publishers have failed. 

Later this week, we'll look at the connections between your book and your reader that lead to long term engagement. 

If you'd like to learn more about comic book marketing, be sure to sign up for our free webinar on June 25th. We'll show how all this information translates into new readers for your comic. 

Have fun with your comic.

MCLent 2 years ago

You've got me thinking about libraries where graphic novel physical and online are the fastest growing sections. How do we get GC titles onto sites like this one?

Clearly, the Marvels and DCs of the world think about libraries, too since they often though not always dominate the graphic novel sections. I don't know if this is a function of libraries ordering what they are aware of or encounter at book fairs, or if they are ordering what the public requests, i.e, Batman. Is it as simple as making the GC digital catalogue available to libraries to order from OR purchase licenses for patrons to browse from?


gamalhennessy admin 2 years ago

Thanks, Michael. Getting any book into a library is a multi-step process, but it is possible for GC to work out a deal with certain library systems down the road for their digital distribution.