What is the Sales Funnel for Your Comic?

gamalhennessy Community • Jan 19, 2021

by Gamal Hennessy

There are several ways to turn your comic into revenue. As we saw last week, you can use indirect monetization in the form of advertising or affiliate marketing. Next month, we’ll start to look at the crowdfunding phenomenon in comics. Today, we’ll look at the basic concept of trading your comic for cash. Specifically, I want to discuss how sales funnels allow you to take advantage of your marketing and maximize the financial potential of your book.

What is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is a theoretical, multi-step process that transforms prospective browsers into long-term buyers. As a comic publisher, your sales funnel can transform ideal readers into true fans. While a sales funnel is not the only approach to selling, the idea does have long term benefits the other methods lack.

Why is a Sales Funnel Necessary?

Because of the medium you’ve chosen to tell your story, the competition for your book, and the price point you selected, you can’t rely on impulse buying to sell comics, like a kid picking up a book from the spinner rack in the 1970s. Independent comic book sales require a certain amount of persuasion to overcome the competition and social factors that impact the comic book market. The good news is that once those obstacles are overcome, the impact on your publishing can be intense. In entertainment, the obsessive fandom of anything is the result of a well-developed sales funnel. It can transform a piece of intellectual property into a core aspect of a reader’s life by:

- Harnessing the power of your marketing and advertising

- Allowing you to form a lasting connection with your target market

- Helping you build trust with ideal readers and nurture them towards purchasing multiple books, merchandise, and other swag related to your IP

- Increasing the lifetime value of customers, allowing you to sell again and again to the same core group.

What is the Sales Funnel Process?

I’ve added the diagram above to help you visualize the sales funnel as it relates to the five-step process of selling your comics.

- Making your ideal reader aware of your comic: This is one of the main goals of your advertising and marketing, where you put the comic on the radar of your ideal reader in a positive fashion. Just as movie trailers and celebrity interviews increase the profile of a film, your digital and print ads let your ideal reader know that your book exists.

- Increase the ideal reader interest in your comic
: This is the main purpose of your hook. Once the ideal reader knows your book is out there, they need to know how your book relates to what they like and the feelings they want to experience. You can use your key artwork, your pitch, and other promotional material to create connection and curiosity.

- Influence a subconscious decision to get your book
: Members of your target market can be influenced on an emotional level based on one or more conditions you create:

1) Reciprocity: Your ideal reader is willing to give you what you want (i.e. money) in exchange for what they want (the feeling your book can provide).

2) Liking
: If people like you because of the feeling you help them experience, there is a good chance they will buy comics from you.

3) Commitment
: If you continue to show up over time to provide the feeling that people want to experience through your social media presence, your mailing list, and your offline marketing, people might be willing to pay to keep you around.

4) Authority
: If you can show, through your marketing, that you are in command of your story and the wider genre your story fits in, people who enjoy that kind of story are more likely to buy yours.

5) Social Proof
: Humans are social creatures who often imitate one another, so once members of your target market accept you, especially online, other ideal readers will follow them to become true fans.

- Ideal readers take the action to buy your comic: This is the main goal of your distribution. You want to make your comic available in all the channels where your ideal reader can acquire it with as little sales friction as possible.

The sales funnel I described above works for a single comic or graphic novel. The number of steps in your sales funnel will depend on how many levels of action you want your ideal reader to take. If you have multiple comics, or a combination of comics, merchandise, and other media, then you’ll need to repeat the procedure multiple times. In this case, there is often an indirect relationship between the price of each item and the number of actions taken. A certain number of people might buy your $4 comic, but fewer people will buy your $40 custom t-shirt and fewer still will pay for your $400 Kotobukiya statue.

What is the Timeframe for a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is not a magical formula for making money.

It is not a singular sudden event for your entire target market at once, because it might take weeks or months for your ideal reader to make it through your sales funnel to buy your comic.

The sales funnel isn’t a smooth linear process either. Ideal readers need to be guided through the process. You have to earn each true fan with attention and effort. While there might be a tipping point created by a viral event or an influential fan, the majority of your sales will be the result of your ongoing marketing, advertising and sales efforts both online and in the real world. The amount of money you make will depend in large part on how well you connect with your target market, the quality of your comic, and the price you ask people to pay for it.

Next week, we'll figure out the best price to charge for your comic. 

Enjoy your comics until then. 

If you'd like to use GlobalComix as part of your sales funnel, start by creating a free account and uploading your comics. You could be up and running in less than 10 minutes.