Golden Beard is a Montreal-based comic book project successfully crowdfunded on Indiegogo last month (July 2013), going beyond their initial goal by 25% .
David Paquet, the project owner, agreed to share with us the full story behind this success with a special focus on the outreaching strategy used.
Seeding Factory: Hi David, thanks for taking some time to share your adventure. Could you quickly present the Golden Beard Project ?
David Paquet: Golden Beard is a suspense, action and gore multi-media story filled with dark humor that explores humanity of pirate-animals within a reflected fantasy world. It was initiated by a polyvalent team several years ago and has been transformed in different forms by over 30 creatives since then.
The Golden Beard Project aimed at funding our upcoming comic book series (three 24-pages albums).
S.F. : Why did you decided to go crowdfunding ?
We had firm belief in our creativity but were unsure of the market reaction, so then decided to go crowdfunding in order to verify our ideas by directly reaching our fans. Before going crowdfunding I actually tried government loans but it didn’t work because we had an atypical project.
S.F. : Could you explain why and how did you choose Indiegogo ?
Indiegogo welcomes registration as Canadian citizens while Kickstarter only accepts the US applicants for now. Meanwhile, compared to other local Quebec platforms such as Haricot.ca, Indiegogo benefits us more in reaching international markets. Concerning this last point it has been sometimes challenging to explain to our French-speaking fans that the books would be published in French while the whole propaganda was in English.
I also liked the flexible funding scheme on Indiegogo. However campaigners should pay attention that this flexible funding model bears some risks i.e. the obligation to fulfill the perks even if you reach only 30% of your objective.
“We had firm belief in our creativity, and we have now gladly learned that it’s approved by our success on Indiegogo!”
S.F. : An intense outreach and marketing plan is essential to succeed in crowdfunding. Could you describe how you proceed ?
We began preparing promotion material one month before the launch, both online and offline including press releases, flyers/posters and videos via all sorts of social media (email, Facebook, twitter, blogs, etc). Almost everything, even the phone calls! There were 5 of us in the team and everyone started with his friends, families and all the acquaintances. I personally put in 90 hours a week delivering 750 personal Facebook inbox messages on my personal account and around 450 on the Captain’s account (yes we’ve created a Facebook page dedicated to the main character!).
While bombarding your contact lists with emails, be sure you track backwards finding out who has NOT opened, clicked or bought any perks. Mailchimp was a really powerful tool for doing so. The trick is to keep tracks of all interactions with your fans and consolidate those relationships with more interactions. You can’t expect an avalanche of funds with only one posting on your wall, even if you have a tremendous base of followers or a big name!
Moreover, you have to leverage your friends, family and personal networks to access their circles. The best way to secure a contribution from the latter is to call and ask for their support, because there is no guarantee for a contribution if they simply saw your page, liked the video or talked about it. Make yourself a commitment, and make it personal.
Last but not the least, be thankful and generous to your benefactors, and by showing this kind gesture it will help you make it through the campaign. We would never have done it so well without so many great allies on our side.
S.F.: You were lucky enough to get press coverage from mass media (Radio Canada, 24 Hours). What was the impact on your campaign?
The impact of mass media coverage is mainly in the long run. Both Radio-Canada and 24 Hours gave us very good pieces of coverage and it definitely added more credibility. But I have to admit the financial impact was limited. For instance we only received $80 after the Radio Canada interview. Blogs and niche media were eventually a better bet in order to bring real contributors.
However 24 Hours was the best interview I ever had, and Pascale Gauthier, the journalist, did a good research. The article got out 3 days before the end and helped us having a traffic increase and few more contributions.
S.F. : Concerning the audience, can you portray briefly the type of people who contributed? In general how is crowdfunding accepted by comic book fans ?
Most of our contributors were actually related to us, either friends or family members, while only 20% were strangers, true comic book aficionados. The 80% from our acquaintances truly helped pushing us presenting the best product to reach more fans!
I can only speak for our case, but I find crowdfunding is an effective marketing method for the comic book industry. Some campaigns run by established artists who wanted to publish readily done comic books, have made a successful case on Indiegogo as we did. One of our benchmark was DC Entertainment. They did 2 Indiegogo campaigns, $100K+ each, to help starving Africans through special editions of super heroes. Fans were there to support the initiatives.
“Mass media coverage had a limited impact. We received only $80 after the Radio Canada interview”
S.F.: In retrospect what were your best assets for running this successful campaign ? On the other hand, what would you do differently ?
I can humbly say our main assets were:
- A super cool and funny video
– The agility to constantly re-think the strategy while in the campaign and test different messages.
– Our ability to work hard!
On the contrary we have under-estimated some team aspects and in the future we will emphasize on:
- Doing regular team meetings and be sure EVERY member is actively pushing the campaign
– Working together simultaneously in the “war room” to boost synergy efforts.
S.F. : To conclude, what’s the most valuable advice you could share with aspiring crowdfunders ?
Always overly prepare, and never underestimate the efforts for planning, the amount of potential work and commitment from your team members. Surely this puts pressure on the shoulders of yours and your partners’, but soon you’ll realize it worths when you see the flames sparkled on your project!
S.F.: What’s the next step for Golden Beard ?
We definitely want to gain more reputation among the comic book community and also target video gamers. We are already thinking about launching more crowdfunding campaigns, in parallel to apply for loans, in order to build our brand and release new stuffs!