Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Don’t be an ice cream truck!

Okay, so I’m called in to this post the other day (so I’m a rent-a-cop; leave me alone!), and I don’t have time to fix dinner. This means that I’m stuck in the suburbs, with no fast food places to grab something quick at.

So, I hear this ice cream truck come by. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t come close to my post, but seems to come really close. That got aggravating really quick. About an hour later, another truck comes by, but just doesn’t stop. Suffice to say, I just don’t like ice cream trucks right now.

So, what do these have to do with marketing? An ice cream truck is a simple business; the basic idea is that you drive a truck around hoping to find customers that buy your product, and stop when you find someone that wants it. Although it can be hard to miss you, you need to be going slow enough so that your customers can catch you, and you need to make sure that you’re in the right place to make some sales. Not to mention that timing is everything; see many ice cream trucks during winter?

A webcomic doesn’t need to be seasonal, but can benefit from it (holiday strips can be very cool!). However, the lesson here is to avoid advertising like an ice cream truck: You just can’t grab attention and then disappear. Also, you need to be available for anyone that wants to read your strip.

You need to have some sort of advertising that works even when you don’t, and this marketing needs to be around a lot of places. In a way, this is why I suggest advertising in your signature in every forum you post in; that gives you a dependable marketing area. Also, link exchanges; by exchanging links, you get your ad on someone else’s site. And if you can advertise through such sites as BuzzComix, do it! And definitely look for other ways to advertise; Comics Day, for example.

More importantly, you need to update regularly. People need to be able to plan on seeing your comic; otherwise, they may look at it a lot, but will stop coming if you don’t put it up according to some sort of schedule. You can argue that your true fans will stick with you, and that not being constrained by regular limits is a good thing, but it’s not as cool as you would think.

In short, buy ice cream from a truck, but don’t be use it as an example of how to market your business…

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