Finding Your Target Audience

The marketing side of making a comic is an intimidating step for a lot of creators. The idea of having to sell something you created to a complete stranger still gives me the shivers.

When I was first starting out, I absolutely hated the whole process. Marketing made me feel dirty, like I was selling a part of myself along with my comic.

Even worse, despite the many, many hours I spent writing all kinds of promotional posts, I got nothing but crickets. I would post on as many different platforms as I could find but nothing really got any attention.

It was really demoralising. Not only was I doing something I strongly disliked, but it wasn’t even giving me results.

Then, one day, something changed. I was posting a promotional update to a subreddit that I frequented. The update itself was nothing special but to my surprise, I was all of a sudden getting replies. Not only that, people were saying they were super excited for the comic! Admittedly, it was a tiny group of people at first, just two or three, but at least they seemed genuinely interested in my story.

From then on, they would reply to all my posts and we would talk about the details of the story and all the topics the comic addressed. That’s when things started becoming enjoyable for me because I was actually getting people frequently replying to my posts. It was primarily that same little group I started with, but I didn’t care, people we’re engaging with my content!

After a while, I began writing all my promotional material as if I was writing it for them specifically. That’s when things really started taking off. Those people began sharing my posts with their friends because they liked them so much, and I found I was gaining supporters at a more rapid pace than I was before.

I’m not going to pretend like this led to massive success for me, but I still think there’s a major lesson to take away from my experience. I found that to have a successful marketing campaign, I had to find my target audience. I had to seek out the people who were just as passionate as I was about my comic.

What I failed to notice at first was that I was making my posts too generic. I was trying to reach as broad of an audience as I could, and in doing so, I wasn’t really appealing to anyone in particular. Once I started constructing posts that would target my core audience, the people who were looking for exactly what I was giving, only then did I start receiving a positive reception to my posts.

And it was at that point that I realized something: I didn’t actually hate marketing, I was just targeting the wrong people. I hadn’t found my audience.

That’s great for you, but how do I know who MY audience is?

Know Who To Sell To

Think back to the section about your story’s purpose (and if you skipped over that section, now is a good time to check it out).

In short, your purpose is what you want to achieve with your story.

My comic More Than Men has a few core purposes:

  • To get the reader actively thinking about societal problems like political and economic inequality and drawing parallels between those issues and pop culture’s representation of superheroes
  • Create an engaging character drama story

Whether it be to make people laugh or make them cry, every story has (at least one) purpose and now it’s time to apply that purpose to start gathering your followers.

Remember that just like you, your audience has a purpose too. I’m sure some of you who read those bullet points above think that story sounds interesting. I’m also sure there are some of you who think it sounds terrible and wouldn’t read that story in a million years.

Different people are looking for different things in their stories. The key concept is that your most loyal followers, the ones who will actually be engaging with your content, will be those whose purpose syncs up with the purpose of your comic. If the purpose of your story is to teach others about astronomy, trying to sell that story to people who are looking for a straight forward action story is not going to get you a lot of responses. You’ll have much more success if you find the people who are just as interested in astronomy as you are.

This concept may seem straightforward, but I found that as time goes by, it’s easy to forget about your purpose and lose track of who your audience is.

Okay, but where do I even find these so-called “loyal supporters”?

Good question. Once you narrow down who your ideal reader is, you’ll want to make sure you’re focusing your marketing efforts in the spaces where those readers frequent.

Let’s find out in the next section.