I was at a New Year’s party recently where I happened to have had the good fortune to strike up a conversation with the “Product Manager” of a major financial magazine. And after she described to me what her actual role was, I asked her if she had any ideas on how to sell comic books online? Though it’s easier than ever to distribute content, it is practically impossible to get people to pay for it. I told her that a common tactic was to build an audience first then sell them merchandize later. And that’s when she lit up and gave me this golden nugget:
She said, in today’s world, we have been trained to expect to be able to have luxury at the snap of our fingers. We can download a song or a movie instantly. We can order something from a store and have it delivered the same day. We can use our smartphone to order a black town car to pick us anytime and anywhere we want. And we don’t even have to be rich to get any of these. She explained “Luxury is efficiency. Luxury is access. Instant access.” and asked me “What can you offer your audience that will make them feel that ‘Luxurious?'” Is it exclusive advance previews to your work? Is it limited edition swag? Is it privy to your thoughts and creative process? Or maybe it’s an invite to a private publishing party for your new book?
When you’re building an audience, you’re actually cultivating a relationship. And what fuels a relationship is the feeling that someone cares about you. That you’re special to them. And what can make a person feel more special, than a little luxury?