Comic books have been a staple of American culture for decades. From the new Marvel Avengers series of movies, to classic comic books and mangas that have made a recent resurgence, there’s no better way to meet people and get in touch with your creative side than to link together and discuss comic books!
What better way to do this than to have your own comic book convention? With a little bit of planning, networking, and marketing skills, you can create a comic book convention that caters to children and adults! For tips on running a convention like this, how to make sure you reach a wide enough audience to make it fun, and even ideas on how to make this venture profitable, read on below!
1. Create a Team
It’s always a good idea to assemble a team before you plan any sort of event. Whether it’s a fan convention or comic book convention, the right team will be able to help you remain organized, offer ideas for your comic book convention, advertise and reach out to fans! Set up a team that has the leader for the project, team members that can assist in scheduling events and networking with others, and make sure to have regular team meetings while planning your comic book convention. A great method of project management you can utilize that’s quick and simple to learn is agile chartering, which involves having a team set up a project charter on a single sheet of paper and plan in simple terms. This project charter can be created with the help of your team and better define roles.
2. Create a Budget
After you’ve set up a team and got together with people who want to participate, you’ll want to plan a total budget for this event. Comic book events don’t have to be too large, and can even hold 100 or so people. However, most conventions can hold thousands of people all at once! Consider the size of the comic book convention you’ll want to have, how much it will cost to hire other personnel, produce ticket sales, pay for a venue, marketing, and hire guests you’d like to be at your convention. An easy way to know what to pay for is to look back on previous comic book conventions you’ve attended. Think about the convention step-by-step. Did you need to park? If so, did the event pay for a parking lot and reserve it for the day? Was there valet staff available? Food? Booths? Guests? Events? All of these take money and planning to implement for a convention. Plan on spending in the range of thousands of dollars, and also get plenty of price quotes while planning.
3. Ask for Donations
If you don’t have investors to turn to, crowd-funding can be a great source of income for your convention! To set up costs, reach out to fellow comic book fans to see if they’d like to donate to set up a convention. As a small business owner, you’ll likely get the support of your local community. You must, however, remain cordial and thankful to your fellow supporters. Do this by reaching out to your fans and offering discounts to those that donate. You can also dip into your savings and combine your team member’s cash with yours. However, only do this if you can afford it.
4. Do Surveys on Social Media
Reaching out to fellow comic book fans on social media before the convention starts can give you a good idea of what will make your convention successful. From the date of the convention itself, to where people will want to attend, and how many guests they would like to see, reaching out and conducting surveys on social media will allow you to get a better idea of what the people want (literally). You can also ask for fair ticket prices, and see what people are willing to pay to enter a small convention. This will allow you to plan ticket sales and ensure people don’t think your convention is overpriced!
5. Hire an Event Planner
As you can see already, planning an event is no easy task, and without prior knowledge on costs and who to reach out to, it can be pretty overwhelming. Fortunately, you can get the help of an event planning agency to make your life easier when planning a comic book convention. Make sure that the agency you reach out to has had prior experience in setting up conventions, charges a fair price for their service, and has several existing reviews.
6. Research Venue Costs
You and your event planner can research the costs of renting out an event venue, which many times ends up being the highest expense for a convention. Prices can also vary depending on the time of year. For instance, some party hall rentals might charge more during the summertime when the weather is in full bloom, and charge less during the colder winter months. Depending on when you plan to schedule your convention, how much space you need, and your budget, you and your event planner can do research to see which event venue is right for you.
7. Research Materials Costs
In addition to the venue, you will need to pay for various materials and equipment. This includes booths, tables, lighting, audio and visual systems, and more. Fortunately, you can save money by opting for equipment rental instead of outright buying your equipment. This is a much better option if you don’t plan on doing many events in the span of a year, which is typical for comic book conventions. Whether you choose to buy or rent certain equipment, do your research and obtain pricing quotes for these materials costs.
8. Hire Security
Events can be exciting and fun, but they can also quickly turn serious. From having an outdoor event where people can suffer from heatstroke and dehydration to rowdy guests, fights, and unhappy customers, these can all negatively impact your convention. To prevent these negative events from putting a damper on your convention, hire event security as part of your convention. Security staff can provide valuable protection to your guests, while also reporting on suspicious activity that keeps your convention safe.
9. Make a Website
It’s always a great idea to set up a website in order to streamline ticket sales, promote your event, and have an easy way to share information about your event. By making a website, you can also easily promote your event and have an avenue where customers can ask questions and get customer service. If you don’t have experience making a website, hire the help of local digital marketing services to plan your website and make it easy-to-use.
10. Reach Out to Guests
Before you begin your convention and reach out to audiences, you’ll want to have something to entice fellow comic book lovers to attend your event. There’s no better way to do this than hiring guests for your convention! Consider hiring illustrators, comic book artists, even voice actors for cartoons to attend your comic book convention. Keep in mind these guests sometimes charge hefty fees, but there’s no shame in negotiating in order to attract a bigger audience to your convention.
11. Reach Out to Audiences
After doing surveys and planning everything out, it’s time to advertise to your audience! Consider advertising on social media, through hard-copy fliers, and through radio and TV spots! These are all great avenues to let the comic book community know there’s a new convention in town!
12. Consider Food
No one wants to go to an all-day event and be hungry! Comic book conventions are a great way to invite local restaurants and even food trucks to show their support and provide food for the day. Make sure you check with your local health department to obtain all appropriate permits needed to serve food at your convention if there are any needed. Keep in mind you still might need permits even if you serve regular snack foods and refreshments, or if you sell what is known as cottage food (food made in local home kitchens) to guests.
13. Talk to your Local City Department
Speaking of the health department, you will also need to talk to your local city to see if you need any permits for your event. For instance, you might need to obtain permission for the extra amount of traffic that will result due to your convention. It’s best to reach out to your local authorities to find out about fees and permits associated with your convention.
14. Get Event Insurance
Most venues will require you to provide proof of event insurance prior to renting out their space for a convention. This event liability insurance can be affordable and offers valuable protection against personal injury claims should a guest at your convention be injured at the event. Event liability insurance is a must-have, so budget for this ahead of time.
15. Partner with Charities
Your comic book convention can be extremely fun for you and your guests, and can also help you partner with local charities! From the make-a-wish foundation to Comic Books for Kids, your event can donate proceeds and other fun items to a local charity. You can also ask your guest speakers and attendees to donate to local charities. Not only can this help you network, but also help you provide and give back to your community.
16. Do Final Surveys
After your convention is over, you’ll still want to reach out to your guests to ask what they thought of the experience! After your convention, this feedback is valuable and can provide insight into what to improve for your next convention. If you have dissatisfied guests, it’s important to hear their concerns and offer help through your customer service team. Similarly, your satisfied guests can spread the word and help you grow your convention for years to come!
17. Rent Heavy Duty Trucks
Clean-up is never easy, especially for a large event. To haul away your equipment, booths, and trash, you’ll want to seek trucks for rent that can help you clear out the venue after your convention. Rental trucks can also help you store any items until after the convention is over so you don’t have to worry about clearing out a venue in time.
18. Hire Professional Cleaners
Most venues will require you to clean up after your convention. Some events, such as weddings, are small enough to where you can ask your own family or guests to clean. However, for your convenience, it’s best to have a professional cleaning service to help you clear your venue by your contract’s specific time. A cleaning service can also help keep your convention clean by cleaning up spills and other mishaps that might occur during the event.
19. Pay All Parties
Conventions can be very profitable if you had enough ticket sales. Make sure you pay all parties involved, including guests, your own team members, event planners, and other agencies before you take count of your profit!
20. Plan More Events
If the event was successful, you can certainly continue to plan out more events in the future! To do this, continue to have a strong social media presence and reach out to old guests. You can do giveaways, such as through custom printed tshirts, comic books (of course), fan gear, and more! The more you reach out to your guests from the prior year and continue to keep in touch with your old event staff, the easier it gets to plan conventions in the future.
Have Fun With It
Comic book conventions are some of the best events to get together a community, make memories, and simply have fun! With a little bit of help from professionals, research, and planning, you can make your next comic book convention profitable and successful.