Episode 8 Interview with Travis Gibb Part 1

Coverart Picture for Episode 8 of Space Coast Stories Interview with Travis Gibb Part 1In today’s podcast, I’m publishing part 1 of my interview with Travis Gibb. Travis and I spoke for almost an hour on a variety of topics from business to ministry, and since I aim to keep this podcast under 30 minutes, I decided to split the interview into two podcast episodes.
On today’s episode, we talk about websites and Internet marketing because Travis owns a digital agency. We also cover the recent release of his comic book “Broke Down and Four Bodies” that he successfully funded on Kickstarter, and in light of his successful Kickstarter campaign, we discussed tips for running your own Kickstarter campaign in order to fund creative projects.
On the next episode, we’ll cover more business and marketing tips along with information about Travis and Marketplace Ministries, a Christian organization aimed at adding Christ in business.

Listen to the Podcast Interview with Travis Gibb Part 1

Links and Images for Travis Gibb

Headshot of Travis Gibb

Effex Agency – a web development and Internet marketing company – www.effexagency.com
Website for the comic book, “Broke Down and Four Dead Bodies” www.brokedownandfourdeadbodies.com
Facebook Group for Marketplace Ministrieshttps://www.facebook.com/BreakingWallsBrevard/

Takeaways from Part 1 of My Interview with Travis Gibb

One of my favorite parts of this episode was learning about how to successfully run a Kickstarter campaign. Top tips included: Become part of the community by supporting other projects. Do your research into your audience. And of course, provide extra value. For example, Travis released his comic book with 30 pages instead of the normal 16-20. Travis mentioned that the training manuals I create around communications might successfully be turned into books and funded through a Kickstarter campaign. Something for me to consider in the future.
Possibly the biggest takeaway I had from the Kickstarter campaign discussion was to consider the campaign as a pre-sales opportunity not free money.
As always happens when I speak to Travis, I learn tips for online marketing, particularly with Facebook. This time I learned more about Facebook advertising and Facebook pixels and using pixels to track people visiting your page. This may be something to try in the future.

Full Transcript from Part 1 of my Interview with Travis Gibb

Kim:  00:01  You’re listening to Space Coast Stories, a podcast with interviews and stories from people and businesses on Florida’s Space Coast. I’m your host, Kim Shivler. Thanks for joining me.

Kim:   00:15  Hello, my Space Coast friends. Today’s episode’s a little different. I aim to keep these podcasts at about 30 minutes, somewhere between 20 and 30. We went a little over 30 minutes today and Travis, and I were having so much fun chatting. We actually chatted for about an hour. I have divided this interview into two podcasts. Today. We’re going to talk business, comic books, and Kickstarter https://www.Kickstarter.com/ campaigns, and then in the next episode we’ll pick up where we left off. Enjoy.

Kim:  00:46  Hey everybody on the Space Coast. Welcome to Space Coast Stories. I’m your host, Kim Shivler, and today I’m here interviewing Travis Gibb from Effex Agency. We’re going to talk about websites, marketing, comic books, and little bit of backstory. It’s a great time when I get to interview people where we go, not just about business, but expand out into other things that are interesting. Welcome Travis. How are you? I am great. So tell us a little bit about how you got into web development. You own a web agency.

Travis:  01:23  uUm, it was, it was kind of weird. It’s not the normal story, right? It’s not my passion. I didn’t decide to go into web. So what happened is I came to Florida to be in the film, you know, I came for film, video production and like most times that when you have a great plan, sometimes you have a child and those plans have to change. So I had a wonderful daughter and I decided to not go that path for years. I was doing all sorts of, of marketing and little things for my comic store, you know, I was working at a comic book story and I did like little marketing events like X Men and, and, and Spiderman events for the movies. And then somebody came up to me and somebody talked to me and said, hey, I think you’d be good at marketing. You want to come in and do sales.

Travis:   02:05  And I did that. I worked with that guy for, you know, learning the business for three or four years. And, uh, at some point I raised a bunch of money that we had two major contracts that were ginormous contracts and I brought the money back and I was like, Hey, I want to use this to go to trade shows and do this. And he was like, no, I really want to use that money to, to do Veteran Affairs stuff. And Veterans Affairs stuff is great. I have no problem with that. But it wasn’t where I wanted to go with my career at that point, you know, we kind of parted ways. I kind of started my own thing with my business partner Ray, who was one of the web designers there who would also quit for different reasons at the same time. And we kind of broke off on our own and that’s how Effex Agency started.

Kim:  02:44 And when was that?

Travis:   02:46 Uh, that was six, seven years ago? Or did they? I don’t even know anymore. Uh, yeah. Yeah. Probably 2003, 2004, right? Yeah, it sounds about right. Crazy. I don’t know. A 2008 probably. Yeah. I have idea. No idea. Seven, eight years. I don’t keep track of those years, uh, but even him, like my partner, we only were together for about a year or so. We landed planned parenthood right off the bat, like major company right off the bat. So we, it was such a big thing that we had to push him to do the planned parenting thing and I had to run this whole company about myself and you know, I was more of a sales guy, you know, so I had to learn a lot of the web skills and then since then I’ve, I’ve hired employees, I’ve had employees, you know, gone onto bigger and better things and it’s been cool.

Kim:  03:29   Now, do you have a team now?

Travis:  03:31 I have a small team that I work with, uh, doing various things, but it’s, it’s as needed. So I kind of do it a lot myself. I have a different philosophy. I have a different plan, like I like to work with somebody and go onto the next thing I have add. So like I like to do something, go onto the next thing. So I don’t build these like ongoing marketing plans very often. Like I rather build the strategy that I can teach you to do it and then I want you to grow in that and go, all right, what else can you teach me? And then we go from there versus the typical model where you go hand in hand on this stuff. I have too much add for that. I need to go on the next project

Kim:   04:03 You are project based then do what you do and for some types of web design, that’s a really great thing to be if you’re going to build a site and then turn it over to them as opposed to like you said, having to do every single edit every day.

Travis:  04:17  Well there’s nothing wrong with that. And I did think for a long time that it was right because I looked at these, these businesses that were building large teams and things like that and I was like, you know, what am I making enough money and am I taking care of my family and having enough a balance between work and family time. And as long as that, that balance was there. I was, I was content, you know, I feel like some people we spend so much time pursuing money and then we look at our life and realize we ignored the things that are important in your family in life. You know, there’s gotta be a balance, right? Everyone needs to be financially stable in more than stable enough to go on vacations or emergencies and stuff like that. But you know, I kinda had a different philosophy of like I want to work with people who want to do it on their own, who they want to get to that stage and they want me to come alongside of them, but they don’t need me forever and they want me to only come along when they need to get to that next step.

Kim:   05:05  Well, that’s smart. I, one of the things I talk about a lot of times when I work with my clients, my coaching clients is finding whatever that target market is real. And one of the things, particularly when I’ve worked with web people because I was a web developer in the past, and so I’ve seemed to have attracted a lot of those. When I’ve done coaching is that they will say yes to anything and they’ll say yes to the guy’s one page site that really could have been done in something like Wix and you don’t need all this huge stuff, or they’ll go do a huge one in everybody’s their market and it’s really easy to get lost.

Travis:  05:39  Yeah, absolutely. And your end, you’ve got to, you know, it helps me manage expectations a lot too, right? Because we’re not. You’re not investing tons of money. You’re investing a small investment to get it and then we’re going to build it together. I give you the strategies and if you want to know more strategy, we can. You go with art, but as anybody who’s been in marketing, it’s very frustrating, right? You give them, you build marketing plans and tools and strategy. You build these all out. They do 25 percent of it and they say, why didn’t the rest work? Why didn’t it work? What could you do? Twenty five percent of it. That’s why it didn’t work, and then you have to continue to explain that and build that. I didn’t want to have that fight anymore. I want to be part of the cool part, right where we create, we do this awesome thing and we move onto the next thing and hopefully you know, you, you took enough knowledge that you want to continue to go further with me, but if you don’t, that’s okay. You know you’ve got your site, you’ve got your staff to do it and you can achieve out. Now that being said, I do show them analytics. I do. I do the basic stuff. Once a year, I meet with everyone to make sure that they’re building their plant because I do want everyone to succeed, but I’m not going to hold their hand to do it because it’s their business. They took ownership.

Kim:  06:43  That makes sense. So you’re not the person out there now, posting to their Facebook page every single day, four times a day, etc. No, but you do some of that other marketing. So for example, you and I have talked about what your Facebook page needs and and you stay on top of that, so you do work some of that. What other type of campaigns would you learn or help someone with?

Travis:   07:03 Yeah, so I do, uh, various things from so far on the website. I do, you know, any website marketing, so Google Adwords, Targeted Google Ads, you know, the new Facebook pixel, you know, we do all that, you know, Twitter, all that stuff, connecting to your marketing plan. The other thing that we do is, that’s kind of unique as I do event planning, a lot of event strategies and how to market, how to fundraise. MI have a heart for nonprofits. So a lot of people come to me for nonprofits because my rate for nonprofit is whatever they can afford. Literally that’s what it is. I go, here’s how much it would cost me. Here’s my hard costs. You’ve got to pay at least this. But other than that, it’s whatever you can afford. And sometimes that’s worked out really well for me. And sometimes, um, I regret that decision, but it’s a.

Travis:  07:45 But that’s what makes me, you do, they’re going to. And I also do marketing strategies based on what works for them. So I build marketing plans to write, write it all down and what they need to do when they can refer to it. So I, I put it down on paper, what you need to do, how many times a day you need the post, when, where, how, you know, making sure it looks, making sure all the latest technologies are being used, blogging, any of that stuff that needs, you know, I do do those things but I don’t do it. It’s not a set when you sign up, this is what we’re going to do for our non-technical audience. Yes, please, please explain what the Facebook pixel Facebook pixel. What it does is it adds to your website and anybody goes to your website, it allows them to target and get information to Facebook.

Travis:  08:28  So when you do Facebook advertising, how to get to them. So Facebook advertising is the cheapest advertising probably on the net. It’s very, very cheap, but it doesn’t get a lot of clicks. And what’s what’s interesting about marketing and it’s finding a marketing that works for them. Not everything is consistent. For instance, if you were working at a restaurant, or you are doIng anything that has events? Facebook is going to work for you and I can show it works for you. I can show that you post. You get people like I could show you that, but you’re a plumber. If their stuff’s not broken, I can’t promise you, and that’s what Facebook pixel kind of does. It kind of alleviates that is people looking at that. They’re looking for your plumbing. I see that they’ve come to your site now I can advertise to them and it helps you build that target audience that kind of fits you.

Travis:   09:10  It’ll take your audiences in and build them based on what their search market is, which is pretty cool and it takes your friends. So let’s say, uh, me and my wife wanted to get a ring. It would grow. It would know that we’re both looking for rings. It would know she went to it. It knows that we’re connected on Facebook because we’re married. It’ll show me the advertising because she looked at that site and that, that helps me. So it’s building those target network in the less money you spend on marketing, the better, less to get more his way. Marketing is supposed to work. I know it’s marketing people don’t like that because we’d like to give more, you know, for moneywise. But really that’s the way it should work. Spend less, gaining as much as possible.

Kim:  09:46   Give us some ideas on that for Facebook marketing when, when you’re saying it doesn’t have to be really expensive, what, what is that?

Travis:   09:54  Content marketing, local marketing. So it depends on what your target market is. You can spend as little as $20 and you can just do boost your post. It’s going to get a minimal minimum result because it’s just boosting to peoples who already liked your stuff. So it’s going to expand up to that network. So if you, a lot of people control their Facebook and they’re worried about their business overlapping, that’s never gonna work for them because they’ve already controlled their, their, their likes. um, so spending $20 on that is great. The other thing is that’s gonna cost. You zero. Make a Facebook group. If you’re doing something that your cell, make a Facebook group to target people, people look for groups all the time to be invested in it and you’re going to make more money on that by sharing your posts than you would actually spending on advertising, which is a neat trick, but there’s a cost.

Travis:  10:38   There’s a work cost, right? Because you’ve got to post, you’ve got to maintain. You’ve got to do all that other. The second thing is hashtags don’t use hashtags on Facebook. they’re useless. Nobody searches for them. Kind of a pointless thing. If you’re going to use hashtags, go to Instagram, do that. Instagram. Uh, so, so the other thing on Facebook is don’t spend the money to do the Instagram unless you knoW, a target market that’s going over there, right? So for Instagram and Facebook will take all your stuff and posted it on Instagram. Well, Instagram is more of a national. Facebook’s a little bit more targeted locally where we’re Instagram’s national. So if you don’t have a national product, Instagram’s probably not gonna help you. So it’s, it’s knowing that market and knowing what that’s gonna look for you. But you can base it keywords and target it really, really low.

Travis:   11:20  You can target things by money finance area in the, the Adsense, uh, of Facebook, so you can do all those dropdown levels on Facebook, of targeting someone really to the key to, to where your demographic is, where you think your demographic is. And that’s what’s really cool about Facebook because everybody uses it all the time, but you’ve got to get them at the right time because Facebook, people aren’t looking there to buy. You need to, to attract them. You need to do something unique to get them. How many times you’ve actually bought something on Facebook, let’s be realistic. Not very often it happens, you know, but it’s not very often. It’s normally an event, oh, I want to go to that vent. Hey honey, do you want to go to this event? And then we go.

Kim:  12:01   Absolutely. Let’s go. I think that’s really nailed business and online marketing and we can just tell you’re an expert and I know I could talk to you for another couple of hours, but let’s go Into some fun stuff. You can actually have a comic book.

Travis:  12:15  Yeah. Yeah. So I just recently crowdfunded. So crowd funding is such a unique thing and I had a lot of clients that wanted to do it. Um, and I’m passionate about comic books. I’ve read comic books and written comic books back in 2003, 2004. It’s funny that I can name that, but I can’t name my business start. Uh, but I used to write comics and I got married about a year ago and my wife thought I hung up all my comic books on the wall in my office and she was just like, oh, you just write comics. Yeah. And I showed her and I had this folder in the folder. I had some, a complete comic, like it was, it was completely done except for lettering. And she’s like, why haven’t you done anything with those? And I was like, oh yeah, why haven’t I done anything with that?

Travis:  12:56   So in three months of marketing I raised $4000 to print and get the content out to people. Sold 327 copies of the comic book. Um, and then I’m printing, you know, about 1500 to sell, so it’s super cool and learning the Kickstarter market and Kickstarter mentality and how to run a Kickstarter and how to do it. And it was, it was a tough thing. My comic, because I’m a, I’m a Christian, I’m a market, what’s called the Marketplace Minister. I add Christ to business on a regular basis, but my comic is pulp fiction F bombs everything. So there was a delay and I wasn’t hitting my target audience. I’m in. This is where marketing comes in, right? So my audience that I’ve been branding for the last few years is Marketplace Minister. They know me as a Christian, they knew me as this, so how do I change that audience and not dismiss it? So it was a unique thing, but yeah, Broke Down and Four Dead Bodies, it’s cool.

Kim:  13:47  We will get a link to that in the show notes. Yeah. SometImes it’s um when you have to tell your mom, no, this one’s not for you. We used to, at my family, we would sit around and swap Monty Python jokes from Holy Grail and my mom would say, “Maybe I need to watch that.” And we’d say No.

Travis:  14:07   Well, it was such an interesting crowdfunding. It’s such an interesting thing. It’s so different than traditional marketing and how to do it and anybody can do it right? So 50 percent of all Kickstarters work, they do. Fifty percent of them are funded, but the ones that don’t work, you can tell they didn’t do any planning. They didn’t plan it. They didn’t build a brand, they didn’t. They didn’t do any work, right? They’re like, I’m gonna write a novel if you give me $5,000. No, you write a novel and then you sell it and then look, hey, it sells. But if you don’t do the work, you don’t. So people. So people get confused about crowdfunding, they get an idea, they throw it up and then it doesn’t work. And they’re like, what happened? You know when you look at someone like you who does manuals, crowdfunding’s great for you.

Travis:  14:50  You have a reputation, you have an idea of doing that. You can put those together in books and sell them and when you’re using crowdfunding is kind of like a presale instead of a, I need you to do this. It’s, it’s you asking for partnership. It’s a different thing where people view crowdfunding as free money and it’s not, it’s, it’s asking people to partner with you for the result. So for example, you’ve written the work correct, and you’re going to the crowdfunding audience to pre-purchase so that you’ve got the money to print the work, correct? Yeah. My book was 100 percent done before I ever put it up there and that was the key and that’s the difference between me and somebody else’s book and why I raised so much money. On average Kickstarter, so for comics, they are a little higher comics because it’s $4 a book, you know, for the most part we tend to fund a little bit easier, you know, if we do our packages right?

Travis:  15:37   So we have a 60 percent rate in Kickstarter. I know all these statistics, so 60 percent rate and Kickstarter, which is better than average. The average is like 45 percent of Kickstarters run, so comics run a little on the higher thing, but all of those, the more you have done and you can normally only raise about two grand on comics when you first started out like a new book. Nobody’s ever heard of you. Nobody’s ever known the artist. You don’t have anybody famous with you, you can only raise about two grand. I raised four grand and I funded in seven days. Wow. Wow.

Kim:   16:06   That’s Pretty amazing. And then did you already have an audience to go out to? Obviously not that the Marketplace Ministry audience.

Travis:  16:14  No, I had to build an audience. I had to build that and I had to do the work and research and do the studying to build that audience. I mean, I did comics, but I did it so long ago that that audience went away and the way they did it back then, back in the day when I created comics, you, you made a comic, you spent all your money to print it on your credit card and then you go to Cons so you can lose money at Cons because you never afford to pay for the hotel at the table and set your comic and hopefully someone from one of the big companies, Marvel Image or DC, it would come up to your booth and say you’re amazing and take you away. That’s the plan. That was a marketing strategy. It’s still kind of the marketing strategy, but now you can at least go to crowdfund and go, hey, you can build an audience.

Travis:  16:52  So I have 150 backers and then since then I’ve gained probably another 35 or so. People who heard about it late wants to get involved. You know, and I. It’s going to be bigger and bigger. There’s people who make $20,000 every time they put on a comic book on Kickstarter. Never known by Marvel, DC, Image, never go through the major people how many of those you got to do a year, what, you know, three or four a year and you’re good, you know, it’s uh, it’s amazing the, what Kickstarter can do for you and building that community. And I wanted to learn it, not just for my comic, but I wanted to learn it for clients, how to do it, how to really do it. And since then I’ve had two other novelists who just did it one of them funded and one of them’s halfway to their funding goal and they got 15 more days. I think they’ll hit it.

Kim:  17:32   Sometimes, even though I have been a technologist most of my life. There are times I get really frustrated with technology. But then when things like this with self publishing and funding, it opens doors. It never did before. Even 20 years ago you really had to have someone at a network think you were good enough to have your own television show. Correct. And now we’ve got, you know, YouTube, anybody can have their own show, their own channel. And then with the crowdfunding. So I know that the audience is going to be really interested in that other than just researching the market, what are the top two things that they really need to know before they start a Kickstarter campaign,

Travis:   18:11  Be part of the community that you’re trying to target. A lot of people, what they do is they’re, they think they’re good enough and they think they have the message that is so different from their community because not everybody has a message, right? Ever measured. But you got to be part of the community that’s your target audience. So there’s groups, there are study groups. There’s people who are interested in your subject matter. You have to be part of that. You have to invest in them to have them invest in you. It’s a, it’s a tit for tat, right? And that’s not just money, but it is sometimes money. So there’s a Hamilton trick for Kickstarter. Um, and this is what I learned. So for Kickstarter community as a whole, if you do not back other projects, they’re not going to back you because you are not part of their community.

Travis:  18:50  You’re just trying to take from that community because there’s large backers. One of my backers was from Paris, came last day, spent $600 on art from people he’s never seen the art, never read the book. He was just like, I want to buy some original art. I want to do this. I want to do that $500 for a guy. I don’t know. You know, my first backer was $150 guy locally, locally who I don’t know, doesn’t know me at all. he’s just like, you’re a local guy. I wanna I want to support your stuff. But you know, one of the things when I asked them more questions, it was because they saw that I’ve invested in, in the communities, you know, I backed other projects and so the Hamilton Trick is go ahead and pick 10 projects and back them at a dollar a piece. You can always put that minimum dollar.

Travis:  19:30  Kickstarter doesn’t say how much you backed how much money it is, so it doesn’t have to be tons for me. I didn’t do the Hamilton Trick and my wife just she yelled at me the other day of how much I spent on Kickstarter, but, but you can do that and just invest in a couple of people project because when people look at it, they’re going to look at somebody who’s never backed there anything. This is their first project and they’ve never invested in the community. Is that someone you really want to support? So that’s probably the two biggest tricks that I would say on how to successfully crowdfund. And they are big ones because I’ve seen people literally last couple of days and I’ve advised him, hey, just back a couple of projects, because Kickstarter, it gives you a big boost when you first put your stuff up.

Travis:   20:05  And in the last few days they give you a boost, um, because they, they want you to succeed because Kickstarter wants the best success rate as possible. It’s building that. And the other thing, uh, that I guess a third bonus tip I would give you is if you have a cause to that, cause you know, whether it be cancer, whatever story, whatever your story is that can infuse in the book is great. Mine was crime and violence, so I didn’t have a personal story, but I’ve seen people have, hey, ah, this story is about a superhero who has cancer. I survived cancer. And they, you tell that personal story, it’s gonna give you like a quick two grand right there because people can relate to that story.

Kim:  20:43  And that’s true really with anything.

Travis:  20:45 Yeah, no, absolutely. It’s a marketing one on one. But yeah.

Kim:  20:49   Yes. Telling your story or telling a story that I should say the audience connects with is so important. Well that’s pretty exciting. So for your next comic book, will you be going back to Kickstarter?

Travis:   21:01  Yeah. Yeah. No, I mean why, why not? You know, it seems silly to spend it out of my pocket. Right? And if I can raise $40,000 in three months, they say I’m an average person who does comics. they saved to do it a year, promoted a year before you even launch on Kickstarter. I didn’t do that. And again, I do have a marketing company. So I did have an. I felt like I had an edge and I knew my stuff, but I did my statistics right. I knew how many people I had on my mailing list. I knew how many people had on my Facebook. I knew how many groups are a part of. I did all that math of what my minimum could raise before I even put my number up.

Travis:  21:33 So yeah, the next one will go back on Kickstarter, we’ll probably do it in March. Um, it’s almost done right now. We have 17 pages done and it’s a 30 page book. Um. Oh. And that’s the other thing that I did that was unique as a normal comic for Indie people are like 16 to 20 pages. I did 30, like 30 full story because I want to give you more than the other guy. Like make yourself stand out. If you want to do this, do it like let’s go out.

Kim:  21:59  So Travis, tell people how they can get in touch with you. But yeah, so there’s a couple different ways you can go to effexagency.com. If you are looking for web design marketing, or just want to hang out. I will meet with anybody for coffee. All my information’s free.

Travis:  22:12   Kim sat with me several times. Just if you want to talk to me, you want my marketing advice, I’ll give it to you for free. If you want me to do work, then you’re going to have to pay me for comic. It’s brokedownandfourbodies.com. And that’s where you get that. And Marketplace Ministry. Are you going to find Breaking Walls group on Facebook? It does have a website as well, breakingwallsbrevard.com. I think I don’t use it as much as I should. I apologize. You know, again, when you brand yourself too far out, you don’t use everything. Um, there’s a whole bunch of seminars coming up, so you’ll see those as, as they come out. But yeah, that’s how you reach me.

Kim:    22:45  Excellent. And we will put links to all of that in the show notes. Thanks so much for joining us on this episode of Space Coast Stories. I’m your host, Kim Shivler. I’ll see you next time.

Kim:   22:57   Join us next time for another episode of Space Coast Stories. You can find the show notes and other information spacecoaststories.com. The views of the guest on this show are their own and don’t necessarily represent the views of the show owners or company. Thanks for listening to space coast stories.

 

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