This is a follow up story for Crimibox. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 5 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hi guys! My name is Jimmy Cowe and I started Crimibox in 2017. With Crimibox, we make and sell fictional murder cases as an escape game via our webshop. People order their cases online and receive a box full of evidence, pictures, and police files. Together with their online partner, they need to sort out who the murderer is.
The idea of selling fictional murder cases started with a post-it on my fridge. I have worked for the police for 12 years so I have seen some incredible stories. I was tired of working for someone and I wanted to start a new business. So I quit, hung a post-it on my fridge to brainstorm for ideas and Crimibox was born!
Anno 2021 we are with six full-time employees, had a partnership with a Netflix series, and ended 2020 with 1.5 million as a turnover. We’re also active in more than four languages in twelve countries. More than a quarter of a million worldwide!
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
It has been crazy times. When COVID hit Belgium in 2020, everything went on lockdown. We couldn’t even go outside if it was unnecessary. People were inside a lot so Crimibox seemed the perfect pastime with your family. For Crimibox, it was a fantastic year. We broke every record there was until April 2021. Everything started to open again and normal life started.
Don’t rely on one channel but spread your chances.
People could go outside again and they didn’t want to play a game inside. So we knew a decline in our revenue. Q2 and Q3 were not that good but now Q4 is looking good so far. Christmas season and Black Friday are favorable to us.
During that time, we hired two new people on our team. From now on, we have our graphic designer which is good for the quality of our boxes and online marketing. We also hired an office manager because a bigger team means a bigger need for structure. Especially when you work with some creative, chaotic minds.
There have been a few more obstacles to our business. For example the start of IOS 14. This had a big influence on our marketing strategy. Facebook was until then our number one source of income via online advertising. From now on, we can’t track the outcome precisely anymore so we had to look for other channels. It challenged us to be more creative so we started working more with Google Ads and discovered TikTok Ads as well.
2020 was the first time we participated in the Black Friday madness. Before that, we didn’t believe that this hype would be such a big thing in Europe (as we don’t have Thanksgiving). But we gave it a try and it turned out to be our most successful weekend ever! We hit a conversion rate of 8% which is crazy.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
As I already mentioned, we have had some trouble with the IOS 14 update. Before the update, we almost only relied on Facebook for online advertising. Our advice; don’t rely on one channel but spread your chances. It’s cliché but we experienced it firsthand. Look for new and innovative channels. Try, fail and try again until you find a new channel that works well for your business. For example TikTok, it’s not about Gen Z and dancing anymore.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of e-mailmarketing. One of the biggest marketing lessons I learned after four years is that your existing clients are so much more important than acquiring new clients. Keep your existing clients engaged, make them happy, and make them talk about your brand. E-mailmarketing is the ideal tool for that.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
We have some big things ahead for Crimibox. We want to be the biggest in crime entertainment. A big extension of our product range as long as it’s related to crime. Recently we released our first book but there are other things on our planning. A physical experience, a podcast, a subscription model, and if we can dream big, we have our crime streaming service, a crime theme park.
We want to focus on true crime fanatics because we believe that that’s a really interesting target audience. If they’re done doing something crime-related, we want them to come to our website to look for the next thing. At this point, we’re working hard behind the scene for a rebranding.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
I don’t read a lot but I followed some really interesting podcasts; perpetual traffic, high-performance podcast, and the DTC podcast.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Done is better than perfect! Launch your product on time and adapt in real-time after the launch. Don’t postpone it because your clients are waiting.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We’re looking for some marketing interns. Based on their strength, we’ll give them a chance to develop their interests. Going from making content for TikTok to writing SEO blogs. Variable!
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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