This is a follow up story for Crimibox. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published almost 3 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hello! My name is Jimmy Cowé and I am the founder and Chief Murder Officer of the start-up Crimibox. Until three years ago, I worked as a police officer, but I wanted to do something more. I loved working for the police, but the job didn’t give me the satisfaction I needed. So I searched for a way to combine my love for justice and my desire to be my own boss. Then I came up with this idea: why not create a game where players can dig into an unsolved murder case?
With our murder cases, you can discover the thrill of being a real-life detective. You receive the evidence and you know who got murdered. But the real questions are left unanswered. Our players, or as we like to call them, detectives, have to search the internet and social media and solve all these puzzles to catch the monster that kills.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
The business was growing, but we started booming thanks to Covid. For us, the pandemic was good, because people stayed at home and they needed something to keep busy. So why not solve a murder? Our revenue during lockdown was almost as high as in the holiday season.
Don’t look at it as a failure if something doesn’t work out. The more you can test, the better you know what works for your company.
There was too much work for us alone, so we needed more employees. So that’s why we hired two marketeers who could keep busy with content and advertising. We have a good subject for content since there is an endless amount of murderers (dead or alive). We write a blog post every month, we keep our social media up to date and we make sure the detectives in our Facebook Community have a saying in small things (for example: which merchandise is cooler).
We also got in touch with an e-commerce agency, to really help us get everything out of our marketing. Together, we created structure and we got some helpful tips, like advertising on Pinterest. In Belgium, it isn’t that common, but when we check our Analytics, Pinterest gives us extra traffic to our website. And by retargeting them, we can make them convert.
We started to use Twitter Ads as well, but only to create extra traffic to our website. This works, but not as good as Pinterest. We created some campaigns on Youtube. Youtube is very cheap and if listeners come to you in the first 5 seconds, you can practically advertise for free. We are still testing our Youtube campaign, but so far so good!
TikTok has become so popular, so we couldn’t miss this trend. We’re still figuring out its algorithm, but we have so much fun making these videos!
We realized that the product is important. But what people really want to see, is who works behind the brand. So show them who you are, what you do in a day, or follow the trends. Anything to make sure they don’t want to miss anything you do!
Finally, we started dedicating a lot of our time to email marketing. First of all, we created flows so we don’t have to send everyone separate emails. These flows are automatically sent when someone follows a trigger. For this moment, we have three flows running:
- Abandoned Cart: when they start the check out without placing an order.
- Customer Winback: when they haven’t opened an email in the last 180 days.
- VIP Customers: returning customers receive free shipping
We are working on creating a Happy Birthday flow, so customers can use a discount on their birthday.
(We have pictures of the flows, you can choose which pictures you use. The name always starts with the flow. For example Abandoned_Cart_flow and the number is which picture comes first.)
Besides these flows, we also send an email weekly. We try to focus on what happens now. For example, when masks were obligated in the Netherlands, we sent an email saying: protect yourselves and wear a fancy Crimibox mask. Or we give a discount code for a special day like Halloween.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
We learned a lot this year, but the one thing we didn’t realize was how important Facebook is to us. Due to the elections in the United States, our account was wrongly blocked multiple times. We couldn’t even publish an ad or our account was blocked. We realized we relied way too much on Facebook, so that’s why we decided to create campaigns on other channels to generate traffic.
We also started working with a fulfillment center this year. Our margins are lower, but thanks to the fulfillment center we have way more time for the important stuff. The time we normally used for assembling the games, we use now to focus on selling our product and not on logistics.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
Soon our first tabletop game will be available. We are really excited to see if our customers can appreciate a tabletop game!
Last time we talked about a subscription model and I am happy to say that we are working on it. We created a fictional town where a criminal gang is working. We don’t only focus on murder, but also other crimes like arson, burglary. Normally we go live next year!
This year we would like to have a revenue of 7-figures. We are now at 820.000 euros, but with the holiday season coming up, we are pretty sure the 7-figures is achievable. It would be a confirmation of all our hard work.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
Still not much of a booklover, haha.
Shopify Masters is a nice podcast that provides you with the knowledge and inspiration you need to build, launch, and grow a profitable online store by interviewing successful entrepreneurs. The eCommerceFuel Podcast focuses on 7-Figure + Online Stores. They help build on the experience of 1,000+ high-revenue store owners to grow your store faster. And learn how others solved the exact problems you’re struggling with.
I could definitely recommend these podcasts!
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Don’t look at it as a failure if something doesn’t work out. The more you can test, the better you know what works for your company. We didn’t think that Pinterest would work for us, but we have way more traffic coming from Pinterest than from Instagram.
Also, think about working together with influencers. These men and women know what they are doing. They create awareness and a lot of their followers may be interested in your brand.
And don’t be afraid to ask for help! We work together with dear digital, a start-up agency specialized in e-commerce. They helped us structurize our Facebook Business Manager and gave us tons of new insights on how to optimize our webshop and our marketing.
One golden tip I give to my employees (and I have to remind them every once in a while): send a connect invitation on LinkedIn as soon as you meet someone new. Connections are everything. From the moment you need anything, post it on LinkedIn, and watch how your connections can help you!
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
At the moment, we are not actively looking for a new member of the Crimibox gang. But then again, most of our employees started working here without an “open” position.
So if you have new ideas on how to make Crimibox grow, even more, hit me up! Maybe we can mean something to each other.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Crimibox has provided an update on their business!
Over 1 year ago, we followed up with Crimibox to see how they've been doing since we published this article.
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