Are You Delivering Value to Your 1000 True Fans?

I just read Tim Ferris' latest post, about public speaking and went off on a mental rabbit trail when he reminded me of Kevin Kelly's famous article on 1000 True Fans.

Tim's comment on 1000 True Fans is that it is the only marketing article one really needs to read. I don't disagree.

The 1000 True Fan concept began with an eye for the marketing challenges facing artists, musicians,performers, authors, etc. But it also has applications for bloggers, podcasters, and anyone who creates and sells content.

Here's what Ken Kelly has to say about it:
A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author - in other words, anyone producing works of art - needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.

A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can't wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.

In other words, when casting your marketing net, particularly if you are marketing with social media, don't try to cast your net wide. Cast it deep. (I may have stretched that "casting your net" metaphor a little too far, but you get the point).

Marketing to millions is incredibly hard, but pleasing 1000 people is very doable. And, as Kelly says, "Pleasing a True Fan is pleasurable, and invigorating." Having a highly targeted fan base is rewarding in many ways. It keeps you focused and motivated. Plus it is just plain fun.

I talked about a similar approach a few months back when I wrote How To Build Your Social Media "Farm," a case study of how a very successful real estate agent I once knew built her business (with applications for those using social media as a marketing tool).

The value of focusing on a core group of True Followers on social media is that they help you cultivate your concentric circles of lesser fans. In a sense, they do your marketing for you. They are your evangelists.

And believe me, if you have 1000 die hard followers, friends, or fans out there spreading the word about who you are and what you do, your impact will be felt far and wide.

If you don't have your 1000 True Fans yet, think about who they are. A good start would be to develop what David Meerman Scott calls "Buyer Personas."

Developing Buyer Personas is much more than demographics. It is an understanding of your ideal buyer's wants and needs, problems, likes and dislikes, etc. What this does for you is that it helps you avoid what Adele Revella calls "Messaging to No One In Particular."

Here's a quote from Adele:
So I offer this recommendation to both product management and marketing. Stop arguing about who owns messaging -- the reason this is so hard is neither of you really knows the people you're trying to influence. You guys need to listen to your target buyers -- not just customers, and not the people who are in the sales pipeline, but the people who should respond to your marketing programs and haven't yet. These folks will tell you what matters most to them. Identify where your capabilities are closely aligned with the buyers' needs, then feed their own words back to them and they'll want to take the next step in the sales process.

If you listen carefully and consistently, you'll begin to notice that different types of buyers have different priorities. Not to worry -- you should develop different messaging for each type of persona and now you know which words to use.

OK, so once you know WHO will make up your targeted 1000, how do you reach them?

The great thing about focusing on a few, rather than the many, is that these people tend to cluster in groups. You can find them huddled together in various online and offline communities like Facebook groups, MeetUps, business networking groups, Twitter groups, etc. When your product and your message lines up with the right personas, you can make significant inroads into these groups and befriend them.

The secret is to add value. Add lots of value specifically designed for these people. If you are delivering content that solves their problems (many groups are defined by the problem they want to solve), become a resource for them.

For example, if the content you produce is about health, fitness and weight loss; don't just deliver your own content or content that makes you money. If your list of people receive links to articles and videos that help them solve their defining problems, they will love you all the more. Look for free things you can send their way, even if it is just a lot of links to great information online.

The point of all this is that social media is a great tool for delivering value to a small, focused group of people. Social media can help you find these people, build trust and credibility with them, and most of all develop true fans (aka "friends") from among them.

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COPYRIGHT © 2009, Charles Brown
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April 13, 2010 at 7:01 PM allenmireles said...

Nicely done, Sir Charles.Will share with my networks.

April 13, 2010 at 8:57 PM Charles Brown said...

Thank you Allen, I think there is a lot more to learn exploring this topic.

April 14, 2010 at 3:34 AM Yinka aolaito said...

Value will give anyone a competitive advantage anyday. Anything else will bring confusion and irrelevance. thanks for this

May 5, 2010 at 11:38 PM Amit said...

Nice blog & good post.You have beautifully maintained

May 7, 2010 at 2:11 PM Charles Brown said...

Thank you all. Winning in business is all about delivering value. But when focusing on a core group of "fans" rather than the masses, adding this value becomes a more tangible goal.

May 7, 2010 at 3:25 PM Charles Brown said...

Thank you all. Winning in business is all about delivering value. But when focusing on a core group of "fans" rather than the masses, adding this value becomes a more tangible goal.