Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my online business and the strategies that I’ve employed to get to where I am. Josh Bartlett and I have sat around for hours discussing the ways that most people get started in online business. We’ve come to the conclusion that almost everyone out there is doing it all wrong.
It seems to us that most people have this strategy that consists of basically building a list as large as possible. Their number one focus in life is to build it bigger and bigger. While having a huge list is definitely not a bad thing, most people are putting their focus on the wrong thing. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that “the money is in the list”. You’ve probably also heard the counter-response that “the money is not in the list… it’s in the relationship that you have with the list”. Obviously, the second one is probably closer to the truth. Today I’m going to put a new spin on the idea…
Focus on Building Fans Instead of Gaining Subscribers.
When I talk about a fan, I’m referring to the people that purchase every product that you create just because you made it. These people have so much faith in you that they are willing to blindly purchase what you are selling simply because you made it and they trust that what you made will live up to the quality that they’ve come to expect from you. These fans will purchase products through your affiliate links because they trust you and that you would only recommend the best for them. One fan is worth infinitely more to you that even 100 subscribers on your list.
Think of Apple Computers… They have thousands (if not millions) of fans. There are people out there that will purchase every single product that Apple puts out just because it’s Apple and they’ve come to expect a certain level of quality and usability from them. We call these people Apple Fanboys / Fangirls (and day by day I’m becoming one too). When they put out an iPhone 4, hundreds of thousands of people who already have perfectly fine, working, iPhone 3s drop their old phone to go grab Apple’s latest new toy. It happens with each new product they put out… They have fans.
Another example would be the gaming company, Blizzard. They do games like WarCraft, StarCraft and Diablo. I’m a fan of their company. In my opinion, they’ve never released a bad game. As a result, I own every game they’ve ever released. I buy the games before even reading reviews because I’ve come to expect a certain level from them and they seem to never disappoint. I am a fan…
Let’s put some math behind the idea… Written on the white board on the wall in my office I have “1,000 FANS” written in huge writing. That goal has been on board for months and months now. It is my opinion that if I can build my business to the point where I have 1,000 fans, I will be set…
One fan can be worth any amount to you. I would say at the very minimum, 1 fan is worth $100 per year. Remember, a fan buys everything you release and also purchases most of what you recommend. You only need to sell 2 products in a year, valued at $50 each for one fan to be worth $100 per year. However, at this rate, 1,000 fans is equal to $100,000 per year to your business.
Realistically, though, one fan is probably worth more like $324 per year (or about $27 per month) to your business. So at 1,000 fans, you are probably closer to a business worth around $324,000 per year. At this rate, you only need about 309 true fans to have a $100,000 per year business….
It’s fun to play with these numbers. Obviously, people who only sell and promote really high-ticket items will have a higher value per fan. However, in the high-ticket market, one fan is probably a little harder to come by.
Are you starting to see how simple the concept of building a huge income becomes when your focus becomes building fans as opposed to building a list of subscribers?
How to create fans
There are a few simple rules that myself and Josh tend to follow. Do these things and you will be on your way to building a list of adoring fans.
1. Give tons and tons of high value content for free. Use your blog, create eBooks, make video tutorials, and record interviews. Then just give them away for free. People love to get for free what most other people probably charge to give. As long as the content is quality, people will stick around to see what you’re going to say or offer next. I do my best to share everything I know and learn and I usually give it away for free. The funny thing is, that has never hurt the sales of the products I sell. So don’t be afraid to share what you know for free. People will still pay to get even more details or to dig down a little deeper in to the concepts.
2. “Learn to love getting the short end of the stick” This is one of my favorite quotes and it comes from, fellow internet marketer, Eben Pagan. It basically means that when you do sell products, sell them for a lot less than you think they are worth. Have a philosophy of always over-delivering and make sure that when people purchase a product from you, they are always getting much more than they paid for.
3. Be customer service oriented. I still personally respond to most of my e-mails myself. I do my best to answer questions about my products or my ideas to the people who take the time to e-mail me and ask them. I’m not always the fastest at responding (I get a lot of e-mails) but I pretty much always get back to people. I hired people to manage my support desk as well. I want to make sure that even if I can’t respond quickly, you will get a quick response. No question goes unanswered and theres usually someone to answer quickly no matter what time you send it. These little details really solidify the confidence that people have in you and your business.
4. Never promote anything that you don’t know much about. Don’t jump on launches just because everyone else is promoting them and don’t agree to adswaps without knowing the product of the person you’re swapping with. Make sure that you do what you can to protect the list that you do have. Don’t violate the trust that you are working hard to build by sending crap that you don’t know much about. I’m not against promoting products, promoting launches or even doing adswaps. I just think that you should never mail anything to your list unless you are confident that it will benefit them. Don’t put your credibility with your list on the line by blindly mailing them everything that pops up to promote.
5. Always live up to the standards that you’ve created. If you are going to follow in these footsteps and build a business around creating fans and trust, make sure that any products that you put out continue to be high quality. Don’t let your true fans down. It may take only one misguided slip up to ruin that relationship. Don’t blow it.
Follow these steps and you will be well on your way to creating a huge list of fans. I know people with lists of 60,000 to 100,000 subscribers that get a worse response out of their lists than people with lists of a few hundred true fans. True, sustainable wealth comes from buildings fans and creating trust, not from making a list…
If you enjoyed this post, can you do me two huge favors? Click the “Like” button to let me know that you enjoyed it and leave a comment so we can further discuss it. What are you a fan of? Do you agree / disagree with this philosophy? Get your input heard.