Wondering what it takes to really get the results you want from your audience? Many people think it’s all about the size of your list. While having a large list is certainly helpful, it’s not all there is. You need your message to resonate with your list. You need them to trust what you have to say. This is the foundation of a lasting relationship with potentially life-long customers.
Why it Takes True Fans to get the Results You Want
In our direct-access economy, there are few assets more valuable than a good email list.
But what qualifies a list as good?
The first answer is usually size. We base our value judgment on how many people are on the list.
It’s the same for social media metrics. The more the merrier.
But not so fast. Reach is not the same as influence.
Reach deals with the number of people who see your message. Influence is the amount of weight that you carry with your audience. You want them to see you as an authority figure and listen to what you have to say. It’s about trust.
I found that affiliates with the biggest lists did not necessarily get the best results. Many could not motivate their people to buy.
At the same time, several affiliates with smaller lists had higher conversions and crushed affiliates with huge lists.
I’ve seen the same thing in publishing. An author might appear on paper to have a significant platform—big social media numbers, a large email list, and so on.
But numbers don’t always add up to action. Sometimes an author’s new book would release, and people on their lists didn’t seem to care.
Why the disconnect?
It comes down to three factors: investment, trust, and expectation. Whatever our business, if we miss these factors, we’re not going to get the results we want.
1. Is Your Audience Invested in Your Message?
Several years ago Kevin Kelly, the co-founder of Wired, posted an article called “1,000 True Fans.”
The idea is simple. Most creators won’t see blockbuster success. But they can see enough success to sustain a profitable business if they cultivate 1,000 True Fans.
“A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce,” says Kelly. “They have a Google Alert set for your name. … They can’t wait till you issue your next work.”
In other words, they are invested in your message, whatever it happens to be.
This is key. You want to build a trusting relationship with your customers. You want them to know you, like you, trust you, and ultimately buy from you — over and over again.
Investment equals response, and that’s critical when building a list because subscribers who aren’t invested won’t move the needle. The affiliates with smaller lists drove more sales because their audiences cared enough to respond when they spoke.
2. Does Your Audience Trust You?
Trust takes investment up a notch. True Fans buy because they trust. After all, sales are more than attention. It’s attention plus authority. If you have attention but no authority, you won’t convert clicks to cash.
Do you have True Fans – people who can’t wait to read what you write, to listen to what you have to say, and buy your products? How did you build that kind of long-lasting relationship with them?