Some marketing experts want you to focus on “list-building” or getting lots of “traffic”.
It can make us start to do things that are inauthentic. For example, using “lead magnets” to grow an email list, or making popular posts on social media that aren’t true to our business or authenticity.
What if instead we focus on serving the just right "people", instead of always getting more “traffic”? The shift seems subtle, but it’s important: a more relational language continually trains us to focus on real human beings.
Instead of “traffic”, what an authentic business really needs is:
To connect genuinely with the true fans that our business can best serve, the people who would be most grateful for our offerings.
To nurture relationships of reciprocity that allow everyone to thrive.
There’s a famous article by Kevin Kelly which says this eloquently: 1,000 True Fans.
“It has never been easier to gather 1,000 true fans around a creator, and never easier to keep them near… Instead of trying to reach the narrow and unlikely peaks of platinum bestseller hits, blockbusters, and celebrity status, you can aim for direct connection with a thousand true fans.
On your way, no matter how many fans you actually succeed in gaining, you’ll be surrounded not by faddish infatuation, but by genuine and true appreciation. It’s a much saner destiny to hope for.
And you are much more likely to actually arrive there." -- Kevin Kelly
Basically, you don’t need 100,000 website visitors, or a million TikTok Followers.
If you’re a solopreneur, your business probably can’t even serve 1,000 people at the same time.
What you probably want, in any given month, are the right 25 people to know about your service, the ones who most need and want it, those you’d be most delighted to work with. And that is quite doable.
Practice speaking directly to them in your marketing, and they will find their way to you.
Think of it as concentric circles:
Your authenticity is the center – it’s the core source of the unique energy signature you’re putting out there, whenever you create content or share your offerings.
The circle just outside of you are your true fans, who love your content whenever they see it. Many of them buy much of what you offer.
The circle outside of that comprises your followers, who consume your content on a semi-regular basis, and over time, buy a few of your products/services.
Outside of that are your potential followers, who hear about you once in a while, but have yet to buy. They may or may not become your followers.
And outside of that is everyone else.
We can either:
Try to be popular -- try to appeal to the largest circles -- and learn marketing and persuasion skills that feel inauthentic to us…
We can focus on being our most authentic self, and be willing to care more for our true fans than other businesses are willing to care for them. This is not hard to do, because so many businesses don’t care much for people at all.
Truthfully, many soulful solopreneurs aren’t organized enough to care well. Therefore, when you are both deeply empathic and efficiently organized, you can be consistent in showing up to care for your true fans.
You truly become outstanding.
Why is it so worthwhile to care just for your true fans?
You can be fully yourself with your true fans.
No matter what “mistakes” you make, they easily overlook those, because they resonate with something deeper – your energy signature.
The surface stuff – the exact words, the facial expressions, whether you’re having a good hair day – they will overlook all of that to connect with the deeper part of your presence and message.
Your services are magically effective for your true fans.
You’ll notice that if the same service is given to different people, they have different reactions to it. One person gets so much benefit, while another doesn’t find the exact same service to be helpful.
Your true fans are the kind of people who get much more benefit and enjoyment from your service, than other people.
You enjoy your true fans!
Not only do they feel attracted to your energy signature (no matter what's on the surface), you also feel drawn to theirs. You feel happiness when connecting with them!
Therefore, if you observe which of your content and offers resonate most for your true fans, you’ll naturally be drawn to creating more things that they want.
With enough true fans, all you have to do is whisper.
Let’s say your goal is $100,000 a year from your business. (You can of course expand, once you can sustain that number reliably.) If each true fan spends an average of $1,000 per year with you – through your various services, programs, and products – then you’d only need 100 true fans!
If each spends only $300 a year, then you’d need 333 true fans.
The closer you get to having those true fans, the more you can simply whisper your offerings, and you’d fill your client roster or programs. You never have to try being persuasive or attractive, because your authentic expression is enough for your true fans to like and trust you. They feel naturally resonant with your presence and message.
Your true fans are your ambassadors.
By caring for your true fans, they will naturally share their excitement with others. Your true fans form a potent energy source, igniting the rest of your audience, and eventually turning some of the regular followers into true fans as well.
When you notice yourself slipping into trying to be popular, take a pause; take a breath.
Return to your authentic truth. Re-focus on your true fans. They love it when you are your real self.
By caring for your true fans (even if it's just 1 person right now!), you might eventually grow beyond 100 or 1,000 people, but you’re not fixated about numbers and growth. You’re focused on the heartfelt connection with your fans.
Dive into your passion, and keep practicing how you can be more skillful at sharing your authentic expression.
Truly care for the relative few that your business can best serve: your true fans.
Do these things, and over time, your business will flourish. This “formula” is timeless, proven again and again.
Trust in the process. ❦
(Originally written in April 2019. Updated in July 2022.)