Some marketing experts are always trying to get you loads of “traffic” or want you focus on “list-building.”
Their language suggests that they may be seeing people as a means to an end —bigger list, sales, profit —rather than caring directly for the people.
What if we focus on serving the right "people" instead of always getting more “traffic”? This shift in language helps us to focus on real human beings.
A focus on traffic and list-building makes us do things that feel inauthentic. Instead, what an authentic business needs is:
1. To connect genuinely with the relative few that our business can best serve, the people who would be most grateful for our offerings.
2. To have fulfilling relationships of reciprocity that allow everyone involved to thrive.
There’s a famous article by Kevin Kelly which says this more eloquently, and with numbers: 1,000 True Fans. Here’s a quote:
“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 1 million website visitors, or 100,000 Facebook Fans.
Your business can’t even serve 10,000 people right now.
What you actually want are the right 100 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” (or to one of them) in your marketing, and they will find their way to you.
Think of it as concentric circles:
We can either:
1. Try to be popular -- try to appeal to the largest circles -- and learn marketing and persuasion skills that feel inauthentic to us…
2. We can focus daily on being our most authentic higher self, and be willing to care more for our fans (especially true fans) than other businesses are willing to care for them.
You may feel a constant pull between these extremes.
I will always be here to en-courage you toward authenticity.
Why is it better to focus on authenticity and true fans?
You can be fully yourself with your true fans.
No matter what “mistakes” you think they make, they will forgive you, because they resonate with a much deeper energy signature that your authentic self expresses.
The surface stuff -- the exact words, the facial expressions, the voice -- they will look beyond all that to connect with the deepest part of your presence and message.
Your services are magically effective for your true fans.
You’ll notice that even if the same service or product is given to different people, they will have different reactions. One person gets so much benefit, while another will not find it helpful at all.
It’s the same service or product, but it’s a different person receiving it. Your true fans are the kind of people who get far more benefit and enjoyment from your service or product, than most 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 find happiness when connecting with them. You enjoy them!
Therefore, if you study what part of your content and offerings resonate more for them than your other stuff, you’ll naturally be drawn to creating more things that they want and need.
With enough true fans, all you have to do is whisper.
Let’s say your current goal is $75,000 a year from your business. (Once you can sustain that, then you can expand the goal.) If on average each true fan spends $750 a year with you (through various services, programs, and products) then you’d only need 100 true fans. Or if each spends only $250 a year, you’d need just 300 true fans.
The closer you get to having those 100-300 true fans, the more you can simply whisper your offerings, and you’d fill your client roster or programs. Not that you’re more persuasive or attractive, but it’s because your true fans trust you. They are deeply connected to 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 are an energy source, igniting the rest of your audience, and eventually helping to turn some of the regular fans into true fans.
When you notice yourself slipping into trying to be popular, take a pause; take a breath. Then, return to your authentic truth. Re-focus on your true fans. They are waiting for you to be your real self again.
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 truth of the connection you feel to your fans.
1. When you see behaviors in your industry that tempts you toward inauthenticity, and are dragging down the values of your industry, potentially harming your true fans, call it out. Don't demonize specific individuals, but call out the unhelpful behaviors, so that people can wake up.
2. Dive into your passion, always getting more excellent at it.
3. 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. ❦
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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