The ROI of One TRUE fan.

Where do you keep your love letters. True Fans send them all the time. Photo via flickr.

The other day a friend of mine said the most interesting thing. He was a little bit discouraged about something he was working on and he said to me.

“If I could just get some momentum going.”

I looked at him oddly. And said.

“That should be easy. Because you control that. You create your own momentum.”

I see that simple principle at work and even in my own personal life everyday. And I also see it in the lives of brands and organizations that are trying to get a community started.

Movement/momentum happens one person at time.

One meaningful, soulful, heartfelt interaction at time.

This notion is simple and hard at the very same time.

I love this blog/article sent to me by John Moore. Seems it got a lot of play in 2008 but I want to revive it.

Well worth the long read.

From The Technium post 1000 True Fans

The gist of 1,000 True Fans can be stated simply:

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.

Now I know he is talking about artists here. But aren’t we all produce/creating something akin to art? (Whether solutions or products)

And I can tell you, I have personally seen the value of 1000 true fans in the growth of Brains on Fire.

For us, it might work like this:

Someone on twitter tells someone to read out book or check out our blog. That person is inside an organization that hires us to speak. We create more fans inside the organization. We realize that we can add value and they figure that out too. And a relationship is forged. Based on trust.

And we never forget this one simple fact:

It all began with one true fan.

For one of our newest clients the story goes like this:

The CMO was looking for a new marketing team. A young designer within the organization followed our blog religiously. He asked if she would place our name on her list. We got an email. We arranged a call, then a visit. We told our story. We realized we were “same tribe”.

And again…it all began with one true fan. A fan that was willing to tell someone about us.

Do we spend a lot of money and time on that one true fan?

Yup. They are ALWAYS on our mind.

That is why we spent over six months writing them a book.

Posting blogs, like love letters, everyday.

We hold yearly FIRE sessions in Greenville where we ask them to be our guest.

We speak in interesting places and ask them to show up.

We love them.

WE adore our true fans.

We help them find jobs when they need us. We read their blogs. We give them our time.

So yes. To say we believe in the power of ONE true fan is actually an understatement. We’ve built Brains on Fire with the help of our true fans. Slowly but surely they have become an army of ambassadors.

I’ve never once made a COLD call. Ugh. And I love our fans because they make that lovely statement possible.

No, Brains on Fire is not selling Oreos or $10 dollar widgets or even scissors, but the principles are the same. True FANS matter more than huge numbers of likes or followers any day of the week. Because they are wiling to do something on your behalf.

Jay Gillespie of Fiskars sums it up best in our book, “For me it’s not about the numbers, its about growing even deeper relationships.”

Go out today and love your TRUE fans. Support them. Create deeper relationships. Lift them up. And never let them go.

It will create momentum. And you don’t believe me, check out what Papa Seth has to say.

Your turn: When have you experienced or seen first hand the ROI of one TRUE fan?

  • Jeff Hora

    I really identify with your phrases, “True FANS matter more than huge numbers of likes or followers any day of the week. Because they are willing to do something on your behalf.”  I work daily with a community of folks who truly create amazing things with us. The more I focus on them, smoothing a patch of process, pointing to a new resource or opportunity, listening to them gripe (rightfully, most of the time…), the more we unveil our humanity and underlying partnership to each other.

    You can’t buy that kind of relationship (I wouldn’t want one you could ‘buy’, anyway…). These/We are people. The context may be business, but we’re on this journey together and it’s way more enjoyable and satisfying this way. 

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  • Karl Sly

    1000 true fans is an amazing reality to wake up too, and an even more exciting one to create. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Robbin

    This is some crazy spam and I can’t make it disappear. Hmmmm.