Saturday, April 19, 2008

Getting 100 True Followers, Fans, Members

Kevin Kelly talked about creators (authors, artists, performers, among others) needing to have 1,000 True Fans in order to make a living. That made me think a lot from the aspect of manageability especially for "creators".

Quality versus quantity
In my case, instead of 1000, I always strive to have 100 members goal in everything I get into. This includes my e-commerce community, blog network, students, among others Programs evolved because of changing needs of that 100. Perhaps that figure was also influenced by the Long Tail.

I guess my conviction with that small number is being able to give time and reply to concerns as necessary. I've joined paid membership programs and whenever I don't get a response to an inquiry or concern, I eventually give up. The feeling of being ignored is something I learned a paid member doesn't like. This reminds me of a topic in Malcolm Gladwell's Blink where patients who sued their doctors were more for the reason of being disregarded or the lack of empathy, rather than incompetence.

How to get 100 True Followers, Fans, Members?
There are several ways I've approached this such as:
  • Deliberately plugging and invite people to join through a mailing list, social media, or those who opted-in at the club site.
  • Time has to be invested in terms of continuously developing what you have to offer. If the product or service that you came up with is needed and of value, prospective new members naturally comes. Constantly finding out what people need is important.
  • Campaigns are only step-up when there is something new or of value being offered. Otherwise, time is spent on product development.
Can having 100 True Followers, Fans, Members be profitable?
It depends on your business model. In my case:
  • Earning from membership fees.
  • Referral of new members and clients.
  • Short-term consulting work to fulfill a need.
  • Outsource within the community to avail of reasonable pricing.
The combination of the above was enough to make the whole community well worth it where there is a give-and-take relationship combined. This is the path where I have settled.

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