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How to Turn Visitors into Raving Fans

Marillion FansYesterday I wrote about how you can identify your Sneezers and Linkerati. Essentially these people are incredibly valuable to you because they are your advocates. They spread your message, defend your honor and if you do a good enough job of nurturing them, become your all-round raving fans.

How do you grow your readers from first time visitor to long term fan?

It doesn’t happen over night, or at least not very often. I am sure there are many ten year olds who walked out of the first Star Wars (episode 4, not that Jar Jar rubbish) a raving fan, but most of us can’t hope for that kind of impact.

Let’s first take a look at this evolutionary process:

  1. First visitor
  2. Repeat visitor
  3. Commenter
  4. RSS Subscriber
  5. Email Subscriber
  6. Long term subscriber
  7. Fan
  8. Customer
  9. Recommender
  10. Raving fan

Obviously in some cases people will skip steps or do some items all at once. I have found blogs before and subscribed after only reading one post because it was that good (and some times regretted it).

How can you get someone to go from #1 to #10? By consistently providing value. Even better, by routinely delighting your audience.

You have to identify your audience, find out exactly what they want and need, and deliver it perfectly.

That’s a tall order, but exactly what you need to aim for.

Every single interaction, every post, every discussion, every mention of your name absolutely positively has to be the best it can be.

Create something truly valuable rather than a vehicle for your own greed.

We are all human and therefore fallible. This means we will make mistakes. Because of that extra effort needs to be applied to a) avoid mistakes, b) make good apologies and c) make up for mistakes by performing even better next time.

It helps if you are genuine, approachable and friendly. People are much more willing to overlook the foibles of someone they feel they have a personal connection with.

You might recognize the picture at the top of this post, I have used it before. It is from a Marillion gig. You could say I am a raving Marillion fan. That band has seen more of my fan-money than any other but perhaps more tellingly, more blog article inches than any other πŸ™‚ I like them because they are all about their fans, they value and respect their fans and their fans repay them tenfold. Plus they are really nice guys. That’s an example we all need to follow.

Customers are made by creating something valuable, but long term raving fans are created by going that bit farther and building something truly remarkable and making sure each fan knows they are appreciated and valued. Β 

Imagine scenarios where you would be a fan, or the opposite. Think of your own experiences as a consumer …

When was the last time you felt truly valued as a customer? Have you ever told someone else about a great product, blog or service without being prompted? Why have you been an advocate and when have you not recommended something even though it was “good enough”?

It’s about respect, value and making connections. What can you do today to start the process?

Are you a raving fan? Tell us all about it in the comments …

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Comments

  1. I think the difference comes in the way you treat people – so it’s not just the content of a post but how you handle comments, whether you pick up reader comments and ideas in your posts, how you link out, whether you read your readers’ material (and comment on it)…

    What makes me a raving fan is the way I *feel* after visiting, reading, commenting and that’s why I’ll keep on coming back for more.

    And not bothering to reply to my comment is the easiest way to make sure I’ll never come back to their door.

    Joanna

    PS I was one of those 10 year old Star Wars fans. Changed me forever!

  2. I think the difference comes in the way you treat people – so it’s not just the content of a post but how you handle comments, whether you pick up reader comments and ideas in your posts, how you link out, whether you read your readers’ material (and comment on it)…

    What makes me a raving fan is the way I *feel* after visiting, reading, commenting and that’s why I’ll keep on coming back for more.

    And not bothering to reply to my comment is the easiest way to make sure I’ll never come back to their door.

    Joanna

    PS I was one of those 10 year old Star Wars fans. Changed me forever!

  3. ‘Create something truly valuable rather than a vehicle for your own greed’ I think this is key to success. There are far to many sites out there, that appear to be just serving the author and completely forget about the actual readers.

    This is an excellent post, with simple straightforward ideas.

    Cheers

  4. ‘Create something truly valuable rather than a vehicle for your own greed’ I think this is key to success. There are far to many sites out there, that appear to be just serving the author and completely forget about the actual readers.

    This is an excellent post, with simple straightforward ideas.

    Cheers

  5. Thanks so much for the support Chris!

    Anyone reading this and is interested in hearing what Chris is raving about can go to our website and either download some free music or apply for a free CD – hope to see some of you soon.

  6. Thanks so much for the support Chris!

    Anyone reading this and is interested in hearing what Chris is raving about can go to our website and either download some free music or apply for a free CD – hope to see some of you soon.

  7. After reading the article in Technium “1000 true fans”, I was thinking exactly the same question: how to do it.
    I agree with your points, but I wonder if identifying your audience and delivering what they want is a good idea.
    It sounds to me like selling out.
    I see blogging as the means of ones expression and not as a way to draw a wider audience and trying to please it.
    But I suppose if you’re dealing with a professional or commercial blog, the perspective is different…

  8. After reading the article in Technium “1000 true fans”, I was thinking exactly the same question: how to do it.
    I agree with your points, but I wonder if identifying your audience and delivering what they want is a good idea.
    It sounds to me like selling out.
    I see blogging as the means of ones expression and not as a way to draw a wider audience and trying to please it.
    But I suppose if you’re dealing with a professional or commercial blog, the perspective is different…

  9. The only time I can remember in recent history that I was a fan of a company and then told others about it was when I had to have my Honda serviced.

    The service department treated me so good that I could hardly believe it. Everyone I talked to over the next few days got my “Honda Service” story.

    The Masked Millionaire

  10. The only time I can remember in recent history that I was a fan of a company and then told others about it was when I had to have my Honda serviced.

    The service department treated me so good that I could hardly believe it. Everyone I talked to over the next few days got my “Honda Service” story.

    The Masked Millionaire

  11. I understand that providing good customer service makes good business sense in general. However, I am not convinced that it makes equally good sense for musicians to put themselves at the customer service desk of their businesses. Marillion may perhaps be nice guys, exceedingly capable of dealing personally with their customers’ after-sale concerns, but for me (just as a for instance) to interact with customers in any other way than through music would constitute a kind of commercial suicide attempt: I am not entirely in my right mind, and the mere act of having a chat with a fan usually sends them screaming for the door for good.

    I worry that if this trend for using the internet to market music continues, the industry will be peopled with nice, approachable guys, making nice, approachable music that offends no one (no offense intended). Artists will become virtually indistinguishable from customers, which would be a shame in an industry that has always reserved a special place in its heart for the flamboyant, the eccentric, and the plain crazy.

    Thank you, Chris, by the way, for all your consistently inspirational blog entries.

    Sebastiaan Elsenburg.

  12. I understand that providing good customer service makes good business sense in general. However, I am not convinced that it makes equally good sense for musicians to put themselves at the customer service desk of their businesses. Marillion may perhaps be nice guys, exceedingly capable of dealing personally with their customers’ after-sale concerns, but for me (just as a for instance) to interact with customers in any other way than through music would constitute a kind of commercial suicide attempt: I am not entirely in my right mind, and the mere act of having a chat with a fan usually sends them screaming for the door for good.

    I worry that if this trend for using the internet to market music continues, the industry will be peopled with nice, approachable guys, making nice, approachable music that offends no one (no offense intended). Artists will become virtually indistinguishable from customers, which would be a shame in an industry that has always reserved a special place in its heart for the flamboyant, the eccentric, and the plain crazy.

    Thank you, Chris, by the way, for all your consistently inspirational blog entries.

    Sebastiaan Elsenburg.

  13. You missed a couple:

    #11. Stalker.
    #12. Friend.

  14. You missed a couple:

    #11. Stalker.
    #12. Friend.

  15. @Joanna – How you feel is critical, after all human beings are not the most rational of creatures πŸ™‚ Wouldn’t it be great to think we could have even a tenth of George Lucas’ impact?

    @BW – Simple and straightforward, couldn’t ask for a better review – Thanks πŸ™‚

    @Lucy – Thanks for the comment Lucy, I’m a bit embarrassed to have been so fanboy now πŸ˜‰

    @robojiannis – If you can find an intersection between what you want to do and what other people need then everyone is happy though, right?

    @The Masked Millionaire – Same here with my VW dealer. It’s the little things, but mostly respect rather than feeling entitled to my business

    @Sebastiaan – I like to think you can be unique and still respect and care for your fans. If that means hiring top-notch customer service people because you know they would do a better job then so be it. The difference is in intention and implementation.

    @Arjewtino – Good point, though stalker could be taken as good or bad πŸ™‚

  16. @Joanna – How you feel is critical, after all human beings are not the most rational of creatures πŸ™‚ Wouldn’t it be great to think we could have even a tenth of George Lucas’ impact?

    @BW – Simple and straightforward, couldn’t ask for a better review – Thanks πŸ™‚

    @Lucy – Thanks for the comment Lucy, I’m a bit embarrassed to have been so fanboy now πŸ˜‰

    @robojiannis – If you can find an intersection between what you want to do and what other people need then everyone is happy though, right?

    @The Masked Millionaire – Same here with my VW dealer. It’s the little things, but mostly respect rather than feeling entitled to my business

    @Sebastiaan – I like to think you can be unique and still respect and care for your fans. If that means hiring top-notch customer service people because you know they would do a better job then so be it. The difference is in intention and implementation.

    @Arjewtino – Good point, though stalker could be taken as good or bad πŸ™‚

  17. “Create something truly valuable rather than a vehicle for your own greed.”

    great line, man! I think just to be thinking this way, having that kind of thought in your head is going to put you ahead of the pack.

    It’s unfortunate that by necessity people often end up focusing on monetizing over producing stand out content.

    Also I’ve experimented recently posting articles based on the kind of search queries I’ve seen people coming in from. Bada bing bada boom. Record days on my blog.

  18. “Create something truly valuable rather than a vehicle for your own greed.”

    great line, man! I think just to be thinking this way, having that kind of thought in your head is going to put you ahead of the pack.

    It’s unfortunate that by necessity people often end up focusing on monetizing over producing stand out content.

    Also I’ve experimented recently posting articles based on the kind of search queries I’ve seen people coming in from. Bada bing bada boom. Record days on my blog.

  19. lol@ 11. Stalker – good stuff.

    Chris I can honestly say I am at 9 with your site, I have already passed on your site to several people. Thanks for putting out good content.

  20. lol@ 11. Stalker – good stuff.

    Chris I can honestly say I am at 9 with your site, I have already passed on your site to several people. Thanks for putting out good content.

  21. its hard to come by websites that offer genuine and simple advice that works. I really loved ur website, and though i am a first time visitor i am already a raving fan! this is great!

  22. its hard to come by websites that offer genuine and simple advice that works. I really loved ur website, and though i am a first time visitor i am already a raving fan! this is great!

  23. Chris,

    You have been putting out some great articles lately. I loved this one, pure business and services marketing concepts applied directly to blogs with a lot of thought. You have been connecting with me in a way that makes me want to subscribe….again. I dropped off months back, because the material wasn’t connecting, but as off today you have won me back! Thanks for the great info.

    By the way that might make an interesting post, how to reconnect with readers after them being lost for a while.

    Keep up the great work.

  24. Chris,

    You have been putting out some great articles lately. I loved this one, pure business and services marketing concepts applied directly to blogs with a lot of thought. You have been connecting with me in a way that makes me want to subscribe….again. I dropped off months back, because the material wasn’t connecting, but as off today you have won me back! Thanks for the great info.

    By the way that might make an interesting post, how to reconnect with readers after them being lost for a while.

    Keep up the great work.