Why can Brian send one email from the Copyblogger email list and make 6 figures?
Is it list size? Yes, scale obviously comes into it, but if someone else had Copyblogger’s list they wouldn’t necessarily get the same result.
So what is the crucial factor that makes the difference?
Is it Authority?
Yes, of course that’s a factor, but there is more to it.
More than seven years went into that one email.
Think about it:
- Audience insight.
… and one more thing, probably the most important, and what I want to tell you about today …
What is momentum when it comes to marketing?
- Goodwill – Goodwill is when your audience wants to hear from you, it’s when they grow to know, like and trust you. On the negative side, when you are constantly asking instead of giving, your goodwill goes down, and you lose your audience’s attention.
- Consistency – People want you to be predictably reliable. It’s a big part of your brand. You expect service providers that you enjoy to be pretty similar from year to year, there is a comfort in that. Think about if you are overseas in an unusual place, you might not be the biggest fan of multinationals like Starbucks and McDonalds, but you certainly know what you are going to get when you walk in. On a blog that means nice guys writing positive articles most of the time, even when they really want to go on a three day rant.
- Expectation – As well as having expectations in terms of consistency, your audience also expects good, valuable things from you. They know, even if they don’t have perfectly complete information, that they can trust what you deliver.
You can’t buy it, you have to work at it. Every day.
Are there things you will purchase as soon as you hear about them?
I do this all the time with movies, music, books …
I pre-order the next book of a series without knowing the plot, reviews, even the title sometimes. After a decade or more of reading the Wheel of Time series, was there any doubt I would buy the last book in the collection?
When I finish reading it I will be getting the next “Wool”/”Silo” book from Hugh Howey (if I could just subscribe, I would).
I can’t go to see Marillion live any longer, but I buy every album they record without hearing anything from it first.
This is momentum at work. Not just “buying momentum”, it’s the true fan. The person who has so much built up goodwill and faith in you, that they will buy everything you put out.
Obviously there is a lot of responsibility built in to that. So often this is abused, or the goodwill is broken accidentally.
A lot of the risk is in the need for consistency. Artists want to keep moving, changing, adapting, and they want to keep the inspiration alive. Fans often want the artist to remain static, stick to what they fell in love with. It’s a tricky tightrope to walk.
Encouraging momentum is also about removing friction.
- Unnecessary hurdles – Are there any barriers in the way? One of the major frustrations with the Wheel of Time book I mentioned above is there is NO digital version. The publisher so wanted to get to the top of the best-sellers lists, they held back the ebook so that people had to buy the print version. I can’t get the next season of Game of Thrones on TV without buying an expensive movie package that I will never watch, just to get the HBO channel, just to get that one show. So instead I have to wait a year for the Blu Ray. While the internet is full of spoilers (I read the books, but there are still differences). I’m not the worlds biggest HBO fan at this point.
- Confusion – Confused people don’t buy. Confused people are difficult to even get interested enough to listen. You need to stay on message and make that message crystal clear.
- Suspicion – It happens to many big companies or well known individuals. People start suspecting ulterior or sinister motives. In IT the world was dominated by IBM, but then they were the bad guy, and plucky Microsoft took over, then Apple, then Google. Who next? The more visible you are, the more people will analyse your every move, … and see things in the shadows.
- Doubt/Risk – As trust goes up, the perception of risk goes down, but this doesn’t mean you get a free ride. Sometimes the bar is raised unrealistically high because you did such a good job. Think the Star Wars prequels. In fact, in the middle of that Wheel of Time book series there was a fan revolt. People said the author had lost his way. The author was actually really ill, and had built an epic storyline that anyone would struggle with. Many fans refused to buy anything else because they were afraid the decline was never going to be turned around.
- Boredom/Distraction – That consistency thing? Sometimes predictability is a bad situation to get into. Or people get distracted with other shiny stuff. Sometimes it happens just because you have your head down working that you don’t pay enough attention to your audience. People are defecting from the iPhone to Android partly just to get something cool and new.
- Negative social proof – Bad reviews, bad word of mouth, seeing the fans defect to another provider … you have to plug the leaks early and often, and keep communicating so you are the first to know about bad rumblings.
Success doesn’t come overnight. What looks like overnight success has had a lot of work behind the scenes. That said, when you start to see progress, get behind it, remove any obstacles, and keep your customers happy, then you will see that compounding “snow ball” effect you are looking for!
What do you think? Are there people who you will buy everything from? Are there companies you once bought from but are wary about trusting any longer? Let me know in the comments …