My dad one time told me “The more successful you get, the more people want your attention.” How true that has become!
Commit to Your Following
When I started my first major site, I replied to every single comment, every email, every phone call, everything. I felt that it was my duty to say “Hi” to everyone who came across my site.
Consequently, I created a small group of committed fans. Most of them still follow my website 3 years later and I’ve met a few of them in person now. They became committed to the site because I was committed to them first. In essence, it’s the biblical teaching from 1 John 4: 19, “We love him, because he first loved us” (oh, and for the internet trolls out there who don’t like me using Bible verses… I don’t really care what your comment says. I teach things how I see them and I won’t change that to fit your warped definition of political correctness.)
Right now as Income School is a brand new community, I am doing exactly what I did when I started my other sites: I am spending time with as many people as I possibly can. I am replying to emails, replying to comments, and even talking to many readers on the phone and in person. My goal is to become a mentor to as many as possible.
As I mentioned in the introduction, the more successful you become, the more people want your attention. There are half a million people who follow me on social media, and nearly a million of them will visit my site this month. There will be about 100,000 downloads of my podcasts this month, and I’ll have about 150 new paying customers. If even 1% of those people reached out to me this month and I spent only 1 minute writing back to that one percent of them, it would take me 17 days working full time to respond.
Friendship is not scalable.
Altering Your Commitments Going Forward
Friendship may not be scalable, but connections are. As my business began to change and my audience grew past what I could possibly support, I changed the way that I connect with my readers.
I spent hours and hours wiping every email address off my website and making it as hard as possible to contact me. But I didn’t want to end the connection with my audience. I only wanted to change the way it happened.
So I created online courses. This created a way for my followers to pay $100 to get a video course from me, and if during the 30 days of the course they had questions, I would happily help via email. This was extremely successful. My first month brought in $10,000 and over the last three years it has earned nearly a million dollars.
Now, when someone from my website finds my email address or pings me on Facebook with a question, I can politely explain my dilemma of not being able to answer questions from all my readers, but if it is they really want a one-on-one experience, they can take a class with me. This way, I only spend one hour per day answering emails, it brings in about $18,000 per month in revenue, and I’m able to spend the bulk of my time creating new free resources for everyone to enjoy.
As your business grows, stay true to those who supported you in the early days. With my website, I created an “Inner circle” private Facebook group where I invited about 10 of my biggest fans to join. When they notice something wrong on the site, have feedback about how I’m doing, or have a review of one of my products, they can tell me on that group page. In exchange, I give them everything I do for free: all my online courses, books, digital downloads, video trainings, everything.
Five Ways to Be Surprisingly Friendly to Your Audience
- Make your audience the star. If you see someone in your audience doing something awesome, share it to your audience. For instance, on my photography site, I’m constantly sharing the photos of photographers who post their work to the page.
- If you don’t know the answer, go find the answer for them. Find a link online with the answer if you’re not sure.
- Recognize your most devoted fans. For years, I have used a free Facebook app called Booshaka. Once you install it on your page, it shows you who the 20 most active fans of your page were that month. I often reach out to those people with a personal Facebook message thanking them and asking how I can help them. When I have a new product, I give it to them for free and ask for their feedback. They end up being great advertisers for my work.
- Ask how you can help. One common tactic that experienced internet marketers employ is to make the first email on your email list a personal email from you asking how you can help. This is great for helping you to think of what resources you want to create for your audience, but it also gives you a chance to be helpful right off the bat.
- Take the conversation offline. If one of your listeners has a complicated issue or really wants some coaching, offer to schedule a call with them. The 30 minutes you spend may not be scalable, but it will provide you incredible insight into your reader’s needs and will undoubtedly create a life-long fan.