Recently, a colleague cited the research of Kevin Kelly and an article titled 1,000 True Fans. The premise of his research is very simple: If you develop a business based on 1,000 people who buy only $100 / year from you, you will earn $100,000 / year from these fans.

Could this marketing strategy work? What if I multiplied it by, say, 5,000 people?

A true fan was described as someone who gave their full support; they purchased everything that you created. There would also be a second tier of supporters that purchased some of your products.

And while this strategy could never work for large enterprises, like Nike, it’s certainly a viable option for the coaching industry, with proven case studies for musicians like Jill Sobule (he mentions her results in the article) also making a case for creative professionals.

How would I successfully execute the 1,000 True Fans Strategy?

“The Riches Are In the Niches” & Your Ideal Audience Will Sense Your Focus

A recent Blogging Tips article discussed the top 10 new blogging topics entering the market. In 2013 alone, 328,763 photography blogs popped up on the internet.

To be candid, niches are absolutely necessary to differentiate you from the competition. It’s not enough to simply have a photography blog these days. It’s imperative to have an “Animals Photography Blog,” etc.

When you consider your 1,000 true fans:

  • What is the glue that will draw your community together?
  • Where do they hang out? How can I reach this community?
  • What’s missing for them that you can solve with your product / service?
  • How do you speak specifically to them & what language do you use?
  • Who do they know that could be a second-tier connection for you?

Your Outreach Strategy Is Everything: Be Aware of the Best Ways to Implement Your Marketing Initiatives.

Kevin Kelly went on in his research to express the real differentiator of having true fans; you are required to reach out personally and touch them.

In a fast-paced digital world, we’re all being bombarded by marketing messages. What will make your messages special?

  • Speak directly to your audience
    Let fans into your world with insider stories and pictures. While it seems shallow, people enjoy knowing about your life; it makes you relatable.
    Advice in Action: Oprah’s Favorite Things list is a coveted prize for many retailers. Google a few of the successes she’s created over the years.
  • Get vulnerable (while staying authentic to who you are)
    Opening up about painful, frustrating, or highly emotional journeys let your fans rally together to support you.
    Advice in Action: Gerald Rogers Facebook post about his divorce quickly went viral – earning him a spot on the Today show and a coveted pedestal as a relationship expert.
  • Give away special offers, like a signed copy of your book or tuition discounts
    The better the offer the more likely fans are to tell others that they won. Don’t forget to highlight the winner.  Advice in Action: Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love recently raised thousands of dollars for a charity by having lunch with one lucky silent auction winner.
  • Make your marketing something people have to open
    You’ll want to make these offers valuable and time-sensitive. Don’t do them too often, or the buzz will wear off.
    Advice in Action: “The first five people to email me get an exclusive VIP virtual lunch meeting with me.”

You Can Go Deeper or Wider with Your Niche When Building a Community of Fans.

First, let’s discuss going deeper. The best way to picture this concept is as a funnel. At the top, you have the most superficial topic, narrowing down into specific niches:

  • What is Facebook & Why You Need It
  • Facebook Business Pages: Design & Strategy
  • How to Increase Your List by 1,000 Using Facebook
  • 25 Facebook Experts Give You Their Best Advice on Facebook
  • 38 Buttons on Facebook You Didn’t Even Know Existed
  • Exactly How to Create a Targeted Custom Audience Step by Step

At the top of our funnel, we’re giving basic information within a niche. We will build a highly targeted audience of fans who want to become experts in Facebook. This is the only targeted group we will attract since we have dug into advanced concepts very deeply.

Now, how can we go wider? Instead of being Facebook experts, we could be social media experts and choose to have a varied offering of multiple social media teachings.

In this instance, we’d teach Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ (while it’s still around), YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter, for example The net goes to a larger audience of social media folks.

How Does This Research Resonate With YOU?

As always, I appreciate you taking the time to read this blog. As you know, our business mindset is one of the most difficult pieces of success for us to conquer.

What do you think about Kevin Kelly’s idea? Do you think this concept would, or would not, work for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.