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Gini Dietrich

Seven Ways to Convert Your Superfans into Customers

By: Gini Dietrich | March 12, 2013 | 
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Seven Ways to Convert Your Superfans into CustomersI’ve been thinking a lot about this blogging thing lately and whether or not we’re converting our superfans to clients or referral partners.

You see, the big, big vision of Spin Sucks is to change the perception of the PR industry. It may not happen in my lifetime, but I want it to be my legacy.

It’s somewhat selfish because I’m tired of having prospects call me to say they’re looking for a PR firm, only to discover they really mean they want their name in lights.

Of course, that’s one tactic communications professionals use, but because it’s so hard to measure to something most executives really care about (money), clients don’t stay with you long if that’s all you do.

There is still lots and lots of education about how we work, what the industry does, and how we measure our efforts to real results.

Revisit the Basics

It’s exhausting sometimes. I’m exhausted.

Then I read a quote from Chris Guillebeau. He said, “If you only have a few readers, treat them like the most important people in the world” and suddenly I was reinvigorated.

Sure, we have more than a few readers now and yes, we do treat our superfans like the most important people in the world with things such as #FollowFriday and Gin and Topics and guest blogging.

But we no longer do some of the things that helped us get where we are today and I thought it’d do me some good (and hopefully you too) to revisit the basics.

Convert Your Superfans

Therefore, I give you the seven step guide to convert your superfans into customers or a referral network.

1. Find your superfans. Sometimes it’s easy to tell who your superfans are because they begin to comment on your blog consistently. Our superfans change. For instance, Joe Cardillo and Dwayne Alicie, while long-time readers, have just joined the community in the comments here. I know this because I pay attention.

But what if your superfans are not commenters? Dig into your analytics to find out who clicks through in their email subscription every day, who shares your stuff on the social networks, and whether or not they’re reaching out to you in other ways (email, friend requests, or phone calls). Scott Propp is one such superfan. He’s been sharing our stuff on Twitter for a few months. He was in Chicago last week and I had the opportunity to meet him. While he won’t work directly with us, we found a way to refer business to one another. This will create a business opportunity from a reader and we’ll be friends for life.

2. Give your superfans a name. I call you the crazies. I’m sure you’ve heard me say this before. When people ask me how I’ve created such a fun community here, I say, “Oh. You mean the crazies?” I mean that lovingly, of course (because I’m crazy, too), but it’s hard to find another place on the web where people convene to talk to one another almost more than they come to talk to the author. You’ve become friends, highlight each other on your blogs, and meet in person. The only thing I take credit for is giving you a place to chat and have fun and open discussions. It’s pretty freaking awesome.

3. Keep them on your radar. With TweetDeck going away (I’m so sad!), users have an opportunity to rebuild their lists that might be six years old (cough, cough). Add them to your Twitter lists, Google+ circles and communities, LinkedIn groups, or private Facebook groups.

4. Conduct live webcasts, Hangouts, or Q&As. I love to do this one through our author Livefyre Q&A (don’t miss Chris Brogan here one week from today!) and through our monthly Spin Sucks Pro webinars, but you could do a monthly Hangout like Lori Gosselin does or have an active Google+ community like Jeannie Walters. Do what works for you so your superfans can have access to you.

5. Personally reach out to readers. Andy Crestodina does this extremely well. For people in Chicago, he does monthly Wine and Web events and on Thursday nights at 6 p.m., he goes to the same bar so anyone who wants to show up can. He also wrote a blog post for us in which he posted his phone number…and people called him!

You can take it a step further by finding your superfans and writing them a handwritten note, sending an email, calling them, or finding a reason to meet in person. Talk about moving superfans into giving you their first born child. It works.

6. Create content for specific people. You can do this by mentioning them in your posts (like I’ve done here), doing special posts such as #FollowFriday, or writing content because of a request (don’t worry, Brad Marley…it’s coming).

7. Post photos of gifts. This is a strange one, but when you accumulate superfans, they send you gifts. The best thing you can do for them? Publicly thank them by taking a picture and posting to your social networks and tag them. This doesn’t come across as narcissistic, rather it makes the person feel good to know you care enough to go that extra step.

Of course, that means some people will take advantage and you can decide how to handle those individually, but on the whole, most will be really excited you highlighted them in that way.

While I do most of this instinctually and as part of my daily routine, I am going to focus on numbers one and five in the next 30 days to see where it goes.

What works for you?

P.S. Thanks to Andy for the idea for this post. I was searching his blog for something else and came across his four step guide to creating superfans. I took the idea and turned it into converting to customers or a referral network.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

160 comments
Jerry Nihen
Jerry Nihen

I love this article! Too often the relationship building and "what's next" isn't talked about.

 

My favorite section is "create content for specific people." I always find myself trying to write pieces for EVERYONE, rather than figuring out what works best for a certain group of people. It's always better when a reader goes, "this is exactly what I'm looking for!"

 

Too many times people are involved too much on the "marketing" side of social marketing, and not on the social side!

 

Great work, this is the first article I've read of yours, but I look forward to more!

dbvickery
dbvickery

Let's not forget the weekly Google+ Hangout called HECKLERS' HANGOUT! Of course, that is more centered around education and promoting our author/techie friends than it is selling any of our services. It also involves a heavy dose of camaraderie amongst hecklers and guests - hey, we like doing business with people we like, right?

 

I have thought about going back to a Feature Friday Hangout for our own product. Seems like I have enough friends in the marketing/customer service spaces that would appreciate seeing a new monitoring tool.

 

Greeeeat, yet another place where I'm thought of as a crazy.

MatthewLiberty
MatthewLiberty

%s Great post indeed Ted, thanks for the RT!! cc %s %s %s

ScottPropp
ScottPropp

%s %s - Thanks for the mention in the post and omg do you guys get the comments rolling %s

wehaveaghost
wehaveaghost

I soak in every article that mentions superfans, as it's key to my survival, so I appreciate this post. here's an inspiring post http://www.musicpromotionblog.com/2013/01/100-true-fans-small-new-big.html. I believe that anyone who comments on a post can be a potential superfan. With the tools we have available - I encourage offline discussion - try to help them with where they want to go in life. And I think it's the only reason I've been able to survive this long as an independent artist with a modest fanbase. Whether it be sending someone a CD or T-Shirt for free when they aren't expecting it, to a video response, to public recognition on my homepage, or including them in my music or art, it's the little things that have the biggest impact. I also think if you focus on this --- specifically maximizing on the connections we make via social media, it begins to spread - to them engaging offline with others - slowly making an impact via ripple effect. 

Cision NA
Cision NA

If I may take the liberty of adding one more thing: given the discussion taken place, I think this article by Business Insider fits right in! Ford Found an Extravagant Way to Deal with Negative Gawker Commenters: http://read.bi/XpyKx6 

 

Not everyone has the budget to do that, but look at the publicity they're already getting!

yvettepistorio
yvettepistorio

Did I ever share my Pop Chips story? I know I'm not the only one they did this for. But they converted me to a fan of the brand by sending me not one, but 4 cases of Pop Chips b/c I said I had a craving. PLUS they hand wrote a note which I still have and is actually hanging up in my office. I love personal touches :)

SpinSucks
SpinSucks

@shadesofsolveig Thanks for sharing!! I love personal touches...they really stand out and mean a lot more especially coming from brands.

SpinSucks
SpinSucks

@joecardillo Thanks for sharing Joe!! It's been great seeing you in the comments lately!!

JoeCardillo
JoeCardillo

I think a lot about what drives people.....IMHO more than anything we just want to be acknowledged and appreciated for who we truly are. It sounds like a social sciences thing and drives the hard science and data people nuts because it is often expressed in anecdotes, but if you look closely it's actually very concrete. It's just not easy data to run because it demands a lot of time and effort and creative thinking.

 

In some ways it matches up with what  @dannybrown is looking into regarding influence marketing and how people make decisions. I haven't seen much research in marketing / PR on how people make decisions holistically (as opposed to, say, based on one or a few specific factors) so I'll be curious to read his upcoming book.

 

 

JayNineInc
JayNineInc

@SpinSucks you're welcome.Loved the article, very good info. Not too many people talk about it, will definitely follow your future posts!

JoeCardillo
JoeCardillo

 @wehaveaghost "when they aren't expecting it" should pretty much be the foundation of any customer loyalty / super fan experience. Very well said.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @wehaveaghost While I was doing research for this blog post, I found some really cool ideas for musicians. I love the free merchandise idea! It sounds like you're doing everything right!

Latest blog post: The Anatomy of an Apology

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @Cision NA Dang. We totally do this for a client - they're SUPER good at bringing in bloggers who have negative things to say about their product - but I've never thought to do traditional media relations around the idea. Hmmmm...thank you!

Latest blog post: The Anatomy of an Apology

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @JoeCardillo I always joke that there is only one other person on the face of this earth who thinks we're as special as we do: Our moms. But boy! When someone uses your name or says something nice about you, it sure goes a long way, doesn't it?

Latest blog post: The Anatomy of an Apology

DwayneAlicie
DwayneAlicie

@JoeCardillo @wehaveaghost "Surprise and delight," right? I think you are pretty much always going to win if you frame interactions by thinking, "How can I 'surprise and delight' this person?"

Cision NA
Cision NA

 @ginidietrich You're quite welcome! It is a really interesting idea because you are showing some negativity toward the brand, but hopefully in the end are showing it in a positive light :)

yvettepistorio
yvettepistorio

@ginidietrich I should clarify 2 were for me and 2 for a colleague so 4 total. But I still got more than you!!! Ha!

JoeCardillo
JoeCardillo

 @ginidietrich No kidding, and as long as it's not your mom other people usually put a lot of stock in it too =)

JayNineInc
JayNineInc

@SpinSucks yes, I will! Thanks again for the awesome article, I look forward to more.

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