If you’re reading this, then you want traffic.
But not just any old traffic; you want fanatical traffic.
What’s the difference?
Any old traffic is people who randomly find your site, look around, and leave. Stick rates are low, bounce rate is high, and conversions are unimpressive.
Fanatical traffic, on the other hand, is a different animal.
When fanatical traffic lands on your site, they stay for a while, and leave thoughtful comments about what they read. They tell their friends about you, tweet about you, and they buy a lot of whatever you’re selling.
Sounds good, right? Okay, here’s how to get some…
But First, Props to My Giant…
Before I tell you how to get fanatical traffic, I want to give credit where credit is due.
As Isaac Newton once said, “if I have seen far, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.”
I share the sentiment – most of what I know about audience building comes from the 30 superstars including (TGC’s own Ana Hoffman) who contributed to my new book, Engagement from Scratch!
When it comes to building a community of fanatics, the giant who deserves credit is none other than Dino Dogan, the engagement genius behind the massively successful Triberr.
In his chapter of the book, he laid out a six step process to creating a community of fanatics:
- It Starts With Intention
- Know Your Audience
- Be a Human
- Customer Service
- Have Fun
Let’s look at all six of the principles that Dino teaches in the book (and in this excellent keynote presentation)…
It Starts With Intention
A community of fanatics won’t form around you just because that’s what you want to create.
Think about it; sure, you get your fanatical community, but what does the community get? What’s in it for them?
If you want to create a fanatical community, then you have to start by giving them all a really great reason to congregate around you. Find a problem that they all share, and that nobody else can solve for them.
Then solve it.
It’s that simple – pick a problem, and solve it. The problem should be as intense and specific as possible, and you can get as creative as you need when you solve it (Dino did with Triberr).
It all starts with identifying the problem, and solving it.
As Dino puts it in the book,
“the first lesson in building a community of fanatics is to create a new, effective, unique and original solution that solves a real pain-point for your target demographic.”
Which leads to the second principle…
Know Your Audience
You can’t solve any problem if you don’t know what the problem is, and if you don’t know who your audience is – in painful, exquisite detail – then you can’t know what is troubling them.
Don't worry about how to start a blog.
Start by knowing your audience.
Who are they? Where do they live? What do they do? What do they want? What do they care about? What are they afraid of? What do they fear?
Paint as vivid a picture of your “customer avatar” as you can, because the more intimately familiar with them you are, the more clearly you will see what is really at the core of their problem.
And without knowing that, how can you solve it?
It helps when you are already familiar with your audience. As Dino puts it,
“The avatar I created for Triberr is named Dino Dogan. He is a blogger. He is a good blogger who has a hard time getting his content disseminated far and wide. I understand Dino’s fears. His frustrations. His pain-points. His passion. His desires. And we’ve made Triberr to solve Dino’s problems. Turns out, there are a lot of Dinos out there.”
That’s the best way to be sure you know your audience – if you’re just like them, and solving their problem solves yours, too. (Remember “I’m not just the owner, I’m a customer”?)
Now, in knowing and serving your audience, it’s important not to lose sight of who and what you are…
Be a Human
That’s right – at the core of it all, you’re a human being, and these days, that’s what people trust more than any corporate entity or snazzy logo.
As Dino says,
“Communities are people. And people want to interact with other people.”
So be a person. Use your own picture, and use your own name.
More importantly, be honest, up-front, and straight-forward. You’re a human being, and as such, you will make mistakes. Don’t try to hide behind a mask of corporate infallibility – just admit it when mistakes happen, apologize, and move on.
Don’t try to impress people, and don’t try to look like the coolest kid on the block. Just work hard to help people solve real problems.
Your audience will thank you for it.
Except for occasionally, when they need a bit of hand holding…
Customer service is where so many businesses fall down, and it’s a shame, because it’s really so easy to stand out (especially since airlines, telecoms and banks have lowered expectations to the floor).
In Dino’s own words:
“People don’t want to be lectured. They don’t want to be told what they could/should have done. They don’t want to be treated like a task on your list.”
Here’s what they do want:
“They want to be acknowledged immediately. You don’t have to solve their issue right away, but they do want to know you’ve received their email and are working on it. They want to be treated like a human being, and not like a number. And they want their issue fixed.”
Not particularly complicated, is it? Respond to their email, and say that you’ve received it. Tell them what you’re going to do to fix the problem, then do it.
There’s just one catch: it involves a lot of work. And that’s only sustainable if you…
Yep, that’s right. Have fun.
If you aren’t enjoying yourself, then you aren’t going to be able to force yourself to do what you need to do for long enough to matter.
So how do you make it fun?
For starters, make sure you’re solving a problem that you care about; if you’re passionate about your work and mission, then it’s a lot easier to take satisfaction in the wins, and to overcome the setbacks.
Second, you should engage with your community. They’re people and you’re people – and newsflash, people are social, which means that we’re all wired to enjoy hanging out with each other.
So hang out. Connect. Make friends.
If you have enough fun, while being human, in service of a mission to solve a problem that you care about – you might just find yourself with a community of fanatics all around you.
Danny Iny (@DannyIny) is the co-founder of Firepole Marketing, the “Freddy Krueger of Blogging”, and the co-author (with Guy Kawasaki, Brian Clark, and many others) of Engagement from Scratch! (available on Amazon, or as a free download). The latest and greatest thing you can get from him (for free, of course) is his Naked Marketing Manifesto, about marketing that really works!