How much do the numbers matter? And how many do we need?
As online entrepreneurs the numbers matter. However, the 1000 True Fans Theory might help us rethink how we define success and number of followers.
It’s no doubt that number of followers and likes is important social proof for our business accounts. So you might find yourself asking; how many followers do I really need?
How much longer do we need to keep creating, coaching, or writing until everything begins to pay off? With the 1,000 True Fans approach you don’t necessarily need that many.
We as a culture have been trained to believe that success only comes when you have fans or followers in the millions. You can only be a successful author once your book becomes a movie. You’re only a true speaker or coach once you start to appear on famous talk shows. We have been taught to value mass appeal and being known and loved by millions of people.
However, the theory of 1000 True Fans encourages us to think about success differently.
As the theory says, you only really need 1000 True Fans to achieve success. This number gives us a realistic metric to value our business and to set our goals. It also highlights that small creators and businesses are in a unique position to build a community of True Fans, that larger organizations and companies with a mass appeal could never achieve.
What is a true fan?
So, what is a true fan? How are they different from normal fans? Aren’t normal fans also true?
The man who came up with this theory, Kevin Kelly, defines a true fan as someone that will buy any and all of your products.
A true fan is someone who would not flinch to spend $100 on your products throughout the year. And that figure will become important in just a second.
It’s the difference between just going to a movie, and going to a movie dressed up as one of the characters.
It’s the difference between just reading a book, and waiting in line for your favorite author to sign all your hard copy books. Because of course, you’ve bought them all.
But does that mean that people who “just like” your stuff are not true fans? While their enthusiasm and love for your brand might be true, for the purposes of this definition we would just call them regular fans. These are people who might follow you on social media, and they may buy your products when you do giveaways or discounts.
However, a true fan, in this definition, is the one who is behind you all the way. They’re also like your hype person. They will share your posts on social media. Your true fans will also talk about your business to others, potentially bringing in new regular fans as well.
Where does 1000 come from?
If that is what a true fan is, why do we need 1000 of them? Where does this number come from and what is the relevance?
The number 1000 is to help us visualize how many supporters we need for our business or product to earn a good income.
Because, as mentioned before, we often think to actually earn any money our business needs to have hundreds of thousands, or even millions of fans. One thousand true fans seems like it’s easier to pull off than one million, right?
What is the use in having more than a million followers on social media if none of them translate to sales?
This is the importance of the true fan, because with them, your advertising and your marketing works 100% of the time. They will always buy your products, because you have already built up a strong relationship with them. They trust you and your brand enough to buy whatever it is you’re selling right now.
So, if you’re network has 1000 of these people, you only need to make $100 profit from each true fan in a year to be earning $100,000 a year. This is a “good income” in Kelly’s words, but for most of us, that’s beyond good. That’s amazing!
The Number is not the most important thing
The numbers 1000 and $100 are not the most important things here. It’s the shift away from a mass appeal, and a focus on mass personalization.
It’s a focus on nurturing a relationship with a limited amount of people who will each bring benefit to your organization. In essence, this is what it means to have identified a niche in your market and to dominate that niche.
You cannot compete on product price or quality. There’s always someone out there doing better and cheaper than you. As a small business it’s almost impossible to try and have lower price margins than global brands and companies. However, where we shine is that we offer a service that is both unique to us and our customers. We are able to add that personal touch, and that is what convinces people to buy.
- If you have 1000 True Fans, and they all spend $100 on your products, that is $100,000 in one year.
- If you only have 500 True fans, they will each need to spend $200 to reach $100,000.
- But if you’re only looking to make $50,000, then your 1000 True Fans only need to spend $50.
This is where the power of this theory comes from. In visualizing your success.
1000 is still 999 more than 1, however it is much less than 1,000,000.
Here’s another visualization! Many courses, seminars, and products can cost anywhere from $50-$100. If all your true fans buy a ticket to your next online seminar for $99, you would have made $99,000, from that event alone.
It will still take quite an effort to find your 1000 nuggets of gold in a sea of salt, however all of a sudden, things start looking possible. Success doesn’t seem that far out of your reach.
Remember those regular fans we spoke about? The ones that may only buy one product ever? These fans will also help contribute to your fluctuating income. Naturally their enthusiasm towards your brand will go up and down, meaning that some years you may actually earn more than $100,000 given how much support you receive from your regular fans.
Why Small Businesses Are Naturally Better At This Than Large Corporations
“Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create raving fans.” – Ken Blanchard
So why aren’t large companies using this model then?
By their nature, many global companies and organizations are stuck in their traditional models of mass appeal and lowest costs over anything else. Small business owners and online entrepreneurs have an advantage over these large companies in that we can change and pivot. Our businesses are more dynamic.
We are able to take advantage of things like online marketing and social media to create a real relationship with our customers.
As small businesses and entrepreneurs we can invest in things like relatability, ethical methods, and authenticity to draw in the right crowd for us.
People are not looking to buy from corporate companies anymore. They want to know the people behind the project. They want to know if they are real and authentic.
If people relate to you, and your story, they’re more likely to relate to your product.
What does this mean for Women Entrepreneurs?
The first really important thing that social media has done for businesswomen is that it has removed many traditional gatekeepers and barriers. It is a lot easier to get a product out there and find customers who will interact with us.
Secondly, there are people out there looking for women with similar experiences and life on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and anywhere else.
Social media is a great tool to help us build a community and interact with them directly. Big corporations are not able to interact with all their fans on a personal level. However we are, and that’s what sets us a part.
This is the power of social media when it comes to finding a niche.
How Does Social Media help Find our True fans?
You might be thinking, the 1000 True Fans approach sounds a lot like “niche-ing” down. In some ways they complement each other. If you’d like to read more about the importance of finding a niche for your business, check out this blog article here.
Social media really makes it easy for us to find our true fans. By targeting the right users and creating content that they will love we are placing ourselves strongly into a particular niche. This niche is the best way to find people with potential to become our true fans. Once you have identified these people, you need to start interacting with them. That could be through direct message, comments, or whatever you can think of. Get creative!
Slowly you will generate a group of people you are always communicating with. A group of people who are always supporting you and your business. These are your true fans.
So, are you ready to find your 1000 True Fans?
Does success seem just that much closer? Now that you know you don’t need to become famous to be successful.
Dr. Raja Yasmin is the founder of the EQBIZ Academy. She has both real life experience running businesses as well as 20 years of teaching experience. Now Dr Raja Yasmin is ready to help women become empowered through business. If you would like to receive a free marketing resource for your business, sign up here.