Homo sapiens has three basic drivers.
The way we think about ourselves and the characteristics that define us.
To feel recognised and accepted for who we are.
- And Community
To feel we belong to or be part of a group
Identity and acknowledgement are taken care of in the connection phase.
Community is what we’re going to unpack now.
It is the future of marketing.
Conventional internet marketing wisdom defines connection as the moment someone becomes a lead (i.e., they opt-in to receive emails from you).
That is a flawed definition.
It’s a process.
There are 12 steps to intimacy
Relationships take time to develop. The more you see someone, the quicker that relationship builds.
That frequency is crucial when it comes to your marketing.
The old way of doing things was to give away some kind of lead magnet to get someone on your list, then carpet bomb them with emails until they either bought something from you or unsubscribed.
Everyone’s done it (me too).
Then, I woke up to the fact that when opting in to receive some freebie or another, I was giving away nothing of value. Just an email address that I never use for anything else.
Result: single-digit email open rates, decimal place click rates, list fatigue, subscriber churn, and more.
So what’s the point of clogging up your MailChimp or ActiveCampaign account with email addresses that are less than useful?
There must be a better way.
That’s where community comes in.
So let’s define what we mean clearly.
I define community as a place where an individual can take the micro-steps required to move closer to me, my world, and my way of thinking.
It’s a place where they feel acknowledged, nurtured and comfortable.
Where there is no pressure.
This is where the connection becomes deeper and more substantial.
To guide that individual on his or her journey, you provide content (especially long-form story driven content), invite them to visit your community (Facebook Group) or visit a website multiple times, comment, ask questions, and, yes, finally join you as a subscriber and receive emails (deeper levels of engagement), but only when they’re good and ready.
Connection deepens in the community.
The key to doing this successfully is storytelling in a strategic way (about which we will discover more later).
Result: Your subscriber list is 80% smaller but open rates are through the roof (70%)
Lead magnets and free giveaways lead to trophy numbers on your list that give you an endorphin rush and a false sense of security.
Ultimately, this behaviour is counterproductive:
You spend more and more time creating click bait headlines to get the opt in. Only to enroll yet another subscriber who never opens your emails and is unlikely to buy from you.
This is a pointless waste of energy and based on Flawed Logic.
Let’s take a look at a few…
FL#1: Every buyer follows the same linear path.
This is a false assumption based on not fully understanding the customer journey.
Of course, a few make an impulse buy based on a very specific search term or as a result of seeing an Ad on Facebook.
Others take a much longer time stumbling around the internet researching this and that, making comparisons, considering the options, discussing their findings with a partner before finally plumping for one of the solutions available.
This journey takes time. It includes multiple search sessions. And multiple visits to various sites.
This is usually the journey of a customer who is preparing to spend a lot more… (but doesn’t have to be).
Someone euphemistically called a high ticket client by some marketers out there.
The result of this flawed logic is, we fail to provide the myriad of touch points where our audience can connect with us, over and over again.
We fail to provide community.
FL#2: The journey your audience takes is like a Roman road… straight.
Every milestone on that road follows in sequential order so once on it, the individual gets presented with a series of ‘logical’ choices before finally giving you their credit card number and checking out.
This is far from the truth.
It is a convenient way of thinking for us but reality is messy.
Instead of focusing entirely on how we want to sell, we would do better to imagine how our customers actually go about finding a solution to the challenge they face, before buying.
FL#3: — There is a ‘right way’ to get results.
We are always told that if we want success, the best way is to model a successful person so we do, forgetting that what makes him or her successful now, is not what will make you successful too…
Because they are in a different place on their journey. They are much further down their road than you are on yours.
Which means that, while you might keep a weather eye, on what your competitors are doing, you should focus on only one thing.
Your audience and their responses to your content.
Nothing else matters.
There is no top-secret, one-size-fits-all magic method that guarantees results every time (shocker!).
(In the next chapter, I’m going to reveal one of the other constants I believe is, by far, the most important to your success.)
Here are three things you can do immediately to benefit from our broader definition of community:
- Play the long game. Your customers will come to you when they are ready. Trust them to do so.
- Have confidence in what you offer. Getting comments and likes on your posts may make you feel good but you cannot take them to the bank. Many more are watching what you do and say from the wings… They will appear when they are ready.
- Imagine you’re your own customer and ask yourself… ‘Is this how I’d like to be treated?’ At every step in your business system. If the honest answer is NO, change your system NOW.
One last idea before we wrap up this chapter…
Even though I describe connection, community, and conversion separately, they should not be seen as separate silos. They interact between each other so change one and you change what happens in all of them.
The sum of the parts is greater than the whole.
The real power is in their relationships and not how each behaves individually.
Re-read that a few times.
I’ll explain more later…
The by-product of the connection, community and conversion trifecta is that you attract, engage, motivate and inspire the people you would like to work with to put their hands up, without the need for hype, hoopla and hyperbole.
The moral of this story (I’ll unpack this idea in another chapter..) is that your customers are created long BEFORE they are ready to exchange the value you offer for money.Okay, up next: conversion.