1000-true-fans

I recently listened to a Tim Ferriss podcast that got me thinking really hard about identity. Specifically, I was thinking about the identity of Two Hats, and how we can better reach more of our “true fans” — clients to whom Two Hats delivers an extremely high return on investment.

Kevin Kelly started an avalanche of thought when he wrote about “1,000 true fans,” the concept being that you could survive as an entrepreneur by reaching just 1,000 people, as long as those people are the right people. This exercise is designed to tease out details about yourself and the groups you identity with, so that you can find your 1,000 true fans and deliver truly outstanding value to them when they’re ready to buy.

Ready?

1. Go through your bank and credit card statements from the last year

Look for the following things:

  • What do you spend $250 per year on?
  • What about $500 per year?
  • $1,000 per year?
  • More than $1,000 per year?

The point of this part of the exercise is to identify the products that you are price insensitive to. This means that you will spend 3-4x the lowest possible price for a product (or service) because you value it so much. This could be a car, mountain bike, computer, travel abroad, wine, dog walking, or online gaming.

There’s no right answer here, other than looking at your spending and being real with yourself about what it says about your values. It doesn’t have to be a luxury good to indicate price insensitivity, it just has to be something about which you value other things higher than price.

2. Identify 3-5 subcultures you belong to

These groups can be any collection of people who share similar interests: role-playing gamers, car enthusiasts, hunters, knitters, or mountain bikers.

3. Identify the media outlets your subcultures pay the most attention to

Once you have your list of 3-5 of your personal subcultures, list the following media outlets for each subculture you want to examine:

  • 3-5 websites those people are most likely to visit
  • 3-5 Twitter accounts they’re most likely to follow
  • 3-5 Instagram accounts they’re most likely to follow
  • 3-5 Facebook pages they’re most likely to follow
  • 3-5 podcasts they’re most likely to listen to

This will provide you a list of media outlets that you can target with your message about your product of service. When this strategy is done well, you can actually appear to have ubiquitous marketing presence to this narrowly defined niche, but without spending all the money necessary to actually be ubiquitous. The point here is that you’re not marketing to everybody.

In fact, you’re not even marketing to an entire demographic (i.e. 25 to 40-year-old female gamers). In Tim’s words, you’re marketing to the “tip of the spear” of a demographic, in such a way that you gain entrance to the larger target market as a result of a much smaller marketing effort than would otherwise be necessary.

Now you have some powerful information that you could use to build a product or service, or to market an existing product or service. Marketing to people who you know (because they are like you) will help your message connect with real people. Finding price insensitivity will help ensure a minimum of hassle from these people once they become your customers.

If reading this article has you juiced about your 1,000 true fans, I encourage you to listen to Tim’s podcast that this article is based on, and of course, Kevin Kelly’s excellent essay that started this whole conversation. After all, I can only share these valuable tips with you because I stand on the shoulders of these two giants (and the giants who stood before them).

Credit:
“How to Build a Large Audience from Scratch, and More” Originally found on the Tim Ferriss podcast
“1,000 True Fans” by Kevin Kelly