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Many of us spend countless hours trying to attract new business, when in reality that new business could be staring at us in the face.

Our existing customers.

If you could get 10% more revenue out of your existing customers, what difference would that make to your bottom line?

Many site owners are aware that it is far more expensive to attract new business than to retain existing customers. Yet they spend all of their marketing spend on attracting new visitors in the hope that they will spend money with them. Most website owners are obsessed by the amount of site traffic or the number of page “hits” the website is generating and if they aren’t obsessing over those metrics, then there is always the % of new visitors and the % bounce rate for them to worry about.

That’s not to say these metrics aren’t interesting they are, they just aren’t as important as the site owners think. The most important stats are those relating to conversions. How many of the people who visit your site buy something off of you? How does that relate to your the articles you post or the placement of ads on your page. See our post on Actionable Metrics for more information.

In reality if your could sell more to your existing customers, you could spend far less on marketing and hence increase your bottom line. Doesn’t that makes sound commercial sense?

1000 True Fans

This brings us to the concept of 1000 True Fans….if you had a mailing list and that mailing list contained 1000 of your most loyal customers and these 1000 were the people that you interacted the most, the people commenting on your site, emailing you suggestions and buying your products, wouldn’t you feel like you had achieved something?

The truth is, if you have 1000 people who regularly buy products off of you then these people are pure gold.

Think about it for a minute. if you had 1000 people buying your 4 e-books a year or maybe other products or services, spending say £100/$100 per year with you, could you survive on £100,000 / $100,000 per year?

Wikipedia defines a fan as:

someone who has an intense, occasionally overwhelming liking and enthusiasm for a sporting club, person (usually a celebrity), group of persons, company, product, activity, work of art, idea, or trend.

So how do you as a website / business owner get fans?

You get fans by lots of hardwork, but essentially this means connecting with people using the following 4 step process.

1. Write lots of content

Write lots of content that your target market is going to be interested in. Stuff that they need to know, giving them reasons to come back and visit your site. Make the content interesting but more importantly make it useful. Update your site regularly so there is always lots of fresh content.

2. Hang out with your potential customers

Be where your customers are. Find out what websites your potential customers hang out on and make sure you go there too. If you don’t know what sites they like. Make a point of asking them, through say an online poll or ask your visitors through a post what other sites they visit or email the people who comment on your site and ask them for their advice. Connect with people.

Also you need to comment on the blog posts where your potential customers hang out and as many relevant sites as you can find.

Another great way to generate visitors is by submitting guest posts to these sites and others. My good friend James Richmond at theinfopreneur recommends that you comment on 20 blogs a day. Make sure you do too. But don’t go putting nice post as your comment. Put something meaningful and give insight. Don’t just try and promote your products.

Be out there. Make sure your potential customers know your name and recognise your style. However, be yourself style wise, don’t be influenced too much by others.

3. Add lot’s of value

The best way of adding value to your visitors is to answer your readers specific questions. Which you can do by inviting readings to ask questions and post the responses on your site.

4. Promote

Step 4 is the culmination of all your hard work, make sure that people know all about it. Write and promote, write and promote. Post to Twitter, Facebook, everywhere you can. Make sure that people know all about your content.
Finally, you need to capitalise on this content. You need to get your new visitors to subscribe to your newsletter or RSS feed (What is RSS?)

For the management of my newsletters I use Aweber email management which has a whole host of templates which can be customised to your needs and the facility to automatically email newsletters or messages at predetermined times.

There are other email managment tools out there, but Aweber is the tool that powers a number of the big blogs.

Once you have your fans though, don’t give them the hard sell, continue to add value in your communications and treat your fans well. Every 4-5 communications you can promote your product or service, but don’t over do it!

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