How brand evangelists will transform your business.
And 3 great ways to make them love you.
Back in the very early days of my freelance writing career, I was a 20-year-old kid who had just left a 6-figure job in the United States to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams.
Sounds cool, huh? Another underdog story that we all like a bit too much. However, the truth was not that pretty back then.
My parents were pissed. And they had reason to, I don’t blame them at all. Their son had his life solved at the age of 20! House, car, finance job, everything. But he had just thrown all that away for something weird and intangible.
Moving back to my mom’s house in Spain was not easy. I remember the shame I felt the day I asked her for money to buy a couple books. I quickly realized that I needed to make some cash to, at least, cover my expenses -pronto.
You see, dreams and ambitions do not put food on the table just by themselves. I guess what I am trying to say is that I was dead-broke, and I needed enough green to survive.
I figured that, while my copywriting business was ramping up, I would teach English to Spanish kids.
But I had a problem. After 4 years of living in the States, I did not really know that many people in Spain.
Now, if you are an entrepreneur or a consultant, you probably know the feeling. You have a product or a service that is great and will help people -but you just can’t seem to find someone that will vouch for you.
I needed help. I needed someone to hook me up with some clients.
What I really needed (and you do too) was a brand evangelist.
To me, that was… my grandma.
See, I live in a 60-thousand people small town near Barcelona on the coast of the Mediterranean. My grandma has lived here for 69 years. She knows… absolutely everybody, and guess who she loves?… her grandson -me.
I didn’t even have to ask her for help. The day after I told her I wanted to teach English to kids to make some side-money, she was already talking with dozens of parents!
She was telling them how good of a man I am. How smart. How good looking and funny (thanks, grandma!). How much I could help their kids. How important knowing English is to have a successful career. How their kids would love me and have sooo much fun.
Guess what happened?
A week later, I had 5 kids sitting in my living room and I was making $100 an hour -which I really needed at that point.
My grandma is the best Brand Evangelist (and cook) I could ever ask for. She made me understand that the power of brand evangelists just cannot be overstated.
But, what are brand evangelists really?
They are the people that believe in your message so much that they gladly want to share it with others. They love talking about you and preaching your Gospel.
These are the people that… come to your comedy show and bring 5 people from work after talking you up in the water cooler for weeks.
These are the people that… buy your new book plus another 4 extra copies just to give them away as gifts.
These are the people that… not only like and comment all your Facebook posts, but they also tag their three closest friends and share it on their social feeds.
Kevin Kelly argues that you only need 1000 true fans to make a living. He is giving a different name to brand evangelists.
You can bet your ass that your business needs brand evangelists. XXX argues that you only need 1000 true fans to make a living. He says:
“A true fan is defined as a fan that will buy anything you produce. These diehard fans will drive 200 miles to see you sing; they will buy the hardback and paperback and audible versions of your book; they will purchase your next figurine sight unseen; they will pay for the “best-of” DVD version of your free youtube channel; they will come to your chef’s table once a month.”
True fans are the 2008 version of Brand Evangelists (because who uses DVD’s anymore…?).
But you might be thinking,
“that sounds great, but how do I find brand evangelists for my businesses? Other than your grandma, of course.”
I can tell you what I have learned from my experience as a freelance copywriter who works with entrepreneurs and CEO’s to make their voice stand out.
1. Exceed their expectations.
How do you exceed someone’s expectations?
First of all, by not overpromising. For example, I never tell my clients that they will get a 100% open rate on their email marketing campaigns. That is not only impossible but dumb. It discredits you and shows your inexperience. Even if they don’t catch it at the beginning, they’ll definitely be disappointed when you don’t reach what you promised.
Now, I am not saying you underpromise either. But that you tell them exactly what you will get them, and then take one extra step just to make it the icing on the cake.
Brand evangelists love brands and companies that have a very high standard of excellence. In this article I wrote about Tesla’s marketing, I explain how their cars are so undeniable great that fans just flock to them like white people to Starbucks.
2. Care about them.
My best friend’s dad owns a great business bookstore in Barcelona. Juan, the owner, is an aging old man with grey hair and the look of someone who has clearly gone through some shit. The store is run-down and in a very old, hidden street.
But they have been my go-to place for marketing books and, through the years, I have easily spent over a thousand bucks there.
The best thing about them? Juan actually gives a fuck about their buyers.
Every Friday, he spends half the day calling everyone who bought a book the week before. He asks them if they have started it, if they like it, and if they’d recommend it to someone.
He doesn’t do it because of policy or protocol -he’s the owner, after all.
He does it because he cares.
He has the most loyal clients I have ever seen -and they ferociously promote him to anyone who’ll listen.
3. Do not be afraid to ask.
When marketers want to know if I have an email list, I always say that I don’t. I have something different. I have a community of entrepreneurs, executives, writers, and marketers (oh, you can join us here btw) -and we are all trying to learn as we go.
What’s the difference?
About a year ago, I had a big-time problem: two of my long-term contracts with CEO’s were ending simultaneously. And they were a big share of my income.
I was (am) hungry for new, challenging clients that would push me to become a better copywriter. I need to find a way to replace them (and their money, feel me?).
So, what did I do?
I sent an email to my community (which was much smaller than right now). I told them exactly what was going on, and asked them if they, or someone they knew, needed a good copywriter that could help them create content or sales copy for businesses or entrepreneurs.
A marketer friend of mine told me I was crazy. “You sell to your email list, not ask them for favors or referrals! You’re insane, dude!”, he said.
But the response was overwhelming. They hooked me up with two great, up-and-coming founders who wanted to build their personal brand via thought leadership marketing. I even had to say no to a handful of projects!
Brand evangelists love you. They’ll say yes if you ask them -you just have to ask them!