In a recent blog post, Seth Godin talks about the value of subscribers and states that 1 subscriber = 1,000 surfers.
In the traditional sense, a subscriber is someone who pays to see your content, someone who is committed to interacting with you. In today’s world, with limitless information available at any given moment (and for free), that definition has grown to include anyone that commits any amount of time to your content. We live in a world of surfers, making the value of that committed viewer nearly priceless.
How this changes what we do
For anyone that publishes content, you understand that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been the go-to strategy for attracting new viewers and customers online. This approach is geared towards the reaching the masses. It’s an attempt to snag surfers anytime they’re looking for anything even remotely relevant to you. This is not a bad thing. But it’s not the best thing either.
The times are a changin’ and it is now imperative that we spend more of our time and energy investing in our “subscribers” than trying to preach to each and every surfer that comes our way. Making the effort to engage with and build relationships with those that already like what you do, publish, or sell will yield more fruit than just holding a sign by the side of the road. By the way, this whole relationship and interaction thing is made simple, efficient, and rewarding through social media. [Check out one of my posts on social media here]
These ideas are not just for those that have things to sell. I am talking about creating valuable content, building relationships, and telling stories which apply to everyone, whether you are a housewife, blogger, business owner, or college student.
When I was in college, I helped run a leadership development program on my campus. We brought in guest speakers, held conferences, and hosted retreats that taught leadership principles to students. One of those speakers, Dr. Tim Elmore, has written some great material on leadership and communication. One of his fundamental points was the idea of Duck Hunting.
In duck hunting you wait for a flock to approach, fire, and gather up the birds that fall. It’s impossible to gather up the ones that don’t fall; yet, every day we try to do this with the content that we publish and products that we sell. We become fixated on telling as many people as possible about everything we do. Instead, we should focus on those that respond, build relationships with them, and allow them to share our story with others. Because, when you think about it, who do we generally trust more, our friends or an advertisement? Unless you have terrible friends, I think we are all on the same page.
Am I suggesting we abandon all traditional advertisement and marketing strategies? By no means. What I am suggesting is that we put more effort into our subscribers than we do the surfers. If we commit to those that respond, we will see them sharing our story, products, and services with others. At that point, it becomes more about a story than a business. And, in case you can’t see it, that is a very good thing!
Whether you are an online retailer, a blogger, or a stay at home dad, think about who you are talking to, what you want to say to them, and spend time interacting with them. It isn’t always easy. It isn’t always quick. But it’s always rewarding.