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“When you become a superfan of something, it’s not because of a person, a product, a name, or a brand. You become a superfan because of how that person, product, or brand makes you feel.”
It's easy to forget about the people behind the data. So, in his book Superfans, Pat Flynn puts emphasis on concentrating on how the individual feels, and how you can create your biggest supporters from the smallest group.
Written in 2019, Pat's work has changed the way marketers see their audience. Instead of thinking big, of huge numbers of subscribers and followers, believing you have to change the world, the book suggests you need to impact someone's own personal world.
Your potential fans are looking for their thought leaders to give advice, but also to care. Basically, it's all about trust.
If you manage to solidify this trust, you'll gain a group of superfans. This is a community beyond followers who like your posts, or customers who buy your product. Instead, superfans believe in your cause and will be your biggest ambassadors, as they now see you as making a difference in your life.
Pretty good, right? Having a group of fans all wearing your face on a t-shirt. But why does this work so well in marketing? Why should we go beyond racking up millions of twitter followers, and instead focus on three guys waving a flag with your company logo on? Let's find out.
Why Superfans is Vital for Any Modern Marketer
Within the book, Pat outlines the process which turns your casual, everyday customers and followers into these coveted superfans.
Stripped back, it's all about identifying and solving their problems, and creating community around this.
So, starting off, you'll need to make your customers' problems super clear, and show them how good their life will be once it's solved. This product will transform your life, you should say.
Then, it's about creating a sense of belonging. People need a community, and will actively seek one out, and will as a result bond over your solution. Then you need to give them inside knowledge of your process and find ways of bringing your community together. You should pay attention to this community, providing personalised emails, and encouraging involvement in your brand. This can be giving them responsibilities, so they feel like their part of the bigger picture.
These highly engaged customers will then go out of their way to buy and promote everything you create. This will effectively future-proof your business.
About the Author
Pat Flynn is a podcaster, author, serial entrepreneur and founder of several successful websites. His first online business was GreenExamAcademy.com, which offers publications designed to help students pass the LEED exam in the architecture industry.
He is most well known for his Smart Passive Income blog, which has been featured in Forbes, the New York Times, and other publications. It's accompanying podcast has been ranked #3 for business podcasts in iTunes.
Superfans is Pat's third book, following Let Go and Will It Fly.
So, as we've mentioned, the book details how you can build a successful, future-proofed business by creating superfans. To do this, you'll need to find your super 1000, a group of 1000 individuals who will act as your ambassadors.
But what are some main points?
- The Pyramid of Fandom. This details the levels of fans. These include, in ascending order:
- The casual audience. The largest segment i.e. the people on your email list.
- The active audience. This audience is aware of you, and what your brand has to offer. They'll decide whether to invest time or money in your new content or product and take some convincing.
- The connected community. This is the beginning. You'll communicate regularly with them, and they'll start to talk to each other. This group will provide feedback and validate new ideas.
- The Superfan Journey. You have to show how you can add value to people's lives. But for superfans, you need to do more than just that. You'll need to create memorable experiences to help them unlock something new, in order to make them feel positive about your brand.
- Find the language of your audience. To do this, you need to find conversations that are already happening online, although take this with a grain of salt as you're not involved in the direct conversations. Then, you should ask people about their biggest challenge related to a topic, and find out what solution they've tried. Finally, ask how their lives would look if this challenge was solved. Another way to do this is to find 10 people and ask them to spend 15 mins talking to you about a problem or need related to your area of expertise.
Reviewed by: Sean Donnelley, Head of Product, LXA
Build a set of superfans, and no matter what happens, they'll always be there for you. Instead of spending money on ads, spend more time on people. Instead of worrying about the latest growth hacks and strategies, worry about identifying and addressing the biggest pains and problems in your target audience. Instead of figuring out how to optimize your conversion rates, figure out the rate at which you're able to connect authentically with your audience and make them feel special. Fans are important, but superfans are everything.
Pat Flynn's work fits well with the modern age, of celebrity culture and social media. Noting how people build a community around the removal of a pain point, and will then go out their way to promote this to others, shows a real in-depth knowledge of social behaviour.
Despite being written a few years ago, Pat's book has predicted the building of small dark communities on sites like Discord, and brands moving away from social media giants and large follower counts. We can even see communities being built around NFT projects, where superfans are willing to part with thousands if they believe in the philosophy of the project, or the work of the creator.
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