“Stoking” Your Fans

As I mentioned in an earlier post, your most effective marketing comes from word of mouth.  As you may also know, it is easier to retain a customer than it is to get a new customer.  Put those two ideas together and you see that it is more cost effective and efficient to keep your current customers happy so that their word of mouth will help you to gain new customers.  On top of this, mix in the benefits of the internet where word of mouth is archived and global and you can see how it is a powerful tool for marketing.

What I’d like to propose is a new form of marketing that I call “Stoking.”  Stoking puts all three of these elements together and combines the idea of “gifting” as well.  (Gifting is the practice of giving away something of value when you expect nothing in return.  The act of the gift and the pleasure it creates is the value).

So, how does ’stoking’ work:

1.  Search the internet for your band (or business) name.  Try google, twitter, facebook, youtube, and flickr.  You are looking for people who are talking about your band.  Most likely you’ll have fans out there that you didn’t even know about.

2.  When you find some people who have been talking good things about you (archived word of mouth!) then drop them a line to say thank you and offer them a gift.  It could be a ticket to a show, a free t-shirt, a free album, or anything else you can dream up.

This simple act makes you feel great for being the giver of the gift.  It makes the recipient feel great for getting a gift and being appreciated.  And of course, it’s all good for business because you’re taking the time to be awesome and everyone appreciates that.

You can take this deeper if you want by trying to track and analyze all of the responses but I’ve found that the idea of gifting stands in contrast to all of my analytical marketing efforts.  It’s not about analysis and measuring, it’s about perpetuating the giving cycle.

Try it out.  You’ll be surprised how fun and rewarding it is.

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