New Ways to Interact with Your Audience

iStock_000008584107XSmallI recently took some photos of my “geek-tech” friends at TEDx Nashville. Once I got home I was trying to figure out where to post these photos.

Should I post them on the TEDx Facebook Page, what about my neighborhood “Nashville Geek Breakfast” page? My Profile?

Well at that moment I noticed that Dave Delaney had posted his photos to Flickr. Shoot! Why didn’t I think of that? Instead of the same ole – same ole, why not use the Flickr account I pay for annually?

So that started me on a week of “introspection”. What else am I already doing that I’m not really thinking too much about? Where can I move my audience, give them something interesting to see and do. So here’s a list of new ways to interact with your audience: I already know this places look “normal”, but take a second look – are you really USING THEM?

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Community Building Extras

I decided to go to BlogWorldExpo this year. I have had this impression that it’s just enormous with tons of vendor booths and people wandering this way and that. I just imagine being somewhat lost in this sea of people.

And then I was looking at the sessions “grid” and there seem to be 10 different ones going on every hour. Holy Moly! I better bring a friend. Honestly, can you really make friends at something so huge?

And then. . . I got a card in the mail. I got a handwritten card from one of the organizers. I can’t even get my friends and family to send handwritten Christmas cards. I immediately took a picture of it, uploaded it to Instagram and thanked them the for the card using the BlogWorldExpo hash tag.

Guess what? They replied and said they looked forward to seeing me. Hmmm. . . What a simple gesture that made me feel so welcome. I certainly wasn’t expecting a handwritten letter from this “giant” event.

Examples of Community Building Extras

Sending physical notes is hard if you don’t have your audience’s addresses. But don’t let that stop you. I have learned time and time again that even the small gesture of welcoming people to your audience is appreciated. At we welcome each person as they press the “join” button and have gotten many emails of appreciation because of it. Small isn’t bad.

When teleseminar coach Cyndi Dawson speaks she brings something special for those of her community members who happen to be at the event. And at the NAMS event in Atlanta I know Lynn Terry holds a dinner for her elite community members. Those are great community building gestures.

From the big business side of the world, Choice Hotels (the Comfort Inn / Sleep Inn folks) have little gift bags at the front desk for their frequent stay card holders. I believe the last one I got had an apple and a bottle of water in it. Simple, but most appreciated.

So what kinds of things can you do for your audience that will set you apart?

  • Open up a teleseminar line once/month for your community to call, chat or ask questions.
  • Take pictures with your fans in person. Upload and tag them on Facebook.
  • Friend your community members on other networks and initiate conversations.
  • Write an ebook and give your audience pre-publication access in exchange for comments and feedback. If you get their name and address in that process, send a real thank you note.
  • Send out TweetUp notices when you travel and invite your community members to come out and meet you. Do that in your own city too.
  • When you create products, give long-term community members an extra 10% affiliate commission

Got some other ideas of ways to reward your community? To praise your community? To serve your community? Share them with us.

Dan R Morris is the founder of, a website dedicated to improving your revenue stream from online efforts. Dan is an infomercial producer, niche website owner, product developer, author and Mastermind leader. Dan actively encourages marketers to take that extra step so that “Hope” doesn’t become the marketing plan.

Turning your customers into a community

There’s nothing better than turning your customers into a community of fans. That is the dream of most companies and bloggers on the net. It’s what has turned Facebook from a “reunion set-up” site to a community building juggernaut.  With a community of fans comes more sales, more feedback, more interaction and fun. What could be better than that?

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to do. 

What makes it hard is many companies want to create these “communities” on their own terms. For instance many groups who see a bunch of chatter on Twitter about them, will open up forums for those people to congregate and continue their “Chatter”.  Most of the time, however, the attempt never catches on while the chatter on Twitter remains.

A local Chamber of Commerce group here is always trying to get their members to come to special “education” sessions, or networking meetings – but despite their membership of 300 businesses only a handful attend each event. Are they fighting against the grain?

Likewise a large internet marketing conference series has had a hard time getting their forum to catch on within the membership – despite lively conversations happening everyday on Twitter, Skype and Facebook. Is the forum lacking some “draw”, something exclusive or it is just inconvenient?

So what is the key to turning customers into a community?

There are a couple trends among groups who’ve created successful communities. The first is “be first”. The Virtual Assistant Group VANetworking created a group on LinkedIn for Virtual Assistants. Without knowing the group was flourishing, VANetworking had amassed a group of 7,000 VA’s in their LinkedIn group.  They had merely created the place for a community to exist – and voila! it grew.

Another successful “community” is the type Lynn Terry has put together with her membership forum. While chatter about Lynn’s teachings is rampant on Twitter, and comments on her blog remain very active she was able to move that to the forum. From an outsider’s perspective it appears that the secret to her forum is the access she grants of” herself to the members. The “draw” is what you can learn from Lynn and the community comes from the shared experience.

Lastly, take advantage of the community that is already present. If there’s a bunch of chatter on Twitter, instead of trying to move that natural speak to a forum, why not join them there? The use of hash tags on Twitter enables “communities” of people to search for others in the same group.

In another case, I was recently involved in an online swim group where the focal point was a Google Doc Spreadsheet people updated every day with their stats. The head of the group did have a separate forum set up, but it didn’t get used much by our group’s members. What we did was leave “comments” in the spreadsheet. Instead of asking us to move our comments to the forum, the organizer began commenting himself and leaving comments. Instead of trying to remake the community – he joined it.

As to the Chamber of Commerce group, perhaps a community isn’t what members are looking for. Perhaps businesses have joined the Chamber to put the sticker in their window? Perhaps they have joined the Chamber to put the symbol on their business card.  Perhaps the community the Chamber needs to build is not one represented by a forum or attendance, but through the reputation of its efforts.

Not every group has the ability to create a community.

Think about your cable guy, your plumber or your banker. Can you see yourself actively participating in a forum on their websites?  For most people the answer would be no. But that doesn’t mean these groups can’t harness the idea of community another way. There are a myriad of ways local businesses can get their customers and fans together without the internet.

If you’ve seen a great example for us to learn from, please leave a comment below. We love success stories.

Your message determines your audience

Don’t underestimate the power of your message. When you connect with your audience with the right message, they’ll also connect with you.  And in some instances, the message alone will set you light years ahead of your competition.

I was listening to Paul Winkler, a local investment coach, talk about how to hire a good investment guy on his radio show the other day. He was talking about asking tough questions before actual hiring the guy to run your finances.

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The Money is Not in The List

The money is not in the list. How many times have you heard that? I suppose there’s someone out there using that headline just to attract traffic. But the truth is the list itself is not that important.

If the list were all that mattered, then the richest people would be those with the biggest lists – the spammers. But when was the last time you saw a “spammer” interviewed on Oprah? No, the list may not mean anything at all. The money is in the manner you grew your list, if that is supported by the value you provide afterwards.

Dave Ramsey, the financial guy, thinks everyone should have to experience “killing your food and dragging it home”. Basically, the entrepreneurial life. Until you’ve worked on commission = which every entrepreneur does,  it’s hard to equate work with money.

Internet marketers are in the business of dragging home their dinner. In fact, the income of the internet marketer is directly proportional to the amount of value he creates. (or she. . .sorry. There should be a word that means he/she) That’s the key right there.

The money is not in the list. It’s in the value you provide to the list. If you keep your customers’ goals in mind – and help them achieve their goals. . . you’re providing value, creating trust and opening the door to sales.

The hard part is knowing what your customers’ goals are. Suppose you have a hobby site – like bird watching or knitting. What are your customers’ goals then?  That’s what you have to explore. . .and foster and ultimately find the solutions to. If all they want to do is look at photos of pretty barn quilts – then that’s what you should be giving them.

When you become the solution to their goals, you can give them the do-it-yourself information and offer the expedited version. The money. . . is in their pockets.

How do you use your list? Is it successful? Leave a comment.

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