Safety is important in marketing.
People need to feel safe to approach you. To take that first step. But if ALL they take is that first step then all your efforts are worthless.
It can be easy to work at building a big ‘crowd of spectators’. But that’s different than building a ‘community of raving fans’. The former can help the latter. In fact, it’s often necessary. But the former doesn’t pay the bills.
Consider this recent blog post from Seth Godin:
Fans, Participants and Spectators:
A good preacher ought to be able to get 70% of the people who showed up on Sunday to make a donation.
A teeny bop rock group might convert 20% of concert goers to buy a shirt or souvenir.
A great street magician can get 10% of the people who watch his show to throw a dollar in the hat.
Direct marketers used to shoot for 2% conversion from a good list, but now, that’s a long shot.
A blogger might convert 2% of readers to buy a book. (I’m aghast at this).
And a twitter user with a lot of fans will be lucky to get one out of a thousand to click a link and buy something. (.1%)
Likes, friendlies and hits are all fast-growing numbers that require little commitment. And commitment is the essence of conversion. The problem with commitment is that it’s frightening (for both sides). And so it’s easy to avoid. We just click and move on.
I think there’s a transparent wall, an ever bigger one, between digital spectators and direct interaction or transaction. The faster the train is moving, the harder it is to pay attention, open the window and do business. If all you’re doing is increasing the number of digital spectators to your work, you’re unlikely to earn the conversion you deserve.
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