In 2005, Alabama football started the season with an unexpectedly strong showing. The Tide, coming off a 6-win season in 2004, jumped out to a 4-0 start and #16 ranking heading into an October 1st matchup against #5 Florida. The game was in Tuscaloosa, and the excitement was palpable. Adding to the intensity, was the fact that all week heading into the game, the fact that Alabama had never beaten a Top 5 opponent in Tuscaloosa was repeated endlessly.
As you might expect, ticket prices for the game were through the roof, but I decided to go to the game just to be on campus and soak in the experience. Due to traffic I got to the stadium a few minutes into the game. Outside the stadium there were multiple televisions set up so fans could watch the game. The game was being broadcast on CBS, and I began to circle the stadium heading toward the nearest television so I could watch the game.
The game was in the first few minutes of the first quarter. As I was walking, I could hear the roar of the crowd, it was very loud. A play started, and I then heard what almost sounded like a gasp from the entire crowd then what can only be called an explosion of sound. The sudden roaring of the crowd was so loud, that I could literally FEEL the audio waves coming from the stadium as I walked outside it.
This is what was happening inside the stadium at that moment (volume UP):
In 2018, Twitch streamers Nickmercs and Aydan were competing in a Fortnite tournament, and one of the perks was that if the team could eliminate a certain number of players in a specific time they could collect a $30,000 prize bonus.
As the duo got closer to winning the Make It Rain bonus, they were having trouble concentrating because debris from the ceiling kept falling on them as they was playing.
The crowd’s roar was so loud as Nickmercs and Aydan kept eliminating players that the ceiling was vibrating, and it was causing debris to fall down on the players.
We all start at zero
I’ve always been completely enamored with how entities and personalities in music, entertainment and sports/esports can create fans that are as passionate as the fans you see in the above two clips. One of the reasons why I wrote Think Like a Rock Star was to help companies understand how these fans are created, so those businesses can also create passionate fans.
One of the biggest misconceptions businesses have about creating fans is the belief that fans just ‘happen’ for people and companies in certain industries like sports, music, and entertainment.
Nickmercs is one of the streamers in the above video. He’s also one of the hottest streamers in the world right now, and a few weeks ago he had over 400,000 viewers for one stream.
But recently, he tweeted out a reminder that in 2014, he was celebrating the fact that he had hit 170 viewers on a stream:
It’a not a sprint, it’s a marathon. pic.twitter.com/9tmRx4BbVg
— FaZe Nickmercs (@NICKMERCS) August 19, 2020
And he was excited about having 170 viewers, because he started with 0. All Twitch streamers do.
All businesses start with 0 happy customers. We ALL start at 0.
Reverse-engineering the Roar
Another huge misconception businesses have is that they can’t create fans like Alabama football does, or like Taylor Swift does or like Nickmercs does.
Let’s go back to the first example in this post of the Alabama football game. It’s easy for your business to look at that and think, “We could never have fans like that!”
Are you SURE about that?
Let’s break down that example. How many people are there that would claim to be Alabama football fans? I have no earthly idea and it would be almost impossible to measure. For the purposes of this post, let’s say there are 10 Million people who self-identify as being Alabama fans.
The above Alabama-Florida game had roughly 80,000 people in attendance. Let’s say there were another 20,000 fans outside the stadium and in the area. So for the purposes of this post, there were 100,000 Alabama fans who were passionate enough about the Crimson Tide to come to Tuscaloosa to see that game.
100,000 is 1% of 10 Million. So that means that only 1% of Alabama football fans were passionate enough about the Crimson Tide to come to Tuscaloosa on October 1st, 2005, to see them play.
So all the passion and electricity you saw in that video above, that wasn’t Alabama football fans. That was the 1% of Alabama football fans who are the MOST PASSIONATE about the Crimson Tide.
Think about your business. How many customers do you have?
Let’s say your VP of Marketing wants to create a conference just for your customers.
Could you get enough customers to attend to make the event viable? Maybe not.
But do you think you could get 1% of your customers to attend? Yeah, that’s a possibility.
Then how is your business different from Alabama football or NickMercs or Taylor Swift when it comes to creating passionate customers that love you?
It isn’t. The difference is, Alabama football and NickMercs and Taylor Swift do a better job of ENGAGING their fans than your business does.
Excitement breeds excitement
Let’s say your business has 1,000 customers. 1% of 1,000 is 10. So you have about 10 customers that absolutely love your business.
Who are those customers? You should know who they are, their names, what they do. Your business should be in constant contact with them. Your business should empower those 1% of your customers to tell others about your business.
Let your most passionate customers be your best salespeople. Let them sing your praises to others. They are already doing this (because they love you), your business just needs to be smart enough to give them better tools to do what they are already doing.
That will lead to more customers for your business. And once your current customers see how you are engaging with, embracing and empowering your 1%, it will make them want to join that 1%.
What if your business could grow its customer base by 10% a year, and increase its 1% of customers that love you by another percentage point every year?
So start out with 1,000 customers and 10 customers who love you.
The next year, you have 1,100 customers and 20 customers who love you.
The third year, you have 1,210 customers and 30 customers who love you.
The fourth year, you have 1,331 customers and 52 customers who love you.
The fifth year, you have 1,462 customers and 73 customers who love you.
So in just 5 years, your customer base could grow by almost 50%, and the number of customers who love you could increase over sevenfold.
Think of the impact that amount of growth could have on your business. And it’s not just growth, it’s cumulative growth, fueled by engaging just 1% of your customers, and letting them spread their passion for your business to others.