For the past four years I’ve been promoting my private fitness services in the Boston metro-area. I offer clients mobile services as well as access to my private studio. My team has gathered a mailing list of over 8,000 friends, family, and associates but, we’re not successfully growing our Facebook fan page.
We currently have 100 fans. Out of these 100 fans, we’re lucky to have 4 or 5 actually comment or even email us. Come to think of it, our open rate for our mailings is only 40% and the newsletter has never actually resulted in sales for us or potential client inquiries.
I’m starting to suspect that we’re not engaging our list. Do you have any tips for growing our fans and engaging them?
―List Builder in Boston
Mr. List Builder,
Suspicions can be good and, in your case, it seems your instincts are spot on. It’s difficult to imagine how you can have a mailing list of 8,000+ but struggle to get over 100 fans on Facebook. This may be able to be resolved by asking yourself Who? and What?
Sheer numbers are not the most important thing when it comes to growing a mailing list. You can have a million people but if these people aren’t interactive, what is your list really doing for you? A mailing list of only 10 people who are all spending money, interacting, and promoting your brand for you are worth more than 1,000 silent folks who never even open your mailings.
First, take a real look at who comprises your list. It's time to channel your inner CIA-operative and gather valuable intel. Categorize how many are friends, how many are family, and how many are associates. Out of these people, figure out who would make good brand ambassadors and help spread the word about your business. Figure out what your list spends money on and what kind of money they spend on services like yours. If you don’t have any of this info and are clueless about answering these questions, that’s your first sign that you don’t know enough about your list.
After you figure out who is on your list, you then need to figure out what your people want. If they’re not interacting, it is probably because they don’t understand how interacting with you will benefit them. Incentive is a great way to engage. Most business people think a sale is the best way to entice but, you may need to start with a contest. A contest is something they can win without having to spend money and everyone wants free stuff.
Invite your list to fan you on Facebook and offer them a chance to win something they want if and when they become a fan. Facebook fan pages are set up under your business name but they really belong to the fans.
These methods can get you started. To keep growing that fan base, you’ll have to keep communicating with and learning about your people. Knowing them is the only way to know what they want.