Seth Godin recently wrote an excellent post about finding the ten people who trust you/respect you/need you/listen to you.
With all due respect to Bruce Willis, I’m going to call these people your “Die Hards” . . . people that will go out of their way to evangelize your product or service.
Do you have ten? Do you have more? If you can’t name ten, you should either change course or “die fast”.
Do you know who they are?
I don’t mean their email addresses. Do you know where they live? How old they are? Most importantly, do you know why they chose you over your competitors? Do you know exactly why they tell their friends, everyday, that you’re the greatest thing since coffee sleeves?
Are you communicating with them?
I don’t mean ‘are they on your distribution list’ or ‘do they subscribe to your blog’, I mean do you have real two-way communication? Are you getting personal feedback from them? Do you know what colors they wished existed? What features they would love to see? What they think of your pricing?
When is the last time you’ve sent them something of value, for free?
Send them a few free units or a preview of a new model. Invite them for an all-expenses paid tour of your facilities. After all, by evangelizing you, they’re providing you with an invaluable service everyday. An unexpected gift will stoke their fire even more. Don’t even bother measuring the ROI. It’s off the charts.
I’m not suggesting polling every user and trying to keep them all happy. That’s not only foolish, it’s impossible. But you should be listening to and communicating with your die hards.
Keep your friends close, your enemies closer and your die hards closest.