Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

The Only Marketing Advice You’ll Ever Need

Nobody cares what you’re saying.

Cold callers get hung up on. Street signs and posters get ignored.  Emails end up as spam. Pop ups and internet ads get blocked. And TV commercials are cues to grab a snack or visit the loo. 

Once someone realizes they’re being sold to, they tune out and ignore you.

So how will you get parents to enroll their ADD diagnosed kids into your summer camp called Concentration Camp? For starters, consider a name change.

Next, drop all you know about traditional marketing. Whether that’s trying to rank first on Google, buying Facebook ads, or creating viral YouTube videos. That’s old school marketing.

Sure, the old ways may get you clicks, likes and retweets. But those aren’t sales. If you’re after clicks and user retention, start a porn site.

What do you do if you want sales?

Follow Kevin Kelly’s advice and focus on building 1,000 true fans. Fans who will buy anything you put on sale.

These die hard followers will travel across the Atlantic to hear you speak, buy every product in your webshop, tell all their friends about you, purchase and wear your merch, stick around as times get tough, and constantly scour your website for new content.

Do you have 1,000 true fans? Then you’ve got a livelihood. If you release a new $100 dollar product every year, you’ve got yourself a $100,000 yearly income.

The joy of building a small army of fans is that it encourages being your unapologetic self. Weirdness is what sets you apart and gets you admirers. Being generic gets you nothing.

Not everyone will appreciate your wacky views and work. But since we’re all only one click away, that won’t be a problem. Even if your eccentric ways only attract one person out of every million, you’re still left with more than 4,000 potential true fans.

The easiest part is having them find you. The most difficult part is earning their trust. That takes time. And is easily ruined by phony promises and poor products.

If you’re a writer or musician, you may scoff at the 1,000 true fans success formula. Books and albums sell roughly for ten bucks each and take about a year to make. That would mean a trusty following of 1,000 would only net you about $10,000 a year.


Luckily, that way of thinking is flawed. After all, a true fan buys everything you put online. Won’t your customers spend more than a ten-spot on your products? Then you don’t have true fans.

If you have the real deal, you can charge an ultra premium fee. Which of course means that you’ll have to overdeliver.

Author Neil Gaiman sold signed deluxe limited editions of his novel Coraline (4,000) for $395 each. They sold like hotcakes.

And Wu-Tang Clan approached their seventh album as a commissioned artwork and sold a single copy in a silver jewel-encrusted box for $2 million. The most expensive work of music ever sold.

You don’t need a huge audience to make a living. Just 1,000 true fans and the guts to price accordingly.

P.S. Old school marketing, better known as direct marketing, isn’t as useless as I made it out to be. It’s still a good way of getting eyeballs on your work. It just doesn’t reliably increase sales. That’s what your ‘true fan’ strategy is for.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach