Generating Response, Followers and Referrals

I just experienced an interesting phenomenon related to the release of my February e-letter. I’ve gotten into the practice of posting notices to various LinkedIn groups when a new e-letter is available, inviting new subscribers. I’ve been doing this for about 14 months now and usually pick up 10-15 new subscribers.

This month, so far, I’ve picked up 95! (which is pretty signficant for me because my initial list was only about 400).

I immediately began to consider reasons why the demand increased so significantly.

Was it the enticing post?: “Tips and strategies for employee communication, branding and advertising – February Strategy Matters e-letter has been released. If you’re interested in receiving a copy, let me know.” I don’t think so. This is basically the same format I follow each month.

Was it the topics? Employee communication, advertising and branding. Again, I don’t really think so. I’ve seen a slight uptick in interest based on the topics covered from month to month, but these are pretty typical of what I tend to cover.

So, what could it be?

After some rumination, and as I continue to see requests come in, I think it has to do with “herd mentality.” Unlike previous months where people have tended to email me privately when they’re interested in being added to the list, this month someone quickly posted a notice to the group asking to be added to the list. Then another. And another. And so on. The group actions themselves, I believe, generated the amazing interest.

Basic consumer behavior, I suppose. We learn from others and have a tendency to replicate their behaviors. You could call it “me-tooism.” And, in fact, the same phenomenon is why the advertising industry works so hard to help us identify with – and want to be like – others who buy and use various products.

For me, the key learnings I’m going to take away from this experience are:

  • Be explicit when posting these types of comments about asking people to “comment here” or “post your comment below.”
  • Consider ways I might use this same process to generate more participation on this blog – just need a few people to be brave enough to start posting publicly for momentum to increase!
  • Leverage this concept as I continue to experiment with Twitter.

Finally, I think it’s important to note that my “aha” moment is really nothing new. In fact, there are a number of great books that explore the sometimes counter-intuitive actions of consumers, and the general public. Some of my favorite are:

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert Cialdini

Preditably Irrational – Dan Ariely

Freakonomics

and Super Freakonomics both by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

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