Most of us will know the amazing story of Lana Del Rey: out of the blue she appeared on radio stations around the world after creating a self-made video clip of Video Games with millions of views on YouTube (the counter is at over 70 million views at the moment of writing). Even low-quality and quite boring videos of her interacting with her fans are receiving hundreds of thousands views on YouTube.

Of course, she’s not the first one to get a head start through the video-sharing site, gathering strong fan bases, and being discovered by major label producers afterwards and basically becoming household names (just think about the Justin Bieber's of this world). In one of our next blog posts, we'll delve a bit deeper into these so-called "Beliebers" and how they are another prime example of fan-based marketing.

In this particular case of Lana Del Rey though, a lot of people believe the original video might have been staged, but that’s not the point.

Think Like A Rockstar

As you can read in the excellent book of Mack Collier “Think like a Rock Star” – “How to create social media and marketing strategies that turn customers into fans” – a lot of the same principles to build a fan/customer base can be easily translated to your business.

The ability to acquire new customers depends on the ability to engage, ignite your existing customers and convert them into passionate fans.

I recently saw Lana Del Rey performing in Paris, and her ability to connect with the audience is remarkable. The concerts have the reputation for having a special vibe and people tend to talk about them to other people who aren't particular fans of the music, but might want to check it out for themselves the next time she's around, because of the buzz that's surrounding the concerts. That’s word-of-mouth marketing at its finest.

To cultivate this even more, she does quite some extra gigs (like Prince is also well-known for) with a very limited capacity and limited promotion. Fans who can be part of these exclusive concerts spread the news on social media and show the pictures to their peers, building the ambassador army even further. By focusing on only a small percentage of her fan base, these fans will become huge ambassadors for her music and persona.

The same is true in business: only a small percentage of your customers are responsible for almost all of your online word-of-mouth marketing. Why keep on spending huge budgets on new customer acquisition when you can focus on your most passionate customers to get the word out there, upgrading them to brand advocates for your business. Also, these super fans tend to be much more vocal about your brand anyway, so think of ways to incentivize  them.

The good news is that the incentive doesn't always have to be money. Instead, think about experiences. Psychological research suggests that, in the long run, experiences make people happier than possessions.  That's in part because the initial joy of acquiring a new object, such as a new car, fades over time as people become accustomed to seeing it every day, experts said. Experiences, on the other hand, continue to provide happiness through memories long after the event occurred.

In our Lana Del Rey example, the exclusive concerts are a great way to reward the most passionate fans. Depending on the business you're in, I'm sure you can come up with some "perks" yourself:

  • access to exclusive content
  • invitations to special industry-related events or premium access to those events
  • a guided walkthrough through the production facilities of the company
  • putting the customer in the spotlight in a way applicable to your business


The power has shifted from brands to their customers

Today, online customers barely listen to company messages anymore; they’re listening to their peers instead. So be aware of this strong mechanic and use it to your advantage.

Research shows that these brand ambassadors are 6 times as valuable than your other customers, a statistic you just can't ignore. That’s why it’s key for you as a business owner to be able to identify and activate them.

What are some of the other perks that worked in your business to reward your dearest fans? Let us know in the comment section!