In today’s post I am going to help you build a great community or tribe of people, with just one simple, overlooked idea.
Recognition, exclusivity and a limited supply
People love to be recognised and we are attracted to things, which are exclusive and / or in short supply.
- Recognition: Every qualification we earn comes with some kind of accreditation, certificate, letters after our name or all three. This shows recognition for what we have achieved.
- Exclusivity: When the demand for something outstrips the supply, the price increases. When something is scarce because of its exclusivity, people are massively more attracted to it – such as seats in certain restaurants.
How do we apply this to building a community or tribe?
By combining recognition, exclusivity and limited supply, we can dramatically increase the perceived value of something. What follows is a simple example of what I mean.
A couple of years ago, a friend of mine was struggling to build a local business support network for creative professionals. He wanted a maximum of 50 members, but had been stuck on 9 members for months and wasn’t able to get beyond it. I asked him what the networking group was called. He replied with a pretty dull, generic name.
I suggested he changed the name to The XYZ Thought Leader 50, (XYZ was the name of his county).
Not only did he quickly get 50 great members, they are so proud of being in the exclusive group that they tell people. Members proudly state their membership of this elite group on their websites, business cards and their LinkedIn profiles, etc. The value of membership increased so much that every leading creative professional in his county, is either a member or on his waiting list.
All this, for membership of a tribe that people were previously not interested in.
Here’s what happened, to transform George’s results
Two factors came into play, to help George achieve his amazing results:
- The name of the group referred to its membership as Thought Leaders. This is a title that is extremely attractive to his target membership. Look around you, the Internet is full of people who call themselves Thought Leaders, because they want to be seen that way. Membership of this tribe automatically recognises you as a Thought Leader, without members needing to self-proclaim it.
- The name of the group also suggested a high degree of exclusivity. With millions of people living in his county, to be 1 of an elite group of just 50 Thought Leaders seems quite an achievement.
How can this work for you?
What do you call members of your tribe or business community? Names and titles are important, because they change the way we feel. For example, many small business owners STILL insist on calling their readers or email subscribers their ‘list’ – making people feel like inventory items on a spreadsheet. Instead of that approach, consider a name that shows recognition for people.
In the example above, I asked George what the people in his group would have in common and he said Thought Leadership. So, I incorporated that into the name, knowing that people like to self-identify with that title.
A few of suggestions for you to consider:
- If you are a small business service provider, you almost certainly have a limit on the number of people you can serve. Why not try letting people know? People are hard wired to see more value in a consultant, web designer, trainer (or whoever), who has limited availability. It suggests quality and high demand.
- If you sell products, consider limited editions.
- Also, consider offering product lines that which are seasonal.
Get creative and experiment with different ideas. Test and measure your results on a small scale, then widen it out. Embrace the paradox that as you raise the barrier to entry or make something seem more exclusive, you can massively increase demand.
Do you offer an exclusive product or an exclusive version of your service? Do you show recognition, through the way you name your services or the title you give to your community? Share your thoughts with a comment.
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Photo: Bald Heretic