278: Pat Flynn On How To Create Superfans For Your Ecommerce Brand

278: Pat Flynn On How To Create Superfans For Your Brand

Today I have my buddy Pat Flynn back on the show. And this particular interview is special to me because it’s about a topic that I’ve been personally working on in the past year and it’s one of the reasons why I’m opening my life up more on Instagram. If you aren’t following me yet on IG, I can be found at @mywifequit

In this episode, we’ll talk about how to apply some of the concepts of Pat’s new book in helping you build superfans for your physical products business.

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What You’ll Learn

  • What is a super fan?
  • The key elements to creating super fans
  • How to build super fans for your physical product
  • The exact strategies Pat is using to build super fans for the Switchpod

Other Resources And Books


Klaviyo.com – Klaviyo is the email marketing platform that I personally use for my ecommerce store. Created specifically for ecommerce, it is the best email marketing provider that I’ve used to date. Click here and try Klaviyo for FREE.

Privy.com – Privy is my tool of choice when it comes to gathering email subscribers for my ecommerce store. They offer easy to use email capture, exit intent, and website targeting tools that turn more visitors into email subscribers and buyers. With both free and paid versions, Privy fits into any budget. Click here and get 15% OFF towards your account.

EmergeCounsel.com – EmergeCounsel is the service I use for trademarks and to get advice on any issue related to intellectual property protection. Click here and get $100 OFF by mentioning the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast.
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SellersSummit.com – The ultimate ecommerce learning conference! Unlike other events that focus on inspirational stories and high level BS, the Sellers Summit is a curriculum based conference where you will leave with practical and actionable strategies specifically for an ecommerce business. Click here and get your ticket now before it sells out.

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Steve: You’re listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast, the place where I bring on successful bootstrapped business owners and delve deeply into the strategies they use to grow their businesses. Now today, I have my buddy Pat Flynn back on the show and this particular interview is special to me because it is about a topic that I’ve been personally working on in the past year and it’s actually one of the reasons why I’m opening my life up more on Instagram. So if you aren’t following me yet on IG, I can be found on instagram.com/mywifequit.

But before we begin I want to give a shout-out to Privy who’s a sponsor of the show. Privy is a tool that I use to build my email list for both my blog and my online store and right now I’m using Privy Display a cool Wheel of Fortune pop-up basically user gives your email for a chance to win valuable prizes in our store and customers love the gamification aspect of this and when implemented this form email signups increased by a hundred thirty one percent. Now, you can also use Privy to reduce car abandoned with cart saver pop-ups and abandoned cart email sequences as well one super low price that is much cheaper than using a full-blown email marketing solution. So bottom line Privy allows me to turn visitors into email subscribers and recover lost sales so head on over to privy.com/steve and try it for free if you decide you need to the more advanced features use coupon code MWQHJ for fifteen percent off once again that’s privy.com/steve.

I also want to give a quick shout-out to Klaviyo who’s also a sponsor the show Black Friday is right around the corner and for my e-commerce. Your email marketing is a heavy part of my holiday sales strategy. And in fact last year, it was close to 50% of my sales. And of course as you all know klaviyo is the email marketing tool that I use for bumblebee Linens now klaviyo is the growth marketing platform chosen by over 20,000 Brands generating more than three point seven billion dollars in Revenue in just the last year and with the holiday season right around the corner Klaviyo created the ultimate planning guide for crushing those holiday Revenue targets for marketing creative to segmentation strategy. These are proven tactics. More personalized marketing especially in time for the holiday season. So visit Klaviyo.com/mywife to get Klaviyo holiday planning guard. Remember that Klaviyo.com/mywife. Now on to the show.

Intro: Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast we will teach you how to create a business that suits your lifestyle so can spend more time with your family focus on doing the things that you love. Here’s your host Steve Chou.

Steve: Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast. Today, I am thrilled to have my buddy Pat Flynn back on the show. Now, I’ve had Pat on the show twice before we talked about different ways to make money online and how to validate a business idea before you begin. Now, if you know Pat he is always has something Cookin and recently he held his first ever conference FlynnCon, which I heard was a huge success and he just released a brand new book that teaches others what he does better than most people I know. And that is to create superfans. Welcome back to show Pat. How you doing today, man?

Pat: I’m doing excellent man excited to chat and be back in front of your audience. Thank you for having me.

Steve: Yeah. So the last time we caught up was at the Warriors Finals game was

Pat: was

Steve: Was, it was fun. Unfortunately the outcome is..

Pat: It was fun and disappointing.

Steve: Yes, yes. But that was your first Finals game, right?

Pat: It was my first NBA game bro.

Steve: Wow. Okay.

Pat: Dude, Thank you for that. That was super fun. Just and it took me back to college when I into every game for Cal and I probably even saw you on the other side and didn’t even know it when we’re playing Stanford. But yeah, it took me back to those days and was it was super fun. It was like kind of cool that Cal grad and a Stanford grad where they’re together.

Steve: Yeah. We were like rooting for the same team and everything.

Pat: Yeah. That was very weird.

Steve: So Pat knowing you you’ve started a bunch of new products since then, but specifically I want to know how the switch pod is doing. I can’t wait to get my hands on mine.

Pat: Yes. It’s going to be shipped out very soon. And so for those of you who might remember me from days. When I was on the show and you know, I was only doing internet marketing related things online entrepreneurship and this past year my videographer and I we went to an event called vid Summit. And actually this was in 2017 when my videographer and I were there because we wanted to learn more about YouTube and how to do video better and it was funny because we were standing in the foyer and everybody had those gorillas pods. They’re like these bendable tripods. They all had their cameras on them and they were like doing selfie videos with them and walking around with them and then we would just notice that they were like struggling a lot to pack them away in their bag and open them and close them and put it down on the table and pick it back up and I was just like whoa, this is so funny how everybody’s using this thing that wasn’t made to do that.

It was made to wrap around trees and do videography at home not to like walk around with just videographers turned it into that and we’re just like there’s got to be a better solution for this and we did some research and found out that there was none which is why nobody had anything else and so right at that moment a good friend of ours Richie Norton who has a company called Prouduct came by and we’re just like hey Richie and Richie and his company he is a great team there. They take these physical product ideas that entrepreneurs have and will help you create them and we’re just like dude. What do you think of this idea for like a tripod that was built specifically for vloggers and people who walk around with their cameras and just need to make it easier and quicker. What do you think and he was like, let’s do it and we’re like like actually do it do it.

And you know, how many times how many times do we walk around were like? Oh I have this great idea and then we just kind of Let It Go and we’re just like, oh we’re you know part of me was like a like, okay, but we’ve never done a physical product before I wouldn’t even know where to begin or we’re not Qualified to do this or who are we to create something like this and compete against, you know, Joe being the gorilla pod, which is sold like 10 million of them since it came out. And Richie was just like dude will help you with that. We know manufacturers. We have an engineer and a designer. And as long as you tell us what you want to happen, we can make it happen. And so we were like, okay. Well, we’re here we’re in front of our target audience. Like what should we do? And he’s like just talk to people talk to people about what they like and dislike about that thing and just share your ideas and just get feedback and we’re like no we kind of want to want to hold us this ideas secret, right?

But then I remembered what we talked about the last time we were together in when we were talking about my book. Will it Fly which is like no, you gotta tell people your idea because you can get immediate validation or just understand whether or not this is even something you should continue moving forward with. And every single person we started talking to who we saw holding those things. We were just like hey, what do you think of that and like, yeah, it’s okay. It’s a little bit. It’s not really meant for this and we’re like What if there was a product I did this which was idea to have like the tripod legs fold together to create a really nice comfortable grip and then it immediately just kind of switches and opens up again and they’re like, oh man, if you created that I’d buy like 10 of them right now and everybody said that we’re just like, okay green light. Let’s move to the next space.

The next phase was to literally cut out like the shape and cardboard and just to kind of have that shape and hold it up and experiment with it and we cut out I know dozens of different shapes that we thought would fit and we measured what people were using with the gorilla pod. And eventually we came to a product design that we then sent to the product team and they gave us back a 3D printed version. And that was the that was the first coolest thing and Like whoa, this this physical product space, which I know you’re involved with a lot of your audiences like you don’t get this kind of feeling with creating an online course or even coaching people. It’s like a physical thing you’re holding and this thing was like breaking and it but it was the right shape and it kind of opened and closed like we wanted it to and immediately we saw okay, it’s, you know, we need to change it a little bit and this wasn’t working. Let’s change this, but that’s how we started and eventually fast forward two years later.

Eventually, we launched this product in February of 2019 after 14 different prototypes eventually a metal aluminum one and a lot of conversations. We went to a lot of conferences with our prototypes to have people break it tell us what they like what they didn’t like what they would pay for etcetera. We launched it on Kickstarter in February of 2019 and we raised about a half million dollars.

Steve: I think I got funded in like a day or something, right?

Pat: Yeah. I mean we are funny goal as a hundred thousand

Steve: Okay.

Pat: Which was like the minimum we needed to get the molds made and do all this stuff because this is a brand new product. We weren’t white labeling or getting anything wholesale and putting our brand on it. This was from scratch. And hundred thousand was what we needed and it was funded in 11 hours and 26 minutes.

Steve: Yup, Crazy crazy. Yeah, I’ve I was one of those backers.

Pat: Thank you.

Steve: I can’t wait because I’m actually going to be starting a YouTube channel pretty soon and I’m looking forward to having this in my hands.

Pat: Thanks, man. Thank you. Yeah, it’s been a wild ride. I mean, there’s number one the physical product space. Everything takes so much longer.

Steve: Yeah. Tell me about it.

Pat: Like you need patience and that’s something that I don’t have being in the online space and being used to just Netflix on demand and a Google searches under point zero zero zero zero five seconds, like I need everything quickly. So that was one thing I had to learn secondly, like every little change takes weeks off the production schedule like any little thing. So you have to be very very purposeful with any changes that you make to your physical product. You really have to understand that is that something you really want to do? Because if we do everything sort of ahead of this has to change our CAD drawings have to change our we need to get a 3D printed prototype and then we need to send that to the to the manufacturing plant to You know create a metal version. I mean, there’s just so much stuff in so much money involved and Caleb and I my partner and I we invested about 22,000 dollars of her own money Before we had

Steve: That’s not bad actually.

Pat: It wasn’t terrible and you know, we got we’re very happy to work with a company who was also supporting us proudact big shout-out to Richie and Jason T at that at that team, but that was all of our own money and then Kickstarter campaign happen and you know, it was just an incredible wild ride and Currently just the backers have been waiting patiently. I know you’ve been waiting and we are hopeful to get it in your hands by September October this year, which we promised it august-september, but there’s been already some things in the manufacturing plant changes Caleb was over there actually to see them come off the line and make sure they’re great and he made some changes while there and then of course now we also have the tariffs that were working with

Steve: Uh yes. That’s the bummer.

Pat: We build this things in China. So we have to pay an additional 25% to get the things shipped over and that’s coming from our own money. And the backers who helped us, but we’re moving forward it and it’s been really neat to see it also progressed into retail stores. It’s already available pre-order at B&H.

Steve: Oh sweet. I didn’t know that. Awesome

Pat: And it’s Adorama and that those I mean, we went to New York to do a little bit of press for this because it was getting it was gaining some momentum during the kickstarter campaign and we did some interviews there which was really fun. But then we also stopped at B&H to build a relationship with them and hopefully get it in the stores and it was just I don’t know if you know about B&H, know them very very much but they’re just a very eclectic company.

Steve: Hmm, okay.

Pat: They do things very differently and like we went into the boardroom and we had a meeting there just like asking us like what what’s your MAP? We’re like, what does that even mean like that? It was just like weird conversation and eventually we’re just like guys we’re just two entrepreneurs who created this from scratch. It’s on Kickstarter right now. Please help us help you and then they were like, okay educating us along the way but still it was just like wow we’re in A Whole New World here. It’s just been kind of incredible, but it’s exciting what this products has created in the community that it’s building around it and we’re using a lot of what we know from the online space specific for this physical product as we move forward.

Steve: And that incidentally is a great lead into what I want to focus today is talk on today. So you recently released a book called superfans, which I read last night great read time passed very quickly. And before you know it I was actually done with the book but you know first off just to give the audience some context. What is the book about and what inspired you to write it?

Pat: Yeah, well Superfans is about where I feel business should be I headed now and it’s funny because the book is not new quote, quote unquote new in terms of like brand new strategies. It’s actually bringing back old strategies the way old business used to be done. But back in today’s world and it was really inspired by Kevin Kelly a man who wrote an essay in 2007 called a thousand true fans, and he said if you have if you’re trying to build something or if you are an artist or creator of any kind, you don’t need a blockbuster hit to live an amazing life and have an amazing business. You just need a thousand true fans. A true fan is defined. Our SuperFan is defined as you know, if you’re musician, this is somebody who’s going to drive 10 hours to see your set. If you’re a product Creator. I mean, they’re they’re in line to buy that product before they even know what it is. Exactly.

If you’re throwing an event like like I did you’re having people come to San Diego without any knowledge of what even is going to go down there and I had 400 people come to San Diego literally with no information other than hey, I’m just holding an event like those are those are superfans are also the going to be the people who are ambassadors for your brand who are going to wave that flag super high and they’re going to defend you from trolls if needed and and these are just like the top level most important customers. There were customers those are true fans and he said Kevin Kelly said if you have a thousand of those and they’re paying you a hundred dollars a year for your craft your creative your product whatever and that’s on the low end a hundred dollars a year that’s less than $10 a month a hundred times a thousand a hundred thousand.

That’s your six-figure business right there. So if you focus on those true fans, you can build something amazing and the cool byproduct of that is if you build those thousand true fans your business will grow, too much even bigger than that because you have this team who’s sort of supports you who roots for you who feels like they belong to something. And I remember my first business some of you might remember was related to an architecture exam that I was helping people with and my first fan was related to that. Her name was Jackie. She sent me an email after a lot of communication helping her pass this exam and her buying my study guide. She at the end of her email after some just amazing words.

She said your biggest fan Jackie and I was like your biggest fan like I don’t understand like, how are you a fan of somebody who’s just on the internet who helped you pass an exam like that doesn’t make any sense to me. You’re a fan of like an athlete or an actor musician or something like that, but not a person who helps you pass an exam and I kind of just brush that aside, but I noticed that two months later that there were 25 customers that came from the same company as her because they all had the same email address at the end and what she had done. I apparently found this out later was apparently she had gone around and convinced every single person in the office to buy my guide and take the exam using my material and now she could have just shared her stuff with them.

But she convinced everybody to buy because she wanted to support me to that one person turned into that many sales and so in my business, I teach people to build for those Super Fan moments and the truth is a fan has not created the moment they find you you’re not a fan of the band and are buying VIP tickets and getting backstage. If you just hear a song for the first time. The song is the entry but then it’s the album and then the concert and then the VIP tickets and then all of a sudden you’re traveling hours just to see this band play. That’s what you can do with your business, too. And in the physical product space, I think there’s a lot of opportunities. I mean I buy a lot of products on Amazon specifically a lot and usually it’s just a transactional relationship and that’s it.

And I think we all have the capability to create super fans who will just continue to buy from us and beg us for more and that’s what I teach people how to do in super fans. Kevin Kelly was the more Theory this is the how to literally like a list of recipes and strategies that you can use and pick and choose from to build those fans and create that A community.

Steve: So first off I just want to say that getting 400 people to fly to San Diego for an event is no joke, especially if they don’t know what the agenda is because it’s not like buying a digital course. They actually have to book a hotel. They have to book their flight and all told they’re probably spending thousands of dollars just to come to your event. So that’s just a testament to the super fans that you have who are willing to do that. But what I want to do today is apply some of the concepts that you just described in helping the audience build super fans for switch pod. So your release switch pod from complete scratch. I consider you brand-new in the physical product space?

And if you didn’t have your spy audience, I kind of want to talk about you know, what would be your superfan strategy for switch pod or your physical product in general. Where would you start?

Pat: Yeah so yeah, where would I start? We’ll really we’ve already started right because the product itself addresses a very big problem that these specific people have. Vloggers people who are on YouTube and not the professional YouTuber YouTubers either it’s the ones who are on the go and they’re traveling and they’re always bringing their camera with them and they have a lot of these little pains and so we’ve already done a lot of the work in the research leading up to this product to understand number one the language that they use in the book. I have a chapter called

Steve: Know The Lyrics?

Pat: Know The Lyrics, right exactly and the story I had tell there is about my wife April who’s a huge Backstreet Boys fan and I did a lot of research on her history with them because she literally has a box in her closet with all this crap from the Backstreet Boys, like literally bobbleheads and frame pictures is just like kind of

Steve: I’m sure she doesn’t call em crap but yeah, go on

Pat: No no, but I do because I’m an NSYNC fan. So anyway, she talked about the first time. She was really triggered by this band was be it was because a song that she heard related directly to a big breakup that she had just gone through and the song that she heard was called Quit Playing Games With My Heart and every lyric in that song. Song was describing everything she was going through and that was like hurt her trigger moment with them. And so what I also recommend people to do and superfans is to really get in tune with who your audience is who your target market is and what their needs are but more than that like the language in the lyrics that they would use. And so we’ve already done that research in all the conversations we’ve had.

So what I would recommend for product owners out there is if you haven’t done this already, even if you already have a product and have done a little bit of research continue to have conversations with your people. Your customers and your soon-to-be customers, hopefully because then you can And empathize with them you can understand the specific words that they’re using related to those problems and all those words should end up in front of your potential customers in emails on subject lines of emails headlines on your website product sales Pages those kinds of things and for us what really happened was we took a lot of that language and we put it into our Kickstarter video in our Kickstarter campaign.

Steve: Can you give us examples?

Pat: Yeah, so some examples are easy to pack, right?

Steve: Okay.

Pat: And that counters what the other product didn’t do which is just terrible to pack so easy to packs so that you can go you can film quickly and like those kinds of things where words that came directly from the audience and for us it was like no this this tripod opens and closes really fast and that’s why it’s called The Switch pod, but we didn’t I mean we say that but we go deeper into how this will help you with your craft of filming YouTube videos so that you can create faster so that you can Capture Moments quicker those kinds of things.

Steve: Right

Pat: Just have a lighter mechanism to film with. So those are just some examples of lyrics that we use and if that’s not on your Amazon page if that’s not on your Shopify page those lyrics. Well, then you’re already losing money a great further read to kind of explore this would be Donald Miller Story brand building a story brand. That will help you even go further down into the language in the story that you’re creating because really what and what I love about what Don Miller says is he says that like your customer or your audience is the character in a story and they have a problem which is the villain and you are there as the guide you are not the hero your product is not the hero your product is the tool the person the customer is the hero and so one thing that relates that is a little bit further in the book is putting a spotlight on your customers and making them become the hero thus encouraging others to want to be that it like live that story too.

So what I love about podcasting for examples podcasting is a perfect platform to highlight stories and succcess case studies in your audience. And so I encourage everybody who has a platform to invite their customers on to invite their students on to talk about where they were, struggles that they went through but then how they got through that and of course through that you’re going to have the most natural authentic testimonials for your product because they’ve used your thing to help them to help them through that. So one thing that we’re going to plan to do once people finally get the switch pod in their hands is we’re going to run contest we’re going to encourage people to film with them and share with us and we’re going to do like monthly drawings.

Steve: Nice.

Pat: Or something for people who submitted videos using switch pod and highlight them. Hey, here’s Todd from Minnesota who took the switch pod on a fishing trip. Here’s some of the footage he had Todd well done. Here’s a shout out to him. And then you know switch pod tribe you guys are amazing or the switchers or whatever. That’s something that means that this goes to another strategy building a community and making people feel like they belong to something and it’s so funny because you’re like, oh it’s a physical product. Like how can you really make people feel like they belong to something but there’s classic examples in the online space of physical products who do this very well. One company I know is called Chubby’s, Chubby’s is a men’s clothing line, but their target market are like the weekend barbecuers, they go to the lake and they’re just having fun. So they have a lot of like short shorts for men and a lot of these fun little, you know, American Flag t-shirts with fun sayings and it’s just like it’s just clothes but they have the most raving fans. I’ve seen for a clothing line.

Steve: Interesting.

Pat: And one thing that they do is on their Instagram for example all their models. It’s customers. Like all the models they hire for their photo shoots and that they feature on Instagram are their customers they often will you know the courage people to use a hashtag and they I can’t remember the name, but they have like a hashtag. That’s like they’re that kind of describes their culture and and you know, they just kind of community and they will feature certain members of that Community whose use that hashtag. They’ll just repost that article or that excuse me picture on their own Instagram and give a shout out to that Community member and what is this do it encourages others to do the same thing you, see me? Mini Cooper do the same thing Mini Cooper does these contests where they do, you know how much stuff can you put in your Mini Cooper and then they use a hashtag.

And they have these contests where people are submitting videos of them using their Mini Cooper and stuffing like surfboards and all this other stuff in there to see who can stuff the most stuff. So this does a couple things it gets the community all excited together, but it also shows the all the people in the outside. Oh my gosh, like I didn’t know that we could fit all those things in there, which is really cool. So highlighting your customers and making them the hero of the story and using your platforms to do that. Is something we definitely recommend and that’s something that we’re definitely going to do with the switch pod. We’re already talking about that because what’s going to happen is people going to see this little device.

That’s a cool thing. That’s the advantage you have about a physical product people can see it and if they have the same problems and we’ve seen this already when we’ve gone to events and we’ve just showed it to people like there’s an immediate. Oh my gosh, like number one. Why didn’t I think of that and number two I need I need this now, right?

Steve: I think your product is actually very similar to GoPro right? GoPro actually had Bunch of people submit their crazy crazy videos of them doing like crazy stunts and that actually added to the Mystique of the of the brand over all

Pat: Right, and and you know, the advantage GoPro has is they are a huge company and they were they were creating some amazing Hardware to film with and it like you can’t get that anywhere else. I mean a person can have any kind of tripod and you wouldn’t even know so we would we would ask people to kind of showcase the switch pod and how they use it and it’s really cool when we get into people’s hands. They immediately know how to use it which is really nice. And then on top of that we would want to make people feel like they belong in a way where they can also get rewarded. So we’re going to have an affiliate program for our product as well or a lot of these creators who we know are also sharing their camera equipment. What’s in their bag, you know, that’s a very popular video on YouTube.

Hey, what’s in your bag? We would we would encourage people to become an affiliate and share the product to their audience of other videographers and just Their audience in general to hopefully encourage people to share this with each other. We’ve also reached out to of influencers to help them feel like they, you know are one of the first to get access to this and share it and be an affiliate as well and get rewarded to but yeah, I mean we’re basically ripping out every strategy and super fans and using it for this physical product. Another one is to you know, give the community a name, you know, it’s like when you hear Taylor Swift, right who’s huge right now, she just came out with a new album lover. I think it was called her swifties are just like like I saw one video of one of her Swifty’s which is the name of her tribe, like literally take the stand at Target that has the whole like the whole all all her albums in literally just take that whole stand and roll it into a checkout stand.

There’s like 50 albums on there and she just rolled the whole thing because she’s just a Super Fan. So what we would do is give our audience a name just like how you know Trekkies.

Steve: Peter’s is what team Flynn?

Pat: Team Flynn is for my community at SPI, but I think you know, we would call it the switchers or something like that people who use the switch by we’re also creating new products as well that have a similar sort of like quick switching kind of aspect to it. But giving our community a name would just be like hey, are you a switcher too? And it would make people feel like they can connect with each other. And the fun thing about this is a lot of videographers go to different conferences together and they see each other all the time. So this product would likely be seen everywhere and people who are both using it would likely have something to connect with because it’s just a very unique product in the space and something that people can immediately connect with and if we say like hey, here’s what’s up connect with each other switchers, you know Etc. to be kind of cool, you know, getting merch and stuff like that to have people help support the company too.

And it’s Funny because somebody who is in the video space came up to us at a conference and was like, Dude, I don’t know how you guys did it. But somehow you made a tripod cool and you made us like root for you and the addition to that is and this is something I talk about in the book is like opening your factory doors really showing people a process of how you do what you do and I think this is very important for all physical products and I know some physical products maybe you don’t want to share the secret sauce and how you do that but a lot of times and even Apple who has been known to keep things hidden in close as it has kind of came onboard with this to now you see in there Keynotes they take you inside the factory and show you all the little robots that put everything together people. We humans we just love to know how things work. Right?

This is why shows on Science Channel Discovery are you know decades running like how it’s made where you cut you it’s like this is how a tire is made.

Steve: I’ve noticed you posted those pictures on Instagram about like the factory floor all the boxes the switch pods and I think there’s a picture of Caleb like looking at one or packing one himself or something?

Pat: Yeah, actually he was putting one together at the factory and what this does is it makes you come along on the ride. So it makes you feel like you’re part of something. It makes you feel like you understand not just the quality that in the time that put into this product, but you’re getting inside look just like how we all go and Brewery tours or chocolate factory tours. It gives us a really cool memory and something that then we can share when we have that product in her hand. Oh my gosh. I remember seeing the factory and just like when we, you know, I remember in college at Berkeley there was a there was a chocolate factory called a Scharffen Berger Chocolate Factory and now every time I’m at like a Whole Foods or something and I see Scharffen Berger there.

I’m just reminded of going behind the scenes and meeting the people there and you know taking people behind the scenes is something that’s really fun. It gives it gives like a special moment to people that just your normal users aren’t going to get and I’m just ties them to your brand more and makes them want to support it even more.

Steve: If you sell an Amazon or run any online business for that matter, you’re going to need a trademark to protect your intellectual property. Not only that but a trademark is absolutely necessary to register your brand on Amazon. Now, I used to think that any old trademark registration service would work and that could even try to register my own trademark by myself on the cheap, but I was dead wrong. Securing a trademark without a strategy in place usually results in either an outright rejection or a worthless unenforceable trademark. Now, that is why I work with Stephen Wagner and his team from Emerge counsel. They have a package service called total TM, which provides the same attention to detail and process that large law firms do at a fraction of the price. Now for me personally, I like Emerge Council because of their philosophy, their goal is to maximize IP protection while minimizing the price. So before you decide to register a trademark by yourself or file for other I could protection such as a copyright or a patent, check out Emerge counsel first and get a free consult. For more information go to emergecouncil.com and click on the Amazon sellers button and tell Steve that Steve sent you to receive a $100 discount on the total TM package for Amazon sellers. Once again, that’s emergecounsel.com over at emergecounsel.com now back to the show.

Question I have for you is you’ve come out with a very Innovative product. But what if you sell something that’s kind of more mundane. Like let’s say you sell mops or I don’t know garbage cans or something. I don’t know.

Pat: Sure.

Steve: How would that how would you create some a product that isn’t particularly Innovative and turn that into something that people might want to become super fans of?

Pat: Yeah it again, they’re not becoming a product that the not becoming a fan of the product the becoming the fan of what the product means right? And that’s the big distinction here. So for us it’s creators, and we even put right inside our packaging. You’ll see it when you get it Steve is made for creators by creators. Like Hey, we’re in this with you and we understand and we created this tool to help make things easier for you for your filming for your videos for capturing your life. And that’s the kind of vibe that we’re getting versus. Hey, this is a tripod like become a fan of the tripod here and you often see that with physical products like follow our product here and it’s like right you don’t want to follow a product.

Steve: Right, yeah you don’t care.

Pat: You want to follow like what the product does? Does and so if you have like a garbage can for example, I would really focus on not just the can itself but like the movement to keep things clean and and tidy in the house. So like I don’t know what the company name might be. But you might call it the the Tidy Uppers or something like that. And hey, if you want to be a tidy upper too we have garbage cans we have these mops and other things to keep your house clean if we believe in keeping a clean house because when you have a clean house, you’re more productive. So here we are. We are the we are the cleaning crew that helps you become more productive, you see what I did there?

So it’s like now you can follow us because we’re going to help you stay more productive and all of our videos. All of our all of our language is going to be about being productive the so our solution for being productive is cleaning stuff up, but where the productive cleanup crew for you for you and your life and already you can go I can get behind that right? Like I want to be productive. I don’t want to be a lazy person, but I want to I want to have things clean and now in your language and your in your subject lines, you can have fun with that productivity element and you can even showcase people who are finding innovative ways to be more productive at home and keep things clean and tidy and maybe you then invite Marie Kondo to come on and be sort of a brand ambassador because she’s also keeping things clean and tidy.

She wouldn’t want to connect with a garbage can but she could possibly want to connect with a company who’s helping in this movement of keeping things tidy and clean for the sake of our mental health. So just I don’t know off-the-cuff examples that..

Steve: No, I mean that’s a that’s a great example and I actually like what you’ve done in the switch pod because it’s in fact actually your brand name is the product itself, but it seems like you’re just creating products that help people help content creators, right?

Pat: Yeah.

Steve: And so the product actually doesn’t even matter in your case and that opened yourself up to releasing a whole bunch of other products along the same vein

Pat: Exactly. We have some other ideas that I can’t share with you right now because they’re still in development, but we have some it’s all about making creating easier. Literally, that’s it. And so like we know if we have a product idea does it make creating easier or would it actually make it harder if it makes it harder than okay move on to the next product and we can get excited and have conversations with other creators. And go alright of these different ideas. Which one would make your life the easiest right now. Boom. That’s our product. We don’t have to guess anymore. We can use the validation strategy alongside this too

Steve: So from what you’re saying that it’s almost it’s more important number one to figure out who your customer is and it’s even more important to figure out the messaging even before you even talk about product. So..

Pat: Yeah, I mean it has to fit into something that’s really important for people because that you know, it’s just like with online courses people don’t want to buy an online course, they don’t Want the outcome that the online course can provide them. So same thing with the product. They don’t want to buy this product. They want what the product can then offer them. Sometimes it’s higher Social Status. Sometimes it is convenience. Sometimes it is it is literally just have this problem. I need it solved that’s it. So I mean and then I won’t have that problem anymore. And so whatever that that is and whatever and however you want to sort of Define that is up to you, but it should largely be based off of what your audience really wants.

They don’t Don’t want a tripod. They want something to make it easy for themselves to film and right now the solutions that were out there just we’re not doing that very well. So here we are. We’re making it easier for you. It just happens to have the shape. It just happens to be called The Switch Pod

Steve: So a lot of the strategies that we’ve talked about so far in the interview involve building a community of people. How do you actually take that community and actually extract out or create the super fans who are willing to buy anything that you’re willing to put out?

Pat: Yeah great question. So this this this goes into Or the later chapters in the book where you know, you’ve built that community and it’s cool because they’re relating to each other. They might so for example with a switch pod you get you see two people with a switch pod and they meet each other go you switch pot to what do you think? Oh, yeah. This is cool. This is fun whatever and they connect and that’s cool. But the super fans really come from a few other things and really what I feel like in this is this is what’s definitely lacking in the physical product space of a lot of people who are doing online stuff get it is giving your community a little bit of individualized personal attention.

Just a little bit and so there’s huge opportunities out there with the tools that we have available to us. Even the free tools like Instagram Twitter Facebook our social media channels. If you have people following you in their customers and they give you a big shout out and say hey, thank you for the product. It’s really helped me awesome. Imagine that happening to the switch pod. Somebody messaging us publicly and going I love my new Switch pod. Thank you so much. Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to turn on Instagram if they’ve if they’ve shared that on Instagram. I’m going to go to their profile. I’m going to send them a direct message.

And I’m going to hit the video and I’m going to send them a direct message like this: “Jim, Thank you for picking up a switch pod. Super cool. Hey, send us your next video using the switch pod, I’d love to check it out. Just thank you so much for being a part of the community. You’re officially a switcher now and let us know what other ideas you have for products to help make creating easier for you. Thank you. Again. Jim you’re amazing.” Boom done private one-on-one not scalable, but definitely something that’s going to take that person take Jim from a point of just customer to whoa, like there’s actual people on the other end of this company and they’re paying attention to me and they’re supporting me with my Creations. Like this is amazing and that’s something that nobody’s getting from anybody right now.

And the opportunity to do that is so easy. And then there’s these there’s these other tools that I talk about in the book like one called bonjouro, BONJOURO that make that happen much easier. So for example, let’s say Jim buys a switch pod bonjouro connected to my Shopify and account my shopping cart. I get a notification from bonjouro on my app that says Jim just bought a switch pod. I swipe the notification and it immediately opens up a video screen and I record the same message. “Hey Jim, I just saw you bought a switch but oh my gosh, I am so stoked. We’re going to get into your hands within a week. We’re like the shipping team is going to take care of it for you right now. Just wanted to introduce myself. My name is Pat. One of the co-creators are just want to say thank you for creating for putting stuff out there. Hopefully you’ll see that the switch pod can make your life easier. If you have any questions for us or any problems, let us know”.

Imagine getting a message like that from a physical product that you just bought and literally hit the purchase button on, you know a minute ago or two minutes ago. It’s going to be mind-blowing. It’s going to be one of those things are good. Whoa, like, how did, number one, how did you do that? Number two, like you took time out of your day to just send me a message. Thank you. How much more excited number one is that person going to be to receive that product number two, how much more likely is that person to thank you for receiving that product and reply to you and have an interaction and when you get people to interact then they’re going To start investing with you. That’s another thing that I encourage people to do in the book is just encourage these interactions and number three.

What’s the likelihood that a person is going to then share that they have this especially now that they’re on social media and sharing these cool things that they have with people physical products the benefit that you have of a physical product is people can take pictures of it and see it and use it and show their friends how to use it online. It’s very very difficult to have a person share their experience in an online course with anything other than just words. So this is the advantage that a physical product has and these are the kinds of things. You can do to give people those little special numbers. You don’t have to you don’t send them brownies. You don’t have to spend even any more money. You just have to invest a little bit of time.

And so what I’d recommend doing even even just to make it easier, maybe you don’t want it to happen. Every time you sell a product maybe sell hundreds of products today. That would be kind of crazy. But maybe you just for 30 minutes on a Friday. You just go down the list and as many as you can get send a video message to 40 customers in 30 minutes, and that’s it. Even though some will be left behind those 40 customers. Ears are going to get that interaction that they’re not getting anywhere else. They’re going to be blown away surprise, especially because they just bought a garbage can who does that? But wow now I know what this company is about and I feel supportive and when I have a decision to either make a purchase again or buy another product that has many companies to choose from you kind of know where they’re going to choose.

Steve: So we kind of do something similar to that but it’s more selective. So if any one place has a large order that we think is going to be like an event planner will get them on the phone and we’ll just talk to them or thank them for their participation

Pat: That’s cool.

Steve: And we give Special treatment I guess in that way. It’s less overwhelming if you’re a little bit more selective about how you do that with but I have a question for you Pat, so now you probably get tons of emails and whatnot. How do you deal with the load? And how do you make people feel special today now?

Pat: Yeah, I mean, you’re right. I mean in the beginning when I first started out in this is advice for those of you who are beginning. Your advantage is the fact that you don’t have a lot of people reaching out to you right now. So everybody who does you can give them extra special attention. This is how you can get ahead of those who are much bigger and have more there’s more competition out there and that’s how you get ahead of them. But eventually you grow to the point where there’s just so much attention. Your attention is divided and you have so many people emailing you and reaching out to you messaging you in my SPI business. Definitely that’s been the case. I got to the point once a number of years back where I had 10,000 unread emails and it just every email that came through. I was just like I felt so bad because I knew I’m not going to get back to you. I am so sorry.

So what I ended up having to do was hire somebody so the first thing we did I hired a woman her name is Jess. She’s now grown. A much larger role in my company and is still my top executive assistant but back then she number one. We declared email bankruptcy. So just started fresh because there was no way I was going to catch up to 10,000 unread emails, but we developed a system together and we now are able to answer 99% of our emails and I’m not answering them. I’m not answering them. I’m answering the ones that only I need to see just as answering and other team members who know how to answer certain things are answering for them. We found that when people have a question, they just want the answer. They don’t really care who it’s from often and when they can get that answer quicker, they’d much rather have that versus having the sort of face of the brand be the one who answers that question.

They feel very good about the fact that I’ve stepped up and hired a team to help them even further and that’s that’s the positioning. Hey, I can’t possibly and I say this on my contact page, I can’t possibly reply to everybody but somebody will and we’re going to help you out because that’s what’s most important and people have been really gravitating toward and had been loving that.

Steve: Okay interesting. That’s good to know actually.

Pat: Yeah, and another email tip that’s been really helpful is Jess and I get on a call once a week and she goes okay Pat, we got 50 things to go through that. I need your help with me answering back. Here we go. Number one, Jim wants to have you fly to Orlando in October to speak at his event. Can you do it? Yes or no? No, okay next and we were able to get through like the 50 important emails that I that I need input on but just done over the phone and then she answers for me and that way I’m not needing to spend four hours, you know handwriting these emails or typing these emails. She’s doing it for me. But it’s from my voice. It’s from my brain. And then another way to make people feel special is again, it goes back to a thing. I talked about earlier that’s spotlighting your customers.

When you spotlight a customer or user or an audience member and you make them look like the hero it makes everybody else feel like the hero too because they’re a representation of that entire Community. It really needs to be about them and you can pick one or two people to highlight in it addresses everybody because they are just like everybody else. Right, so when they tell their story of struggles people are going to go. Oh, yeah, I have that same struggle to and then when they tell their story of how they broke through that and how your product help them or whatever or how great your product was or how great the customer experience was then people are going to go my gosh. Like I want that customer experience to I want I want that problem solved as well. Like this must be the place to be and so that makes everybody feel good. When you when you make that audience member with a customer the curioso

Steve: It can also be automated. I just wanted to add like if you have an email autoresponder sequence when someone buys from you can give away stuff in return for feedback or pictures or use cases of your product

Pat: Oh, yeah.

Steve: And then highlight and other emails and social media.

Pat: Definitely. So I would have for example an email that is fired out two to three weeks after purchase just to go. Hey name use a real name. Just checking on you making sure you’re all good with the product in case you haven’t gotten started with it yet or haven’t used it. I wanted to highlight a couple members of our switch pod Community or the switcher Community. Here is Jim. I always use Jim for some reason Jim is very popular high audience. Here’s Jim who was at a Lake in Minnesota filming with the switch pod. Here is Karen who found out this cool thing that we didn’t even come up with on how to use the switch pot upside down in case that would be helpful for you too. By the way, if you come up with some innovative ways to use a switch pod or have brought it to a trip. We’d love to hear about it hit reply to this email and or send us a video here and we might feature it in an upcoming newsletter. So kind of like that right?

Steve: Cool. Yeah. No absolutely. Did you just do that off the cuff?

Pat: Off the cuff.

Steve: Hey, actually, there’s just one chapter in your book that I did want to talk about a little bit. And it had to do with providing like a VIP access to certain things like I know for your event you had like a VIP tear and for me, like I always felt uncomfortable doing something like that because it’s kind of segregating a specific set of the audience right? I just want to know your thoughts on that and kind of what the rationale is for that.

Pat: Yeah, I mean when you go to a concert and you see the roped-off area in the front row or even see the people backstage and but you’re in the general audience, like how does that make you feel it makes you feel a little bit..

Steve: Jealous

Pat: Jealous.

Steve: Yep

Pat: And it makes you feel like whoa, like I could maybe do that next year. And so I think that you know, I wouldn’t consider it as potentially jealousy. I would consider it as oh, I’m just not there yet or that’s something I can get to next time or you know it. Just it’s not as bad as you think segregating is not bad all the time this in kind of way.

Steve: Okay.

Pat: And so there are people who will want to go deeper with you and there are people in the general audience who would never even dream of spending more money than what they’ve spent because that’s just not for them. But I don’t think that as long as you’re not taking a way from the general experience that that a person would expect and giving that only to the VIPs as long as the VIP stuff is additional stuff that just adds to the experience. It’s that doesn’t take away from the others then then it’s okay. That’s the thing. It’s like so at my event, for example, the VIPs had a special access to me for a photo shoot and also special lunches that were provided to them at that extra cost.

So there was actual cost involved in having VIPs have lunch and special access where they can get a VIP photo with me, but it wasn’t like people would never see me at the pool party at the end of the event. I was there for everybody and we took pictures with my book and signed a book and everybody got a book. It’s Like so if for example, I gave the VIPs a copy of superfans, but then I required everybody else to pay for it. That’s when it can get a little you know, I don’t know like this is kind of like I’m here already, right? So it’s kind of you kind of have to weigh those things back and forth. I think the most important thing about about the VIP thing is number one that there are going to be people in your audience who are going to want to pay you to have those special moments in special access.

Steve: Okay.

Pat: And so for a product, I mean it could be like and you see this on Kickstarter right when people are launching certain products. There’s different pledge levels and you can do the pledge level where you just get the product you can get the product in the t-shirt and a keychain and at the like five thousand ten thousand dollar level you get the products and you can come to Florida to visit the crew and have lunch with us and talk about the product and you get to walk through the factory with us and that doesn’t make people feel like oh, I wish I wish everybody had access to that. It’s just like hey, you know, I got the higher level if you want and if you’re that kind of person you can come and join us for that.

Steve: So not everyone will be a super fan. And so is there a way that you kind of somehow filter out who has the potential to become a super fan or do you just kind of treat everyone equally and the superfans just naturally emerge.

Pat: I mean you treat everybody equally in the community, but then through that naturally some people are just going to emerge as superfans just without you even having to do any extra work. They just love what you’re doing and you just resonate with them so much, but you can encourage people and by highlighting People like I talked about and by having these personal interactions, it increases the likelihood that a person will become a super fan, but the truth is not everybody will and most people won’t but the byproduct of this is even if they don’t you’re providing a much better experience for everybody and that’s the big thing here is if you shoot for super fans, you’re going to make everybody else’s experience better. Right?

And this is opposite of what a lot of us are familiar with in the online space, which is a funnel right a funnel is you know, flipped. So in the book, you’ll see a pyramid And the pyramid at the top is the super fans the smallest part, right? Like I said, but that’s where most of the activity happens most of the repeat customers where people are spending the most money Etc and then below that is your community much bigger much bigger than that below that is your subscribers and your active community in the biggest chunk is your casual audience. They just found you randomly through a search or a link on another website or they heard about you or that they just need a solution to the problem. They don’t even know who you are or your community exist yet.

That’s the largest part in the funny thing is if you flip that upside down the largest part is at the top the smallest is at the bottom. It looks like a funnel now right where the top is like the traffic and this is where everybody’s so focused on Facebook ads Google ads keyword research search engine optimization, like that’s get more people more people and that’s good and that’s exciting and there’s numbers there and there’s conversion rates and that’s all fun to track. But the problem is when you have a funnel you imagine that you just kind of pour people like water through the top and then everything else happens automatically, right? And then just oh, A customer and that the end that funnels like okay customer. I got money.

But the truth is That it that’s where most people are stopping in and when you build for superfans, you’re going the opposite direction, you’re moving up. It takes work and it takes you know anti-gravity to do that. But when you do that your business will grow and have much bigger better fans because you’re not just stopping at customer you’re starting almost with customer and moving them up to even bigger parts of that experience smaller percentage of people, but often times you’ll get that 80/20 where you might have 20% of your audience who In the most money to make up 80% of your revenue and that’s going to come.

Steve: What you just said I just want I was going to share about my e-commerce store in 10% of our top customers generate almost 50 percent of our overall Revenue, whereas 45 percent of the customers that spend not so much only generate 12 percent of our Revenue. So we focus on the top 10% I think the top twenty percent of our customers make 67 percent of our Revenue. So everything that you are saying is correct. You need to be focusing on your best customers because they’re the ones who will buy from you in large quantities and very often and I guess an e-commerce land those can be called the super fans.

Pat: Yeah treat them like gold because they are you know, and it’s about those unexpected surprises. That’s why those videos work really well or especially if a person spending a lot of money with you and this has happened with me. I’ll get a nice little package in the mail with a handwritten note and just an additional item or maybe a soon-to-be-released item. That isn’t even out yet. That just is making me feel like wow like you care about me. As a customer, that’s awesome. And I’m not getting that from many places that you would think would step up and do that. So..

Steve: Yep and you gotta tease them with perks special things that are exclusive to them and quite honestly, we could run our entire e-commerce store based on these ten percent of customers in just be fine.

Pat: Yeah, and I would imagine that often the large percentage of people who are providing the least amount of income are giving you the most problems in terms of..

Steve: That’s correct. Yes they asks for discounts. Complain. Absolutely. Absolutely so Pat that was awesome. Actually there was actually a couple of nuggets that you said that I wasn’t doing in my store that I’m probably going to go back and do now in my email autoresponder sequence, but where can people find more about your book and more about the switch pod. Where can they find you online?

Pat: Yeah. Thank you. So Superfans is available on Amazon. Of course think I don’t know when this is coming out by the time this comes out. The audio version will come out as well on Audible. So that might be of good use to your audience is listening to the podcast. You can also find it at Barnes & Noble, which is really cool. Even though it’s self-published. We work with a company to help us distribute it and I think At some point in time it may be available in airports. So if you see it in an airport, let me know because you might be the first to tell me and I want you to show me if it is because I’m not traveling that much that the end of the year here. But anyway, that’s where you check out the book and thank you for allowing me to share it here Steve and I hope everybody enjoyed this conversation and then the switch pot if you want to check that out just to kind of see what we’re doing there switchpod.co is where you can go and hopefully you’ll become a switcher with us too.

Steve: And if you do see pads book in the airport send them a picture because he met feaure you in his social media.

Pat: Yeah, there you go. I practice what I preach, baby

Steve: Cool, man. Pat, Thanks a lot for coming on man.

Pat: Thank you so much.

Steve: All right. Take care.

Hope you enjoyed that episode now oftentimes all it takes to support a successful business is a small tribe of super fans for more information about this episode or Pat’s new book go to mywifequitherjob.com/episode278.

And once again, I want to thank Kaviyo for sponsoring this episode, Kaviyo is my email marketing platform of choice for e-commerce Merchants. You can easily put together automated flows like an abandoned cart sequence a post purchase flow or win back campaign. Basically, all these sequences that will make you money on autopilot. So head on over to mywifequitherjob.com/klaviyo. Once again, That’s mywifequitherjob.com/klaviyo.

I also want to thank Privy for sponsoring this episode. Privy is the email capture provider that I personally use the term visitors into email subscribers. They offer email capture exit intent and site targeting tools to make it super simple as well. And I like Privy because it is so powerful and you can basically trigger custom pop-ups for any parameter that is closely tied your eCommerce store. Now, if you want to give it a try it is free so head on over to privy.com/steve. Once again, that’s P-R-I-V-Y.com/steve.

Now I talked about how I use these tools in my blog and if you’re interested in starting your own e-commerce store heading over to mywifequitherjob.com and sign up for my free six day mini-course just type in your email and I’ll send you the course right away. Thanks for listening.

Outro: Thanks for listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast where we are giving the courage people need to start their own online business. For more information visit Steve’s blog at www.mywifequitherjob.com

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2 thoughts on “278: Pat Flynn On How To Create Superfans For Your Ecommerce Brand”

  1. hadil says:

    thank you very nice website article

  2. Sean D says:

    Fantastic Podcast!!!! Pat and Steve hit it out of the ball park. Loved to hear Pat’s crossover to the product space. Lots of great information.

    Thanks Steve!

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