There’s nothing casual about commitment

“If the fans don’t come out to the ball park, you can’t stop them.” – Yogi Berra

More interesting, thought provoking observations from Seth Godin:

“A good preacher ought to be able to get 70% of the people who showed up on Sunday to make a donation.

A teeny bop rock group might convert 20% of concert goers to buy a shirt or souvenir.

A great street magician can get 10% of the people who watch his show to throw a dollar in the hat.

Direct marketers used to shoot for 2% conversion from a good list, but now, that’s a long shot.

A blogger might convert 2% of readers to buy a book. (I’m aghast at this).

And a twitter user with a lot of fans will be lucky to get one out of a thousand to click a link and buy something. (.1%)

Likes, friendlies and hits are all fast-growing numbers that require little commitment. And commitment is the essence of conversion. The problem with commitment is that it’s frightening (for both sides). And so it’s easy to avoid. We just click and move on.

I think there’s a transparent wall, an ever bigger one, between digital spectators and direct interaction or transaction. The faster the train is moving, the harder it is to pay attention, open the window and do business. If all you’re doing is increasing the number of digital spectators to your work, you’re unlikely to earn the conversion you deserve.”

Your listeners may like you, and express it, but that doesn’t mean they’re committed to you enough to support you. We so enjoy hearing listeners tell us how much they like us that we mistake it for commitment. We also overlook the difference between being a committed fan and those who consider us their favorite out of a set of choices. That explains why PPM is showing that 58% of P1’s become P1 to another station in the next week. There are far fewer committed fans in your cume than you think.

Godin says “Likes, friendliest and hits (cume) are all fast-growing numbers that require little commitment.” We focus on the growth in cume as if it were the key factor. We so like hearing listeners tell us how much they like us that we mistake it for commitment. So, as long as we concentrate on our version of the digital speculators we’re really ignoring the steps that bring about conversion.

Think of it on a personal level. If I throw a party a lot of friends would come and have a good time. If I developed a drug problem and needed someone to help me to the toilet as I detox, how many would show up? Probably not as many as I’d like to think.

People who like us make up the vast proportion of our audience, but it’s fans, those who have been converted to commitment, that cause the kind of support that you require for success. Make sure you know the difference, and make sure you know how conversion comes about. All listeners aren’t created equally, and you should treat the committed ones as you would your best friends.