You Don’t Want customers. You Want Fans.

"This is too long to read" summary:
Customers buy something once. Fans buy over and over again. They tell other people about you. They pre-order, and they buy collections and archives. Fans.

Customers are great. But they aren’t as good as raving fans.

There is nothing wrong with the word customer. But there is something better that your business could have. It could have an audience. It could have people who really care about the things it does.

Tribe members. True fans. Kindred spirits. Call them whatever you want, they’re a lot more valuable than just what they buy from you.



I bought some water filter replacement cartridges a few days ago. I have no idea what brand they are. I don’t know anything about them. I know they fit the filter system, I didn’t get excited when they arrived, and I haven’t put them in yet.

I’m not going around telling my friends about this purchase. I was a customer, but I don’t have a connection. I looked for the cheapest price I could find for a filter that would fit, and bought it. Next time, if someone else is selling it cheaper, I’ll buy it from them.



A few minutes ago, I bought some coffee from Matt Vincent’s Habit Coffee Co. With shipping, I paid a lot more than I usually do for a bag of coffee. I paid way more than I would if I went to my small town grocery and bought a bag of Folgers. (Does Folgers still exist? Google says yes, but I don’t care.)

I haven’t tried Matt’s coffee, but I love his brand. He’s a now retired 2x Highland games world champ. He’s an entrepreneur, strength guy, and coffee nerd who puts out great content via YouTube and Instagram. I often watch his videos when I’m doing morning cardio or eating lunch. I’ve learned from him and I’ve been inspired by the things he says and does despite never having met him.

And when I get the coffee, I will probably take some sort of goofy ass generic “mediocre powerlifter with coffee” picture with it and send it to him via Instagram, so that he has user-generated content for his IG posts.

So instead of spending between $2-10 on a bag of coffee at the store (I was there yesterday), I paid $14 for the coffee, and 5.75 for shipping.

So I paid $19.75 for a 12 oz bag of coffee to be shipped to my house instead of spending my usual ~$12.


Why the hell would I do that?

Because I am a member of the audience that Matt has spent several years building.


I didn’t pay more for the coffee because:

  • Matt has the only coffee in the world. He doesn’t.
  • I think more expensive coffee tastes better. It doesn’t always.
  • I think Matt will want to hang out with me now. He won’t.
  • I like paying too much for things. I don’t.

I did pay more for the coffee because:

  • Matt puts out near-daily content that appeals to me.
  • His HVIII Brand philosophy appeals to me.
  • I know he really cares about his product quality and his fans.


The same reasons I will likely purchase a subscription to his coffee, and buy some apparel and gear from HVIII Brand later on. Because I’m a member of his audience.

If I sound like a fanboy at this point, it’s because I kind of am. I am a member of Matt’s audience. So I pay more for his stuff than I would for similar stuff from someone else. I do that with several companies because I like the image they present and the way they interact with their audience.

What could your business do to earn more audience members?

Send me an email if you’d like to find out.


So I’ve ended up waiting to post this until the day the coffee came. I got a free hat. I now have an awesome yellow HVIII brand hat to wear when the weather gets cold. I see what kind of quality he’s picked for apparel stuff close-up. I’m now a lock to buy more stuff.

Build an audience. Make buyers into fans. Fans buy more stuff. They tell their friends to buy stuff. They wear your logo on their shirt. You make more money.

Be like Matt. Give away hats.

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