This post contains some harsh language because there’s an important message that I need to share with you.
It’s about the four kinds of people who will follow your work.
The first group of people is your LIKELY buyers. These are the people who align with your message, and whose lives you’re most likely to impact, for the better. These are our favorite people, who you should be creating your content primarily for.
The second group is your UNLIKELY buyers. They’re not as eager or ready, but there’s a possibility that somewhere, sometime, they could become a customer.
We love these people, too, and create content for them on a regular basis.
The third category is your LURKERS. These are people who will never buy anything from you, but they enjoy the stuff that you put out for free and may be active in your community.
They aren’t who you create content primarily for, but they’re welcome, one and all. After all, you don’t always need to get paid to help someone! Every business and audience will have a mix of these three categories of people, and they’re all great.
But there’s a fourth category, that sometimes masquerades as one of the others. They’re dangerous, and the health of your business depends on identifying them and gently shepherding them out of your orbit.
That fourth group is the PARASITES. It’s not just that they’ll never buy (which is fine), but that they feel like you somehow owe them your content and ideas, and when you make an offer to your audience, they feel affronted.
They’re the ones who complain, who insult, who send you angry emails as they unsubscribe.
Maybe they’re having a bad day, or maybe they’re operating out of some twisted “customer is always right” sensibility (though they conveniently forget that perusing information that you generously provide for free doesn’t make them a customer!), but either way, they contribute nothing to your business or community, other than negativity.
And we, being the gracious and giving entrepreneurs that we are, feel horrible to have somehow let these people down.
(On the flip side, these people never say “thank you” for the free content that you do publish regularly for them!)
The truth is that we shouldn’t. Not ever.
So the next time someone who has received anything from you for free *complains* about you offering something for sale, recognize them for the parasite that they are.
Ignore them. Unsubscribe them.
And most importantly, don’t let their complaining take your focus away from the first three groups, that you should work hard to serve.
Does this resonate for you? Have you ever found yourself on the defensive because of complaints from someone who is not now, and probably never will be, your customer?