Understanding Your Fans

As we’ve said time and time again throughout this training, we’re operating largely within the Education phase of the Buddy System.

This phase is an early one, and arguably the first moment where you begin really securing your audience as you build it. Your Fan Finder is automating fan discovery, sure - but your Education efforts are what make them stick around.

Since you may be new to running Fan Finders or converting these incoming fans into more interested ones, you may not have the data on your fans that help describe who they are. As a result, you may have made some assumptions about what your fans are like without truly knowing.

For example, I assumed my fans would be total hipsters that read Pitchfork and loved all the music I also loved. It turns out that my average fan is more often the creative outcast that’s maybe seen as the “weird” kid at school, but does what they love anyway.

I learned a lot about them, and a lot about myself as a result!

We want to know the difference between our assumptions and the truth because if we don’t, we risk starting the wrong conversations with our fans, or pushing a voice that doesn’t serve or interest them.

In the last batch of lessons, we introduced all of the ways that you can begin to foster engagement as well as track this engagement to be leveraged later. This can help us undo our wrong assumptions, but numbers in a dash are not enough.

What we’ll want to also do is make sure that we’re balancing out our quantitative data with qualitative data. You have plenty of tools for how to rack up great engagement from the last set of lessons, but in this next set we’ll be gathering data that can’t be conveyed so easily in a dashboard.

For now, I want to talk about what qualitative data is and why it will be important for us to gather.

1. What is qualitative data?

Qualitative data is data that is non-numerical in value. It can take the form of survey responses, written feedback, anecdotes, and even tailored observations. For example, let’s pretend you just played a sold out show. Numerical data would be that you sold 50 CDs and 20 shirts at the merch table. Some related qualitative data might be that the majority of these customers had dyed hair of some kind.

2. Why do we want it?

We want qualitative data because it allows us to know what our fans want from us. We may have assumptions about the best experiences and products to offer our fanbase, but if we are out of sync with their wants, we won’t see the best results. Finding out what interests our fans allows us to tailor our efforts into experiences our fans will be most excited by - and this keeps them around, waiting for your next brilliant idea.

3. How do we get it?

ManyChat conversations, polls, livestream, engagement ads, and more will help us gather this data. In the next several lessons, we will be taking a deep dive into a few of these key methods.

Below I have prepared a Google Sheet template that you can use to track your qualitative data as you move along through each of the methods. By the end of the training, you will have a stocked database full of actionable data that allows you to best cater to your fans. Create your copy of this spreadsheet and prepare to follow along in populating it as you implement each strategy.

So now that you know why we want to gather qualitative data, let’s get started with doing it!

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