Microtribes – Build an Audience of Superfans That Will Help you Grow

The concept of tribes has been talked about in the marketing business for decades as a strategy to build and grow your audience.

By giving people a feeling of belonging, you are able to create more longlasting relationships, that will lead to customers returning.

But with a Microtribe, you as a No-Code entrepreneur are given a power similar to what the really big tech companies have.

What is a Microtribe?

Compared to the common description of a tribe in marketing, a Microtribe is smaller, and much more closely connected to you as a No-code founder or maker.

In short, a Microtribe can be described as:

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 A relatively small (~25-100 ppl) group of highly engaged fans
👨‍🚀 An extremely narrow and well-defined target group
🙌 Getting a super-high payoff from your product
📣 Will act as ambassadors and market your product for you

The strength is in the (low) numbers, it will make it manageable for you as a founder.

Nurtured in the right way, a Microtribe is a very powerful part in building and growing your audience and business.

[READING TIP: How To Build an Audience Before Launching Your No-Code Project]

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 A relatively small group of highly engaged fans

Most founders are trying to reach a huge group of people as soon as possible.

Reaching a lot of people today requires a lot of either time or money – the two things that are generally quite scarce in the launch phase of a No-code product.

Instead of trying to find as many people as possible, creating a Microtribe focuses on getting in touch with the right people.

100 people from the exact right target group are worth a lot more than 10 000 random internet strangers.

👨‍🚀 An extremely narrow and well-defined target group

A lot of creators and makers are doing one very costly mistake.

They are trying to be for “everyone”.

What you should do is to pick a very narrow niche market – like “wedding photographers focused on same-sex weddings, that wants to earn more money per wedding”.

At first, it might seem counterintuitive – but the more precise you are, the less competition you’ll have and the easier it is for you to reach them.

Take books, for example; the more general it is, the harder it is to sell.

People don’t buy books on “How To Live Healthier” – it is too big, too hard to grasp.

It is easier – and more concrete – if I am presented with one problem to solve and the concrete solution.

The books that focus on a very specific problem, for a very specific kind of people have a much better chance to succeed.

Focusing on this very specific niche audience will not exclude a wider, larger audience though.

🙌 Gets a super-high payoff from your product

When you know the exact kind of person that will use your product, you know the exact problems they are having and how to solve that for them.

Because the product is built to serve this particular niche, it will do it very well and give a huge return for anyone using it.

What will that make them?

Happy.

Really happy.

What will someone that is happy with a product do?

Tell others about it.

📣 Will act as ambassadors and market your product for you

Choosing to target a small niche market will make sure that someone will buy or use the product.

This will set the ball rolling.

This small group of superfans, that love how you just helped them improve their life by getting rid of a really annoying problem, will start telling others – especially if you give them the tools to do it.

Now, the circle of potential buyers and users will widen. From the super-narrow Microtribe to the surrounding audience.

If your Microtribe consists of “No-code makers building websites using Bubble.io and struggle to make the design look good”, the surrounding audience can widen, to “Everyone using a visual website building tool”.

Why do I need a Microtribe?

As a sole entrepreneur, Maker or No-coder you don’t have a marketing team to trust with doing outreach, creating content or setting up social ads.

It all falls on you. That doesn’t there are not people to help you.

By focusing on building a tight Microtribe, you’ll get the same kind of power as one of the large corporations out there!

Your Microtribe will the ones:

  • Testing your product for bugs, before (and after launch) and give feedback.
  • “Hunt” your product for sites like Producthunt
  • Buying the product as soon as it launch (and every other product you’ll be creating)
  • Talk to others about it and push them to join

In short, your Microtribe will give your one-man-show the power of a we-have-so-many-employees-we-have-out-own-coffee-shop-company!

[READING TIP: Want To Grow an Audience from Day 1? Pick a F*cking side!]

Damn, how do I get one?!

Here comes the hard truth; a Microtribe is not built in a day.

There are no shortcuts, and you need to understand that hardly anyone will help you because they want you to succeed.

Yes, you helped them solve them to a better life, but that will only get you so far.

To harness the power of your Microtribe there are a few steps you need to take:

Define who they are

If you can answer these three questions about your product or tool, you’ll have a very good understanding of who the potential members of your Microtribe are.

🛠 What does it DO?

Hopefully, your project is focused on solving one very specific problem for its users. Describe that problem in as few words as possible. What task does it do?

🤔 WHO is its ideal user?

Now, who is the ideal user of your product? This is the super-narrow, niche audience we are talking about. Don’t worry about going to narrow.


🔥 What will they GET (win) from using it?

Here’s the $10.000 question. What will be improved in this ideal user’s life after using your tool or product? What did she “win”?

Create “Magnet Content” for your Microtribe

Whenever someone helps you out, you have a natural urge to return that favor.

Creating content that is connected to the win that your product will give its users is twofold;

First, it will attract that ideal user that your product is built for. It becomes an automatic selection process.

Secondly, it will give them value, which will make them start thinking about how to return the favor.

Magnet Content is pieces of content that are crafted to attract the exact niche audience that you want in your Microtribe.

I schedule at least 10 tweets a day (using HypeFury which is great for that), and the only goal with those is to add value to my potential Microtribe.

My niche audience is No-code makers, that are struggling to grow an audience. So I write about stuff that will help them.

There’s no blueprint here, you’ll have to start somewhere and see what works!

Gather the members

Now, here’s where it starts to become really important to pay attention.

People will start sharing, liking, retweeting your content.

These are your Microtribe members.

Have a way to collect these people somehow.

On Twitter, I have a hidden list where I put everyone showing a lot of interest in what I post.

People sharing and commenting a lot, asking questions and so on.

Another great way to collect people’s contact info is with an email list.

Give them the VIP treatment

Building your first Microtribe will take time – and don’t worry about that.

But make sure to show appreciation as soon as you have the first person on your list:

  • Ask questions
  • Share content you find online or tag them in tweets
  • Share the process of building or upgrading your product

The real power in building a strong relationship with your Microtribe comes from continuing to give.

Show them that they are not just random Internet weirdos to you.

One of the most powerful ways to give value to people is to connect them with others with the same views and values.

Creating a private WhatsApp-group for your Microtribe might boost their involvement in your cause.

Make them feel valued and valuable!

Give them the tools to help

If you’ve started building your Microtribe before launch, and done a good job nurturing those relationships, you’ll have a very powerful force behind you.

Keep in mind though, that humans are quite lazy. And in today’s world, they have about the same attention span as a goldfish with ADHD.

Even though they feel really connected to you and what you do, make it easy for them to help you!

Don’t be afraid to ask them (several times) to do whatever you want them to do.

Don’t force them to figure it out themselves – serve whatever you want them to share on a silver platter.

Share your goals, your values and your vision with them – in bite-size chunks.

The best way to have people share something is to give them a reason to do it.

A monetary incentive is usually not the best way (even if coupons and affiliate links could work).

Members of your Microtribe don’t want to feel like they are your private zombie sales force.

Instead, help them look good and help others;

  • Write a really useful blog post that they can share with people like themselves.
  • Give them a link with a free month of your product to share
  • Interview them (as a beta user) and post it on social media

If you can give them a chance to help you, and at the same time help themselves and their network – you are already winning!

Conclusion

This is just a very short introduction to how you as a digital entrepreneur can harness the power of Microtribes.

When done right, you can create your own small army, that will help you spread the word and grow your business.

I will continue to write about how to build your own Microtribe. Sign up on my private mailing list and I’ll send you an update as soon as I publish anything new!

Want to Grow Your Audience From Day 1? Pick a F*cking Side!

I remember one sunny day at the end of August 2018, stumbling upon an article online, from one of the major newspapers in Sweden.

It was just 2 weeks before our election for parliament, being held every 4th year.

The main picture was of a 15-year-old girl sitting with a sign outside the parliament building.

She intended to do that every day up until the election because she didn’t think politicians were doing enough to help the climate.

I remember thinking “Oh, I really hope someone will come and join her. I’d hate for her to sit there all alone”.

It turned out, there was no reason for me to worry too much about that…

Article from Vox, Sept 20, 2019

During the following 18 months, Greta managed to gather and unite an enormous amount of people, willing to fight for the same thing: the Earth is dying, and the politicians and big corporations are the ones that need to do something about it.

How come all these people decided to stand behind this 15-year old girl from Sweden, and how can you as an entrepreneur learn from that to grow your audience?

Talk about what you want!

From the very first day of her strike, Greta had a very clear message: Unless politicians around the globe take action to stop the climate crisis, her generation won’t have a future.

I don’t think that millions of people around the world suddenly went “Oh, that sounds great! From now on, that’s what I will believe in!”

No, what Greta said was already aligned with the values of all these people.

They just needed someone to say it out loud.

She didn’t change their opinions.

She just concretized them.

She just told them what they already believe in.

Don’t waste your time on customers

Creating an app with low or no-code tools usually starts as a one-(wo)man-show.

That’s the beauty of living in a time where you can make ideas into reality as easy as putting together pieces of LEGO.

But it also means that you (and possibly a few co-founders) have very limited resources to spare – time being one of them.

If you want the project to succeed you can’t just do something – you need to do the most efficient things!

Trying to get people to buy or use your product – finding customers – is a very short-sighted goal.

[READING TIP: How To Build an Audience Before Launching Your No-Code Product]

A customer is someone that will buy your product, and then continue on with their lives. It’s the end of the road.

You must start, by finding people to help you out.

Even if you are just one or a few people – you need to do what all the big tech companies are doing, and communicate WHO you are and WHY you are doing what you are doing.

If you instead of trying to get people to buy your product, focus on gathering people with the same beliefs as you, you will win even if they are not buying your product.

People that believe in the same thing as you will help you spread the word to others!

The difference between a customer and an audience

A customer might buy your product. That’s it.

A member of your audience or tribe will:

  • (Most certainly) buy your product
  • Talk to others about your product and you
  • Give you feedback on how to improve it
  • Stick around for your next big thing

Some people will never need what you offer. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t gonna help you spread the word to others!

And the best way to do build a rabid audience that will do the work for you – even when you haven’t launched yet?

Pick a f*cking side.

How to pick a side (and why it will build your audience)

I never thought I would ever quote Eminem, but here we go:

“If you have enemies, good – that means you stood up for something.”

― Eminem

“Everyone” is not a target market. You can’t be for everyone.

The only products that are for “everyone”, are tooth-paste and toilet paper.

Don’t be toilet paper.

Deciding what you believe in, will make you more attractive to the right audience. The once interested in what you have to say and the problems you can solve.

When you know what you stand for and what you want to change – you’re able to talk about that forever without ever feeling like you are trying to “sell” something.

What do you believe in?

Today it’s extremely important for us to trust the people and companies we do business with.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Simon Sinek
When a company tells us what they believe in – their values and beliefs – they make it very easy for us to decide if that is something we can stand behind.

Talking about features, numbers and technicalities are far from the best ways to grow your audience.

What you need to do is to define what you stand for. Why you exist.

… and what don’t you believe in?

One of the most fanatic tribes is the one of the Swedish oat-milk producer Oatly.

They are selling oat-milk.

That is oat.

And water.

In a box.

I could make the exact same thing in my blender at home for one-tenth of the price.

Oatly doesn’t have the most hardcore fanbase you can find out there because their product – it’s not the cure for cancer.

People love them, because they’ve picked a side.

A few years back, Oatly got sued by the Swedish dairy lobby (that would be a much worse band name) for writing “No milk, no soy, no badness” on their milk packages.

They lost and had to change it.

So they changed it to “No milk, no soy, no… eh, whatever.”

It doesn’t matter, everyone knows what they stand for.

Like that annoying younger baby brother of yours, Oatly takes every opportunity to pick a fight on the milk industry.

When one of the biggest milk producers in Sweden ran a series of TV ads mocking plant-based milk substitute drinks by coming up with silly, fake names for those alternatives, what did Oatly do?

Got mad and started whining?

Nah, they found out that the dairy company never filed to trademark protect those names.

So Oatly did that.

And started printing those names on all their packages.

One of the best ways to define what you stand for is to make sure you are able to define the opposite of just that.

Oatly believes that the dairy industry is evil. And that dairy is bad for the environment.

They won’t have many dairy farmers or milkshake aficionados among their followers.

But those whose beliefs are aligned with Oatlys will follow them anywhere!

“It’s highly attractive when someone is resolute and decisive. Strong opinions can also be divisive and split opinion, which means people actively spend time thinking about which side they are on.”

Helen Ryles

Don’t be the one to answer “I don’t know. I’m fine with anything.” when someone asks what you want for dinner!

Pick a f*cking side!

Write down what you believe in

Don’t worry. You don’t have to embark on a crusade to take down the gun lobby or trash-talk the next presidential candidate.

The best way to define them is to write your values down – and then write the counter-values right next to them!

I believe:

Waiting ’til you have a product to build an audience is a waste of time.

Write down everything you believe in. Don’t think too much about it at first, you can always edit and remove.

A good way to test your belief out (to see if you’ve really picked a side) is to write the counter-belief next to it. Then, read it and see if it is something that people “on the other side” would actually believe.

I don’t believe:

Entrepreneurs should create their product first, and then start to build their audience.

(The product-or-audience-first question is well discussed online, so this very belief definitely passed this test.)

How to use this in your content

Creating content is the best way to draw attention to what you are doing. Whether you choose to blog, tweet, be on Youtube or TikTok – reaching your audience organically is the most powerful way there is.

But you cannot talk only about your product.

The number of tweets or Facebook posts about you, your process and your product (and everything even slightly connected to that) should be under 20%.

The rest should be stuff that your audience finds interesting.

Your values are the best guidelines you have when it comes to what you can talk about.

Use them as main topics when you are planning your content.

For Twitter, I schedule at least 10 tweets a day (using Hypefury, which I can thank for a big chunk of my Twitter growth!).

I have a few main topics that I tweet about, and they all build on my beliefs:

  • Building an audience is key to success for a small start-up
  • No-one cares about your Thing, they only want to know what’s in it for them
  • You are the expert on something that can change other peoples lives

Compare that to what it would look like if I only had concrete topics to talk about:

  • How to build an audience
  • Talk about what your customer will gain
  • Create digital products to sell

See what I mean?

If you just write about stuff – without really believing it – it’s just words.

But if you believe it – if it is the lifeblood of you and your product – people can choose to get in behind you. And they will.

They will join your army and help you fight for change!

Even that change is just “Ahhrhg! No-one should have to keep paper receipts for their tax returns!”

Whatever you believe in – start talking about it!

Everywhere and always.

“You have to communicate what you want to build in every meeting, in every email you write. Especially as a founder or a CEO, but even as a manager, it has to be a huge chunk of your job and your mindshare.”

Molly Graham, former manager for Culture and Employment Branding at Facebook

The faster you start doing that – the faster you will start attracting the right audience.

The right people to bring on-board as collaborators.

And maybe even the right investors!

[READ NEXT: How To Build an Audience Before Launching Your No-Code Product]