1. Respond to fan mail promptly.
2. If you’re going to be in the same place or city as you fans, send out a letter to see who wants to meet up for a beer.
3. Post your travel schedule on your site. Make it easy for fans to see you when you come through town.
4. Thank your fans regularly.
5. If you don’t have the ability to create a NEW fan community, consider joining an existing community.
6. Help them feel like they’re on the road with you. Use blogs, pictures, diaries, message boards and videos.
7. Community doesn’t always mean your fans are talking about YOU. It might be about your characters, topics or the bigger idea of what your work is about.
8. As important as fans are, don’t forget to make the art form the first thing. Whether it’s painting, music or writing, you can’t (not) be good!
9. Create a DVD in which you’re interviewed about your various products, books, albums or projects. Think of it as an informal, inexpensive documentary about your work. Send copies (cheaply or for free) to the people on your list. Let them get into your head.
10. Fans are now USED to discussing books, CD’s and other art forms. Either in groups or online. As such, fans are smarter than they used to be. Which means they listen, read and experience your art with that sort of eye. So, be sure your work is conducive to discussion and debate.
11. Fan loyalty is a function of how easily accessible you are. Seth Godin, best selling author and super-successful speaker/entrepreneur, answers many emails within about 30 minutes. And he has the most loyal fans in the world. Coincidence? Nope.
12. When you go BACK to a town you’ve already appeared in, do your best to remember and contact (and possible hang with) the people you met the first time. Prove to them how valuable they are to your livelihood.
13. Or, go one step further: when you come in town, send postcards to the fans on your list to let them know you’re coming.
14. Thank your fans regularly. (Did I say that already?)
15. Connect your fans to each other, then get out of the way.
16. Send your fans stickers with important product releases, conference times, meetings, and appointments or show dates. Tell them to mark up their calendars so they know when to buy your stuff and see you in person. NOTE: think about what your vet, dentist or cardiologist does with your appointments or hospital visits. Same thing.
17. While signing books, CD’s and the like, lock and load. They only have a short time to engage with you. Give them your full attention.
18. Create downloadable items on your website that they can print out, draw on, fold or share. Let them participate.
19. Take pictures of you and your fans. Post those pictures on your blog or your photo sharing account. Then email a link of that page to your fan. He’ll love it! Not to mention, he’ll probably tell everyone.
20. Create some sort of card that indicates they’re your fan, friend or ‘part of the club.’ Think about what rock bands do: they create laminated badges for their fans to wear backstage. What about you? What kind of backstage pass or ‘with the band’ item could YOU create?
21. Thank your fans regularly. Seriously. Thank them in your blogs, books, ezines, linear notes and websites. After all, without them, you’d be out of a job!
22. Give your fans enough information to make them feel like an insider.
23. Get Meebo. Like, today.