Is audience loyalty important to your business?

Are you wondering how you can increase your audience loyalty through engagement?

To learn the importance of engagement, I interview Danny Iny for this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast.

More About This Show

Social Media Marketing Podcast w/ Michael Stelzner

The Social Media Marketing podcast is a show from Social Media Examiner.

It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.

The show format is on-demand talk radio (also known as podcasting).

In this episode, I interview Danny Iny, author of Engagement from Scratch! He is also the founder of Firepole Marketing (now Mirasee) and host of the Connect, Engage, Inspire podcast (now the Business Reimagined podcast) .

Danny shares his techniques for increasing engagement, which engenders loyalty in his audience.

You’ll find out how to define engagement in your business, the benefits of it and how to get started.

Share your feedback, read the show notes and get the links mentioned in this episode below!

Listen Now

You can also subscribe via iTunes, RSS, Stitcher or Blackberry.

Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:


From a writer to someone who specializes in engaging audiences

Danny shares that he has been writing since childhood, and started a copywriting business when he was young.

In 2006, he wrote his first book, Ordinary Miracles: Harness the Power of Writing to Get Your Point Across! In the book, he discusses his ideas about writing and how to write well. Although it’s a great book, Danny didn’t get the response he was looking for.

ordinary miracles book

Ordinary Miracles was Danny’s first book.

The lesson he learned is that when you write copy, it’s not actually about the words. You need to understand the people you want to connect with, and understand what matters to them.

Danny’s copywriting practice evolved over time into a marketing and strategy consultancy.

You’ll hear what happened when he attended local networking sessions that made him want to create a training program.

Danny soon discovered that people who didn’t have an audience wanted to know more about engagement; and therefore, he wanted to help them. He started to reach out to all of the experts who had built an engaged audience from nothing.

With their input and perspectives, his new book, Engagement from Scratch! was created.

Listen to the show to find out why it’s important to be sensitive to other people’s needs.

Definition of engagement

Since his latest book was published, Danny says that he has developed the insight that engagement is about the deep emotional investment that people have in what you are doing.

If you think about Apple‘s customers, they are members of the Apple tribe. The fact that they use Apple’s products actually says something about who that person is. It’s a piece of their identity.

Not only are these customers incredibly engaged, they are also invested in what Apple does. If the company were to betray the values they stand for, the response would be dramatic. They would feel like a friend had betrayed them.

Danny says that the best model for conceptualizing engagement is by increasing the feeling of commitment through rewards over time. When someone discovers you for the first time, there is no connection, relationship or engagement. You have to give them something to keep them coming back.

firepole marketing sign up

To get people to commit, offer them something in return.

Make sure you give people an opportunity to provide you with their name and email address. Once they commit, you can reward them.

You’ll find out another great way to get people to invest some of their time and attention, which will help you build a relationship with them. It’s important to stand out from the competition, and one way to do this is to answer emails personally. This puts you in a whole different category.

To be a good email marketer, you need to have a double opt-in, a one-click Unsubscribe button and a high content-to-pitch ratio. You should offer a ton of value and ask for nothing in return.

subscription preferences

You should always offer an unsubscribe option.

Once you have built up a relationship with your subscribers, it’s far easier to ask for something in return.

Listen to the show to find out how you can use a populated tweet to start a dialogue and get great responses.

The reward

Danny says that when people trust you, and you have earned their respect, it changes everything in your business. So when you have an offer, people buy from you. Your conversions go through the roof.

A great example is when Danny did a webinar about 18 months ago, when he was a lot less experienced. Although the information was good, he bombed the webinar. It shouldn’t have converted by any means, yet it made five figures in sales.

The reason it did so well was that people knew and trusted Danny. They knew that whatever he was going to share was probably worth buying.


Once you have built trust with your audience, they are more willing to buy from you. Image source: iStockphoto

When you are in constant contact with your audience, you know what they want. It takes a ton of the guesswork away. They share it all with you.

You’ll hear Danny explain what happened when Firepole Marketing went through a revamp, and why his audience was behind him, rather than complaining about the slightest fault.

Listen to the show to hear what happens when Danny promotes affiliates on his site.

Practical things you can do to start to improve your engagement

Danny says that you can do engagement from scratch if you have no audience, or have an audience but no engagement.

If you have an audience but lack engagement, the first thing he recommends you do is make sure that the emails you send out have your signatory on, so that subscribers can reply.

personalize your email

To help build a relationship with your audience, always provide your signatory on your emails.

Danny makes sure that there is always somebody on his team who can check emails and send a personal reply. It’s a way for the person who receives the email to get to know the person who sent it.

The second thing that you can do (and it’s not just with email) is to end the message with a call to action. It doesn’t always have to end with a “buy this” message. You’ll discover the types of messages that you can include, which will encourage a response.

The bottom line is that engagement is about relationships, and they are bidirectional.

Listen to the show to find out why it’s a special time in the history of this online world.

How to manage it all

Danny says that you have to start small. Some people don’t understand why he spends a lot of his time every day answering emails, but he says it’s what drives all of his sales. Last year alone, they had nearly $700,000 in sales.

You can send out an email once a week. Not every email has to ask for a reply at the bottom either. Maybe once in a while ask for a response and build it up gradually. Let the people on your team contribute too.

Although Danny interacts with many of his audience members, his team deals with the student-, customer- and audience-facing stuff. It’s a great way for people get to know who Firepole Marketing is.

firepole marketing team

Let your team help you respond to your audience’s emails.

Listen to the show to discover why return on investment (ROI) doesn’t exist without the I.

A successful engagement tip

Danny says there are two ways you can look at building engagement. There is wide and shallow, and narrow and deep.

Last summer, Danny and his team ran a Business Ignition Boot Camp, where 200 participants worked extensively with them for 6 weeks.

Although the course was free, the applicants had to fill out a 45-minute application. During the course, they received a ton of homework. Danny says that it was a phenomenal experience, and people are still evangelizing about it today. Not only are they customers forever, but they have brought in new customers too.

business ignition bootcamp

People are still evangelizing about this course that was run last year.

You’ll hear about a scavenger hunt they did last year too, which will kick off again this month.

You don’t have to blanket all of the people who follow you. Instead you can aim at the most engaged, in terms of their engagement with and investment in you. You need to think about what you can do with them that can bring them into the fold and make them part of your family.

Listen to the show to hear the importance of creating evangelists and why you can’t pay for this kind of thing.

Discovery of the Week

I have recently discovered that ClicktoTweet has changed, and it’s now even better.

When you first go to ClicktoTweet, it will ask you to log into Twitter. You can then generate your tweet. The result is a custom URL that you can embed or use as a forwarder.

With the new updates, you can track the results of the tweets that you shared. It shows you the number of clicks and how many were unique. It even shows you on a timeline which day got the most clicks. You can also see on a map which countries the clicks came from.

click to tweet analytics

You can now track which days got the most clicks.

With this kind of data, you can do tweet-level analytics. It’s exciting what you can do with this.

There is also a WordPress plugin option, and although I’ve not experimented with it yet, I have downloaded it and read the code. It allows you to create a clickable box on your blog. You’ll hear an example of how you can use this to drive traffic back to your blog.

There is also another plugin in the plugins directory called Click To Tweet by Todaymade. I don’t think these are from the same organization; however, this plugin creates a really nice box with text in it.

If you think creatively, you can come up with some innovative uses for it.

Call in and leave your social media–related questions for us and we may include them in a future show.

Listen to the show to learn more and let us know how this works for you.

Other Show Mentions

This week’s podcast is sponsored by Social Media Marketing World 2014.

SMMW logoSocial Media Marketing World 2014 is our physical mega-conference, which is set to return to San Diego, California on March 26, 27 and 28.

The buzz around this conference is amazing. If you look at our hashtag #smmw14, you will see all of the people who are excited about attending this conference.

The conference features more than 80 sessions in four major tracks: social tactics, social strategy, community management and content marketing.

A major part of this conference is about networking. Some of the exciting networking opportunities we have planned include the opening night party on a naval aircraft carrier, early morning walking and running groups, dedicated networking ambassadors, major networking time after keynotes and during lunches, special interest groups and so much more!

Be sure to check it out.

Key takeaways mentioned in this episode:

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What do you think? What are your thoughts on creating a loyal audience through engagement? Please leave your comments below.

Image from iStockPhoto.
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  • Jennifer Ebeling

    Excellent podcast! Learned a ton! Great job, guys.

  • Thanks Jennifer

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Nice podcast!

    When you know your target audience, put them first and focus on the content they want and need, you can grow your audience through engagement. When you focus solely on earning money and retiring early, you may create a paradigm shift that could push your audience away from you. No one benefits from this.

    Thanks for the tip on Click to Tweet. I’ll check it out.

  • FORTY-TWO minutes? You must be joking. Within that time, I’ll read at
    least 40 pages of text. At a minimum, provide a transcript for those who
    like to read instead of listening, or better still, crystallize the
    content into a concise article. Podcasts and videos are fine for some
    people, but in terms of content absorption, this is way too much.

  • Great podcast guys, just shows how much more i need to be learning and doing!

  • Shelia

    Great podcast guys — nailed it with listen and create what they want and not what you think they need. It took me a while to figure this out, but once I did it seemed almost funny that I didn’t get it before. Thanks again!

  • Thanks Amandah!

  • Hey Kimmo – I appreciate your comment. That is why this post has so much content in it. There are 10s of thousands of folks who do listen each week by the way.

  • Thanks James

  • Thanks much Shelia

  • Madhava Verma Dantuluri

    What a great post it is…

  • Is there an audio equivalent of click to tweet for podcasts? Oh, I mean, “on demand talk radio”? Snippets of audio that can be easily tweeted, maybe through soundcloud? Just wondering.

  • Hey Pat – Not that I am aware of. But I am sure if you or someone else got creative you could figure it out 🙂

  • Thanks

  • It was a very worthwhile 42 mins 🙂

  • Thanks James

  • Hi Michael,
    Nice to meet you at my G+ page,
    Its indeed a great privilege to know more about this activities at Social marketing
    very useful post with lot of connected and relevant links
    Thanks for providing this informative piece
    Keep informed
    PS: I am sorry to say that the social share button at the left corner is giving lot of trouble sometimes its overlapping the text which gives trouble for reading. Pl. re=place it some other corner or place it in horizontal

  • I kinda agree with Kimmo and James: I have really enjoyed listening to this – and more importantly: I have learned new things – but I am aware for some people it could be too long. Perhaps sectioning the podcast into episodes could be a solution?

  • Always good to come to this site, there’s always something to learn… I have enjoyed this podcast.

  • Agreed!

  • Engagement is really HUGE in social media, and it is something that you must create, plan and sustain. I agree with Danny: when you start small, create a plan that you can effectively manage. And of course, like Mike said, you can always assign someone from your team to handle parts of that and create extraordinary connections with your audience. Great episode Mike and Danny!

  • Thanks for your message Philip – Can you let me know what web browser and operating system you are using?

  • Thanks Antonio

  • Thanks much John

  • In this fast-paced online age, we tend to forget that building an audience/engagement requires time. Without investing time along with quality content/value, you’d lose your audience as quickly as you gained them.

  • Great post Michael. Learned a lot. No doubt, it is important to reach out to targeted customers, understand their need and provide them with something that they need. This helps to gain the trust and this undoubtedly helps a lot.

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  • Kal Elsehsah

    That was a good podcast. About replying emails and commenting on blog or social media I am doing the same. I manage to reply everyone who contacted me and I open the chat everywhere most of the time except meeting or sleep :). That made me and my brands fenon and WOoArts trusted by many fine artists and fans.
    Thanks to both of you and the team behind this SME blog.
    I wish to go to the Social Media Marketing World convention. All the best.

  • Thanks Kal – Glad you enjoyed the show

  • It sure does and thanks

  • Hands down one of the best podcasts i’ve ever listened to – and I listen to a lot! Great insights and practical, inspiring tips. Awesome!! 😀

  • I listen to it while I commute to work. During that time I would be unable to read as i’m driving, so find the podcast perfect 🙂

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  • Madhava Verma Dantuluri

    Very good share.

  • Wow, I’m late to the conversation – was so busy interacting with listeners on Twitter that it didn’t occur to me that a whole other conversation was happening right here.

    Mike, thanks so much for having me on the podcast, and sorry I’m late to the party here.

    To everyone who listened, commented, tweeted, or reached out to me directly via email (you know who you are!), thank you – it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to connect with you all!

  • Thanks, Jennifer, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

    What was your biggest takeaway? Is there anything that you’re going to do differently as a result of what you learned?

  • Hey Amandah, it’s great to see you here. You and I are 100% on the same page – it’s all about the relationships – the rest takes care of itself. 🙂

  • Hey Kimmo, I actually disagree; some content is best shared in written form – that’s what blogs like Social Media Examiner and Firepole Marketing are for (and between the two blogs, there are well over 1,000 posts waiting for you).

    Podcasts are conversational, and best absorbed through the ears; a transcript wouldn’t serve listeners very well. I think it was a great podcast, and worth the time to listen (and if you’re really in a hurry, you can download it to a computer and listen at accelerated speed, which is what I do), but if the audio format really doesn’t work for you, I’d just read the show notes, and other posts. 🙂

  • Thank you, James and Antonio – I’m so glad! 🙂

  • There you go – that’s a perfect time to listen. I often download a bunch of podcasts as they are released, and listen to them in a batch while running errands. 🙂

  • You can always just listen to it in two parts; some people might want it all in one sitting, and others might want it divided into two or three parts – why not download it to your computer, listen for as long as you have time, and just note the time stamp, so you can pick up later where you left off?

  • Thank you, James – I’m so glad you found it helpful!

    What was your biggest takeaway? What was the most valuable insight to you?

  • Thanks, Sheila! It’s one of those things… we all make that mistake when we’re first getting started, and it’s a real brain-stretch to look at things differently. Once we get it, though, it’s like… “what the #### was I thinking?” 😉

  • Thank you, Madhava, that’s very kind of you to say. 🙂

  • I’m not aware of such a tool either – I wonder how that would work logistically? Many people aren’t in a position to click when they’re listening to a podcast – maybe in a few years, when voice command technology improves, you could just say “yes” to bookmark something to view later, in response to a call to action?

  • Thanks, Antonio, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

    What was your biggest takeaway? Is there anything that you’re going to do differently as a result of what you learned?

  • Hey John, it’s great to see you here. Thanks for the kind words, and for your encouragement and support as we launched our own podcast – you’re the best! 🙂

  • Absolutely. It takes time, but it doesn’t have to take a crazy amount of time – the problem is that so many people are in a mode of “instant gratification” that any time investment feels unreasonable to them. But that’s not how people work! 🙂

  • Thank you so much, Shell, you’ve made my day!

    What was your biggest takeaway? Is there anything that you’re going to do differently as a result of what you learned?

  • Thanks, Sova – I’m so glad you enjoyed the podcast.

    Yup – it’s the basics of business and marketing, but it’s so tempting to try to skip over it all as we rush to build something. 🙂

  • Thank you, Kal – I appreciate the kind words, and I love that you shared your own example of how you did the same thing, and it worked in your own business. That’s huge – congratulations! 🙂

  • Thanks Danny!

  • Osama Shaaban

    Wonderful article … I really enjoyed the amount of information been delivered in one article … Now let me listen to the interview and enjoy 🙂

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  • This is an excellent article, I really enjoyed it and it came at *just* the right time for me too. I’ll be sharing this across my social media platforms – thank you!