Build Your Mailing List: a lesson from a 1970s Fart Club

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I’m loath to admit this. But…

As an 8-year-old schoolboy, I briefly belonged to a Fart Club.

Not a Fight Club. A Fart Club.

I know, I’m as appalled as you are. But trust me, there was nothing else to do in Caerphilly back in the ’70s.

The idea came from a school friend who, with hindsight, must have had mental issues. I mean, he really went to town setting this thing up.

He drew up membership cards, a code of conduct (“never take credit for someone else’s work”)…plus a scoring matrix, with points out of 10 for odour, noise and follow-through. All so we could keep a leaders’ board, like in Formula 1.

Thing is, when he pitched it to me, I thought it was a little odd. But within 20 minutes, he’d signed up every boy in the class. Plus a girl who went on to become a welder’s apprentice.

So, it was a cool thing suddenly. How could I say no?

The point is, people love to belong. We all have this tribal instinct that makes us want to bond with others who share a passion, or a set of values, or as in this case, a weird fascination that borders on disturbing.

What do you do with this info?

Well, you’ll know that it’s a super smart move to build a mailing list of people who want or need your stuff – then develop a relationship through regular tips and updates. But you’ll also know, list building gets harder every day. People don’t want to part with their contact details, and everyone’s playing the set game of “sign up for my free report”. So you’ve got to go further if you want to grow by more than a trickle.

Membership is a good way to get over that hurdle.

Set up a private group on Facebook or LinkedIn, where members can discuss their woes – and you wade in as the expert on the hottest topics.

You will get members, because that desire to belong kicks in.

Then, once in a while, raise a topic that you cover in your report or emails. So those trusting members will take the next step, and move onto your list.

Next stop: buying.

It’s simple ascension: from discussion group, to email sign-up, to customer.

I know, it’s obvious. But before you tut and say “Well duh!”, think…are you actually doing it?

No? Well give it a whirl.

You’ll quickly see, belonging is a magnet. An irresistible force.

If it can get a prudish gimp like me into a Flatulence Forum, it can bring all kinds of prospects flocking to your door.

POSTSCRIPT: The Fart Club never really got going. One of the dinner ladies found out, and got it banned. Some of the boys revamped it as an underground movement, but I couldn’t take the heat. So I left, and went off to chess club.

We’re all itching to belong somewhere…

UK Copywriter James Daniel

James Daniel

You might not know who I am, but no doubt you've read my copy. If you've ever bought a hearing aid, a pizza oven, flat roof or vacuum cleaner. If you've hired a will writer, an IT guy or accountant. If you've been to events on marketing, acting or how to buy a business. There's every chance it started with a bit of my copy - a few simple, chatty, gently persuasive words. Ring any bells?

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