Live Experiment: How to know (and grow) the exact number of raving fans you have

Bryan Harris —  November 11th, 2016 - Bryan Harris

Let’s say you had a choice of two options:

Option #1: People who encounter you and your business trust you, like you and are extremely loyal to you.

Option #2: People who encounter you hate you, don’t trust you and have ZERO loyalty.

Which would you choose?

Stupid question. Obviously you would chose loyalty.

But here is a not-stupid question.




Why do you want people to trust you and like you and be loyal?

Here is why.

Loyal fans have conversations like this…

…or this.

Contrast that with the conversations that indifferent fans have.

Indifferent fans are… indifferent.

Loyal fans tell people about your business.

Loyal fans go out of their way to make sure others buy your product.

Loyal fans are the single best growth hack you can optimize for. Not email subscribers, not traffic to your website and not even crazy launch strategies. The single most effective way to grow any business, in any niche, no matter what, is to develop loyal fans.

Some nerdy stats for you…

86% of consumers trust word-of-mouth advertising over any other form of marketing.

Customers who hear about your product or service from a friend or family member spend 200% more than non-referral customers and make 2x as many referrals themselves.


What does that mean?

It means that our #1 priority should be creating loyal fans.

But how do you know if you have loyal fans?

How do you objectively measure that?

Outside of ancillary tweets and emails that people send in, how do you know if you have more loyal fans today than you did last year?

How do you know if the blog posts you are writing and the sales strategies you are using are creating a higher or lower percentage of raving fans?

I didn’t know the answer to that, so I researched it. And discovered this fun little framework called the Net Promoter Score, or NPS.

This is how it works…

Every so often you send out a one-question survey that looks like this:

The survey has 1 question on it.

“How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?”

The person taking the survey answers on a scale of 1 to 10.

10 = Very likely

1 = You suck. Go away!

The intent of the NPS survey is to tell you where your existing customers and audience fall on that scale.

There are three main groups that your respondents will fall into:

Group #1: In the 9-10 range are your loyal fans who will tell everyone they know about you.

Group #2: In the 7-8 range are fans, but they aren’t so enamored with you that they’ll tell people about you.

Group #3: In the 1-6 range are detractors who will either passively or actively work against you.

So let’s recap for a minute…

  1. Creating loyal fans is smart.
  2. Loyal fans are like mini-salesmen who go around and tell other people to buy your stuff.
  3. The more loyal fans we have, the more stuff we sell.
  4. We should probably optimize around creating more raving fans and not ignore it.
  5. NPS is a good way to measure how many loyal fans we have.
  6. We’re not exactly sure what we do once we know where we are at on the NPS scale, but once we have the number we can try experiments to get the score up.

Since we’ve never objectively measured how much people like us and how many loyal fans we have, AND since that is the key indicator of our #1 growth channel (word of mouth), we’re going to do something fun.

We’re going to run a series of experiments over the next two months and report the results live on the blog.


Here are our plans.

We’re maniacally focused on creating loyal fans and customers because loyal fans are more likely to hit their goal and more likely to help us grow.

So, here’s our plan:

Step #1: We’re going to create our NPS survey.

Step #2: We’re going to send it out to everyone on the email list.

Step #3: We’ll report the results of the survey here in this blog post.

Step #4: We’re going to brainstorm an action plan to improve the score based on where it is at right now.

Step #5: I’d like to come up with a way to measure our score on a weekly basis so we can see the impact of our marketing and sales activity in a more real-time type of basis.

In this post, we’ll share everything we do: our score, the improvements we try to make and how this affects bottom line revenue for us and success rate for our customers.

PS: What do you think? What would you change or add to this process? Let me know in the comment section below.

  • Avadhut Chavan

    Single question may not be the correct barometer

    • What do you think the correct barometer is?

      • Avadhut Chavan

        I’m not sure which other question you’d ask
        But for me I’m at 6-7 stage
        Like if some one asks “is videofruit good at what they claim, I’d say yes” but not go out saying videofruit is excellent you should buy from them.

        May be you can ask sample of your subscribers NPS and for those voting below 9 ask them what would make you say 9.
        Compile their answers as options of second question to all population of subscribers

  • You can use this on every email that you send. Or after every sold item.

    • Would that get to redundant tho?

      • You need as much as data as you can get and its just a question at the bottom of email. Did I help you 1 to 5 and you can then see what topics do what

      • Mailchimp has this sistem build in

  • You could track the ration of opportunities:recommendations each week as your barometer. For example, “How many people did you encounter this week who are having trouble with xxx”, “How many did you tell about VideoFruit?” and, if you wanted, “What specific page, post or tool did you recommend to them?” and/or “What’s one thing we could do to improve the likelihood you’ll recommend us next time?”. Time is valuable, but I’d be willing to fill out those answers each week.

    I learned about NPS a few months ago because my new company uses it. Very interesting to see how you are implementing it here!

  • NPS at the end of each blog post.

  • This is great guys! I’ll definitely be following along. Crazy timing too – I’m putting together a video series showing my audience how to turn the people on their list into loyal clients and the NPS is a major part of it. Your experiment is going to be a great example.

    There’s just one thing. NPS are really great measuring sticks for client loyalty. However, the NPS should always be paired with a second question: “Why did you rate us a [number]?” Or “What was your primary for giving that score?”

    Trust me when I say the data you get from the NPS + question #2 will be much richer and much more actionable.

    I wish you the best of luck with your experiment! If there’s anyway I can help, please let me know.

    -Chris (I’m @cdatubo everywhere :))

    • Hi Chris, rightly said. Followup with a why of the NPS question is key. It throws actionable insights on the feedbacks and is a gold mine of information. With the promoters the followup questions gives you amazing testimonials at times. I have also shared some more insights on how to use NPS data for growth here

      I am really interested in your video series. Would love to know more.

      • Thanks for your interest, Kushal! Watched the video and checked out your blog – they’re super informative. The goal for my series is helping online entrepreneurs craft a first-class customer experience from start to finish, then using NPS as a metric.

        If you’d like to talk details, feel free to email me at christiana[at]cdatubo[dot]com.

  • We ask that type of question but always pair it with another one like “How relevant is [this content] for your? (0-10)” or “How satisfied are you with [results,service…]? (0-10)”. That way we know what the NPS is related to us serving the customer needs.

    • Where/How do you guys ask Vidas?

      • Hi Bryan. We do it as part of the paper-based evaluation form that we give after live events. And online after our mini-courses (these are short courses that we use as lead magnets or small buy-ins) or from time to time with our videos.

  • Rob

    I like the NPS and have read about it. I bundle that specific question into a feedback survey.

    I’m curious as to what you’ll come up with as to how to increase it, as the NPS seems to measure your experience AFTER working with you, we tend to, not always but tend to only recommend, or fervently [7-10] recommended things we’ve used, and loved. So you’ll need to increase people who have worked with you on something meaningful.

    I agree and enjoyed the part about word of mouth is still the best, it’s practically the sole reason I’m still around and loving what I do…because of the “generalist” nature of “IT Support for websites, newsletters, and sales systems” ….it’s really really really hard to resonate with fans on a homepage…easier so on a specific pain sales page, but much harder to be like “hey, we’re the best place ever to go to if you have any type of website, email marketing, sales system tech issue, or interwebs problems, really!” … but that chat bubble thing, that’s totally it… “hey i’m having problems with my business site, it’s doing weird things ” — “oh, i know just the dude for that!!” … YES — how do i bottle that on a homepage call to action hah

  • WOW! This is amazing….NPS by far is the ultimate question to help you understand and replicate the drivers of customer loyalty. A big congratulations on embarking on this journey!

    A small correction though, the NPS scale is from 0 to 10. 0 to 6 being detractors.

    I recently compiled an E-Book on how to kickstart Net Promoter Score at an organisation. You can download it here

    Some points that I have covered are
    · What is NPS® and why is it important
    · 5 steps to implement NPS® successfully
    · Best practices to implement NPS®
    · Traits of an NPS® driven company

    I am always available on

    • Thanks Kushal!

      • You are welcome Bryan. I believe you need to have the following
        – specific NPS campaigns for your blog subscribers and product lines as well. The touchpoints could be a fortnight from onboarding to understand how was the discovery and onboarding process. It should be followed up with relational survey with a cool off of atleast a quarter between each survey. You can analyse this data across multiple parameters like – product lines, geography, touchpoints in the journey, first time customers and the loyals etc.

        Most importantly however is action. Both quick wins to gain some early success and big bets which may require larger investments on fixing process/systems at your end.

        I highly recommend reading the Ultimate Question 2.0 by Fred Reichheld

  • Robin Claire

    Definitely will be following along on this. I agree with other posts that the single answer may not yield the information that you wish to unpack. A second or follow-up question asking for the why behind the answer will be useful.

  • RonaLynn

    I think asking to be rated is a great idea and more likely to get a response than asking for feedback or asking what are their burning questions/problems. However, still need to know the why for their rating to make changes. Might be an idea to put the rating scale at the bottom of each post. That way you know what exactly they like. Think I might try this 🙂

    • Emile Emiabata

      Bryan, thinking that best way to to ensure engagement on a weekly or higher frequency basis regarding survey feedback is to reward respondents/ data contributors with points which count as discounts towards e.g 10k Subs or other items from your product/service ecosystem.

  • Greg Leischner

    Great stuff Bryan! Will be following this process closely. Thanks for sharing this with us

  • Michael Katzmann

    I have read the book about the NPS and the studies are valid. I also believe that building a tribe is crucial in our times and that a tool like that will further narrow down the “true costumer” you want to serve. Love that article and I am already looking forward for the next one 😀

  • Alex Vlasceanu

    I get an email from ActiveCampaign (my email provider, which is awesome) every 3 months with one question: How likely are you to recommend ActiveCampaign to a friend or colleague?
    I can choose an answer between 0 and 10. I always choose 10, I actually recommend them all the time when somebody asks about a pro email provider.
    Then, after I click the score, it sends me to a landing page where it shows what I chose (it can be changed) and asks: What is the most important reason for your score?
    There’s a mandatory text box there and a submit button. So it can be as simple as that.

    It’s the 3rd time I get this kind of email from them and I was thinking “I already scored them 10 two times, why do they keep asking me to do it again and again? I don’t want to do it again.”
    Then I remembered your article and only went through it to tell you hoe they set it up. But if you ask too many times it’s annoying. I won’t reply next time they send it to me. I guess I didn’t think of the possibility that you want to measure the evolution of my scoring, I only thought you wanted it once.

    Not sure why, but hey, maybe more people think like this. Wanted to let you know, maybe it helps somehow with your project. Curious to see the results.

  • Sun Shak

    “would you recommend videofruit to a friend” sounds like a bad question. I feel like…most people will say yes or just x out.. Quickbooks asks me this question once a month when I log in to my account and I always click 10. I mean it.. but now it’s just like… i want to be consistent haha..

    I think a better approach might be a 2 part question…and instead of doing it in the email, maybe do it in the website itself…

    Q1) Have you shared any videofruit resources (blog posts, videos, minicourses) with a friend yet?
    -> yes. What topic did you share? (facebook ads, build email list, launch product, etc. – this would be a short list of your most popular posts)
    -> no. why not? Open ended response.

  • why do they keep asking me to do it again and again? I don’t want to do it again.

  • Will Chou

    Results on this?