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How many genuine relationships can we manage at once?
Enter Dunbar’s Number – a theory that suggests a cognitive limit to the number of individuals with whom we can maintain stable relationships.
According to British anthropologist Robin Dunbar…
For us humans, the “magic number” is 150.
This is not just trivia, it’s a critical insight for business owners and marketers.
It explains why trying to market to “everyone” often results in reaching “no one.”
When building your marketing strategy, Dunbar’s Number should be top of mind.
How does it translate to lead generation and winning new clients?
Let’s break it down.
Quality Over Quantity:
Instead of focusing on having a massive LinkedIn network or email list with low relevance to your business, focus on a more targeted list of ideal prospects.
I call this the Dream 1000.
Identify one thousand ‘ideal future clients’ who fit your sweet spot, and invite them to connect.
Uncover your 150 Disciples:
The word disciple means ‘to be devoted’. From your Dream 1000, your aim here is to find the 150 people who are devoted to the outcome you can help them achieve.
They aren’t devoted to you.
You are merely guiding them to the outcome they are devoted to.
Dream Dozen Clients:
When you serve your 150 Disciples, they will grow to know, like and trust you.
At some point in their journey a portion of them will realise they are ready for extra hand-holding and are willing to pay for it. You will be the obvious choice since you’ve guided them to this point.
Your next 12 clients will come from your 150 Disciples.
When you look at the numbers like this, marketing no longer seems daunting.
Relationships aren’t just a buzzword, they are a necessity.
People crave a personal connection. Craft your messages and treat your connections as individuals, not numbers.
Remember, your goal is not to be everything to everyone. It’s to be something extraordinary to a select few.
Keep Dunbar’s Number in mind with your marketing!
If you found this useful, please feel free to share and leave me your thoughts.
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1. Web Strategy Planning Template (PDF). Our flagship 1-page tool we co-created with David Meerman Scott. It’s been downloaded over 1 million times and featured on Forbes.
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