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Newsletter #936: The “Lessons from Black Milk” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Black Milk Clothing is known for their unique leggings and cult-like following of fans called Sharkies (and these girls are serious). They have dozens of fan groups on almost every continent, regular meet-ups, and even a SharkieCon — all for a small clothing shop in Australia that only sells their stuff online.

Here’s how Black Milk earns raving fans:

1. Show them how to do it
2. Bring them into the community
3. Give them recognition
4. Check it out: Black Milk Museum

1. Show them how to do it

Black Milk knows that wearing their clothes can be intimidating at first. (After all, I wouldn’t know what to match with jellyfish-patterned leggings either.) So to help out their customers, they include a how-to in each package that shows them what other girls wear with what they ordered and how they can pull it off too. In fact, this isn’t the first time we’ve written about how they make things easier on their customers.

The lesson: Just like any product, if your customers know the best way to use it, they’ll be much more likely to love it, buy it again, and tell their friends about it.

2. Bring them into the community

Black Milk’s loyal fan community can be overwhelming. To help new Sharkies get comfortable, Black Milk’s Facebook page shows them where to find a fan group close to them and how to contribute to their huge gallery on Facebook without blowing up their friends’ news feeds. These are small details that make the difference between growing their community and scaring new people away.

The lesson: Don’t expect your customers to know how to connect with other fans. Show them.

3. Give them recognition

Status and exclusive perks are great motivators for getting people to talk about your stuff. Black Milk starts tons of conversations by sending their die-hard fans stuff like logo stickers to put on their phones, shiny gold packaging on random purchases, and a custom piece of clothing with their 100th transaction. And their fans tell everyone about it.

The lesson: How are you recognizing your biggest fans and giving them something new to talk about?

4. Check it out: Black Milk Museum

When Black Milk retires a piece of clothing, (and in rare cases, brings it back) they put them in the Museum. Check out this huge gallery to immediately feel as if your wardrobe is way too boring.

Check it out: Black Milk Museum

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  1. Geoffrey Vertlieb May 9, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    I couldn’t believe that this brand had generated such a passionate and kinetic following until I saw a sample of their how-to package. Nicely done.

  2. Jim May 12, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

    I did not know this brand even if I am based in Australia. Amazing brand and awesome job they did creating cult like followers. Thanks for posting this. I learned a lesson or two.

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