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The Small Army Strategy, written by Srinivas Rao is the second book on our 10 must read startup and entrepreneur books to read in 10 weeks.

Srini is the host and co-founder of BlogcastFM. His podcasts interviews of bestselling authors, bloggers and successful entrepreneurs are receive more than 80,000 downloads per month. So when Srini talks about building an engaged and loyal audience he is talking from firsthand experience. He has interviewed over 400 bloggers and entrepreneurs including Chris Guillebeau author of The $100 Startup, Danielle Laporte author of The Fire Starter Sessions, Mike Stelzner founder of Social Media Examiner, and many more.

In The Small Army Strategy, Srini talks about being yourself and what is involved in building an army of loyal followers. But it is not a book about how to get more traffic or how to increase the numbers of email subscribers you have. These Srini sees as a byproduct but not the goal. The goal is to treasure and nurture the attention your readers give you.

You can purchase your Kindle version of The Small Army Strategy for $2.99

So here are our 7 takeaways

Originality – Be original and be yourself. Don’t follow the herd if you want to be outstanding. There is no such thing as best practice, there is only what works for you, so don’t be afraid to experiment and try something new.
Intimacy rating – Srini rates Twitter, Blog Comments, Email, Facebook according to their intimacy when connecting to people. For example Twitter is good for saying hello to lots of people whereas email offers a 1 on 1 conversation. Don’t discount the power of receiving a hand written note or gift through the post. This can have a big impact and be a memorable experience.
Emerging talent – Don’t necessarily try to get your name out there by focusing on the well known sites or bloggers. Spend more time on connecting with new emerging blogs and communities. New bloggers are more likely to interact and to be looking to connect with new people.
Metrics that matter + don’t matter – Srini refers to site traffic, the number of shares, and the number of comments as vanity metrics. Just because something is popular doesn’t mean that the audience actually cares and doesn’t mean it is valuable to your business. A smaller engaged audience can be more valuable. The 3 metrics that do matter are: email subscribers, conversion rates, open rates, and the most important revenue. There is not one person who is successfully making money online who won’t tell you that an email list is not important. Focus on this group of readers. An email list of 500 people that open and read the email is better than a list of 5000 people who ignore your emails.
Characteristics of a tribe – a tribe grows over time and is a combination of great content, relationships, and building trust. A tribe keeps coming back and will recommend you to others. I like the simple test to see if you have a tribe. You know you have a tribe when you go on holiday for a week and they notice you are gone!
Manifesto – A large body of work that is well designed is more likely to result in significant impact and a stronger emotional response than a few Facebook updates or single blog post. Publish content within a theme. See Chris Guillebeau’s manifesto for world domination that has been downloaded more than 100,000 times for inspiration.
Treat a small audience as VIPs – nurturing a small audience is crucial to converting a small audience into a small army. Genuine personal touch helps build conversations. Try contacting readers individually, e.g. personal emails to each new email subscriber.

The Small Army Strategy is a great source of inspiration for bloggers and online entrepreneurs who want to build a strong audience or tribe. It is not the usual how to do x,y,z with SEO, Twitter or Facebook. Srini draws you away from worrying about traffic and number of people that have shared your post and instead focuses on the key things that matter such as being yourself and on the actions that what will help you build your tribe. The Small Army Strategy is recommended as its an easy productive lunchtime read for anyone that wants practical, actionable and real advice with building a loyal fan base. Plus it’s a bargain at $2.99.

If you’ve read The Small Army Strategy, leave us a comment telling us what your takeaway from the book was.

See the other 9 ebooks on our list of 10 must read entrepreneur and startup ebooks to read in 2013.

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About the author

Geoff Austin

I talk and write a lot. Some of it about ecommerce, selling online, startups, SEO, digital marketing.

Currently, head of analytics for an automotive business in Sydney, facilitating a culture of data-driven decisions. Delivering data-based insights and intelligence.

Chauffeur to twin daughters and a pizza chef master.