The Figment of Numbers

Marketers love numbers – especially vanity numbers. So easy to manipulate. So easy to report. “We added 50 new followers on social last week”. “Our database has 200,000 people”. I’ve even seen some companies publicly congratulate themselves on the nth like to their page. There’s just one problem, these numbers aren’t real.

I’m not talking about fake likes and bots, as that is a whole different issue to deal with. I mean actual people who just don’t do anything. The majority of your database or social media followers won’t interact with you and they may not even know who you are. They entered your system because of some giveaway, or because they accidentally clicked on an ad, or they saw one of their friends like one of your posts, or you scanned their badge at a conference. All of this is great for the monthly report out but to paraphrase Matt Heinz, “you can’t buy a beer with a like”.

Let’s look at the math of a database of 100,000 people. Typical email blast open rates are between 20-30% and click to open rates are another 20-30%. Figuring on the high sides, your actual audience is 9,000 people and that is just to get a click.

I currently have 1,066 connections on LinkedIn but that’s a bullshit number. I have maybe 50 people that I interact with on a monthly basis. The majority of the people I am connected to probably have no idea who I am and I certainly couldn’t reach out to them if I needed something.

These numbers are distractions. Don’t let the counts fool you. You aren’t marketing to 100,000 people, you’re marketing to 9,000. Make it count.

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