When to value numbers and when to ignore them

I’ve been reading this great book on how to turn your passion into a successful business. Sorry, the book doesn’t contain any quick get rich schemes but it does give some very sound advice.

One that particularly stuck out in my mind was “Pay attention to the numbers, but don’t become consumed with chasing them.”

What numbers am I talking about?

Whether you’re advertising online or not, you should be monitoring to see how well your different marketing strategies are working. How many new customers contact you because they saw your ad at the bus stop? How about that ad you placed in the free daily newspaper?

If you’re advertising through social media, the numbers are easy to see. How many people follow your Twitter account, how many contacts do you have on Linkedin and how many people read your blog. But you have to take this a step further and analyze those numbers.

Don’t waste your time trying to artificially grow your audience.

There are all sorts of programs out there to magically increase the number of people on your friend or contact list. Sure it looks pretty, but is it really useful. Are these real people? Can you interact with them and most importantly, are they reading your tweets or blog and are they contacting you to buy your product or services. If they’re not, what is the point of having them.

In this book, Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk, he tells us that yes, numbers are important but they are not the answer in themselves. He says, and I fully agree, that it’s better to have 10 followers who interact with you and are genuinely interested in what you have to say/sell that 1000 who don’t read your tweets or blog and have no idea what your business is about.

Don’t go for the quick numbers. Look at where the numbers are coming from and how they convert to sales. Build your business slowly and with care.

How I do it

I follow people who are interested in the same topics I am. I look for folks who have something relevant to say and look at the people who are following them. If they like what I have to say, they’ll follow me back.

I join groups, fan pages and comment on blogs to become a recognized part of the community. The key in interaction – if I don’t communicate back to the people who communicate with me I’ll lose their interest.

Like most things quality means more than quantity

I know this sounds boring, but this slow and steady stuff is paying off big time. I’m doing a radio interview with CBC tomorrow morning and have been invited to submit proposals for teaching seminars about Internet Marketing.

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