This was first published to subscribers of The Weekly(ish) Note. Want to make sure you don’t miss one? Simply sign up using the form to the right…
We’re hanging out at a party and you turn to me (I’m not 100% certain why you weren’t facing me to start with but I’ll forgive your inattentiveness), and say you’re interested in getting better at running.
If I tell you I’m a really fast runner and start giving you tips, you might smile politely and half listen to what I have to say.
But if I tell you I ran an 8:15 mile at the weekend, there’s a good chance you pay more attention to my advice.
Such is the power of numbers in marketing. “Fast” is subjective, 8:15 is not. “Overwhelming turnout” is subjective “55,000 people” is not.
Or is it?
Marketing is awash with numbers that are designed to influence people. The successful “7-figure” consultants–which always makes me wonder–in what currency? (“He looks a million lire!” as the joke used to go).
Or coaches who have helped “more than 40,000 people around the world” – as they total up numbers to include attendees to conference and online tele summits.
Numbers are persuasive but they don’t tell the whole story. I’ve worked in online marketing for more than a decade and in my early years I saw a handful of ‘half the story marketing’ that didn’t sit right with me.
Half the story:
“How to build a successful 6-figure business and balance being a mum.” The whole story? Her partner’s 6-hour commute so she didn’t have to work. She’d never had a business, she just needed a hobby.
Half the story:
“Over 100 tickets already sold!” to a London event. The whole story? Less than 10 people paying full price to attend.
This isn’t going to turn into a marketing version of a Hollywood gossip site, it’s just that I see good people get disheartened by other people’s numbers when the reality is that the numbers don’t tell the whole story.
We also tend to over-estimate the importance other people’s numbers, and under-estimate the importance of our own.
You only have an email list of 300 people? That’s 300 people who saw something in you or your business that made them think – “I want to know more”.
You only made 5 sales? That’s 5 people who decided to spend money on you instead of wine (not an easy decision). And you never know the ripple effect of those sales. Some of my biggest career opportunities and best clients have come from one chance meeting, one lead magnet download, one newsletter.
As a business, numbers do matter. You want to make as many sales as you possibly can and you want as many eyeballs (of the right people) on your brand as you can get.
But the best way to increase those, is to focus on the numbers you can control:
- The number of pieces of helpful content you create (and promote)
- The number of new product or offer ideas you design (and promote)
- The number of other people in your network that you connect with (and promote)
I’ve found that the busier you get working on your own numbers, the less intimidating other people’s tends to be… and the better yours become.
What else do I have for you this week?
- Lecture #2: How to Quick Pitch Your Business (perfect for homepage copy) – 34 minute session
- Podcast #16: Never Show Clients Draft Copy and Only Offer One Round of Revisions – 20 minutes
P.P.S I run a 12 minute mile. I have no tips for you there.