Sometimes I get the vibe from those with giant followings that we shouldn’t care about numbers when we’re starting. There is a part of the digital marketing world that is all about the numbers, and then there is the part that's all about the message. Why does it have to be one or the other? I’m a little tired of hearing “numbers don’t matter” from the message camp. It’s usually followed by “just be authentic” and “give generously” and some other key phrases these days. If you’re trying to build your brand, I’m sure you follow at least a few people who have amassed huge fanbases, and who say those things.
First, they’re not wrong.
Hear me say that they’re not wrong. Yes, people matter more than numbers. Yes, authenticity is vital in today’s social culture. Yes, we should be willing to give away our message to help others. But I feel as though those at the top seem to have forgotten what it’s like at the bottom. When you’re trying to get to your 100th facebook fan or your 1000th twitter follower, trying to establish social credibility and that you have a service worth buying, a blog worth reading or a book worth downloading, numbers matter!
For those just starting, those at the bottom, hear me out:
Sometimes it feels like everyone in an industry is doing the same things, but chances are it’s because those things work! Those things help people, solve problems, and yes, grow businesses. Copy the masters because, duh, they know what they’re doing. If Michael Hyatt says we should have pop-ups to build our email lists, even if everyone has a pop up and you hate pop ups, for the love of Pete, get yourself a popup.
Give so That People Will Buy From You!
Know that part of giving things away over and over online is in hopes that some of those people will buy from you. Giving tons of free content away on a blog, webinar, or email list is a great marketing tactic! It builds trust and credibility and authority for your brand. Yes, we genuinely want to help others, which that free content will do, but we also want to sell. Unless you're just blogging for fun or want twitter follower for the heck of it, we have to sell.
In my most recent Insiders Email, I shared how to Start a Momentum Snowball from nothing. I had ZERO emails on my subscribers list when I launched my pre-book videos on May 7th. I had I think 68 Facebook fans. I hadn’t even told a lot of my friends and family that I’d been working on my first book! A few weeks ago my book became an Amazon Bestseller. I have guest posted on sites WAY bigger than mine, got a personal email from Barbara Corcoran and I am now a contributor for Entrepreneur.com.
So I went from zilch to Entrepreneur.com contributor in about 5 months. I think to some of you out there, reading that is like the first time sweet manna fell from the glories of heaven.
I am here to today to tell you, the lowly, 68-facebook-fans-beginner, two things:
One: it can be done.
It’s not free and it’s not simple. I work my tail off and I worked really hard on my book. I spend a lot of time writing. I spend a lot of time emailing prospects and researching how to do things. I spend a lot of time reading rejections. I bought ads. I bought some coaching. I paid for some promotional materials. I bought online courses. I also had about 2000 people in my social network. Some of them considered me friend enough to help support my book and my new business. I have been building a brand for myself in Oklahoma City for ten years so I had some social clout before launching the new direction of my brand. A lot of those strategies on personal branding I cover in my book, by the way. 😉 But I am not a former CEO, a NYT Bestseller, or the author of many books. I haven’t made six figures in a year yet. I still don’t even have 1500 twitter followers! But building momentum for yourself and an email list and a tribe from basically zero can. be. done.
Two: It’s okay for numbers to matter to you.
I just want to lay it all out in the open today that a lot of us are obsessed with numbers. We compulsively watch our list grow, check our number of retweets, analyze page visits, and see how many likes our photo received. Can we all just raise our hands and admit it? If this were on Facebook I’d say like this post if you agree! And then obsessively check the number of likes.
This doesn’t mean we don’t love the people or care about the message. Don’t feel like a sleazeball because you’re obsessive about your numbers. Successful people are obsessive about the growth of their business in terms of dollars, right? Very concerned with how well a product or service performs, right? If a personal platform is part of your business model, you actually need stare at numbers. If you ignore numbers completely, you're less likely to be successful. If you don't have growing numbers, if you're not watching to see what works and what doesn't, your brand will fizzle. Your message will not be heard. That serves no one!
How to Keep from Becoming a Creep.
Obviously, we have to check ourselves before we wreck ourselves. If all we care about is numbers, people can feel that and will be repelled by your site/tweets/blogposts. I regularly do gutchecks and pray about this. I believe that my success so far is thanks to gifts God gave me and thanks to His blessing on the work I feel He wants me to do. We need to sit and think about who we are writing to, and for, before we create content. We need to take time to think through the thank yous and the personal messages from people who have benefited from our work. That’s the whole point! And the bigger the numbers, the more individuals we can potentially reach.