Measurements matter. Especially online. The internet has given us the power to track and measure all sorts of things, and it is easy to get caught up in the numbers. The problem with focusing on the numbers is that you may be measuring the wrong things.
Touch 100 people who Matter vs. 1,000,000 who don’t
Focus on reaching out to the people who really matter versus treating the internet like a numbers game. With traditional media you had no choice. With the internet you do.
Aim for the lowest part of the funnel – those who are most interested in you – and gain 100% conversion (for your product, your ideas, interactions, etc). The conversion goal for marketers in the digital space should be 100% of a well defined target vs. .002% of a poorly defined target.
Spammers play a numbers game. They send a viagra message to millions of people and even if only a very small % click through, they’ll make some $$.
In social media you have to focus on the bottom of the funnel. Most social media is permission based – people actually have to invite you into their network and allow you to market at them. If you focus on friend requesting or following people at the top of the funnel you’ll be considered a spammer. If you focus on the bottom of the funnel (people who are already talking about you), you’ll build relationships.
1 Loyal Fan is worth More than 1,000 People who Don’t Really Care
I would prefer to spend my energy and marketing dollars building a community of enthusiastic advocates than having thousands of people see my content but not really care.
You can see evidence of this on Twitter and LinkedIn right now. People are collecting followers and friends at a quick rate, and there appears to be a belief that more is better – it’s a status symbol. Numbers don’t matter, engagement does.
A loyal fan will defend you in public, they’ll support your cause, they’ll talk about you, they’ll tell other people how great you are. This is worth FAR more than having a million people briefly exposed to your ideas. Word of mouth or “recommendations from a friend” is the most trusted source of product information. Focus on building an audience that will promote you vs. a large passive audience.
Inspire word of mouth online by connecting deeply with a few people vs. trying to build a large following that might not really care.
I would rather have 50 people on my facebook fanpage who really are fans than 5,000 people who aren’t active or interested. Fans build brands and drive sales over time.
Just because you Can doesn’t mean you Should
Sure, we can measure clicks online. We can measure traffic, # of twitter followers, # of fans and all sorts of things. The problem with these metrics is that they don’t get to the heart of what matters. What matters is that you are connecting with people and that they are more likely to take some action than if they were not exposed to your message. Measure what matters and don’t just focus on google analytics or followers.
The problem is two-fold. First, numbers are easy to measure and track. What really matters (engagement, driving word of mouth, etc) can be more difficult to measure. That being said it can be done. Tracking general online buzz (with tools like radian6) or monitoring sentiment of online mentions will give you some insight into your effectiveness.
The Second problem is that brand building and community building have longer pay-off periods. You don’t see an immediate impact; it takes time for the messages to travel and to build advocates. Clicks happen immediately, engagement doesn’t.
The Challenge: Selling this Thinking to Your Boss
People like measures and numbers, and measuring base actions is easy – we like success measures based on # of clicks, # of followers, traffic, etc. We like big numbers. Bigger equals success. Changing this thinking is difficult.
So, how do you encourage your boss to think differently?
- Share your personal experience. For example, on my blog 70% of the people who leave comments are people that I know (maybe not in person, but I know who they are). They are engaged because they know me. These people re-tweet my stuff, link to me in blog posts and #followfriday recommend me. I’d take one of them over 1,000 people who scan my post any day.
- Data Supports This. Consumers trust their friends and not branded messages. Inspire your fans to recommend you and talk about you.
- Results will Speak for Themselves – Give it a shot. At ad:tech, panels reported a higher number of overall conversions by targeting the right group and getting a higher conversion rate. Plus it often costs less.
“There is a common misconception that more is better” said Mike Becker, Executive VP of Business Development at iLoop. He pointed to a campaign run by Hipcricket, who ran a case study for daisy maids. They sponsored a contest where consumers were entered to win a prize – 700 people opted in to the contest and of those they converted 540 to customers. It isn’t quantity it is quality. Getting a better response rate from a smaller audience can be far more valuable.