Confession of a (former) numbers addict
My inbox and social media feeds are flooded with teasing subject lines: "10 proven tips, 5 things you must do or 3.5 ways to". I often wonder why they keep coming but I frequently find myself thinking "seriously, can't you come up with something more creative?". I know, these subject lines are based on scientific research proving that humans experience uncontrolled salivation whenever someone reveals a secret formula especially when it is also free. The real reason we are click-happy, (in my unproven, uncalibrated and unscientific opinion), is that these lists appeal to our lazy genome. That's right -- give me a quick-fix (or 5 easy steps) to solve any problems and I'm all-in. So, up until recently, I too was a willing test-subject and opened way too many (mostly useless, regurgitated and plagiarized lists) but no more. As the kids say "I am so done with this".
OK, in my defense, my profession sort of requires me to open those emails - maybe I can learn something or adopt a really good idea. It rarely happened.
Interestingly, none of the leaders I follow and admire (like Seth Godin) ever published a "list". Why? Because nothing in marketing is as simple as 1-2-3 - nothing! You have to do the work, test a few ideas, measure, modify and test again. Yes, it's hard work and not meant for thrill-seeking (and lazy) list chasers.
So, does that mean numbers do not matter? Absolutely not. Here are some numbers we must focus on and please pardon the list format (wink):
- How many customers do we have?
- How often do they buy?
- How long do they stay active?
- How many have we lost and why?
- How many prospective customers do we have in our database?
- What is our conversion (prospect to customer) rate?
- What's our profit margin?
- How can we improve our profits?
You get the idea. So log-off email and go measure something that matters.