When I had an email list, I purged thousands of subscribers. I block dozens of Medium followers on the daily. [Insert image of Fred Sanford clutching his heart, primed for the big one.] Why not savor inflated fan counts, spam followers, and professional vampires? Aside from the many accounts that steal and profit off my work on a regular basis or those who connect strategically on LinkedIn to get closer to the cooler kids, I don’t care about more.
Vanity metrics coddle your ego and give you an inflated sense of importance.
Personal finance advisor, Ramit Sethi shared a story about a site contacting him to showcase his work. They strutted out their 400,000 subscribers to show they meant business. He notes,
“And they were gonna send it on a Friday morning. I still remember it was Friday morning at 11am. So I’m sitting there really excited, watching my stats, clicking refresh. And at 11:01, 11:04, 11:20, I don’t see any difference and so I sent them an email, “Hey did it go out?” and they said, “Yeah the email went out, it’s all been sent out by like 11:04.”
I knew this email was good. I knew that the CTA (the call to action) was strong because I had already seen the data on my own list. Guess how many people came to my
site and opted-in after 400,000 emails went out? Any guesses? 15 people.
They had a list of 400,000 people. We sent a really good email to them and only 15 people opted-in.”
Welcome to the quantity over quality game. We have candy here. The cult of more tells us if we have more fans, followers, subscribers, visitors, we will be successful. But I’m here to call bullshit on this trope down to the bone. I’ve worked on influencer marketing campaigns where creators with seven-figure follower counts converted three-figures in sales. Back in the day, people promised my work exposure and then I got crickets.
More doesn’t mean you’re smarter, cuter, or more successful than the kid down the block — it simply means you’re a savvy marketer.
Focus on getting really good at doing the thing. Create your blue ocean and swim laps in it. Blind the streets with your shine. Flee the sea-of-same cast of characters who churn out derivative work, clinging desperately to a formula without adding value to the people they serve. Without creating something that has meaning.
I don’t want or need thousands of followers. I don’t need to tout how many people have read my work. Give me devoted readers who read to the end and a steady stream of clients who vibe with my work.
You don’t need a six-figure follower count to have a six figure business.