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It’s Time to Break Up With Your Vanity Metrics

A particularly wise friend once said to me, “Every relationship you have with anyone, whether they’re romantic or friends, is a daily choice to stay in that relationship,” and that’s especially true when it comes to breaking up with your vanity metrics. I’ll be going more in depth around vanity metrics in the final post in our relationship series: Break up with your vanity metrics!

If you missed the first two posts in this series, check out 4 Email Marketing Lessons I Learned from Personal Relationships and Why Don’t Your Email Subscribers Love You?

Alright, let’s chat about what vanity metrics are as they relate to your email sending and your database. The main vanity metric that I’m referring to is the number of prospects in your database. This is an easily manipulated number that has no real correlation to the numbers that you actually should be caring about: clicks, active users, and overall engagement with your site. That overall engagement can be more easily tied to revenue, which I think we can all agree is a significantly more legitimate measure of how well your marketing is truly performing.

Let’s relate that to friendships. I’m sure, growing up, you had a ton of friends. You kind of had to, you were stuck in a room with all of your peers for eight hours a day, for five days a week. As time wore on, you moved schools, they moved schools, and you drifted apart. Maybe you kept a close friend or two that really stayed by your side, but ultimately you gave up on the people that weren’t worth keeping a friendship up with. Those people who stayed friends with you are the ones you’ve been able to focus all your efforts on, and you’ve had a deeper, richer friendship because of it. You’ve got your crew, the small group of people you can call up in any situation, whether it’s an emergency or just wanting someone to come with you to some event.

Now, on the flip side, let’s say you kept up friendships with all of those people. Everyone you’ve ever taken a class with, you keep texting in the hope they’ll text back. There’s no way you had the time to really build close relationships with the few people who did text back, since you were always SO BUSY with trying so hard to stay in touch with absolutely everyone. Sure, you might have had a ton of acquaintances, but you never really had a best friend, and there wasn’t much of a close relationship with anyone due to your lack of time. You were wasting all of your efforts trying to have a big group of acquaintances versus spending your energy on creating beautiful relationships with people you truly cared about and who cared about you.

What’s better, having 1000 acquaintances that you can’t seem to get in touch with and don’t seem to care much about you, or having 10 extremely close, responsive friends? Of course, you’re going to want a smaller, close network of friends. There’s a reason we don’t stay in touch with everyone we’ve ever met or taken a class with, and that’s simply because it’s not worth expending that much effort for people who may just not be compatible with you.

So, what’s the deal with keeping such a huge database of inactive, uncaring prospects? Sure, it’s nice to look at a gigantic list of 100,000 people and think ‘Man, I’m doing an awesome job. I have so many people who are interested in our product!’ Realistically, the numbers and the lack of interaction tell another story entirely. Why are we clinging to that faint hope that the person who opted in two years ago and hasn’t clicked an email since opting in just might be interested again after email #306? Maybe… maybe email #307 will make them love you again. Spoiler alert: this isn’t a Nicholas Sparks movie, that prospect just isn’t interested anymore. You’ve drifted apart, and that is perfectly okay.

It’s okay to let go of the prospects that clearly just aren’t interested in keeping up a relationship. That way, you can really focus your marketing efforts on those engaged prospects that are actively interested in your email. You have that small group of people who honestly care about receiving your email and would miss you if you suddenly stopped reaching out. Why not focus your effort toward those people that do care about you, rather than exhausting yourself by constantly reaching out and hoping people will be interested again?

Sometimes, we drift apart, both in friendships and with our prospects. It’s okay to acknowledge that relationship is over, and let it go. It’s important to break up with your vanity metrics and focus on the prospects that matter to your business and your overall revenue.

That wraps it up for the Relationship series! Please feel free to keep the conversation going over at Twitter, @holobachgirl.