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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Does Knowing The Metrics Make Us Try Harder?


Everyday many of us are trying to increase our numbers -- book sales, social media connections, number of blog hits and Website visitors. We obsess over our numbers. What are they? How can we increase them? How much should they grow? How do we compare to others?

Our self-image has become wrapped up in these numbers. I know authors who check their Amazon rankings several times a day. All of us are tethered to our devices, so consumed in checking our multitude of accounts- work and personal e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, our site, our blog, and on and on. With our fanatical consumption of tracking our digital footprint, are we any better off for it, or are we in better shape when we don't measure our progress?

The business principle for success is to measure progress and to do so often and by a number of standards. So if we look at being an author as a business, we need to know if our efforts are resulting in more of what we want to achieve -- sales, clicks, and connections. They are all related -- the more followers we have, likely the more sales. Build up one and the other follows.

Sometimes if we see our members are awfully low, we start to really examine our strategy and execution. If our numbers are on or above our target, we don’t investigate further.  But regardless of our numbers, we always should strive to improve. We should never feel content or relaxed- things can change instantly, for better or worse.

But I can’t help wonder if I should stop obsessing over my blog download numbers. I must check it at least 20 times a day! I get a high when my numbers go up and I feel a ping of fear and frustration when they lag. I have tied my life’s psyche into my numbers. I have become my numbers.

I will go the extra mile when I see my numbers are slumping, so I guess that’s a good byproduct of my constant drooling and fawning over my numbers. But do I get lazy when I see good numbers, acting under a false belief that I no longer need to prime the pump?

The key to numbers is to know their value. For instance, moving from a ranking of 378,000 on Amazon to 126,000 means little. Doubling the number of readers of your blog is a step in the right direction, but if this means 28 read it instead of 14, does that really matter? And if you have great social media stats but few sales to show for it, you have a big problem.

Numbers can drive you crazy. You can’t ignore and fail to measure -- otherwise what will drive your improvement and act as an arbiter to track success? You can’t spend all day in number-checking gymnastics -- you will lose perspective or even motivation. You need to find a happy medium.

Numbers fluctuate wildly and we will have some awesome days and some stinkers. Keep it all in perspective and take action steps that build your brand, not just statistics and numbers. Otherwise you’ll be left with a lot of nothing.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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