A whole lotta honesty comin' your way...
Alexis Grant
Hi fellow Schemers and Leapers!

~ What you're about to read is exclusive content you won't see anywhere else, not even on my blog. That's how much this newsletter community means to me! ~

Pop quiz!

Would you rather have an email list of...

Option A: 10,000 subscribers and a 10% open rate


Option B: 2,000 subscribers and a 38% open rate (which happens to be this newsletter's current stats)

If you do the math, you'll see Option A, even with its significantly lower open rate, still has more actual readers (1,000) than Option B (760). And yet even then, if I had to make a choice, I'd go with Option B.

Why? Because while high n
umbers might look good, engagement is what truly drives results.

There's a reason why people and companies who are building a brand online are obsessed with open rates. Because open rates reflect your level of reader engagement. And when you have readers who are engaged, you've got strong brand loyalty, a quality (and growing) reputation, and, if you've found a way to monetize, money coming in the door.

Don't fall into this trap

Another social media consultant emailed me recently, asking me why I didn't practice what I preach. If I'm teaching others how to grow communities online, why aren't my numbers impressive? he asked.

I wanted to shout at him, LOOK AT MY OPEN RATE! Or suggest he check out my followers-to-following ratio on Twitter, what I refer to in my Twitter Power course as the Power Ratio. (He had a high number of followers but his ratio was decidedly NOT powerful.) Or ask him how many of his readers bought one ebook -- and then came back for another and another. But I gave him a pass, partly because I realized he was probably looking at my new Facebook page (which could seriously use your love) and partly because, despite his knowledge, the poor soul had fallen prey to the NUMBERS TRAP.

How do numbers fool us?

We're all impressed by numbers. 50,000 Facebook fans? Holy cow. 7,000 Twitter followers? I wish I had that many! 15,000 newsletter subscribers? That person has really made it in the world.

But here's what matters FAR more than sheer numbers: engagement. You're much better off growing your channels organically and gaining quality followers than paying for ads that bring in half-committed fans. You're better off creating awesome content that keeps people coming back again and again than offering a one-time giveaway that entices people to window-shop but never enter your store. You're much better off growing slowly and cultivating the right readership than inflating your list with so-called readers who will never open your emails.

Big numbers might look pretty, but unless there's an engaged person behind each digit, they won't help you reach your goals. With all the focus we put on ROI in social media, numbers are only part of the picture, a means to an end rather than the end itself.

So no matter where you are with growing your online community, don't fall into the Numbers Trap.

Focus on QUALITY content, and you'll earn quality followers.

Offer real value, and you'll get value in return. (Click to tweet this.)

New with the blog & biz

  • Anyone who uses Rapportive (and you should!) will want to know about this new feature. The post also gives a behind-the-scenes look at one of the ways I'm growing product sales for my business.
  • If you're in the DC area, I'm speaking this Wednesday about the new world of work at the Career Success Fair put on by Social Media DC and The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs. Come by and say hi!
Until next time,


P.S. Watch your inbox tomorrow for a special deal on my Twitter Power User course, which begins again May 13.

P.P.S. Don't miss yet another wicked list from Sophie Lizard: 52 Totally Free Resources for Freelance Bloggers.

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