Today’s post is about relationships.

Possibly romantic ones if you’re a serial Tinderella, but not just romantic ones, either.

It’s about all the relationships we establish in our lives: friendships, family, in-person, or via the internet. (Because yes, goshdarnit, you CAN make friends on the internet.) And beyond that, we’re talking about the special, delicate balance you create in establishing a friendship—and yes, a relationship—with all the “faceless” people on your email list.

Because why the heck do we bother establishing these relationships in the first place?

As business owners, we work really hard to establish rapport with people.

And if we’re totally honest with ourselves, we do it because we feel like “they” are out to get us.

“They”—as in the “they” that never trust us, the “they” that are always suspicious of anyone trying to sell anything, and the “they” who’ve been so unfairly duped by scummy business people in the past.

We want “them” to trust us. We want “them” to see us for who we really are. We want “them” to get it that we’re one of “them” too.

So we provide value on our website to establish rapport. Then we send email after email and provide continued value to build up trust.

We tell embarrassing stories about ourselves to make sure we keep the our realness factor in check.

And when there’s enough trust there and we feel comfortable with it, we might try to sell something.

And I’m not going to diss you for trying to sell anything—because that’s the entire point of being in business and trying to create a life that isn’t shackled to someone else’s rules.

But when you work so hard to establish rapport with someone—when you break down the wall they’ve so strongly built around everything “internet”—they rely on you.

The trust you because you showed them that you care about them.

Not as someone who might be worth $497 one day soon, but as a person.

Which is why it can hurt so badly when you’re on the other side of the equation and realize that the person you’ve decided to whole-heartedly trust starts flippantly referring to you as numbers and potential lifetime value.

Let me tell you a story to show you what I mean.

I was recently interviewed to see if I could be a good fit for an upcoming conference in online marketing.

The person who was asking me to do it was a trusted individual in my network, and while I knew his was bit more of a numbers-focused marketing aficionado, I was blown away by our initial interview… and not in a good way.

Our brief little interview revolved around my views and strategies related to copywriting, content marketing, and email… which I don’t think is surprising to any of you.

But when he started asking me questions like:

  • How many opens does it take for someone on my list to become a customer?
  • How large are my email lists?
  • What are my open rates?
  • What’s the average monetary value of every email I send out in relation to the bottom line of my business?

I had no freaking clue how to respond.

Yes, these are all metrics I could uncover and have access to if I wanted them, but honestly, I don’t give a shit.

I’m booked solid, I can never take on all the potential clients who come to me, I make a lot of money, and I still have the time to write blog posts and make videos that contribute to the greater good of copywriting.

I mean, yes, I’d start noticing if there was a problem and none of you were opening my emails, but I checked my data after that conversation, and one of my lists has a 50% open rate… and since the averages I’ve seen elsewhere max out at 30%, I’d say I’m doing something really fucking right.

And I completely believe that not putting so much pressure on myself to make sure you guys *buy, buy, buy* so I can brag about my numbers and just plainly teaching what’s on my heart and mind for the industry of copywriting at the moment is what makes that super high open rate happen.

But no, I’ve got no fucking clue how much money you’re worth to me as a subscriber.

And honestly, I don’t care.

Because I told the guy interviewing me that I don’t teach a number-in & numbers-out marketing strategy, nor do I believe it’s a basis for good business. 

*Cue all the suits and ties throwing up their hands in frustration.*

The very essence of what I teach is relationships with people and their emotions… and once you have that down, everything else falls into place.

Case in point: my open rates.

Sure, numbers are fine. But numbers aren’t gods.

No, I’m not dissing numbers.

do double as a marketing consultant, so I do “get it” that studying your numbers is one of the best ways to figure out what works when you’re trying to grow your business. And yes, I always advise this strategy.

But can we stop making numbers our god? PLEASE?!?

Can we go back to just *caring* about each other and advancing the causes we whole-heartedly believe in?

Because being in business (especially as a service professional) is NOT about manipulating readers and their brains to do what we want so we can make money off them and then forget about them. It’s about the true honor of existence that exists on a human-to-human basis and respecting that.

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