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Counting What Counts

countingHere’s one of the most important lessons when it comes to learning how to advertise your business: clicks and views aren’t the point.

The obvious exception: media companies. If the content is the product, then yes, views and clicks are important, although even for professional Youtubers, a subscriber, a like, a share is more rewarding than a view. Even on Youtube, the views aren’t the point. In marketing content, if you generate a few thousand pageviews and only two sales, then you’re wasting a whole lot of money creating content that’s tempting to click on, but not very persuasive in getting the prospect to the point where they will follow through on the call to action.

To put it simply: clicks and views are important only as an opportunity to generate what really matters. For a small business, it’s easy to contrast sales against clicks and use that data to adjust your content. For a non-profit activist, what really matters can be difficult to measure, but you can generally assume that you’ve made an impact on some level if your readers are clicking “share” on your content.

Let’s talk about long-term advertising: establishing a brand is as much about making noise in your field as it is transforming your market into one which welcomes you. You might have a flash-in-the-pan success with content that goes viral and sells a few units, but if you’re in this for the long haul, then that’s not really enough to keep you in the game well into the future.

Shares, clicks, likes, subscribers, they all help, but they’re not what really counts. What really counts is who you’re affecting, how you’re affecting them, and how the effect that you’re having on your customers is changing your industry. Whether you’re selling coffee mugs, office furniture or computer software, the surest way to make sure that your presence is felt and that your buyers won’t jump ship the minute somebody starts offering a similar product for less is to consciously and purposefully change the culture of your niche in such a way that it would feel empty without you.

How can we measure this?

Sometimes, it’s the thanks we get from our customers, it’s stories of people driving a hundred miles out of their way to visit your restaurant or attend your book signing. Ultimately, what marketing is about is not getting the word out, it’s about changing the world, or at least one small part of it.

Writer Bio: Gilbert S is a writer and artist who lives in rural New Mexico with his dog, Sir Kay, and his wife.

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