2% Is More Than It Seems…

When I am not involved looking for ways to help my clients improve their businesses, you can often find me behind a camera.  (If you are so inclined, my photoblog is here.)

One of the things that for some reason has stuck in my mind for years since first hearing it is a comment by a photography pundit:  “Remember, every filter you put at the end of your lens is reducing the quality of your image by – at best, 2%…”.

He was talking to the folks who spend thousands of dollars on the latest camera body and lenses, and who then purchase inexpensive “anti-haze” or polarization filters to put on the end of the barrel.  Everything coming into that camera was passing through cheap glass – in essence rendering that fancy 16 megapixel camera and lens combo into nothing better than $300 pocket cam.

What’s my point?

This has been bouncing around below the surface in my mind for close to a decade now, and in the course of a recent conversation with a client, it solidified for me:  2% adds up, it counts, look for the small things and take care of them.

Now, this is not earth shattering or new, I know.  However, how many times in the course of our daily activities does the specter of “That’s good enough…” creep into our thinking?

Ok, example time:  Let’s say you need to create and send an email blast about your latest product introduction or upcoming seminar or blog article, whatever it may be for your world.

What would it mean for your results if you took a few extra minutes to review the list of bad addresses from the last send, and made a couple phone calls to correct the addresses so that your email actually landed in their inbox?  What if you made it a goal to update just 5 before each send?  In short order, every time you blasted, all of the addresses in your list would be correct – you reached 100%.  That’s a great start!

All right, so now that we’re getting more messages into the in-boxes, what about improving the open rate?  What if you made the effort to see what subject lines were more effective?  How hard is that?  Not so hard, takes maybe like an extra 3 minute to think about it, likely much less.  So what if tweaking it a bit you found that your open rates, which has been static at around 15%, climbed to 17 or 18%?

Let’s say you have a relatively modest list of 500 recipients.  And let’s say that initially you were only getting 450 completed sends with the other 10% being bad.  If your open rate was 15%, then you were getting about 68 people who were at least casually glancing at your story.

But by cleaning up the list so that the addresses are valid (I know 100% is probably not realistic, but let’s assume that you are adding to it also, so things are going in the right direction), you are now getting delivered to 500 addresses and with your improved subject lines, you’re getting a 17% open rate.

Your story is now potentially hitting 85 pairs of eyeballs.  That’s a significant improvement for relatively easy and simple effort:  make some quick calls and get more proactive with the subject line.

Get the point?

So don’t stop there, keep at it and apply the same principles to your calls to action and click throughs…

The “little” things make for a big pie when you pay attention.

What do you think?

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