True Online Success Is Like HD TVOne of the most common discussions we have with our clients is around the idea of “success”. We often ask clients how they have been classifying online success, because it’s become a bit of a flexible term. Some clients look solely at web traffic or simply keep an eye on their Twitter follower count. If you develop an online presence for personal amusement or to because you felt it was a ‘minimum requirement’ then these measures may well fit the bill. Success can be a very personal idea.
What’s Success To You?
For us, success always means the same thing, business growth. When we engage a client, that’s our goal. Without putting too fine a point on it, if you’re in business online, you should be looking to create growth. You’re in business to sell products, provide services and build a successful enterprise. Your website traffic or Twitter following will contribute to that, but it’s ultimately down to the leads you generate and the sales you make.
That conversation is not always as easy as you would imagine. Many business owners see rival websites, or Twitter followings and spot ‘cool’ features they want to include on their own online presence. Or they see a rival getting more retweets or blog comments and they want to find out how to drive that figure up. Creating a flashy website or building a strong social following is great, but you need to assess the actual value of these factors.
The HD TV Problem
The discussions often remind me of a conversation I once had with a friend about HD television. Before HD channels and TVs became reasonably common, the only place to watch HD video was in electronics stores. My friend reported back after watching Batman Begins on one such HD demo and he was bitterly disappointed.
“It looks awful, like a soap opera.” Was the thrust of his complaint. He’s a big Batman fan so this was a particularly bitter blow. I held a contradictory view. I could certainly see the “soap opera” look that he was talking about. The picture was just too “perfect”. Film has a certain look and HD Batman Begins didn’t feel like it. My argument, however, was that it wasn’t the HD picture that was at fault. It was our eyes.
We had grown up watching grainy analogue TV and Film footage. We were used to the look of a ‘movie’ and how it differed from ‘TV’. Digital HD technology has since separated these two. But our eyes still expect movies to look like ‘movies’. The extras detail available through HD seemed wrong to our eyes. Like rockers who think Led Zepplin sound ‘better’ on Vinyl, our eyes had never adapted to HD.
Can You Trust Your Eyes?
The point, I argued was that our eyes’ interpretation of what we were seeing prevented us from understanding the undeniable benefits of HD TV. Greater detail and a sharper image make for far more impressive, dazzling visuals and offer filmmakers extra scope to tell their stories. The more we can see, the more they can tell us in a single image.
With business’ discussing their online presence, it’s easy for your eyes’ interpretation of what looks ‘cool’ or what seems to be the right target. To the untrained eye, more traffic and more followers appear to be the big targets. But when you look at the facts, it’s possible to get the wrong kind of traffic. Having 10,000 Twitter followers may look great, but if that group only includes 500 potential customers then it doesn’t offer much value. Certainly not the same value as a list of 1,000 followers consisting entirely of qualified prospects.
Like HD TV, success often comes down to perception. But for businesses, the need to generate growth is an undeniable fact. Which means you need to focus on the metrics that matter, rather than getting distracted by the figures that look good in your eyes.
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