✨ the SPARK ~ 147 The new vanity metric? 🪞

the SPARK Newsletter

Have you ever seen the​ Saturday Night Live skit with Kirsten Wiig where she plays “Penelope,” the ‘one upper’?​

No matter what someone says they’ve done or accomplished, she ‘one-ups’ them (with the most random things 🤣).

We’ve all known ‘one-uppers.’

They may not be as direct as good ol’ Penelope, but somehow, the conversation always circles back to their accomplishments and accolades (which they perceive are always better than yours).

The only goal of the ‘one-upper’ is to be better than someone else.

The irony in this is that the mere act of one-upping diminishes any real value or accomplishment because it’s such a turn-off to be around.

It’s vanity metrics at its finest (before social media popularized the term).

The *new* vanity metric isn’t necessarily new (and this might be a very unpopular opinion), but it’s growing at such a rapid rate it’s time to shed some light on it.

I’m talking about referral programs.

Not necessarily the referral programs that you see at the bottom of a newsletter, but bigger programs like ConvertKit’s own ‘Creator Network.’

The vanity metric that people are chasing is list size.

List growth has always been (and always will be) a priority, but it’s not simply a numbers game.

With the massive growth of newsletters and opportunities for sponsorship, a lot of people are chasing list growth at all costs.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t participate in these programs.

I’ve enabled the Creator Network for my newsletter and am always appreciative when I get new recommendations.

However, I’m also noticing that the majority of my ‘unsubscribes’ are coming from the Creator Network.

Programs like the Creator Network are great for businesses whose primary goal is list size and sponsorship (the bigger the list, the higher the sponsorship potential).

Take a look at the massive sizes of some of the AI newsletters that came onto the scene earlier this year. Most have newsletters with 100k+ subscribers (and now they all sound the same).

Imagine this: 👇

You go to a wine tasting, sample a few different wines, and decide to purchase the Pinot Grigio.

On your way out of the tasting room, you’re hit with six more samples from different regional wineries. You don’t even have time to respond without glasses of wine being shoved in your face to sip.

In a desire to get to your car, you briefly sip a few more but don’t really pay attention because you want to get to your car to go home.

Question: How many of those wines will you remember and want to purchase? 🤔

I know that probably isn’t the greatest analogy, but you get my point.

That’s what some of these ‘referral networks’ feel like.

You optin to someone’s list, and before you get your freebie/download/incentive, you’re hit with a pop-up with as many as eight additional newsletter recommendations.

You have no context and know nothing about the creator or the business, but click ‘yes’ because they ‘sound’ like something you might be interested in.

Obviously, no one is holding a gun to your head, forcing you to subscribe.

But how many times do you think people click yes just to get to the next step? (get what they actually came for).

Then, when they receive emails from these new lists, they don’t remember who they are or why they signed up.

Even if you have an incredible welcome sequence, the likelihood that the referrals stick around is much less than if they chose to optin to your list without a referral network.

This is something I’ve been discussing with a good friend recently, and he’s said the same thing.

I think the jury is still out on the value of these programs (besides the value for the email service providers who charge based on list size 🙄).

Your business model, what you sell, and how you connect with your subscribers will probably dictate how well a program like this works for you.

I’m still in the exploration stage of all of this, but I’d really love to hear your thoughts.

Hit reply & let me know. Am I being too skeptical here?

Nathalie Dormieux is one of the brilliant minds behind the Membership LAB (her partner is her husband). They have consulting, implementation, education, and an incredible podcast – all on growing successful communities.

​Check out The Membership LAB here​

Still thinking about short-form video? Read, ​”I started publishing YouTube Shorts from a new account, and the results are insane.”​

Substack has made a big difference for a lot of writers. Read ​”How to Get Your First 2000 Subscribers on Substack.”​

We’ll see if this is true or not. ​”The ChatGPT Hype Is Over — Now Watch How Google Will Kill ChatGPT.”​

This issue is brought to you by​ KadenceWP​
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Honorable mention:

Nuelink has brought back their Lifetime Deal! I LOVE this tool for social media scheduling! ​Get the Lifetime Deal here.​

Last weekend, I spent about 5 hours going through some training, and my mind was a little blown. It completely reframed how I’m approaching content marketing and social media.

I shared the training, what I’m doing, and how I’m incorporating paid traffic into all of it on the podcast this week. ​Listen here.​

I hope your first full week of September is off to a great start.

I’ve got something exciting I’ll share with you tomorrow… and sorry, fellas, this one is for women only. 😉

the SPARK Newsletter

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