Dealing with Failure

Campaigns are a marathon. Not a sprint

We all have to face this at some point in our working lives.

We work our fingers to the bone to get a campaign launched, only to see it fizzle for a while before dying completely.

The clickthrough rate is abysmal. We barely get a 1% conversion rate on the sales page and we start questioning whether we’re cut out for this gig at all.

I’ll let you in on a secret: It happens to all of us. Even the grizzled veterans who’d assume haven’t had a campaign fail in decades.

But the reality is that failure comes with the territory.

You then have two options: Kill the campaign entirely and start from scratch or seeing if you can test your way into turning it around.

If a campaign has bombed it’s typically due to one of these reasons:

1. Not enough testing

The gurus may not tell you this, but few campaigns succeed straight out the gate.

You need to test them out to find out what’s working and what’s dragging your stats down. Test the big things first, like the headline, lead and bullets to see if that gives you a bump.

Then focus on tightening the fundamentals of your offer, the guarantee, the close and the PS. And don’t forget to test images with a caption too.

2. There isn’t a starving market

Too many times I’ve taken on projects where the client hadn’t tested the market to see if there was a demand for their product. It’s then up to me to, supposedly, wave my magic marketing wand to make people want something they don’t feel in their gut.

Its not gonna happen.

Not unless you start making outrageous claims that will only book you a visit from the FTC.

The first step in any product launch, is to check if there is demand, or a ‘starving crowd’ as Gary Halbert called it.

Thankfully, you no longer have to go door to door or walking around a store to interview customers to find out. You can simply write an advertorial about the challenge your product solves, have a signup form for people to register their interest in the solution and then spend some gold on ad traffic. Then see what the signups tell you.

A simpler option is to run a quiz, poll or survey to find out your market’s biggest challenges. This is also a great way of building a list of prospects to mail when you’re ready to roll.

3. Haven’t got to know the customer

Creating a buyer persona based on best guesses will only get you so far. You need to study the market and find out who your customers are if you are to be successful.

Spend 1-2 weeks lurking in your market’s Amazon reviews, forums, Facebook groups and YouTube channels to understand the language they use, who the villains in their market are and what they need help with.

Then when you sit down to write, you’ll have a clearer idea of who’s sat across from you that you need to convince to buy your new widget. Your copy will then naturally resonate more, be more conversational and higher conversions will follow.

Turning failure into success

Failure may come with the territory. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept it.

It’s always wise to set clients up with the right expectations before you launch (e.g. 1% of conversions on the front end, majority of profits from the back end).

But if they start freaking out because a campaign is failing, advise them to stay calm, to work through the three steps listed above and to treat it like a marathon, not a sprint.

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