As I’ve grown as angler, I started noticing parallels between what I do for a living and chasing fish. There are a ton of similarities if you look hard enough. One thing we’ve been doing a lot of this year is launching marketing campaigns. Believe it or not they are very similar to fishing a stretch of water for the very first time. In part 1 of this series we looked at understanding what you’re fishing for (your audience) and reading the water (attracting the right audience).
This time we will look at getting skunked, ie. having realistic expectations.
Maybe I’m a terrible angler, but whenever I fish a new piece of water I often get skunked. I just don’t know where the fish are or what they like. My return on investment for that first day on the water is pretty low. Now I could walk away from that piece of water and never fish it again. But, if I step back and think about it objectively, I learned a thing or two that day. I learned everything the fish didn’t like. If I don’t apply what I learned the next time I’m out there, I’m going to leave disappointed again. The exact same is true for your first marketing campaign. It’s probably not going to blow the doors off your sales dept. But if you go in with the expectation that the first campaign is going to lay the foundation for success one year from now you’ll be in a great position to succeed.
It’s also helpful to identify small gains as major victories. Sales might have been down this time, but you grabbed 500 new emails. Awesome!! Hey, we got 1,500 new pageviews for this one campaign, sweet. Some returns aren’t measured in dollars and cents, especially in the early stages of a campaign. It can be very helpful to identify these mini goals, before you launch. If you’re looking at the big picture 500 emails here, 500 emails there will definitely pay off down the road.
Failed campaigns are also great learning exercises, just like getting skunked. Why did only 2% of my emails get opened? Why did we only sell 20 shirts? I’ve got 80 million followers why don’t any of them ever buy anything? Is the messaging not what my audience wants to hear? Do I have the “right” audience? You need to start asking tough questions if your marketing campaigns continue to fail time and again. Use the data you’ve been gathering to answer some of these questions. Invest time in learning how to use the data from Google and Social networks to fill in these gaps, or hire someone to do it for you.
Just like fishing, you will get better if you learn something every time you’re out there and apply it the next time.