Success Story: Learning From Failure
Probably two of the most common questions that students ask me is:
- when to stop testing a campaign
- when to pivot to another campaign.
The importance of volume of testing
In business—especially in an affiliate marketing—testing is probably the one thing that is the most crucial to your success. The amount of ideas that you test is going to directly affect your results, whether you are an internet marketer or in any business.
If you are the type of person that only likes to test a couple of ad campaigns a year, you are not going to be able to compete with somebody who is testing a brand new ad campaign every single week of the year.
By constantly testing & refining your marketing campaigns, you can easily decipher what works and what doesn’t – failure leads to success.
By knowing what strategies and approaches to avoid, and what to pursue, you can increase the likelihood that each campaign you launch will prove successful.
Even if you improve by only a small percentile each time, you will be following a path that will lead to success. This is the way in which we have refined our processes over the last decade, learning from our failures and keeping track of our successes.
Fast-track your way to profitability
The strategy you should be employing is to launch a new test every single week. We are going to be using the affiliate marketing industry as an example.
Right before the week is due to start, either Saturday or Sunday, you should already start brainstorming potential ad campaigns you are going to test for the following week.
What you should be doing is rapid-fire testing:
Every single week, come up with a completely new concept for an ad campaign and test it throughout the week. It doesn’t need to be perfect; you just need to get something together to put out within the marketplace, to see how people respond.
You can also perform a competitor analysis and see what strategies they are currently employing too, using their techniques for yourself and keeping what works.
Come up with a new idea for an ad campaign on Saturday or Sunday, and then spend Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday preparing your assets: your landing page, images, ad creatives, angles—whatever you are actually going to be running in your ads.
Then you should spend the rest of the week launching and testing that ad.
At first, you shouldn’t spend an enormous amount of money on the test; a sensible amount of ad spend in the range of $300-400 over the course of the remainder of that week is ideal.
Have a benchmark
Next, you need to decide on a benchmark used to determine whether or not this is something that is worth continuing. A commonly used benchmark that you should consider is whether your loss is greater than 50%.
So, you’ve decided on the ad campaign, launched all your ads, and at the end of the week, let’s say you are at a 75% loss. Meaning that for every $100 that you spend on ads, you are only making back $25.
In that instance, I would completely abandon that ad campaign and restart the brainstorming process on the following Saturday or Sunday, considering the next test campaign you will run during the upcoming week.
However, if the ad campaign was less than a 50% loss, let’s say that you’re spending $100, and making back $75, you’re only at 25% loss, then that would tell me that this is something that’s extremely promising.
And by just putting a little bit more work and polishing everything up, you could probably turn that campaign into profitability.
You should always be learning from your marketing experiences, whether positive or negative. Remember, failure leads to success.
Be comfortable with letting go of ideas
Apart from the volume of testing, another crucial component to having success in business is knowing when to pivot to a new thing.
You can implement a specific strategy within your business, especially if you are in affiliate marketing, yet retain the ability to pivot very quickly between ad campaigns because you are not tied down to any one product.
A very common mistake that I’ve seen a lot of people make in business is when a concept or an idea isn’t working out that they just desperately grasp to that idea, praying that it will eventually pay off.
Months and even years can pass by where they will arrogantly struggle to try and make this thing work; when in reality, it never really showed promise to begin with.
Something that Peter and I do all the time— is to always rapidly test new strategies, techniques, and offers. Fortunately, now we have such a great team that allows us to quickly and rapidly implement testing; not limited to just one ad campaign a week, but we can test 6-10 ad campaigns per week.
This is something that you need to consider implementing within your own business.
If you have recently been working on something that never really showed much promise to begin with, and you are still sticking with it, it may be time to consider quickly pivoting to something else.
Now, sometimes pivots do not need to be as drastic as throwing out the entire idea. Making just one or two subtle adjustments to optimize it’s conversion rates could result in vastly different results.
This is something that I made a really big mistake with when I was first getting started; sticking with a sinking ship for too long hoping that it would eventually pay off.
It never did.
A personal mistake
I will provide you with a little background to my affiliate marketing story.
In 2012, when I first got into affiliate marketing, I started out by promoting somebody else’s course that taught users how to blog effectively. It was a pretty expensive course, it was like $3,000, and the commission to the affiliate was $1,500 or so.
I started to get some traction with this offer, but after a little while it just seemed to die off, and all the money that I was spending on ads just wasn’t working. For almost a whole year after that, I was still trying to make this thing come back to life.
If I had known back then what I know now, as soon as I saw everything die, I would have probably immediately pivoted to a new idea, or a new plan, or a new strategy, or just anything else.
It didn’t mean that I had to get into a completely different business idea; it could have just been something as simple as instead of promoting this person’s course as an affiliate, promote another person’s course as an affiliate.
For this whole period, probably around 2013, when I was really struggling and failing; I should have easily been able to find success just doing something else. But I was so married to this one single campaign that I was running that I just didn’t want to let it go, I didn’t want to accept the failure and move on to a new campaign.
This is a problem that many new marketers struggle with, and it is probably one of the most common issues within this industry and, most likely, business in general.
Change your mindset; there is no such thing as failure
When you are in the internet marketing industry or even business in general, sure, you can fail at things, but you really shouldn’t consider it as a failure – instead, you should approach it as a learning opportunity.
Every ad campaign that you launch, every business project that you start, even if it doesn’t work out, you have still acquired skills and knowledge along the way that you didn’t have before, and now you can implement them into your next idea.
So, for all of the ad campaigns of mine that completely bombed, they helped me to build a framework in my mind that has helped me become more successful later on.
I can look back on things that didn’t work out and dissect it, and say, “okay, here’s why it didn’t work out“.
Maybe the market wasn’t receptive to it at the time, maybe there was an issue with lack of creativity in my ad, or I was using poorly worded copy on my landing page—it wasn’t resonating with anyone.
Every time something doesn’t work out as you intended, you can usually take key lessons from that to move forward with a new idea and starting out on a platform of higher knowledge.
I hope you have found this blog insightful, I am always looking to deliver the most up to date, actionable, affiliate marketing content on the web.
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