I was out of town recently for a few days, traveling on business. While she was at work, my wife heard her office door open. She looked up and my step-daughter, Ashley (her daughter), walked in and said, “Hi Mommy!” My wife blinked and said, “What are you doing here, and how did you get here?” Ashley is a freshman in college, and has no car. She was feeling sorry for my wife who had to endure the weekend all alone. So she took it upon herself to come home by herself and surprise her mom. (Yes, she’s a great kid!)
Ashley told me later with some glee, that it took her 4 hours and many mistakes to get back home (the university is only about 30 miles away). It took:
- Walking to two stores to find some cash (the first coffee shop didn’t give out cash)
- Getting on the wrong train in the wrong direction, then asking for help, and finally getting on the right train
- Getting on the bus in the wrong direction, which eventually circled back to where she started from, then riding it in the right direction
- Walking the rest of the way to her mom’s office
This four hour lesson will guarantee one thing though: she will never forget how to get home on her own again. She made many mistakes on her way to her destination, but it will be forever burned in her brain which train and which bus will get her back home.
Why Are Mistakes Good For Your Business?
We all try to do the best we can, but it’s absolutely inevitable: you will make mistakes.
Unfortunately, many of us are afraid to make mistakes. We want it to be perfect the first time, and avoid embarrassment, wasting time or money, or a whole host of other excuses. The truth is, the faster you fail, the faster you learn. By embracing mistakes and screwing up, it gives us valuable lessons that we won’t ever forget. We can read all the books we want, but it’s only be experience and learning from our mistakes do we learn.
Many people are afraid to try online marketing. It’s foreign to them, and they just don’t know where to start. It’s easier to just stick with the older things that are comfortable, even though we know it may not be working as well for us as it could. Do you use any of the following tools?
- Yellow pages ads (online or in the physical book)
- Radio or television ads
- Flyers, mailers, brochures, coupons
These are easy to put together and easy to measure. They’ve been around for a hundred years. But the fact remains that the rules have changed drastically in just the last few years, and a whole new way of attracting customers is needed.
How do you learn what are the right ways to attract your ideal customers? It’s simple: make mistakes.
I know, easier said than done, but the really cool thing about the internet is that it makes it really easy and really cheap to experiment, test, refine and put plans in place. It costs essentially nothing to put a new page of content up and see how people react to it. Create a new landing page with a call to action and test it. Refine it, and test it again. Put a page of content out to see where it shows up on the search engines. If it’s not where you want it, change it or create a new page.
Only by testing your marketing message, content, landing pages and SEO efforts with your clients can you find out if it works. I guarantee that no one will remember the mistakes, because you can change it on the fly. It’s an opportunity to get your message in front of millions of people, and test it with them.The more you do this, the more you’ll be rewarded.
So go ahead, and screw it up! That just means you’ll get to perfection nirvana more quickly.
How have you screwed things up? Comment below and let me know marketing mistakes you’ve made, and how it actually helped your business.