When it comes to business, experimenting and trying new things comes with the territory. The best companies will A/B test their headlines, their website graphics, and their email subject lines. They will run marketing campaigns to new demographics and launch new products. There are a million different ways that your business can experiment to help scale, and while you can do everything in your power to ensure that those experiments are successful, there is always an element of uncertainty. So today I wanted to share with you a way that you can ensure that each and every experiment you try isn't a waste of time or money.
Get clear on your goals.
Let's say that your company wants to start marketing towards a new demographic. You have done the research, crunched the numbers and on paper it looks like a good bet to make on your business. So you put together the creatives and get ready to launch the campaign. But before you do, you want to get clear on your objective. Is the goal of the campaign to sell products? It would be nice. But the bigger goal is to find out if your new demographic is interested in your products and to learn how to sell to the new market. The two objectives are very different, and how you measure success is going to be different. So you run the campaign for 30 days and get a few sales. If you measure by the first objective, the experiment was likely a fail. But if you measure by the second, meaning that you learned more about the demographic, learned what calls to action made them click and were able to find out the best way to sell to the new demographic by the end of the campaign, then you were successful. And the amount of money you spent on the advertising campaign wasn't wasted. It was the cost you paid to learn something about your business.
Take inventory of your learnings.
Another way to increase your ROI on your failed business experiments is to take the time to debrief after the experiment. Let's say that the advertising campaign didn't produce any sales or leads. Is it then considered a waste of money? Not likely. You learned what call to actions didn't work. You learned that the advertising platform you tried wasn't a good one for your business. You learned that the timing of your ad spend wasn't the right one for your audience. There is often more to learn from failure than from success. If other team members were involved in the project, ask them to do a write up of what they think we learned from the experiment and what learnings we can apply to future experiments. Compile your notes and pay attention to what worked and what didn't so that you can use those learnings on your next experiment.
When it comes to business, there is always the chance of failure. But there is also the chance of success. As long as you learn something from your experiences, there is no such thing as wasted time or money.