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Having the courage to fail is a key to success.

What does being courageous have to do with marketing success? 

We know about being consistent. We know it’s important to have a plan, understand your client persona, have a clearly defined customer journey and a great offer, but where does courage fit in? 

While all those things are important, none of them have any impact at all unless you have the courage to implement them, take chances, make mistakes, lose a bit of skin, a bit of face and some money in order to keep moving forward. 

I’d love to tell you it’s easy, or there is a secret sauce that works every time, but that’s crap, it’s not how the real world works.

Marketing is hard. If it was easy, every business would be making a fortune, right?

If you start an ad campaign expecting immediate results, you’re kidding yourself and you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. You need the courage to start, to stuff it up, learn, go again, improve and keep moving forward till you get it right.  As frustrating as it is, a lot of the things you try in your marketing won’t work. Messaging won’t resonate. Offers won’t convert. Emails won’t get opened. Products won’t sell. And it’s when these things happen, when that offer you spent days crafting doesn’t convert, that courage comes to the fore.  

Key to success in marketing is the courage to get it wrong, and to keep going anyway. John C Maxwell (Author, speaker and coach) famously said ‘Fail often, fail fast but fail forward’ and as marketers we should keep these words in our minds. 

But what does it mean? It means, in lay terms, to just have a crack. Don’t muck around, don’t procrastinate, and don’t wait until something is perfect because there is no such thing.

In marketing terms, that means get on with it and launch that ad campaign today. In fact, as long as you have measurement mechanisms in place, launch a few. Measure them to see what’s working and what’s not. And don’t be afraid to get it wrong because as much as 80+% of the time, you’re going to get it wrong. And that’s what scares people. And that fear is what stops them from acting, learning, improving and ultimately succeeding.  

Fail often. Means constantly be trying new things. Most of them won’t work but keep trying. 

Fail Fast. Means don’t procrastinate to launch that new campaign, messages, offer, product etc but make decisions quickly about what’s working, and more importantly what’s not. 

Fail Forward. This is what It’s all about. Failing often and failing fast doesn’t mean you can blindly take a scattergun approach and hope you find a winner. It means learning from what doesn’t work, improving it and then going again. Failing forward is how we get to that winning combination. 

If you’re going to understand what’s working and what’s not, you need to have objectives and you need to be clear about what success looks like. You need to know what are the critical points in your sales funnel and how to tell if they’re delivering what you need them to deliver. 

In broad terms, the critical points are the points at which you’re asking people to do something. Click an ad. Watch a video. Download an ebook. Make a purchase. Whatever it is you want them to do, those points are the critical ones. Decide on how you’re going to tell if each of those points are working effectively. If not, and they often won’t be, make changes and make them quickly. Progressively and purposefully work your way through the funnel, from the earliest touchpoints first, all the way to purchase, repurchase and referral, and fix the friction points as you find them. And just don’t stop. Even when you get it right and  

When you get it right? It’s magic! It can genuinely transform your business and, no exaggeration, it can massively change your life. But only if you have the courage to try, and to fail, learn and improve. If you do that, and refuse to give up, eventually you WILL win.

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