Thoughts From The Cloud: It Doesn’t Take Perfection, Just a Decent Net
Just yesterday I found myself in a tiger trap. There I was, going along just fine as you please and BAM! down in a hole. I thought it was pretty odd, since there aren’t really a lot of tigers in north Texas, but you know how it is…
No, this tiger trap was one that you may also be intimately familiar with: I was trying too hard to make my marketing piece perfect.
In my case, it was an email series for lead generation. But for you, it could be anything: a memo to the office, a new design for your invoices, whatever you’ve got. I had been stalling for weeks on these emails, for no particular reason, but I knew they had to be created. Once they had been brought into being, I had no idea what to do with them besides freak out and EDIT ALL THE THINGS.
I won’t lie, I’ve done better work. But finishing them was the goal.
Cast a Net or Castanet?
There are probably some errors in those emails I sent out. They’re probably minor ones that annoy me, but someone else might not even notice. When I see those mistakes on work I put out into the world, it still sort of gets my goat. Even so, there’s such a thing as too much touch and subsequent dead horse beating.
I had to step back and listen to some advice I give on a regular basis when it comes to lead generation: you have to cast your net, even if it has a few small holes in it.
That’s not to say that you should do shitty work and then show the world. Just that pretty good work has to be good enough sometimes. Sometimes that’s the best it gets. Those leads are still out there, waiting for you to scoop ’em up and toss them into your lead bucket, but they won’t wait forever. If you’ve been on the shore bedazzling your net all day, you’re going to go home hungry.
Cast that net when things are good, don’t wait for perfection.
A Lesson From Our Friends Overseas
Doing what I do, it’s probably not a surprise to learn that I have a bunch of random domains registered. From time to time I get marketing messages from companies based outside of the US. I get probably hundreds of emails a month from marketers and developers from around the globe. And even when I simply ignore them, they keep at it.
They don’t care that their emails aren’t perfect (and some are way less perfect than others), they’re playing a numbers game. If they throw enough nets out, they’re gonna catch a fish. Those fish will think they’re getting a heck of a deal because prices for most of those writers with English as a second language (ESL) are low by comparison because they live in low rent places. Those marketers in India, the Middle East, the Philippines, Latin America and so on also think they’re getting a great deal because they can charge a lot more to Americans than their local markets due to the strength of the dollar.
In truth, the content generally produced by ESL speakers feels foreign, stiff and robotic when you read it. It doesn’t have the same flow as that produced by Americans because of major differences in diction. That’s not their fault, though. They just don’t live in the US, so they don’t have a lifetime of experience listening to Americans talk to one another.
Even so, those overseas marketers hold tight to a secret that we tend to forget: you have to cast your nets, period. Preparing prospecting materials isn’t a “it takes the time it takes” kind of situation. It’s more of a “due yesterday” deal. If you’re reading this blog instead of getting that brochure prepared, well, this is me officially telling you that good enough has to be good enough for today. Hop to it and get the printers whirring.
Getting Better Responses With Testing
It’s funny what people will respond to. Heck, sometimes I wonder if a few small mistakes make my emails feel more like they’re coming from a real girl instead of a the well-oiled, word grinding machine I happen to be. #NotSoHumbleBragging
The nice thing is that in this day and age, I can test that theory.
If you use a mail client like MailChimp, you should have an option to A/B test your emails. I think they also do that with landing pages now, but frankly, I don’t use it for that so I haven’t the foggiest. But A/B testing is A/B testing, so whatever. It’s a valuable step in developing your marketing materials because this sort of test can literally help you refine that original, not-completely-perfect email into a message that keeps people coming back for more.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s more important to always be striving for improvement than being frozen in the headlights of perfection.