For a number of years I was a member of a private salmon fishing club in Northern British Columbia. It was a lot of fun, but also very educational.
The Early Bird Gets the Fish
Every morning the club members would hurriedly eat breakfast and head out to fish. Not to miss a minute of daylight, we all took our lunch and didn’t come back to camp until sundown. Every minute of fishing was precious.
After the fish were weighed, everyone would head for dinner and that’s where the education began.
My Fish is Bigger than Yours
On days when everyone caught a fish the conversation was predictably jovial, self congratulatory and frankly boring.
On the days when the fish were not biting the really interesting conversations took place. All the attention was riveted on the lucky few who managed to catch something … anything.
I imagined myself around a primeval camp fire with fellow hunter gathers, our lives and the lives of our tribe dependent on the outcome of our fishing expedition.
The Currency of Information
The questions ranged from, “where did you go”, “how did you bait your hook”, ” was it slack tide, high tide or low tide “, ” how fast was your boat going ” or “how deep was the water”? Suddenly, no detail seemed too trivial. No fragment of information escaped analysis. Hunger (metaphoric in this case, as we always over ate at the camp) sharpened our senses.
In the absence of fish, we craved information.
Fishing, like sales and marketing, is a very detail driven enterprise. Every detail matters. The wrong bait, the wrong technique and the fish don’t bite.
Success is Not Random
When the fish (or customers) are not biting, our best friend is the metrics. If you work hard enough, listen to advice and try lots of different things, something will eventually work. The key to success is in knowing what worked and why.
I often hear marketing “experts” pushing one technique or another, without sharing test results.
Until you test a marketing method you will be no better off than my fellow weekend fishermen hoping for some shred of wisdom in the anecdotes of a lucky comrade.
How to Get Metrics
In our efforts to market MondoPlayer, we have discovered a number of techniques for measuring marketing activity. These are just a few:
We used to build all of our own web infrastructure and all our tracking systems. In December we’re switching to a WordPress site, because the sorts of metrics you can get from freely available WordPress plugins are better than anything you can write for yourself.
2. Google Analytics
If you want to know what your customers are doing on your site or App, analytics are essential. Remember, most of the people who land on your site or download your App will abandon. Knowing the path they took before dropping out of your life can be very instructional. Google has a free online course on Mobile App analytics to get you up to speed.
There are many other analytics services available and I haven’t tried them all. You should compare them to see which is right for you. Whatever you choose, make sure you use something or you’ll be flying blind.
3. A/B Testing
Testing two versions of a Call to Action under identical circumstances can be difficult, but it’s essential.
Try to keep this in mind. Most people think marketing is a function of “adding” new customers. Actually, the arithmetic of marketing requires just one function – the “divide” key. When you market your product you start with the whole market and you continuously divide. Let me illustrate:
Let’s say you have a potential market of a 1,000,000 people. Let’s say only 1/5 will find your website or App (200,000). Each interaction applies another round of division. If you have a call to action on your site that only causes 1/20 to click, you further divide your prospects (10,000). Each step your clients take causes another division. It doesn’t take long before the largest universe of people gets whittled down to a small number.
A/B testing is your only defense. A call to action that’s twice as effective literally makes everything else you do twice as good. Nothing you do can come close to making a bigger difference to your business. There are paid services and free services to help you do this including free WordPress plugins.
The Secret to Fishing Success
So the next time you go fishing, take two rods. Test every variable one at a time and record your results. Don’t end up like my colleagues at the fishing camp clinging to the words of someone who may have just been lucky.
Photo Credit: Cecile Graat