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Copywriting And Direct Marketing What To Do When You Can't Beat A Control

By Expert Author: Adam Ross

There is nothing more frustrating than hitting a brick wall in business. Worse when your entire customer acquisition system grinds to a halt because you hit the wall.
I was recently talking with a potential client about how their business had ground to a halt because their response rate to a long running control plummeted to near zero. In this case it was their only landing page.
He went from having a thriving growing business to almost zero. Thankfully, due to their back end monetisation strategy, they are not dead in the water while they try and get this fixed.
But... some of their behaviour is worrying.
What not to do when you've hit a major brick wall in your marketing.
Many people take the "it will be all right if I just think positive" kind of approach. Positive thinking won't help you one iota. The other response is panic. But this is all too common (and not at all helpful) response when something goes critically wrong.
Then blindly run around throwing mud at the wall hoping something will stick.
I've noticed that many business owners struggle with two things that are absolutely vital skills to be successful in business. Strategic vision - how to see the big picture and being able to determine the impact of the crisis across the business, so that adequate investment can be made to rectify the problem in a timely manner.
The other is to implement when they are dealing with a problem outside their comfort zone. In the story I related in the introduction my client wasn't comfortable with the problem so he ignored it for 6 weeks before getting in touch with me.
A critical error. I could solve that problem with less than a week's work and we could have been away to the races already - working to solve the problem. As it stands, when he finally contacted me I couldn't look at the work for another 3 weeks. 9 weeks is about 20% of the working year.
Let's take this scenario and apply it to business that is turning over a million dollars. 20% of the year is worth around $200,000 to that business (in terms of new customers and their associated back end). Critically worrying if you ask me. Especially when that revenue went to competitors.
What To Do When You've Hit A Brick Wall.
The first thing to do is to assess the problem accurately. Sounds obvious really. Don't panic. Look at your numbers. Can we keep using and acquire customers at an acceptable (albeit higher) cost or do we need to cut the existing control completely and start over?
Start a testing program. There is a golden rule in direct marketing: "All controls fatigue eventually." So you need to be testing in order to know what to replace it with.
In this case, what I would test first is a number of my "beat the control tricks" to see if we can get what is was working up and running again. Then I would implement a persistent split testing program to ensure that we never hit this brick wall again.


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