I’ve spent years working on a projects that generate zero revenue and are used by few if any people. I consider each a success on one hand because I learned a lot but I also consider them failures because I set out to build something that people could use to solve a problem and I didn’t accomplish that at a scale where those results were evident.
Which brings me to a concept that I decided to test that I call sprints. Sprinting means that you attempt to validate an idea in days not months or years because after all, speed kills. Basically you put up a landing page, do some online marketing, test different value propositions and gather emails. If your results tell you people are interested then you keep moving forward otherwise you drop it and move on.
My sprint – WordPress niche
- Day 1 (2/28) – Truth be told, this actually started as an idea that I have had for some time but It wasn’t doing me any good inside of my head. I took action on day 1 so that began the sprint. Action started with a conversation in the comments section of the blog of a WordPress developer a few days prior.
- Day 2 (3/1) – I put up two landing pages with slightly different language and headlines and implemented Google Experiments.
- Day 3 (3/2) – I set up Facebook Ads and Google Adwords campaigns to begin running on (3/3)
- Day 4 (3/3) – Ads started running on both networks. Google ads were shut down due to trademarked content in the ads. Facbook ran without issue.
- Day 5 (3/4) – Worked through resolution with Google Adwords team and ads began to run. Picked up one email subscriber an hour later. Tweaked ads on each network to show ads with highest CTR. Discovered conversion tracking issue and resolved.
- Day 6 (3/5) – Added a third landing page with some enhanced design elements based on a conversation with a WP designed. Though design was not important to me at this point, I decided the effort was minimal enough to do quickly so i did it.
- Day 7 (3/6) – Tweaked facebook ads to CPC and news feeds versus right side. Tweak adwords campaign but pausing clow CTR ads and keywords. Added a fourth landing page to Google Experiments. No further conversions since Day 5. Decided to run newsfeeds with cpc ads today. Have run right column ads with CPI to this point.
- Days (3/7 – 3/8) – Shut Adwords ads off. Continued to run Facebook ads to test weekend results. Findings were that newsfeeds ads with cpc versus right column and cpi resulted seven likes but no conversions.
Conclusion – At this point the 7 day validation says this idea is a failure. People do not want it or the landing pages(3 using split testing) need further optimization. I would like to try one other landing page for a day or so this week based on the content in the ads that were clicked for an additional 2 days after which it will be shutdown.
There have been lessons learned about the audience through conversations observing the results of the test. Though there does not appear to be an audience here, I have freed the mindshare that was being consumed wondering about this idea and satisfied that I was able to get these results in 8 days versus of 12 months or more.
Update 5/12/2014 – What I didn’t document here is that during this experiment I shared the landing page url with a WordPress developer of a popular plugin (on 2/28). They expressed interest and conversations were off and on until early April at which time I offered a him a trial period and he accepted. Less than 20 days later he became customer number one.