The colorful lights and dance music faded as the speaker took the stage. I sat down at our VIP table in the front row, out of breath from the short dance party that got our blood pumping to our brains (Translation: I moved my arms and legs awkwardly from right to left for about ten minutes while everyone else danced in perfect synchronicity).
Opening my notebook and picking up my polka dotted pen, I listened as Chalene Johnson started in on our next marketing session.
I was invited by my friend, Tiana, just two weeks earlier to attend Marketing Impact Live in L.A. It was a free ticket, so I jumped at the chance. This was my first time in L.A., and the previous night we’d gone to the private screening of Tony Robbins’ new Netflix movie and met Tony Robbins himself.
I was a sponge: beyond eager to soak up all the information I could and wide-eyed by the experiences I was having.
“How many of you already have your freebie offers created and up on your website?” Chalene had that raised eyebrow look as she glanced around the room.
I raised my hand, along with my friend beside me, and then I turned my head and looked at the rest of the room behind me. Maaaaaybe only ten other hands popped up in the crowd.
Whaaaat? I was floored.
There were thousands of entrepreneurs in the room. How was I one of the very few people in the entire room who had completed this first step in my online business? I mean, I knew that I was late to the whole email marketing thing, so surely more people had passed this stage before me.
I whispered to my friend that I couldn’t believe that there weren’t more hands up – that it must be a fluke- but even since then I’ve seen the same trend.
Most people who come to me to help them with their website redesign haven’t started creating their opt-in offer.
People seriously get stuck when it comes to creating their very first freebie. The majority of the crowd at the conference that day hadn’t even started yet, and I think I know why.
Often, entrepreneurs feel like their ideas have to be earth-shattering or they’re not worth the effort. Or we just don’t know how to complete the thing we do have in mind, so we hesitate until we know all the ins and outs before putting one foot in front of the other. I’m in the learn-all-the-things-before-you-execute camp, but it’s also taken me five years to get this far along in business.
Not the fast track to success. Just a slow (very slow) and steady climb.
I’m all about doing a good job, so I’m not telling you to slap something together and call it a day. That wouldn’t add value to the lives of your potential customers, so it wouldn’t really work either.
What I am saying is that perfectionism is a trap, and it could keep you stuck for YEARS.
When I was getting my masters in internet marketing, I remember sitting my Mom down in front of my laptop while we were sipping our chai lattes at Starbucks, and asking her to walk through my website for one of my homework assignments. We had to see what happened when someone – a real live person – used our site.
This action of getting a person to test your website is what we call user testing in web design. User testing is a great general thing you should do with your site from time to time, but that’s not why I’m bringing it up today (I’ll save that for a future post).
I bring it up today to say that we should treat our businesses like a series of experiments. Freebie offers included. If it’s a good idea to test our websites, it’s also a good idea to test other things in our business.
We can’t know what people want, what they like, and what they want more of until we put something out there and test it.
If we have a rad idea and want to make our freebie the best it can be, that’s great. But just like software and web apps, there should be multiple versions of the thing you create – each improving on the one before. You have to get that first version out there for beta testers to try out…like…NOW.
And when you find the kinks and things that aren’t working so smoothly, a second version can be released – fixing the things your users actually need to be changed (not that one little line in your intro you’ve rewritten eleven times).
And later still, more versions can be released when more problems are worked out.
Put up an opt-in form on your site and have that free download ready, in all its untested glory.
When you have ten or twenty new people on your list, then you can email them and ask them what they’re still struggling with. Their answers will reveal where your opt-in missed something, or their answers will give you an indication of what to do for your paid offering.
Don’t wait until you’re singled out in a room of thousands of entrepreneurs by Chalene Johnson or some other great business mentor to do something about it.
You’ll never know if what you have is great until you’ve tested it out, so get testing!
Share what you would like to create in the comments below!