What you’re about to read will show you that I’m a total geek when it comes to marketing 🤓
I stumbled upon a fascinating concept a couple of years back – Iteration Cycles.
Some will find it boring, it’s exciting to me, and essential in the armed forces.
I’ll share how embracing iteration cycles can lead to improved decision-making and direct revenue growth.
But before delving into the details, let’s kick things off with a quote that has guided me through many uncertain times:
“Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see farther.”J.P. Morgan
Whenever I’m feeling flustered or I have decision fatigue, I say to myself, “I’ll go as far as I can see, and when I get there, I’ll see further.”
It’s easy to get caught up in what you’re doing and spend too much time wondering…
Is this the right headline??
Is this the right offer structure??
What about the copy??
Oh god, should the button be green or yellow??
To truly move forward, learn and improve we must be willing to move forward even when conditions are not perfect…
Because they are never perfect.
But how do we sacrifice perfection without the anxiety of ‘not putting out best foot forward’.
We can do that by understanding that within the ecosystem that we are working in…
This particular component that we’re working on, will be improved at a later date.
What most people don’t realise, is that most of the time the problem in most businesses and in entrepreneurship is the removing of bottlenecks…
Rather than trying to improve systems that are already working, because you are avoiding what must be done…
You work on something that’s already functional because that’s your comfort zone.
Even as I’m writing this, I’m starting to see what I’m avoiding in my own processes…
I know at this very moment I’m working on a new VSL (one that’s currently converting front-end buyers at over 10%)…
Instead of making changes to an upsell path that currently isn’t converting.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the framework:
After doing some research online, there is no standard definition or process that is a true representation of Iteration Cycles.
After a quick search on Google you’ll find many variations for images that come up under the search term ‘Iteration Cycles’ – some of them looking like Spaghetti junction.
Here’s a simple diagram I’ve made that I use in my own head as I go through the process myself.
This isn’t some drawn out, overly thought-about process where I sit down and go, “I’m going into ‘make hypothesis’ phase now, whipey!”…
I don’t then pull out my lab coat and glasses because now we’re in “test” mode…
It’s all second nature to me and I use it more of a way of thinking about what I’m doing when I feel lost or flustered.
But, there’s certainly no reason that you shouldn’t use it as a more defined process that teams carry out in a particular process…
And I believe you will find among high-performing corporate directors, it’s very much encouraged.
Here’s a breakdown of the structure that I use:
Execute – This is where we build, publish or create the product/campaign/change/insert any business process or asset here.
Now this isn’t an excuse for it to be sh*t. It means it needs to be done well enough and soon enough to remove it from being a bottleneck in the business.
It needs to be done to a level that you believe it will perform well at, and more importantly it needs to be done to a level that you believe you will get valuable feedback from.
Test – Now you’ve executed, you need to have an agreed amount of time that you’re going to run the process so that you can get valuable data.
In paid media, this is a set amount of time that you run a campaign to determine the performance.
I personally like to give it at least 4 days depending on the budget and a few other variables.
This won’t give me a clear picture if a campaign is working, but if I’ve done my job properly, I can start tracking the main metrics that matter to me.
I won’t wait until the analysis phase before looking at data. I keep my pulse on all of the key metrics as soon as the campaign is launched. I’m looking out for any spikes that might give me the inform.
Most marketers will tell you that 3-4 days isn’t enough time to gather a sufficient amount of data, fortunately I’m not most marketers. I’m not interested in the game for incremental game. If I’m not making sales or generating leads in a performance marketing campaign, there is s serious problem.
For you to get these metrics, you need to have all of your tracking software setup before the campaign is launched. Ensuring that you are getting the numbers that you need to make decisions, which we’ll come onto next.
Analyse – Once you’ve given your new process time to run, it’s time to gather all of the data you need and analyse what’s been collected. Here are the key metrics I need to know from a PPC perspective:
- Cost Per Click
- Conversion Rate
Using these key metrics, I can determine if the offer works, and if I’m targeting the right audience.
These metrics will tell me everything that I need to know to make changes in a given offer and the campaign I’m running.
If the cost per click is too high, you know that the creative or the copy on the ad needs to change.
If the conversion rate of the page is too low, then the offer components, copy, or elements of the change needs your attention.
Make Hypothesis – Finally we reach the last step of our cycle. We draw conclusions on a single element that we can change moving forward to get improve the campaign.
Starting with a concept, you can come up with a reason why you believe something will improve what you’re doing and you make those changes in the hope that you will have the desired results.
I’ll give you a real world example right now, I recently increased the price of a front-end offer from $4.74 to $27. After that, the campaign wouldn’t be profitable anymore.
Instead of being rash, and deciding that buyers would only make a purchase at $4.74, I decided to change the video on my page so that it’s more effective.
Even though the page was already converting over 10%, I wasn’t happy with the original video.
Instead of changing the price, I’ve decided in the next iteration cycle I will rewrite the VSL script and re-record the video. (My hypothesis resulted in me feeling like not enough trust was being built on the VSL for them to make a purchase).
After this has been completed, you start the process again by executing the changes that you want to see in your system. The faster you can go through these cycles, the more information and improvements that you can make in your system.
Embracing iteration cycles empowers businesses to make progressive improvements, streamlining processes, and driving growth. It encourages us to prioritize progress over perfection, constantly learning, adapting, and evolving.
As we move forward, let’s remember that iteration cycles are not just a rigid process but a mindset that fuels success in the ever-changing landscape of business.
So, let’s build the plane while flying it, and embrace the power of iteration for a bigger and better incremental gains.