Fix Your Marketing with the “Red-Green” Mindset

In the programming world, there's a popular approach to writing code called “test driven development.”

It works like this:

Before you write a single line of code, you first spend a minute to think about what tiny, simple step you could take toward the feature that you want to build.

Maybe you want to write some code that performs complex calculations.

The first step might be as simple as adding two numbers together.

Then you use an automated testing tool to create a test that proves that the code you're about to write can actually add two numbers together and come up with the right answer.

Then, and only then, do you actually start to write real code.

You work on the code until it passes the test you created—goes “green.”

Great, your code can do addition.

Now let's tackle multiplication.

You keep leapfrogging like this:

Carve out a tiny feature, write a test, write the code. Success.

Carve out a tiny feature, write a test, write the code. Success.

All the while observing the cardinal rule of test driven development which is:

KEEP THE TESTS PASSING.

In other words, once a test goes green, it's your job to make sure that it stays green.

You're not allowed to copy/paste a huge chunk of code that turns half the tests red.

Instead you make small, incremental changes, and those green lights on your tests prove that you're making progress and not just chasing your tail.

This is the opposite of how most entrepreneurs approach their marketing.

The usual approach here spend weeks building a complex marketing funnel, with all the latest pricing techniques and automations and psychological triggers baked in…

And then when you turn it on, the whole thing just kind of splutters and falls over and you have no idea where to start.

When I'm approaching a new marketing problem, what I'm doing is applying my TDD mindset.

I'm not trying to build the whole machine and get it perfect right from the start.

Instead I'm looking for that first “green” test.

Something tiny that works, even if it's not that profitable yet.

And then I look at what changes I can make while keeping my test “green.”

OK, so the product isn't selling.

Well… If it doesn't sell at $99, will it sell at $49?

No?

What about $9?

Yes, now we're making sales.

Great!

The objective isn't to make money at this point, it's to find something that works at all—a chink in the wall of customer indifference.

Once you have a “green test” like this, once you've proven that customers will buy in ONE scenario, you have a reference point.

You know that your existing funnel can make sales at $9, but when you hike the price to $49, they fall off the cliff.

“Red.”

NOW you can start creating tests and making tweaks.

And your green test will show you which changes worked and which ones just hosed everything up.

This takes a little time and patience.

It's so much better though than just rolling the dice and hoping the mammoth funnel you're building somehow magically works.

Because let's be honest—it won't.